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The high-contrast Overberg region extends east of Cape Town and the Winelands to the Garden Route in the west. No sooner are you from Cape Town, over the mountain ‘- where the name of the region comes from – opens up a variety of landscapes, depending on which direction of the onward journey one chooses.
The very well developed N2 leads visitors over the Sir Lowry’s pass in the Hottentots-Holland mountains directly into the Overberg region. South facing Fynbos covered mountain ranges and nature reserves nestle right on the coast – a scenic coastal road takes you to pretty locations like Pringle Bay or Betty’s Bay. Not far away is Hermanus, a popular whale watching destination and other activities such as kayaking, boat trips or shark diving. Further north, seemingly endless rapeseed and wheat fields dominate the heartland of the Overberg – if you travel a little further north, the terrain becomes clearly barren and the magic of the semi-desert Karoo captivates its visitors.
The Overberg region offers some of the finest accommodation on the Cape and is an attractive destination year-round. For whale watching around Hermanus, the South African winter / spring is the best time to travel between July and December. On the way to the Garden Route, the well-groomed town of Swellendam is a popular stopover.
- The Overberg region offers a wealth of varied landscapes
- Charming mountain landscape with typical Fynbos vegetation
- Ideal location between Cape Town and the Garden Routes
- Hermanus is South Africa’s whale watching capital
- Swellendam is a popular stopover on the way from Cape Town to the Garden Route
- The nearby semi-desert Karoo is one of the most impressive landscapes in South Africa
The small village of Suurbrak is surrounded by the high Langeberg mountains at the end of the picturesque Tradouw Pass northeast of Swellendam. Far from the booming modernisation of South Africa, without any commercial stores, fast food chains or cars, Suurbrak offers an idyllic tranquillity that will take you back in time.
Suurbrak was founded in 1812 as a missionary village. Even today, the villagers cook with a wood-burning oven, plow the fields with donkeys and transport their goods with horse-drawn carts. In the heart of the village are authentic houses and two restored churches, best explored on a stroll along the old street. Outside the village, old dilapidated huts bear witness to the long past of the village. In addition to the historic buildings, you can explore the area on foot or by bike, so the nearby gorge of Wonder Kloof in the Langeberg mountains offers numerous adventurous hiking trails.
Suurbrak, located in the Overberg region of South Africa’s Western Cape, can be reached by car in just over three hours from Cape Town. You can find a place to sleep in one of the many farms or in the centrally located bed and breakfast.
Overberg gets its name from its location in relation to Cape Town: over the “Hottentot-Holland Mountains” (over the mountain). Overberg’s wine regions extend from the Klein River coastal area to the higher elevations of Theewater and Elandskloof, which stretch to nearly 50 km into the interior. The topography of the region varies and grapes thrive just as well on rich and fertile riverine levels as on stony mountain slopes.
Overberg’s predominant type of soil is sandstone, especially in the mountainous districts of Theewater and Elandskloof. In addition, there are also occurrences of limestone and shale inclusions, the riverbeds of the Klein River are of a sandy nature. The elevation plays a particularly important role in the Overberg district. Vineyards can reach a height of 700 m above sea level, which means that these high altitudes get more sunshine hours than lower-lying wine farms.
This increase, combined with cooling sea breezes from False Bay, allows a longer ripening time, which extends well into March and April. These growth conditions produce wines of very good balance, which have complex flavors and fresh acidity. Northeast winds bring rain to the Overberg area, and snow is not uncommon in the highest vineyards. This allows the vines to hibernate in which to replenish their nutrient supply for the next season.