If you're a resident or even an annual visitor to Gansbaai, you’ve probably noticed a tortoise or two crossing the road...
As Winter slowly pulls back its misty coat and reveals a sprinkle of green across the fields, we know that Summer is on its way. It’s time to pack away your winter coats and gloves, and get out your sunglasses and dust off that roadmap – it’s time for an adventure.
As the saying goes All roads lead to Rome, but when living in the Western Cape of South Africa All roads lead to the Overberg.
Situated in the southernmost corner of the African continent you’ll find the beautiful and exciting region of the Overberg. And the centre of the Overberg, you’ll find its green heart, the village of Greyton. Nestled at the foot of the Riviersonderend mountain range, the village holds a variety of lovely activities for nature lovers and go-with-the-flow travellers alike. Here are our top 10 things to do in Greyton this summer:
1. Explore the Greyton Nature Reserve and surrounds
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the beauty of God’s green earth and all it has to offer, then the Greyton Nature Reserve is a prime destination for you. Covering a sizable 2,200 hectares of lush vegetation including the region’s precious fynbos, the reserve is also home to a diverse selection of birds and other land-dwelling creatures. The landscapes of this section of the Riviersonderend Mountains also offer great hiking opportunities while taking in the spectacular views and spotting birds and other critters along the way.
2. Take a Seat at the local Restaurants
Dotted throughout the picturesque village and some housed in beautiful old buildings or restored guest houses, the restaurants in Greyton make up part of your staple diet when visiting. Some of the welcoming eateries are set in beautiful open gardens or nurseries, while others are tucked away in tastefully decorated dining halls and venues. The local places to eat serve up a variety of national and international favourites paired with freshly brewed java and juice (for breakfast) or award-winning local wines (for lunch and dinner). Those with more refined palates can also enquire about the craft beer tastings available at selected eateries. Be sure to bring the whole family and book a table at your next favourite dining spot.
Image courtesy of The Oak and Vigne Cafe
3. Experience the Culture and Heritage of Genadendal
Located just outside of Greyton, you’ll find the charming little hamlet of Genadendal. Originally a Moravian Missionary established in 1738, the area went through quite its fair share of changes throughout the years. With its missionary origins and the industrial industry taking over, the village and its community grew throughout the years to what it is today; many of the inhabitants can still trace their lineage back to the Khoi people that originally populated the area. Learn more about the evolution of this small village by visiting the Genadendal Mission Museum and a walk through the Maravian Church Square.
4. Take a Walk through Olden Day Greyton
With such a rich past in not only the hamlet of Genadendal, but also the town itself, it comes as no surprise that the local Tourism Bureau offers a historical walk through the village. The easy stroll through the oak-lined lanes of Greyton takes you past the various buildings that signify the humble beginnings of the village. Meander past the first shops, old blacksmith barns, old schools and the old post office that still stands today. Get transported back to simpler times in the village as the stories behind the historical buildings and monuments unfold along the way.
5. Get Some Fresh Produce and Gossip at the Saturday Morning Market
No Saturday in Greyton is complete without a visit to the lively Saturday Morning Market at the Market Square. Find your spot under the canopy of old oak trees while enjoying a bite to eat and listening to one of the local musicians setting the mood. Browse the stalls for all manner of hand-made gifts and goodies, freshly baked goods, flowers, books and more. And get to chat and hang out with the locals while you’re at it. These markets are always a great way to catch up with friends and get the inside scoop from locals.
Image courtesy of The Post House
6. Take to the Mountain(s) Biking
The longer summer days means more time to get out there and enjoy the fresh country air. Luckily for those who would like to do so in one of the most exciting ways possible, Greyton is well-known as a top-notch mountain biking destination. The rugged yet beautiful terrain that surrounds the area offers a challenging variety of routes to suit your level of experience, namely the Green Route, Blue Route and Red Route. The selection of routes with their steep climbs and challenging terrains has hosted the likes of the Dirtopia MTB Festival, Cape Epic as well as home-grown Greyton MTB Classic and Genadendal Mission MTB & Trail Run. Take the challenge and put your name (and tread) next to those of the mountain biking legends.
7. Hike Your Way to the Top
Put on your favourite hiking boots and let’s head for the hills! The Greyton Conservation Society and Greyton Municipality have worked together in creating and maintaining a lovely village as well as an exciting one. These two bodies have ensured that the multitude of winding paths in the Greyton area are clearly marked and kept safe for all who wish to dig in their heels. From easy walks to advanced hiking trails, the town and its surrounds have something for everyone. Mostly found in the Greyton Nature Reserve and surrounding hills, the trails give you a unique view of the natural beauty of the area and even allows you a glimpse of the endemic bird- and wildlife. Some of the favourites in the Greyton area include the Lower Gobos Walk, Platkloof Walk, Boesmanskloof Trail, Gifkloof Trail and Greyton to Genadendal Walk. Some of the walks also allow for mountain bikes, dogs and horse riding.
8. Watch the Birds (and the Bees)
It is well-known that the Overberg with its unique vegetation is a flourishing hub for animals of the flying, crawling and swimming kind. The nearby nature reserve along with the presence of both the Gobos and Riviersonderend Rivers provide an ideal habitat for wildlife which allows for superb birdwatching. The blooming fynbos and nearby canola along with the easy flowing rivers offer protection as well as sustenance to the plethora of feathered creatures that call this area their home. A simple walk through the village or along the town’s great walking and hiking trails can lead to the spotting of stunning species like the African Harrier-Hawk, Purple Heron, Martial Eagle, Buff-spotted Flufftail, African Rail and a multitude of Sun- and Sugarbirds.
Image courtesy of Greyton Tourism Bureau
9. Giddy up!
When visiting Greyton one of the first things you’ll notice besides the calmed air about the town and the wide oak-lined streets, is the presence of horses – pretty much wherever you go. Whether it be grazing in the fields as you head into town, pulling carts or just trotting around a paddock. The village and its community are quite proud of its olden day look and feel, and thus horses have free reign in the green town. It goes without saying then that the town would also offer great horse riding trails and routes hosted by the Greyton Riding Club. The open fields and straight dirt roads leading to and from the town allow for an easy gallop or even a quick burst of speed on your noble steed. Be sure to ask the local tourism office as some of the hiking and mountain biking trails in the area are also equipped for horse riding.
10. Experience the Town’s Creative Culture
The natural beauty of the area and the town of Greyton itself has offered inspiration to many an artist, whether it be painters, sculptors or photographers. And as smaller villages in the Overberg go, Greyton holds a colourful pallette of art galleries and studios showcasing the artworks born from the area’s inspiration. Take a walk down the main road of Greyton or visit one of the restaurants or accommodations that proudly showcase the local talent of the town and surrounding areas. You might even just find the perfect piece for that spot above the mantelpiece.
Image courtesy of Alida Bothma Art
The village of Greyton not only provides you with a full itinerary on your visit, but is also a prime location for exploring the neighbouring Overberg towns. The longer days allow for more adventure and the sultry summer evenings allow for leisurely strolls and dinner under a canopy of stars. So are you ready to make the most of this Summer?