Spend a weekend in Tulbagh
By: Pasqua Heard
Do you want an idyllic escape from the city, but only have a weekend to work with? Based on a recent visit, I recommend Schalkenbosch Wine Estate in Tulbagh, as it's only 1.5 hours from Cape Town and will exceed your expectations if you're looking for some peace and quiet.
You’ll feel enveloped in a storybook setting with the towering Witzenberg mountain range drawing closer and the bright yellow canola fields swaying in the wind as you drive up a dirt track to the estate. Catherine, one of the hosts who resides on the estate, along with her four friendly dogs will greet you warmly at the gate and hand over the keys to your self-catering cottage.
Accommodation needs met
There is a choice of three cottages on the estate. Cottage 3 is quaint and homely. It’s simply furnished with a kitchenette, lounge with a built-in fireplace (firewood was kindly provided) and a bedroom that overlooks a small pond on the estate and the beautiful valley beyond. There is a private braai area and table right outside your cottage, so you can enjoy your dinner under the stars.
I’d especially recommend you pack a picnic blanket to enjoy the stillness and sunset amongst the Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and other vines on the estate. Should you walk a further 2km or so into the vineyards, you will come across a large dam open for fishing. Further exploration of the hill by the dam will lead you to a wooden deck that provides the best vantage point of the valley - a highly recommended spot for sundowners. In the warmer months, you can also lounge by the pool on the estate.
Activities in Tulbagh
The richest trips involve making the most of your surroundings. While small, Tulbagh has much to offer during a two-day stay. For the oenophiles (or simply those who enjoy wine), there are several wine farms to visit in the area, starting with a tasting at The Barn at Schalkenbosch Wine Estate.
Plan your trip on the same weekend as the monthly Tulbagh Market at Druk My Niet Stud Farm. Here, you can enjoy live music and purchase a delicious pork baguette served straight from the spit! Freshly baked bread, fresh produce, craft beer, wine and a variety of children’s toys are also on sale at the market.
Visit the well-known waterfall situated close to the Tulbagh Market. Simply purchase a R10 permit at the Tulbagh Tourism Office in Church Street and brave the icy waters at this time of year or just perch on a rock and enjoy the sight of the cascading waters.
Finally, you can hire a bike for R150 for a half day from 10 Church Street. This will give you an opportunity to see the beautiful spring flowers up close. Definitely stop to take photos on your way!
Should you rather just relax and not do anything active over your weekend, Schalkenbosch Wine Estate really does provide the ideal setting for you to do so.