Tantalising Tulbagh: Exploring Franschhoek’s historic counterpart

Surrounded by imposing mountain ranges and tucked away in the heart of the winelands, Tulbagh is perhaps the region’s best-kept secret, quietly relishing its status as an undiscovered gem.

Dating back 300 years, the town has developed slowly over time, and today boasts a large number of Cape Dutch, Edwardian and Victorian provincial heritage sites, all lovingly restored after a devastating earthquake struck in 1969.

Over and above its historic credentials and abundant charm, Tulbagh boasts a slew of terrific wine farms, with its wide variety of terroirs offering winemakers the opportunity to produce distinctive blends that attract those in the know. And as with any town abundant in viticulture, exceptional food is a natural bedfellow.

With no less than five museums, a plethora of delightful eateries and breathtakingly majestic mountain scenery, Tulbagh makes for an idyllic change of scenery, and the best part is: it’s just 90 minutes from Franschhoek.

So, dive in and discover the Cape’s hidden gem. Here are some of our favourite Tulbagh day trip itineraries:

Tulbagh Wine Route

A day’s sojourn to Tulbagh necessitates a visit to Saronsberg. Here, you can while away the hours tasting the entire range of Saronsberg’s wines, while enjoying an exceptional view of the Saronsberg mountain.

A few kilometers away lies the home of Krone, one of South Africa’s premier MCCs, which is produced at the Twee Jonge Gezellen estate. There, you’ll be able to trace the rich 300-year history of the farm, discover the art of MCC production from vine to bottle, and of course, sample a few of the estate’s beloved vintages.

If that isn’t enough wining for your palate, travel a little further afield and you’ll encounter the majestic Waverley Hills, an estate situated at the foothills of the breathtaking Witzenberg Mountain Range. Best known for producing unique, organic wines and olives, the estate has an elevated cellar that offers the perfect vantage point to soak up the surrounding mountain vistas.

Enticing Eateries

No Tulbagh day trip is complete without a stop at one if its acclaimed eateries. Tempt your taste buds at The Olive Terrace, a charming period dining room with large open fires that ward off the chill in winter, and a terrace that is sunny and inviting in summer. Consistently voted as the best restaurant in Tulbagh, the a la carte menu offers fresh local produce and a selection of home-made deli delights that hit the spot.

If you are in the mood for a fine dining experience, visit the oldest house in Church Street, which is also home to Readers Restaurant. Offering simple, yet outstanding local and global cuisine, Readers’ fusion of fresh, delectable flavours will have you planning your next visit as soon as you leave.
Museum Meander

Boasting no less than five museums detailing its rich history, Tulbagh is a treasure trove for history buffs and tourists alike.

The Oude Kerk Volksmuseum in Tulbagh is home to three buildings on the historic Church Street. View an amazing collection of Cape furniture and colonial artefacts in the Old Church Museum, or take a journey through the valley’s history and see how Tulbagh was rebuilt post-earthquake in the Earthquake museum at House No. 4.

Then, take a leisurely wander into The Ou Volks Museum, where you’ll be able to experience what life was like for Tulbagh’s original settlers.

Call: 023 230 1041