Known for its award-winning wines, table grapes, delicious fruit, and fine brandy, Wellington is still a relatively undiscovered gem in the Western Cape. With beautiful Cape Dutch homesteads, picturesque lookouts, gardens and wineries, and only a scenic 45-minute drive from Cape Town, it’s the perfect place to visit for a day away, weekend getaway, or family holiday. Shirley-Anne Bezuidenhout listed a few of the amazing things to do in Wellington that will put it top of your bucket list
When you think of Wellington, beautiful mountains and landscapes should come to mind, and what better way to enjoy them than being nestled on the foothills of the Hawequa Mountains in a rustic cabin with nothing but you and the view?
In this historic stone cabin that has been standing since the late 80s, you truly feel a part of the nature around you, with stacking doors providing an unhindered view and access to the outdoors. And if you want to do more than observe, you can experience the mountains around you with a hike, coming back to a braai without having to tear yourself away from the outdoors. The generous braai place allows you to keep the fire going while you cook and eat, then transfer it to the wood-fired hot pool. Perfect for relaxing with a glass of wine and enjoying the stary nights.
When you do have to retreat indoors, a cosy but spacious interior welcomes you with an indoor braai that can keep you warm any time of year. Fully furnished with amenities for a comfortable stay, this simple but charming two-bedroom cabin can sleep up to six people.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, family retreat or fun weekend with friends, Zielenrust will not disappoint.
The Diemersfontein Wine and Country Estate started as a family retreat and has retained the welcoming friendly atmosphere even as it has grown into a luxurious country-style guest house and wine farm.
The estate’s rooms and cottages are situated in the tranquillity of the wine farm with breath-taking views of the whole wine valley – perfect for a micro-wedding that includes delicious food. Or if you just need a break, book a room and relax by the pool drinking wine, explore with a horse ride or enjoy a scrumptious platter in the vineyard’s PROE deli.
If you are more interested in tasting Wellington’s best wines, they have you covered with that too, even though they are known for their coffee-chocolate pinotage, they have many other options for you to sample. From the Diemersfontein or Carpe Diem ranges to the Thokozani range which recently won three trophies at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.
This is testimony to the high quality of the Diemersfontein wine but also the success of the partnership with Thokozani Staff Holding which recently acquired 55% shares in Diemersfontein Wines – a huge step towards transformation and community development.
Built some 150 years ago, the Breytenbach Centre is a cultural-history heritage and the former home of acclaimed poet Breyten Breytenbach and his siblings, whose parents used it as a boarding house in the fifties.
After the Breytenbach family sold the house in 1974 to Drakenstein Municipality, a group of enthusiastic art lovers bought the house from the Municipality and, with the support of the Breytenbach family, embarked on the lengthy process of shaping it into Wellington’s arts and cultural centre.
Today the space is a multidisciplinary cultural centre for training in and interaction with visual arts, music and the art of writing. It is a unique place to participate in conversations, ideas, training and workshops and to experience art, music and drama. Various arts programmes and training initiatives, making an indelible difference in the local community.
The Breytenbach Gallery with its beautiful wooden ﬂoors, thick walls and high ceilings oﬀer a unique exhibition experience in South African artists combined with Kardoes art shop, where special art gifts abound.
The centre is also home to Die Bôrdienghuis, an intimate dinner theatre hosting shows ranging from music to cabaret and drama. Die T-aansluiting, a stylishly informal tea shop, specialising in a variety of unique teas, where locals love to gather or get comfortable with a good book.
The Book Traders, a second home for book lovers, is filled with quality secondhand books, also sourcing rare books and shipping internationally.
The Bosman Family Vineyards pride themselves on their heritage of 8 generations of vine growers and award-winning wines. Through each generation, this proudly Fairtrade Company strive for new levels of innovation, sustainability and progression.
From propagating cuttings (or ”stokkies”) for the Cape Wine Industry to returning to the family dream of releasing their own wine from their 270-year-old cellar, the Bosman family has been in the wine industry since 1810. You can experience all this history – and delicious wine – with a personalised tasting inside this ancient cellar, a cool escape from the summer sun or cosy-ed up with a warm fire, it is worth a visit any time of year. And you might need to visit more than once to truly experience their full range of wines where there is something for everyone, from approachable classics to their special signature wines for special occasions.
Established in 1983, the South African Leather Academy prides itself on taking the mystery out of leathercraft and providing training of the highest quality. Today many of their former trainees are full-time leather professionals in countries across Africa and the rest of the world.
Whether it is something you are interested in as a hobby, turning it into a profession or business, or just want to try your hand at something new, S.A.L.A. has leather-making courses to match what you are looking for. A quick one-day taster or full two-week course with accommodations, however long you stay, you’ll love what you learn.
From how to design, work with the leather, and stitching techniques, you can start small, learning how to make bracelets and belts then work up to bigger items like sandals or bags. All the leather and tools are included in the course, and if you join the full one or two-week course, you get to keep your tools so you can further your craft – or even business – at home.
With these courses, you get to stay at the beautiful Sauvignon Country Lodge where you can relax and admire your handiwork. Whichever course you choose at this Cape Craft and Design Institute award-winning workshop, you’ll walk away with a new skill, an appreciation for leatherwork and the products you create.
Wellington is known for its beautiful mountains and impressive vineyards and with the Wellington Wine Walk guides, you can enjoy both.
Why not try a wine and walking tour with an experienced local guide? Wellington Wine Walk is running regular leisurely slack packing tours of some of the small town’s wonderful wine and olive farms where you can enjoy both the scenery and tasting sessions on offer.
Learn about the winemakers and the history of each farm while you drink, then while you walk, hear about the local culture and indigenous fynbos. At the end of each days hike, you’ll be ready to relax at one of the specially selected guest houses where your luggage will be waiting for you so you can rest up and get ready for the next day’s adventure.
You can choose from a selection of walks ranging from 2-4 days, or you can even request a 1-day walk if you have limited time. The pace of the walk is determined by the group and each day there will be a focus on wine, olive oils, farming methods as well as the historic value of this area.
Should your time be very limited and you can do a 1 day walk only you can choose to focus more on wine, olive oil, or heritage. And if you are a corporate looking for an out the box, outdoor teambuilding experience, this is the best way to get out of the office, into nature, and get to know one another over some – or a lot – of wine.
This is an amazing way to explore the Wellington area, especially if you love nature, wine-tasting, olives, and stunning scenery.
Imbuko Wines is one of the must-visit wine farms in Wellington. This wine farm personifies everything that the little town is famous for – charming country hospitality, award-winning wines, hearty food and great service.
Being involved in the greater process from the rootstock to the vine, then from the vine to the wine, means that Imbuko’s dedicated winemaking team are able to ensure continuity within their ranges from beginning to end.
They are also able to source from other prominent wine regions including Stellenbosch, Paarl, Worcester and Robertson to supplement the complexity and depth of their portfolio.
From their approachable Shortwood and Imbuko house wines to the classic signature and flagship ranges, you can taste all these options at their stunning tasting room.
Their approach to hospitality is vibey and trendy matched with a warm, familiar feel. With a jungle gym play area to entertain the kids while you enjoy the wine with a view while snacking on the unpretentious country fare and freshly baked bread. Or on cooler days, cosy up to the fire with a not-to-be-missed wine and pie pairing.
Limietberg is a pristine nature reserve tucked away in the Du Toitskloof Mountains, near Paarl. The reserve stretches from Franschhoek in the south, eastwards towards Groot Drakenstein, and northwards as far as Voëlvlei Dam and is a World Heritage Site.
The nature reserve offers a number of beautiful hikes through steep kloofs and deep valleys. Du Toits Peak, at 1 996m, is the highest point within the reserve. Visitors can also visit the many historical sites along the trails, including ancient rock art, a disused manganese mine and the graves of convicts who helped build the Bainskloof Pass.
The reserve gets extremely hot and dry in summer, while the high mountain peaks are capped with snow in winter. When visiting Limietberg, please check the weather forecast, as hikers can get caught in unpredictable conditions and the mountainous terrain makes rescue operations difficult.
Tweede Tol is a perfect spot for picnics, but to avoid disappointment we suggest you come early, as day visitors are limited to 120 people per day. Permits may be purchased at the Cape Nature Reserve Office, 27 Meul Street from Monday to Friday.
The James Sedgwick’s Distillery in Wellington is the only commercial whisky distillery in Africa and home to the internationally award-winning range of Three Ships and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky.
Tastings and tours are limited to 10 people at a time to ensure a personal experience and are offered on Fridays and Saturdays at 10am and again at 2pm.
Visitors can explore the passion and craftsmanship of South African whiskies, come to understand the art of whisky-making, learn about the rich history of the distillery spanning 130 years and taste some of the world’s best whiskies. Guests can experience the whisky-making process from start to finish as well as a whisky pairing with five sample dishes.
The distillery offers sweeping views of the Hawekwa and Groenberg Mountains. No bookings can be made at the distillery or on arrival. The range of South African whiskies are available to purchase at the end of the tour and tasting.