Elgin is one of those areas most people in Cape Town know about, and have driven through en-route somewhere else. It is associated with mountain-biking, hiking, fruit orchards and organic veggie boxes. It is not the most well-known wine route in South Africa but to exclude it from your list of wine-destinations, would be an oversight.
South Hill Vineyards is one of the crown jewels of this valley. We had the pleasure of staying in their Guesthouse and goodness, what a perfect venue for getting a group of friends or family together. With a beautiful long pool, an outdoor table – big enough to probably seat at least 24 people, a pizza oven, a fully-fitted kitchen, a lounge with ample seating space around a central fireplace, it really has all the ingredients for a perfect weekend.
The accommodation in the Guesthouse is split over three floors with six king size, en-suite bedrooms, sleeping 12 adults. Four additional children’s beds can be made available at request. The Guesthouse can either be rented out for the exclusive use of your group or company or the rooms can be booked individually. Two other accommodation options on the farm include The Pumphouse, a one-bedroom honeymoon cottage as well as The Houseboat, situated on the main dam. The Houseboat sleeps 6 adults or 4 adults and 4 kids and it is well stocked with water toys and perfect for fishing. There is a minimum two-night stay over weekends which applies to all accommodation options.
Our wine-tasting experience came with the added bonus of a lovely and intimate conversation with owner, Kevin, who regaled us with stories and generous tasting portions. We particularly enjoyed the South Hill Dry Rose, the South Hill Cabernet Sauvignon and the Kevin King BBK. Kevin and Sandy are warm and hospitable hosts, the kind of people you feel at home with straight away. If you want to switch off from cooking or treat yourself to a special meal, the restaurant is open from Friday to Tuesday with breakfasts from 8am, lunches until 4pm. Wine tasting is from 8am until 5pm, 7 days a week.
The Elgin Railway market is a wonderful and eclectic market hosted in the old railway station, only a few minutes’ drive from South Hill. With live music, a wide range of food stalls and plenty of artisan shops, the market is well worth a visit over weekends.
There is plenty of space on the farm to wander around, you can fish in the dam or you can bring your mountain bikes to take on some of the iconic and stunning trails in Elgin. You will struggle to find a more spectacular setting.
Next time you plan on driving through Elgin, add at least two days to your journey. Stop at South Hill, have a glass of wine with Kevin, kick your shoes off in front of the big hearty fire, and unwind. Next time you need a rural retreat or team building venue for your company, pick up the phone to South Hill first. Next time you think of Elgin just being a place you drive through, make it your destination, you will not regret it, and I guarantee you, you will do it again.