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South of the towering Riviersonderend Mountain range and situated at the confluence of two major rivers lies Greyton, one of the Western Cape’s most endearing villages. When entering Greyton, visitors are immediately captivated by the chocolate-box scenes of quaint lodgings, tea gardens under shady trees and brightly coloured birds attracted to the foliage. Many of the Greyton properties are of historic significance, set amongst beautifully appointed gardens with the mountains as a suitable backdrop. And everywhere you turn, there are friendly locals to ensure a pleasant visit.
The area was surveyed and laid out as a freehold cultural village by a farm owner in the mid-1800s and was named Greyton after Sir George Grey, the then-Governor of the Cape. Today, the village design remains mostly unchanged.
Greyton regularly features in TV magazine shows and other national media and has become a haven for city folk seeking a weekend retreat. Charlie the pot-bellied pig, a resident at a local restaurant, occasionally welcomes visitors.
Top 8 reasons to visit Greyton
1. Collect a map of the village from the info centre and walk or cycle (a local company hires out bicycles) the Historic Walk, a route that points out the numerous places of historic interest in Greyton. Another interesting route is the Art Meander.
2. Visitors arrive from all parts of the Cape to attend the Saturday Morning Market, the stall owners offering unique arts and handmade crafts, gift ideas, fresh produce, 2nd hand books and local delicacies.
3. The village has 4 mountain bike routes to suit all levels of biker and the Greyton Classic Mountain Bike Race is a popular annual race on the MTB calendar.
4. Lovers of classical music will appreciate the Greyton Genadendal Classics for All Festival that showcases young, rising violinists and pianists, opera stars, choirs and a philharmonic orchestra. The event takes place in May at several Greyton and Genadendal venues.
5. Hike the route over the Riviersonderend Mountains to McGregor village, on an 1863 footpath, passing waterfalls, natural forest and refreshing streams. Hikers need to be relatively fit to attempt this trail.
6. Greyton (and the surrounding Riviersonderend valley) is regarded as a birding hotspot. Travel into the Greyton Local Nature Reserve to see the various raptors on view and South Africa’s national bird, the Blue Crane.
7. Need to up the excitement? Travel into Caledon to try your luck at the casino on the Caledon Hotel and Spa grounds. The hotel also has a hot spring for day visitors to enjoy.
8. The neighbouring Genadendal Mission Station is the country’s oldest mission town, established in 1738. The property belongs to the Moravian Church and has the oldest printing press in the country, a pottery workshop and working watermill within the perfectly-preserved village.
The nearest international airport from Greyton is Cape Town International Airport, 125km away. There is an airstrip 35km away in Caledon for chartered flights. Plans are underway to build a flight park in Caledon to upgrade the airstrip facilities. Car rental agencies are located in Cape Town, Stellenbosch and at the airport, otherwise order a rental online and collect at a convenient location. There are no train and bus services into and out of Greyton, however, local tour operators offer shuttle services.
Did you know?
A saying known by all South Africans is “Give that man a Bells”. It’s essentially recognising any achievement – big or small – by rewarding the person with a whisky. According to the barmen at the Post House Pub and Restaurant, the saying was first uttered in their pub. Who’s to argue?
A community based, non-profit organisation called Greyton Transition Town was formed to encourage and empower Greyton residents to combat the escalating energy and food costs by managing waste, planting food gardens, building structures using natural resources and providing sports facilities for the youth. The drive has proved to be a massive success.