Less than two hours of driving, a few good road trip tunes and, in our case, not even a full tank of petrol is all you need to escape the hustle of Cape Town and slide into the slower pace of Greyton.
From the mother city, it’s an easy – and beautiful drive – a straight shot along the N2, if you will. Beyond the traffic of Somerset West, over Sir Lowry’s Pass, through the Elgin Valley, past the Theewaterskloof Dam turn off at Grabouw, over Houw Hoek Pass until suddenly, open fields for as far as the eye can see.
Every so often, a windmill, tractor or farmhouse; and if you’re travelling between July and September, the landscape is bright yellow, with the canola fields in full bloom.
Be warned, if you blink, you may miss the turn-off that takes you to Genadendal and then Greyton. But get it right and you’ll be greeted by a lush country village, where some homes have streams running through the backyard, horses roam freely down gravel roads, everyone greets you with a smile and there’s not a traffic light in sight.
With its Victorian architecture and peacefulness, it feels as if you’ve stepped back in time. But you still have all the modern conveniences you may need.
Day 1: Take a walk
Checked in and unpacked, it’s now time to take in the splendour. The town is easily walkable, but it may take you longer to reach your destination than you expected, the town’s many quaint side streets distracting you from your purpose. Each is lined with trees and blooms of many hues that decorate the homes.
They’re a marvellous sight on their own, with their broekie lace and pretty-as-a-picture film set feel.
Brought your dogs on this adventure? Take them on daily walks down Vlei Street. It’s got green, open fields to one side, the Riviersonderend mountains in the not too far-off distance, and a stream at the end of the road where they can cool themselves off before the journey back.
They can also tag along on the Greyton Village Historic Walk. Grab a handy map at the Information Bureau on Main Road to help you on this adventure. It leads you past the town’s library, though it’s not open on the weekend.
You’ll find St Andrew’s Anglican Church (028 254 9914), which was built in 1904, Greyton Lodge (082 376 6667, greytonlodge.co.za) – where parts of the building date back to 1882 – and so much more.
A stop at the Greyton Trading Post (076 259 6299, greyton-trading-post.business.site) is just the ticket for those after an antique bargain. Filled to the brim with more than you can imagine, you could easily lose track of time as you browse.
And if you have – or are learning to have – green fingers, pop in at the Fiore Garden Centre and Restaurant (028 254 9750, fioregardencentre.com). Strolling through the nursery is bliss and you’ll no doubt be tempted to buy a few plants to take home with you. If you’re worried your flora won’t make it back home safely, order a pizza from the restaurant instead because, let’s face it, pizza has a way of making everything better.
Day 2: Market Magic
You may usually set aside your Saturday mornings for sleeping in late after a long week at work. Do not do this here – Greyton is up bright and early. The town has a Saturday morning market (Greyton Village Market) from 10am til noon. As to be expected from country markets, there are mouthwatering homemade foods and beautiful homemade crafts.
Enjoy your purchases at one of the area’s picnic spots before heading to the Greyton Mountain Biking Club (083 457 0679), where they will be able to advise you about the best trails in the area. If a leisurely cycle is more your pace, make your way to one of the many places along the main road where you can hire a bicycle (we’re talking a retro cycle kitted with a basket at the front).
Exploring by bike sure works up an appetite, and although it’s a small town, village really, Greyton is filled with eateries. Abbey Rose Restaurant (083 262 1244) serves up a delicious menu with a wide variety of speciality South African meals, including kudu pie. There are also dishes that put a local spin on classics such as chicken curry. Sit in the garden to get the full experience. And if you’re looking at tying the knot, you can do that here, too.
Where to Stay
Anna’s Country Accommodation
Just a stone’s throw from the village square, you’ll feel as if you have stepped into days of old. Stay in one of the three cottages or Treehouse, a good choice if romance is on the cards. Each of the self-catering cottages gives you access to the secret garden, which is filled with trees, flowers and birds. The Garden Cottage is a converted stable and is full of vintage charm, though that is true of all the cottages.
From R400 pp pn, minimum two nights on weekends
084 764 6012, annasplace.co.za
Little Oak Cottage
With a pool for the summer heat and indoor fireplace for the winter chill, this is an elegantly decorated home that is deceptively tiny from the outside. It is pet friendly (R150 per pet per stay), so you can bring your dogs along with you. Secure and private, it makes a good base from which you can explore the town.
From R1 680 pn
082 823 9440, littleoakcottage.co.za
A version of this article originally appeared in the February 2023 print issue of Getaway
By Megan Paulse
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