Swartland hospitality

Art and Adventure Lovers, Take Note!

Discover the Swartland: The Hip and Happening Getaway

Art and Adventure lovers alert! The secret is out – the Swartland is where it is hip and happening. Sandwiched between the West Coast and the Cape Winelands, in Cape Town’s backyard, it is the perfect choice if you are of an impulsive nature. An hour’s drive, and you could be attending an art exhibition, sky dive, hike, bike or simply indulge in whatever seasonal scope the countryside has on offer. And of course, no harm in checking out the local food and wine scene.

Investing in Culture Capital has become a fine art, if you’ll excuse the pun. The Swartland towns of Yzerfontein, Darling, Malmesbury, Moorreesburg, Koringberg and the Riebeek Valley provide a canvas for artists – the landscapes, the colors, the unhurriedness, the clear air, sun-sets and -rises have a way of translating itself through brush, clay, cameras, poetry and theatre. No wonder artists are flocking to the region to make nest. So here is how not to miss out.

Berg River Canoe Marathon 2024

For adrenaline junkies | The Berg River Canoe Marathon 3-6 July

If you live in the Cape, have heard of but never participated or supported the annual Berg River Canoe Marathon, here is a chance to put things right. The canoe marathon spans an impressive 240 km from Paarl to the small harbor of Velddrif. On the 3rd, the first leg stops at Zonquasdrift, the low water bridge that spans the Berg in Riebeek Kasteel. The Zonquas were the first inhabitants of the region that today sees wheat, canola, citrus, pomegranate and vineyards on the banks of the river. Bring a picnic hamper, and other forms of fortitude as you wave a welcome to the canoeists. The next pit stop is at Moorreesburg. Still have a chance to enter!

Solo Studios Riebeek Kasteel

Art Weekend | Solo Studios at Riebeek Kasteel, 9-11 August

Get this. A day- or weekend pass that takes you to 7 Galleries/Group Exhibitions, 17 resident Artists’ Studios and 9 in-studio Collaborations over the course of the long weekend. Not to mention the guided Art Walkabouts, featured Long Table dining experiences, paired with local wine producers. All set in picturesque Riebeek Kasteel. Women’s day is celebrated on the 9th – I cannot think of a better way to spend it. Heaps of accommodation to suit all budgets, and 20 restaurants to cater to all ages, budgets and preferences, including Vegan.

The Swartland is a playground for outdoor and adventure enthusiasts. And it need not cost an arm and a leg. By the way, did you know that the expression was coined by artists who would charge more for portraits if it involved painting a second arm or a leg? Anyway, jot these in your calendar, add it to your bucket list, and make sure you put off all other obligations.

PPC Marathon Riebeek Valley

On your Marks, get Set, Go | PPC Berg Marathon, Riebeek West, 17 August

Popular on the road runners’ calendar, the 36th PPC Berg Marathon returns a little later this year (ran in July 2023). The organizers have kindly factored in the rains and later sunrise for those who may consider these two as prohibiting factors. With a choice between a distance of 42,2km, 21,1km, 10km and 5km, stalwarts and beginners are sure to enjoy the camaraderie that reigns on this occasion. Food stalls, music and a chance to enjoy the fresh country air, with views of the Kasteelberg as backdrop, are reason enough to either enter or be entertained.

Swartland Skou Moorreesburg

Howdy Cowboys and -girls | Swartlandskou, Moorreesburg, 4-7 September

The idea of an agricultural show conjures up pictures in my mind of the Western movies. However, the Swartland Agricultural Show, the largest agricultural show in the Western and Southern Cape, is a scientific feat, technology and passion the bedmates for what has become the hallmark of farmers in our era today. Celebrating its 90th edition, with an average of about 20,000 annual visitors, the Show inspires, educates and delights. It is also a marvel to see the close cooperation between community and business. Bring the family and let the horses, cattle, sheep, machinery worth R230 million, world-class championships, a regional youth show amaze you. And if that were not enough, agricultural seminars, Ladies’ Day, entertainment, a variety of exhibitors, the wine garden, restaurants and children’s entertainment should do the trick.

Darling Wildflower Show

Wow Darling | Darling Wildflower Show, 20 to 22 September

Those who were wowed at the carpets of wildflowers that spread across the West Coast after the heavy rains last year, will agree that photos cannot do justice to the spectacle that met the eye. Snoozed last year? Don’t miss out this year! The best way to absorb what one sees, is to start off the road-trip in Darling, host to the annual Wildflower Show, dating back over a hundred years. Study the names of the wildflower species at the Show, then head off and spot these in its natural setting. An outdoor marketplace with food, drinks and crafts; indigenous and water-wise plants for sale; guided wildflower walks by appointment and a Village shuttle bus to experience other attractions and activities taking place over this weekend, all contribute to the Wow-factor.

Past, Present, Future | !Khwa ttu Heritage Festival, 24 September

Fascinating, inspiring, innovative…. I could carry on. Situated on the R27, between Darling and Yzerfontein, !Khwa Ttu is a San Culture and Education centre that introduces the newer San generation to the ways of the older. Did you know that the San-language contains five clicks? Nope, not talking digital language here. Bring family and friends to a fabulous Heritage Day festival to celebrate our diverse South African cultures around food, music, art, and fun. Your festival ticket includes tours of the Centre; interactive drumming and traditional dances; Kids Zone; game drives, delicious local food, homemade tea tastings and other fun activities.

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