Wacky & Wonderful Robertson!
Located in the foothills of the Langeberg Mountains, on Route 62 between Worcester and Swellendam, is the small town of Robertson. With a history spanning more than 150 years, having been founded in 1853, the town has plenty to offer, despite only having a population in the region of 17 000 people. Many of the original Victorian houses still line the streets, along with the Jacarandas that have earned the town the nickname of “Jacaranda capital of the Western Cape.”
The Robertson valley is also one of the key wine producers in the Western Cape, and the valley boasts no fewer than 31 wine cellars, many of which have won awards for their wines. Wine and food are so important in this little town that the region hosts two events dedicated to them: the annual Food and Wine Festival, and the Wacky Wine Weekend, the latter being held every June. Accommodation in Robertson ranges from relaxed self catering to quaint bed and breakfasts and more up market hotels, so most tastes are catered for.
Given the history of the town, a must see is the Robertson Museum, housed in the mysteriously named Druids’ Lodge, or take one of the guided walking tours offered by the local tourism authorities to learn more about the village. Because of its proximity to the Breede River, many activities on and around the water are offered, from cuisine and cruising combinations, such as the Nerina Guest Farms Kolgans River Restaurant, offering local specialties, to the Viljoensdrift Wines and Cruises, which offers picnics and wine tasting on the water.
Canoeing, fishing and river rafting are also on offer, of for those who prefer terra firma, hiking trails at Arangieskop and Dassieskop, or the Vroulikheid Reserve, with its excellent bird watching, or visit the Klaas Voogds Game Reserve, or the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve for game viewing, either on horse back or in open four wheel drive vehicles. Other outdoor activities in the area include 4 x 4 trails, quad biking at Tradouw Quad Biking and several horse riding trails, as well as a well appointed golf course, being developed to a full 18 holes.
Some more unique options are a visit to Birds Paradise, where 260 enclosures house exotic birds, primates, llamas and other exotic animals, where the facilities include a dam stocked with water fowl, and a coffee shop, or perhaps take a trip to the cactus and succulent nursery. Another animal related experience popular with visitors to the area is a visit to one of the stud farms in the area, where one can admire and learn about the top racehorses that the area has become famed for producing.
The Soekershof Hedge Maze, regarded by some as the largest hedge maze in the world is also located here, and offers yet another unique experience for visitors. With food, wine, water sports and other unique activities on offer, it almost seems that this small town has it all, and any tourist passing through would be well advised to stop and explore this lovely old world village.