Welcome to Tulbagh. The fourth oldest town in South Africa.
A secret valley, hidden away within the Land van Waveren Mountain Basin, the most beautiful landscape and wine lands, surrounded by the Winterhoek, Witzenberg and Obiqua Mountains of the Western Cape.
Believe you me, this little village is draped with some remarkable history! Here you will find the largest number of Cape Dutch, Edwardian, and Victorian Heritage sites, all existing in one street! 32 to be exact. Some dating back to the 1700s!
I can remember hearing stories of my Oma and Oupa always making the trip out to Tulbagh. They loved it here and would always go and visit Paddagang, a famous restaurant in the area (Paddagang Eethuis en Fijne Wijne).
So when we got the opportunity to visit Tulbagh I was ecstatic!
The excitement trickled through my body as we parked our car and locked eyes with our accommodation for the next two nights, The Tulbagh Boutique Heritage Hotel. Boasting a mix of both heritage and the contemporary, all signs were promising us a weekend of relaxation, elegant luxury and friendly hospitality.
Nothing compared to the thrill that rushed over me when walking across the road into the honeymoon suite. Separate from the main hotel, in an almost secret garden, we found ourselves right on the famous church street. Right there!
An old Cape Dutch home, rectangular in shape with whitewashed walls, a thatched roof, and large dark green wooden shuttered windows; surrounded by the most beautiful garden courtyard, bustling with the promise of spring.
Bees buzz about the different flowers and vibrant colours contrast against the whitewashed walls. A huge acacia hovers over a shimmering pool and the golden light from an approaching sunset lightly rests on the garden. This is the perfect place to sit and relax with a bottle of wine. Or, equally as tempting, is to sit inside with your glass of wine, right in front of the honeymoon suite’s huge window, where you can sit and look out over church street, musing about times gone by.
The honeymoon suite is actually quite large and has three staggered levels to it. The first level consists of your window nook as well as a cosy lounge area with a fireplace. On the second level, we have a bedroom with a beautiful four-poster bed, and again, lots of space! On the third level, you will find a dressing area and (even better) a second fireplace in the bathroom. So you can be all warm and toasty while taking a bath.
The Tulbagh Hotel has 18 rooms altogether, each offering something different from the last.
There are 3 Suites; 1 Heritage Protea Room, 3 Protea Rooms, 2 Pool Rooms, 5 Heritage Fynbos Rooms and 4 Hotel Fynbos Rooms.
Some rooms break away from the main hotel and offer guests their own sense of isolation on the historic Church Street. They have maintained their old-world charm and elegance, while others are more modern, light and airy with warm white walls, and pops of colour laced throughout.
All you have to do is use that gate and you have immediate access right onto Church Street.
This is the street where you will find 32 different Cape Dutch, Edwardian, and Victorian Heritage sites, but it all began with the church…
The town itself developed around the church in 1743 and you can still go and see it, which we highly recommend you do, so be sure to add De Oude Kerk onto your travel plans.
However, if you really want the full experience, you need to do a tour! The museum complex consists of De Oude Kerk, theVictorian Period House, the Cape Dutch Pioneers House and the Earthquake Museum.
You can eat right here at The Tulbagh Boutique Heritage Hotel (and boy oh boy, should you! Their food is delicious!) They have a restaurant/café on site called the Olive Terrace Bistro. (With the cutest red and white striped outdoor furniture; great for breakfast).
They offer an à la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner. They can also cater for different dietary requirements; including vegetarian and vegan meals.
They also have the Karee wine bar where you are more than welcome to hang out.
There’s also the option to explore what the town has to offer and there are many restaurants to cater for a wide variety of palates. Hey, why not visit Paddagang Eethuis en Fijne Wijne like my grandparents did for years? Paddagang was amidst a shift in management, renovations and reopening during our visit, so, unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to go this time around. I’m yet to visit the restaurant from my Oma and Oupas stories, so believe me, I will be back!
“A destination for all seasons and reasons”
Tulbagh can be beautiful in any season. Come in spring when the flowers start to bloom, or in summer when everything is green and the sun is shining. You can walk in nature, go on a hike, and drink wine amidst the abundant vineyards.
Autumn is the season that brings shades of amber, russet and gold to the area.
During winter you can cosy up, wine in hand, with blanket in tow and near a wood-burning fire to watch the snow fall atop nearby mountains.
Summers (December to February) Warm weather.
Autumn (March to May) are warm in the daytime, while a little cooler in the evenings.
Winter (June to August) have comparably high daytime temperatures for winter. The evenings and mornings prove to be chilly. You could also be faced with one or two rainy days.
Spring (September to November) The winters have passed and the flower season is in full swing!
Tulbagh is truly a beautiful town, with a mix of warm and friendly hospitality, drool-worthy scenery and old-world charm. So be sure to explore it!
You can spend the whole day on the wine route, you could explore Church Street, or get lost in nature and go hiking up the historic Oudekloof. You can choose from many restaurants and cafés, plan a romantic escape, give in to your adventurous side and go zip-lining or take it easier with a horse ride. Not a town purely for the history buffs, Tulbagh has a little something for everyone.
Luckily when we visited The Tulbagh Boutique Heritage Hotel, they were kind enough to put together an itinerary specifically for us! So if you’re not sure what to do, just ask for some recommendations (they know all the hotspots)!
We are also writing an article about all of the things that we got up to in Tulbagh that you can read here very soon.
How long should you stay? That, as always, is up to you. I would recommend staying at least 4 to 5 days. You want time to visit all of the wine estates, the adventure activities, the restaurants and the historic hotspots.
We will be honest and say that it is a lot more accessible from Cape Town than Jo’burg as it is only a one and a half-hours drive from there.
However, it is worth a visit and we highly recommend making it a part of your must-do South African Road Trip.
The roads from Cape Town are all tarred and the hotel is halfway down Van Der Stel Street on the right-hand side, next to a Standard Bank.
The hotel’s parking lot, however, is separate from the hotel, about 100 meters further, to your left.
I would go directly to their site. They offer a bunch of different special offers throughout the year, so it’s worth having a look.
(However, currently, as of *April 2021* you can get an additional 10% discount [available from R1,195] if you book through email or phone.)
+ 27 (0) 23 230 0071
We had such a dreamy saty at The Tulbagh Boutique Heritage Hotel and can’t wait for the opportunity to go back. After all, we need to explore Tulbagh a little more!
Well, funnily enough, that opportunity has arrived and we are heading back to Tulbagh in the Spring. Do you have an hotspot recommendations for us? Have you been before? We’d love to hear all about your favourite hangouts!
Disclosure: We received a sponsored stay at The Tulbagh Boutique Heritage Hotel in exchange for this written article and inclusion in our video travel guide series. We always give our honest opinions and beliefs on products and services; our views, reviews and opinions are entirely our own. See our Disclaimer Policy for more info.