There is more to Worcester than meets the eye. Explore the town and the area beyond it and you’ll discover a number of interesting little things to do and see, all with the beautiful Breede River Valley as the backdrop to your stay.
1. Visit Willow Creek Olive Estate
No one can call themselves an olive-addict without stopping in at Willow Creek Olive Estate on the Worcester Wine Route just outside of town. In their deli you’ll get to taste their range of extra virgin olive oils as well as their Canadian range of special infused olive oil, which is not yet available in stores.
Feel like a real connoisseur and ask to be taken through the steps to taste olive oil in the traditional Italian way, pig out on olives done in a wide variety of styles or have a light meal next-door at their bistro.
Call them on 023 342 5793 or visit the Willow Creek website for more information.
2. Have lunch at The Barn
The Barn Gallery and Café is a must-do if you have a taste for art and delicious food. The gallery itself, a renovated 1790’s barn, houses the work of master glass blower David Reade and his artist wife Lorna Reade.
Once you’ve taken a walk through their studio, have a seat in the quiet of their courtyard to enjoy lunch off their daily specials board. The café is child-friendly, wheel chair friendly and, in my opinion, the coffee is the best you’ll get in Worcester.
Call them on 023 342 8136 for more information or visit The Barn Art and Glass Studio blog to see what they do.
3. Take a country drive
The Breede River Valley is rich in natural beauty and outdoor activity, and it would be a waste not to experience it, even if just for an hour. A quiet country drive through the countryside is a great way to get a real feel for the area, particularly if you’re only in town for a little while.
The Nuy Valley is particularly beautiful (and you can stop at Willow Creek while you’re there) but I’d especially recommend the Breedekloof Wine Route through Rawsonville. By following this route you have a structured way of seeing part of the valley’s countryside. Also with all the wine cellars and restaurants along the way, you’ll have plenty opportunity to stop for a lingering lunch.
For more information contact Breedekloof Wine and Tourism.
Restaurants worth checking out are:
Dam Fine Café
Tel: 023 344 3220
Open from Tuesday to Thursday and on Sundays from 08:30 to 17:00. Fridays from 09:30 to late and Saturdays from 8:30 to late. Closed on Sundays.
Tel: 023 344 3001
Open Wednesday to Sunday from 09:00 to 16:00. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Jason’s Hill Restaurant
Tel: 023 344 3256
Open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 15:00. Closed on Sundays.
4. Shop at the Fairhills Craft Cooperative
While in Rawsonville (about a 15-20 minute drive from Worcester), spend some time exploring Fairhills Craft Cooperative. Here you’ll find a variety of edibles, soaps, craft materials, magnets, clothes and arts all handmade by old age homes, Kleinbegin’s after school project and by local artists.
And best of all? The profits from the craft cooperative are used to help the local community. So you can shop to your heart’s content without feeling any guilt.
Fairhills Craft cooperative is open Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 17:00 and Saturdays from 09:00 to 14:00. For more information call 023 349 6743.
5. Enjoy local eats, crafts and koffee op die Huis at Tweefontein Padstal
If wine is your thing but you don’t feel like making a stop at every wine estate and cellar in the Breede Valley area, then Tweefontein Padstal is definitely the place to pop in to.
Besides a great selection of the local wines, Tweefontein Padstal offers visitors koffee op die huis (coffee on the house), so just help yourself to a cup while you browse the shelves for locally made preserves, treats and crafts. There’s a bunch of lovely things to taste and choose from, but if you’re only going to walk out with one item, make sure it’s a bag of Vlakoekies (custard cookies).
And here’s another 3 things I’d still like to do in the Breede River Valley
1. The overnight hike at Fairy Glen Private Game Reserve
Fairy Glen Private Game Reserve is one of Cape Town’s only free roaming Big 5 Safari lodge, but of more interest to me is the nature trail that mountaineers have been visiting for over 100 years.The trail, a four-hour advanced uphill battle, has to be done with the Mountain Club or one of its members and will have you overnight in a hut built in the 1930’s by the Ski Club of South Africa.
I was warned that the trail is straining but doable, and incredibly rewarding, especially if done in the final weeks of January when the Disa flowers are in bloom.
Contact Erica Van Niekerk on 072 342 9224 for more information.
2. Camp at Dwarsberg Trout Hideaways
Whether you’re looking for a self-catering cottage, a secluded campsite or just a good excuse to get away from it all, Dwarsberg Trout Hideaways seems to be the answer.
It was the camping sites themselves that got me excited. Each of the nine camping sites are private, with its own access to the river for swimming and fishing, a shaded grass area for tents, ablution block with two toilets, two hot water showers and electricity points.
Each site also has portable braai facilities and two bags of wood per night gratis. All this, plus its mountain biking and hiking trails, makes it my next camping spot for sure.
The Campsite costs R570 a night, which covers 6 people’s stay. Thereafter an extra R95 a person a night will be charged (R45 for children between the ages of 4 and 12, and free for children aged 3 and below).
3. Eat at the Tin House
Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to eat at the Tin House, but from what I’ve gathered it’s a must for anyone visiting the Rawsonville area. Visitors describe the ambiance as welcoming and friendly, with contempory food and a great selection of affordable local wines and great service to boot.
From what I could see upon my visit, the Tin House has a rustic “backyard” style which made it a charming little feature in the beautiful little town of Rawsonville. If you’ve been there, please do let me know what it was like.
The Tin House is open Tuesday to Thursday from 18:30 to 22:00 and Friday to Saturday from 18:30 to 23:00. Closed on Sundays and Mondays. Call them on 023 349 1719 for more information.