Grabouw is apple country. Lying at the gateway to the Overberg (over the mountain) region, the town’s cool, lofty location several hundred metres above sea level has ideal conditions for apple farming. Gorgeous natural scenery awaits visitors to Grabouw and to get there requires travelling over the breathtakingly beautiful Sir Lowry’s pass.
Grabouw is part of the famous ‘Four Passes’ route beginning in Cape Town, via this region, then on to Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.
Average temperatures in Grabouw range between 15° Celsius in winter and 24° Celsius in summer.
Grabouw is just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town and within easy driving distance of whale watching at Hermanus, shark cage diving in Gansbaai and various other seaside towns overlooking False Bay.
Things to do
The Kogelberg Reserve surrounding Grabouw is regarded as one of the most important biospheres in the world. There are many hiking trails to explore, ask the Grabouw info centre for more details.
Enjoy wine tasting along the region’s wine route consisting of 15 wineries, all offering a welcoming and personal touch. Note: some are open by appointment only, contact the winery before visiting.
Try the local Appletiser brand of carbonated fruit drinks. Appletiser was first produced at the Applethwaite Farm in Grabouw and to address an oversupply of apples. Since those early days, other fruit varieties have been added.
The Oak Valley farm owners have opened 30km of bike trails – criss-crossing the 4000 oak trees planted on the property – for mountain biking.
The sport of kloofing (cliff jumping) is popular at Steenbras River Gorge. The area is known as Crystal Pools where a number of cliffs overlook deep rock pools along the gorge. Cliff heights range from 3m to 18m and a visit requires a permit from the local authority.
Delight in a picnic under the pine trees at the Steenbras Dam.
Catch a live act at the Hope@PaulCluver 600-seater amphitheatre set amongst a eucalyptus forest on the Paul Cluver Wine Estate. The venue hosts an annual summer programme of top international and national bands, music festivals, comedy acts and local productions.
Where to Eat
With an abundance of meat, wine and fruit produce available to the food industry here, expect only the freshest meals at Grabouw and other restaurants nearby.
Known simply as The Restaurant, Waterkloof Wine Estate’s restaurant in Somerset West is regarded as one of the best fine-dining venues this side of Cape Town. Most of the ingredients are obtained locally and the menu has a diverse selection of mouth-watering dishes on offer.
The Peregrine Farm Stall began life as a tiny roadside farm stall. Today it’s the mother of all farm stalls with an ultra-modern restaurant. The breakfasts are superb, drawing in travellers for unscheduled stops.
Fresh is a country style restaurant at De Rust Estate offering flavoursome and exciting dishes. Children are welcome and the loos will have you giggling…
Stimulate your appetite at the Winters Drift tasting station with a wine tasting before tucking into an enjoyable meal at the onsite Platform 1 Eatery. The winery and restaurant’s unique location at the old Elgin railway station is a brilliant setting for their light, quality meals offered at reasonable prices.
The Pool Room at Oak Valley farm is a popular breakfast venue with mountain bikers and shared picnic baskets around the pool with families, however, the restaurant also offers delectable dishes produced from the farm’s acorn-fed pork and grass-fed beef.
Indulge yourself with a farm fresh meal at two other roadside stop-offs on the national road; Orchard Farm Stall and Houw Hoek Farm Stall.
The owner of Ben's on the Beach in Strand is himself a butcher, order a prime cut off the vast menu. Pleasant ambience and great views of the bay.
Your stay at Grabouw is going to be peaceful, however, if you’re craving a bit of evening entertainment, take a short drive into the seaside villages of Strand and Gordon’s Bay or to the town of Somerset West. Here are a few places we recommend:
Casa Del Sol cocktail bar in Strand gets really energised over weekends when local DJs perform. Light and tapas meals available.
The Fatcats cocktail lounge overlooking the beach in Strand is popular with their half price cocktails offered on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays.
Bertie’s Mooring at the Gordon’s Bay waterfront has regular live acts, visit to sip on a drink while watching boats leave and enter the harbour.
The NiteFusion Entertainment Lounge in Somerset West is a vibrant nightclub with DJs on the decks every weekend.
Where to Stay
Relaxed, country living is what Grabouw is all about and the luxury guesthouses, inns, backpacker lodges, caravan parks and cottages are suitably appropriate.
Air : The nearest airport is Cape Town International, 43km from Grabouw.
Car Rental :There are several car rental agencies operating in the nearby towns of Somerset West and Stellenbosch, however, you could rent a vehicle online.
Taxis : A number of taxi and shuttle services operate out of Stellenbosch. Rikki's Taxi's or Uber are other options for a fast and reliable taxi service to or from Grabouw.
Buses : Gaffley’s has a daily bus service between Cape Town and Grabouw. Enquire with your host.
Did you know?
A German immigrant, Willem Langschmidt, was granted the original farm in 1856 which he named after his hometown of Grabow. Langschmidt and his wife tried their best to populate the town by producing 23 children!
When passing the apple orchards, you may notice that the trees are cultivated in a flat, fan shape. This is a system called Palmette where trees are pruned and grafted together to save space. Beehives are used for pollination.
If ordering a Kobe beef steak in the Cape has you wondering where it came from, it very likely came from Oak Valley farm in Elgin, the region’s pioneer Wagyu cattle breeders.