throw from the cold Atlantic Ocean, on the Western Cape’s ruggedly
beautiful West Coast, lies one of South Africa’s richest and
most diverse wine regions, the West Coast Wine Route, which has become
synonymous with good food, good wine and good company.
Three of the largest wine cellars in South Africa – Namaqua
Wines, Klawer Wine Cellars and Lutzville Vineyards – can be
found here, as well as the country’s largest organic wine cellar,
Stellar Organics and several smaller boutique wine producers where
visitors are welcomed with open arms.
The region gently undulates from mountain peaks like Gifberg, Maskam
and Koebee to the rich Olifants River Valley, which forms an integral
part of the West Coast Wine Route, and the West Coast with its charming
With a host of outdoor activities like 4x4 routes, quad-biking, river
rafting, hiking, mountain-biking and camping to add to the unique
West Coast mix, in addition to a host of award-winning wines, this
wine region has plenty to offer the visitor.
to me is passion. It’s family and friends. It’s warmth
of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It’s culture.
It’s the essence of civilisation and the art of living.”
- Robert Mondavi in his autobiography, Harvests of Joy.
The region was first discovered in 1660 by Jan Danckaert on his quest
to find Monomotapa, or "Land of Gold". The Dutch exploratory
expedition on horseback set out to the north and east. Across the
river, which Danckaert named the Olifants River, they saw the fires
of the Namaqua, but turned back due to exhaustion. Vines were first
cultivated in the early 1700s.
The region stretches in a belt from north to south along the broad
valley of the Olifants River. It is surrounded by the Gifberg, Maskam
and Koebee mountain peaks. The area known as the Matzikama encompasses
the towns of Vanrhynsdorp, Vredendal, Koekenaap, Ebenhaezer, Lutzville
and Klawer. The region incorporates several wards including the cooler
Koekenaap, Bamboesbay and Lamberts Bay areas adjacent to the cold
Atlantic Ocean. The Western border is formed by the Atlantic Ocean,
where villages such as Lamberts Bay, Doringbaai, Strandfontein or
Bakoond offer glimpses of the “real” West Coast and mouth
watering seafood, crayfish and fresh harders, straight from the sea.
Every year, after the first winter rains, the landscape is transformed
into a flower carpet. Veld flowers of every imaginable hue and fragrance
attract visitors from far and wide. The many circular routes and interesting
footpaths ensure that there is room for all the sightseers.
The beaches in the area are still pristinely white, the coastal area
a bird watcher's paradise, and the sunsets glorious. From July whales
are regularly spotted in the many small bays.
The Rittelfees is South Africa’s largest music festival, drawing
more than 40 000 visitors to the area at the end of October every
year. A national Fly-in is arranged by the Aviation club and attracts
pilots and spectators from all over.