Welcome to Grabouw & Elgin
Grabouw is a town in the Elgin Valley about an hour’s drive on the N2 highway from Cape Town and just over the Sir Lowry’s Pass, which connects the town of Somerset West to the interior of the Overberg region. Grabouw is a predominantly agricultural area known for its apples and pears and the well-known soft drink Appletiser that is produced here. Although Grabouw is most famous for its apples, in recent years the area has become a well-respected wine growing region, owing to the area’s specific geographical features and cooler wine growing climate. Due to the predominance of apple farming in the area, Grabouw / Elgin is also known for its cider. It is also a very popular mountain biking destination.
The area encompassing the town of Grabouw and the Elgin Valley is often referred to generally as Elgin, owing to the fact that there are so many places around the town that fall into the Elgin Valley area. Even towns as far East as Botrivier and the surrounding farming areas fall under the Elgin Valley tourism banner, and this stretch of the N2 offers a wide selection of restaurants, wine farms, outdoor activities and generous mountain scenery.
Visitors to Grabouw / Elgin are immediately welcomed into the area with more than one roadside farm stall which are all testament to the variety of produce available in the area. When driving over Sir Lowry’s Pass, the Steenbras Dam on your right and the nearby Theewaterskloof Dam are key reservoirs and water suppliers to the Western Cape region.
Historically, the area was settled by the renowned Molteno family and until recently, it was difficult to buy a farm in the area as these were traditionally passed down from generation to generation. However, although the area is predominantly made up of apple and pear farms, over the years farms have been sold due to the apple farming crisis in the early 1990’s. This forced many farmers to sell their farms and is the reason many current wine farmers were able to setup boutique wineries.
Many local business owners have relocated from other parts of the country to setup restaurants, guest houses and wine farms, and the character of the area is clearly influenced by a growth in tourism. This is due to the growing popularity of outdoor activities such as mountain biking in the area and the growth of the wine industry - an industry that was thought to have been impossible to develop in the area only decades ago.
The area is framed by the Hottentots Holland Mountain range which extends all the way to Botrivier in the East. Grabouw / Elgin is also located very close to nature reserves such as the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, which is a UNESCO recognised reserve and contains many examples of endemic vegetation in the area, particularly certain species of mountain fynbos. Other nature reserves in the area include the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve.
Grabouw / Elgin is an ideal escape due to its close proximity to Cape Town and Cape Town International Airport. The area also caters to a variety of holiday and accommodation preferences, from relaxed time with the family to an active getaway. For those looking to wine and dine, Grabouw / Elgin offers several restaurant options and a variety of wine farms where you can taste a selection of local wines. Outdoor enthusiasts also have a range of mountain biking and hiking trails to explore. For those looking to relax, there are a variety of different activities to suit any activity level, from fishing at local dams to taking a tour of the area with one of the many local tour operators.