The Riebeek Valley

Accommodation in Weekend Getaways - Cape


The RiebeekValley is about one hour drive north of Cape Town. Take the N7 north to Malmesbury, then through the town following R45/R46 signs and follow the Riebeek Kasteel sign. After 15km turn left to reach the Bothmaskloof Pass. Riebeek West is on the R311, 5km from Riebeek Kasteel.

About the destination

Hugging the slopes of Kasteelberg, surrounded by undulating farmland, two villages display an odd mix of cultures that seem to work.

Descending from BothmaskloofPass, the RiebeekValley is spread below, swathed in olive groves and vineyards. Across the valley are the GrootWinterhoekMountains with the higher Witzenberg behind. Riebeek Kasteel is the first village, with a mere 6km separating it from Riebeek West.

In days gone by Riebeek Kasteel was described as mossienes with the layout of the town resembling an untidy sparrow’s nest. It was where the poorer people lived. Riebeek West on the other hand was referred to as vinknes – tidy weaver’s nest – because it was properly laid out and affluent farmers retired there.

Nowadays, the RiebeekValley is primarily known for its olives, wheat and wine, with vines cascading from the mountain in regimental rows.

What to see and do

We set off to do some serious wine tasting, starting at Pulpit Rock, named after the rock formation above Riebeek West.

Another place, known for its wine and olives is Kloovenburg. The farm recently produced its first sparkling wine, pink-tinged and made from Shiraz grapes. But their flagship wine is Eight Feet, a blend of Cabernet Merlot inspired by Anneline and Pieter du Toit’s four sons, Pieter-Steph, Johan, Anton and Daniel, who stomped the grapes. Riebeek Cellars is one of few wine producers to be open on Sunday. The cooperative is known for its A Few Good Men label, where winemakers and producers are honoured with the label each year. 

Riebeek West is celebrated as the birthplace of two of South Africa’s most important statesmen, Jan Christian Smuts and Daniel F Malan. We stopped at Allesverloren, the birthplace of the latter in 1874. Bovenplaas, near to the PPC Cement Factory, is the birthplace of Smuts in 1870. We listened to Mercia Bester regale us with stories of this amazing man, born way before his time.

Het Vlock Kasteel is a good place to stop for olives and olive oil-tasting. Three olive cultivars are promoted in every imaginable guise – dried, relishes and jams – all designed by BSc food technologist, Ansie Vlok in her “playground” behind the tasting area.

On the first Saturday of every month visit the local market outside Kasteelberg Trading Centre in Riebeek West, where local crafters and artists, fruit, vegetable, plants, country food, home-baked bread and much more are on sale.

The popular annual Olive Festival is held on the first weekend in May and the Riebeek Valley Art and Shiraz Weekend is held every September.

Food and Entertainment

We enjoyed muffins and coffee at the trendy Café Oppie Square in Riebeek Kasteel. Surrounding Café Oppie Square are trendy art galleries, restaurants, coffee shops, guest houses and antique shops, owned by “intrekkers” – someone who moves in and is English-speaking.

At the Kasteelberg Country Inn and Bistro, hosted by Allan Barnard and Julien Debray, we enjoyed delicious pasta followed by a light, flaky fruit concoction.

Where to stay

We checked into The Olive Grove where Sandy Moolman revealed cosy, immaculate accommodation with stunning views across the valley and mountains. Having spent the past eight years managing accommodation in the valley she now owns her own place. The next day, we were enticed downstairs by freshly brewed coffee and a scrumptious breakfast.

There are four double rooms and the rates are: R300 per person sharing and R400 single, including breakfast.


It was sad to end our weekend exploring the area with its mix of farmers with vineyards, wheat-fields, sheep, pigs and olive groves, keeping the valley thriving and its “intrekkers” who draw visitors with their eclecticism.  With its laid-back atmosphere, diverse selection of locally produced wine, port, olives, fruit and meat, the RiebeekValley is a wonderful destination at any time of year.

This Sneaky Weekender was recommended by: Karen Watkins from Cape Town

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the Sneaky Weekender articles on this website, do not necessarily reflect the views of Finding Africa.

Riebeek Valley
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