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 me, this little village is draped with some remarkable history, friendly hospitality, drool-worthy scenery, and some amazing wine estates.
However, Tulbagh has a little something for everyone whether it be wine, a luxury escape, a family holiday, or an outdoor adventure!
The village of Tulbagh is just waiting to be explored.
Go and take a long, slow walk along the historic Church Street.
Here you will find the largest number of Cape Dutch, Edwardian, and Victorian Heritage sites, all existing in one street in South Africa! (32 to be exact.)
Some dating back to over 300 years ago!
Why Church Street? Well, the town started to develop when the church was established in 1743. De Oude Kerk is also one of the last surviving cruciform churches of the Dutch East India Company.
Did you know: Some of the buildings had to be restored. Do you know why? (answer in the next paragraph)
Why were some of the buildings restored? Well, in 1969 Tulbagh suffered a massive earthquake!
To learn more you will have to take the tour! We found the tour so informative and interesting. We were pretty pressed for time on the day of our visit but could have walked around for an easy 3 hours, so make sure you put some time aside.
The museum complex consists of De Oude Kerk Volksmuseum, the Victorian House Museum, the Christo Coetzee Art Museum, the Cape Dutch Pioneers House, and the Earthquake Museum.
Did you know: There were a few interesting facts that stood out to us during our visit, one of them being that people used to get buried under the church when they passed on. Not near the church in a cemetery, but literally under the floors of the church.
Church Street, Tulbagh.
(Reception is at the Earthquake Museum)
Not a history buff? How about some animals? Why not visit The Fynbos Guest Farm and Animal Sanctuary, a haven for rescued and re-homed animals.
This farm began its journey with a man, a cappuccino, a motorbike, and the promise of the open road, but has now become a place of refuge, having rescued animals for over 13 years to date; from dogs to goats, pigs to emus, horses to springbucks, and even zebra.
What’s brilliant is that everyone on the farm lives in natural harmony with each other. The owners and animals are living the dream.
It’s a great activity for families. You can come and walk around the property, feed the animals, walk through the labyrinth and even visit their handmade glass meditation room.
Fynbos guest farm is completely self-funded and, unfortunately, abused animals never come cheap. So please feel free to donate to the cause so that we can maintain the homes of so many now-loved animals.
P.S. the male goats are cheeky and greedy! Make sure you keep some food for the donkeys around the back.
Enjoy some lunch at Kole & Deeg, a lovely eatery right opposite The Tulbagh Boutique Heritage Hotel.
We recommend the chicken crunch wrap and the butter biscuit frappe! Mmm, yum!
When we heard one could come and do a tasting at Oakhurst Olives, we were intrigued, not only to taste their award-winning olives but to taste their extra virgin olive oil! (Who knew that was a thing?)
Well, what an awesome experience! We weren’t really olive people, but my word, we were full-on prepared to take home every product available in their store! Especially the chilli marmalade!
So be on the lookout for their olive & chilli marmalade and bring home a jar or two for us. That’s going to have to be a staple in our home from now on.
Every Saturday from 10:00 to 16:00, Oudekloof Wine Estate hosts “Saturday On The Farm” where you can come and hang out on the farm, listen to live music, purchase fresh farm foods (like breads, yay!), enjoy some pizza or even indulge in Grandma’s traditional Sunday lunch.
(You can also do wine tastings…but shhh, I’m not supposed to talk about wine in this article…but their wine is so cool! The wine names are hilarious! It’s a serious wine, made by not-so-serious people.)
The Oudekloof Pass is one of the oldest and steepest passes In South Africa. In some places, it has an incredible ratio of 1:4. Back in the day, this is where the ox wagons would have come down the mountains and into the valley. If you look closely, you can actually see scratches left behind in the rocks made by the wheels from the ox wagons!
There are a few different hikes on the farm. We chose to hike up to see the old cannon (a steep walk! Bring some proper hiking shoes!) which took us about 3 hours.
The story of the old cannon…
They used to fire the cannon to let the farmers in the area know that the ships would soon be arriving at the harbour so that the farmers could make sure to be at the harbour in time to sell their produce. The cannon firing would begin on the coast and the signal would travel from cannon to cannon, alerting farmers along the way.
If you are not in the mood to walk up (for which I will not blame you, it’s steep!) take a scenic tractor ride instead! At Oudekloof Wine Estate they also offer tractor rides with a cool twist, the option to sit on the mountain and enjoy sunset with a glass of wine and a picnic.
This is a fun outing for the family, for friends or for you and someone special!
“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 with wine in hand and a blanket in tow 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 winters in the region. 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!
The Tulbagh Boutique Heritage Hotel.
We stayed in the Honeymoon suite, an old Cape Dutch home, rectangular in shape with whitewashed walls, a thatched roof and large dark green wooden-shuttered windows. The suite is also bordered by a most beautiful garden courtyard and is placed right on Church street, the most lovely setting.
We will be honest and say that it is a lot more accessible from Cape Town than it is from Jo’burg as it is only a one and a half-hour’s drive from there.
However, it is worth a visit in any case and we highly recommend making it a part of your must-do South African Road Trip.
We absolutely loved Tulbagh and cannot wait to spend some more time there soon!
We will keep on exploring and bringing you some more hidden gems. Perhaps a “things to do” article in Tulbagh that are wine? So make sure you save this post for later by pinning a picture down below, so you can refer to it later when you travel down to Tulbagh yourself!
While you’re there, share your favourite moments with us too! Tag us and hashtag #DTEnRouteSA.
Enjoy Your Journey!