South Africa has become of the most sought after destinations to experience the African Bush. And with good reason! With plenty of game reserves to choose from, you are sure to find your perfect match. But a South African safari should not be the only must-see when visiting. There are plenty of other attractions worth visiting. Except for the big cities, travel a little off the beaten track. The smaller towns like Elgin is excellent for just a day trip or spending a night or two. Being small does not mean, boring. Elgin is a rather exciting place to explore.
Where to stay and eat
The Elgin region is only about an hours drive from Cape Town - making this ideal for a day visit or a quick weekend away.
Do you want to stay the night? Why not try the Old Mac Daddy. Here you can stay in a vintage airstream trailer or even a tented camp in the mountains.
Smaller towns are known for their farm stalls, and Elgin is no different. One of the iconic stops travelling to the region would be the Orchard Farm Stall. Enjoy tea and scones on the beautiful lawns or a lovely Sunday lunch. There is also freshly baked goods every day to choose from. The Peregrine Farm Stall is a foodies heaven with about 30 stalls to choose from. There would definitely be something for everyone.
With the region having a cooler climate, it makes for the ideal destination to grow Chardonnay grapes. Some of the famous estates include Oak Valley Estate, Paul Cluver Wines, South Hill Cool Climate Vineyards and Charles Fox Cap Classique Wine Estate. Not only do these estates offer wine tastings, but they also have fabulous restaurants should you prefer to make this your lunch stop.
If you are looking to add another tasting to your visit, the Oude Molen Brandy Distillery comes highly recommended. The distillery is home to two of the largest pot stills in the Southern Hemisphere. During the two hour tour through the distillery, you can view them before you enjoy a brandy and chocolate pairing.
Elgin Railway Market
One of the most famous stops in Elgin is the Railway Market. They are located in an old converted apple warehouse, with plenty of stalls. From arts and crafts to a lovely food hall with dishes from around the world. Some days they also have live music.
For a real treat, why not book a ticket with Ceresrail for the return journey on a steam train. The train departs Cape Town in the morning and arrives at the Elgin Railway Market before lunch. After a few hours, the train departs back to Cape Town. Imagine just sitting back and enjoying the world as it goes by as you travel through the mountains.
If you are looking for a little more adventure on your visit - there are plenty of activities to choose from. You can view the area from above by ziplining. You will be travelling about 320 meters from 13 different platforms and walk across a suspension bridge over a double waterfall.
You are also spoilt for choice when it comes to hiking and mountain bike trails. At the Elgin Adventure Centre, you can rent a bicycle to explore at your own pace, or you can book a trip that would include trails through the Oak Valley and Paul Cluver wine estates.
Planning on visiting for the day or making it a weekend adventure, Elgin is sure not to be missed and surely deserves a stop on the 2021 adventure to-do list.