The small town of McGregor is what most would call “off the beaten track”; aside from a small signpost on the N2 highway, there is almost no indication of its existence. Perhaps because of its isolation and the inspiring natural surrounds, it has become somewhat of a haven for artists.
The village lies at the foot of the Riviersonderend Mountains, and its climate is similar to the rest of the Cape Peninsula and – getting scorchingly hot in summer, with rain and snow on the surrounding peaks in winter.
Whether nature, art, wine or history draw you to McGregor, you will find more than you bargained for in this sleepy village …
In the mid 1800’s, when the town was founded, it was named Lady Grey, in honour of Lady Eliza Grey, wife of the governor of the Cape, however, with another town by the same name in the Eastern Cape, the name was changed. The townspeople are proud of their heritage, and the local Heritage Society has done much to preserve the architectural history, with many buildings having been restored to their former glory.
Another drawcard for visitors to McGregor are the hiking trails and nature reserves in the area. The Kleinberg trail for example, is within walking distance of town, and is an easy 2 hour walk in the surrounding hills. The Krans Nature reserve also offers several options, as does the Vrolijkheid Research station, which is also involved in the breeding of game. The Rooikat and Boesmanskloof Trails, 13 and 14kms respectively, offer a more challenging hike, both through mountainous terrain. Dassieshoek Nature Reserve offers a 2 day hike, as does Genadendal, or you can take the easy Waterfall hike to secluded, crystal clear rock pools.
As mentioned, the town is also a haven for artists, and among the hand-crafted items on offer are hand painted kaftans and amazing hand crafted pottery and brassware. The Old Post Office building hosts Malmani Crafts, a curio shop with a wide selection of gifts and souvenirs, as well as a coffee shop. Another unique offering in this town is handmade incense, by Annwn, manufactured using all natural ingredients.
The area is also a part of the Cape Winelands area, and offers many fine wineries, where tastings are held, and visitors can purchase their favorites, including the McGregor Winery, a consortium of 35 local producers, dedicated to putting McGregor’s wine on the map internationally.Another local wine worth sampling is the home made Wolfdoring Red Berry. Resident John Hargreaves creates this on a small scale, completely by hand, offering a distinctive taste experience.
TIP: Experience McGregor at the Annual McGregor Food & wine Festival that takes place in August!
Given its bohemian citizenry, McGregor is also something of a new age therapy hotspot. Everything from Reiki, to Polynesian massage therapy to tarot readings are on offer and the town boasts a treatment centre, Temenos, where many alternative therapies as well as yoga and pilates classes are offered.
One last stop that must be made before leaving McGregor must be the museum. A treasure trove of local artifacts, displays include a Bible signed by the famous Rob Roy. Maintained and run by local volunteers, all of whom have long standing ties to the village, it is somewhat of a personal memoir of the town’s evolution.
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