Greyton is a wee, twee village a couple of hours’ drive from Cape Town.
Set in the Overberg region, with the Sonderend mountains as a backdrop, Greyton is all oak-lined lanes and itsy, bitsy country cottages. I recently spent a weekend here, and it felt like I’d wound back the clock and time travelled into an Olde English parish with white picket fences and farmers’ markets to boot.
Here are my top 10 things to do:
1. Sleep in The Treehouse. This place is really rather special – created by interior designer Anna Elisabettini and decked out with a four-poster bed, stand-alone clawfoot bathtub and gilt gold mirror – it’s Marie Antoinette meets Robinson Crusoe – weird but utterly wonderful. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sleep in the treehouse, I discovered it because I stayed at one of Anna’s three other options – Mark Cottage, a gorgeous little place with curtained-off alcove beds built on straw bales and a patio shaded by olive trees and vine trellises.
2. Go to the Saturday morning market. With bunting, hay bales and home-baked pork pies, you’ve got all the makings of a village fête at Greyton’s Saturday morning market. Open from 10am-Midday, look out for the deliciously refreshing watermelon juice and make sure to take home a tub of Loret’s red pepper and cashew nut pesto – it’s great mixed with pasta, olives and feta.
3. Ogle at art. It’s everywhere in Greyton; you’ll even find random paintings on the walls of houses – like this cow wearing a Father Christmas hat… Greyton has become somewhat of a haven for the artistically minded, David Kuijers, with his clean-cut lines, bold colours and child-like illustrations, is one of the more well-known; his art studio is well worth a look-in.
4. Eat good food. With freshly baked cakes, local meats, cheeses, jams and breads – Vias Deli is the place to go for a hamper full of food. Stock up and take a picnic to the nature reserve, or dine out at one of Greyton’s restaurants. Go to The Posthouse for a mean pork belly, Searles rustle up tasty pizzas best enjoyed in the garden, Peccadillos has a blackboard menu of traditional British grub, and Oak and Vigne does moreish sourdough sandwiches – opt for the BLT with homemade mustard mayo.
5. Ride a bicycle. Hire some wheels for the day and peddle yourself around Greyton’s side streets, soaking up the scenery at a leisurely, laid-back pace. Mountain bike buffs are in luck; the options in and around Greyton have increased dramatically in the last year thanks to a small band of enthusiasts who have built and marked many kilometres of track. Join the locals for 2-hour weekend trails leaving from the Oak & Vigne Saturday and Sunday at 7.00 am (during summer). Check the notice board next to the trail map at the Oak & Vigne (pictured below).
6. Gorge on choccies. From humble beginnings, the Von Geusau Chocolaterie was started in a small cottage in Greyton by a former frustrated city accountant with a passion for fine chocolates. Richard Von Geusau learnt the art of chocolate making in Belgium, and his artisanal chocolates are high in cocoa with no artificial flavours or vegetable fats. All the chocolates are meticulously made by hand and infused with fresh farm cream, roasted nuts, exotic liqueurs, and geranium oil, amongst others. You’ll find his tasting room next to the Oak & Vigne on DS Botha St.
7. Taste local wine. Greyton has several boutique wine producers on its doorstep and open for tastings by prior arrangement. Andy Mitchell Wines offer garagiste-style blends; the first a Syrah produced in 2003 called Breakfast Rock, named after the highest point of the Greyton to McGregor trail, which starts very close to the cellar. Local Lismore Estate Vineyards was started by Californian Samantha O’Keefe, who believes she found paradise and the perfect terroir in Greyton. Her passion, combined with vines planted at 300 metres, chilled by the winter snow and nourished by the African summer sun, produces classic cool climate wines which are rich, complex and lovingly handcrafted.
8. Take a hike. There are many hiking routes starting from the nature reserve – including the Upper Gobos walk, which trails along the flat hilltop, covered with orchids and aristeas at the right time of the year. The path provides wonderful views of the village and the Riviersonderend mountains, with surrounding fynbos and a rock-hopping mission across the Gobos River. Watch out for the birds—plenty of sugarbirds, weavers and the endemic orange-breasted sunbird.
9. Peek-a-boo at a doll’s house. Norma Musgrave began collecting and curating doll houses back in England; she bought her first piece for her 50th birthday and started going to collectors’ fairs and visiting stately homes for inspiration. You can take a look at her creations inside Searles Trading Post; it’s like a scene from a period drama with one room (top left in picture) housing an old gentleman in a harris tweed jacket, monocle in his left eye, reading the newspaper.
10. Take home local crafts. Greyton is filled with treasures and trinkets – from pretty printed pillow covers to handcrafted rosehip candles and blown-glass suncatchers. Potter around the shops along main road and DS Botha St, and you’ll surely find something that catches your eye.
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