Nestled between the Cape Peninsula and the Garden Route, the Cape Overberg is a place of unsurpassed beauty, fondly referred to the ‘breadbasket of the Cape’ due to its bountiful harvests of wheat and fruit. The Overberg Meander is an exploration of a region that is a playground for those seeking adventure and the great outdoors.
Made up of towns such as Swellendam, Cape Agulhas, Elim, Hermanus and Grabouw, the Cape Overberg boasts a landscape that is dominated by gentle, undulating hills, deep, green grass and golden wheat fields enclosed by the ocean and foreboding mountain ranges, making for great adventure activities.
Pedal through the rolling hills of the Swellendam Valley with the Langeberg Mountains as your backdrop, as you arrive at the southern-most tip of Africa at Cape Agulhas as you embark on your Overberg Meander journey. Stop over at the historic town of Elim – a former Moravian Mission station – and sample the unique vintages of the Elim Wine Route, the southern-most wine route in South Africa. Discover the quaint, idyllic village of Stanford, a quiet town that despite its size punches well above its weight in the production of craft beer and artisanal gin and produce. Cruise into – and through – the aptly-named Hemel-en-Aarde Valley (Heaven on Earth), before finishing your journey in Elgin Valley, a gem of the Cape Overberg – an adventure traveller’s dream, with some of the most epic mountain biking trails; with wine thrown in for good measure.
This is more than a cycling route, it is a journey of self-discovery and one that will open your eyes to a beauty you never thought possible. The Cape Overberg is a place of great beauty, warmth and depth of personality and the Overberg Meander will ensure you are immersed in it all. The Overberg Meander is more than just a cycle route – it’s a journey.
Swellendam to L’Agulhas
Swellendam is one of the oldest towns in South Africa, set against the backdrop of the gorgeous Langeberg Mountains. Visit Wildebraam Berry Estate for some liquor tasting before making your way along undulating gravel roads, wheat fields, and sun-kissed canola fields in bloom from the start of July, up until mid-October.
En-route to L’Agulhas – the southern-most point in Africa – make a detour into Bredasdorp for a quick dip in the Breede River, before refilling your water bottles and replenishing your supplies. Take caution on the tarred road between Bredasdorp and Struisbaai and stay in single-file.
Once through Struisbaai, stop for a mandatory selfie at the Southern-most point of Africa, which is also where the Indian and Atlantic Ocean meet. Refuel with the local food and get some well-deserved rest.
L’Agulhas to Napier
This section of the Overberg Meander is made up predominantly of gravel roads, periodically broken up by a few, short sections of tarred roads. The lovely little town of Elim – which was first established as a Moravian Mission Station in 1824 – is a logical halfway stop for replenishing your supplies.
Make sure you stop off at one of the wine estates along the Elim Wine Route. The route is made up of six wineries – Zoetendal Winery, Quoin Rock, The Berrio, Black Oystercatcher Strandveld Vineyards, home of First Sighting wines and Lomond – and they boast some delicious red, white and rosé wines.
Turning onto Elim road, you will encounter the first “climbs” of the day, surrounded by stretches of unspoilt fynbos (natural shrub land), before rolling past wheat and barley fields into the town of Napier – your home for the evening.
Napier to Tesselaarsdal
Depart Napier in a westerly direction, making sure to keep an eye out for the turnoff to Sandy’s Glen, which is roughly 11km out of town on the R316. A sharp left off the tarred road leads to an immediate climb into the fynbos strewn mountains of the Cape Overberg.
This 80km ride is made up of detours and possible options for you to cycle. Although not officially part of the Overberg Meander, Stanford is too good of an opportunity to pass up, with craft beer, wine, coffee, artisanal gin and food stops in abundance. Re-fuel you tired body before climbing the short and punchy Akkedis Pass, a 7km tarred climb on the R326. Turn off the tarred road once again in a westerly direction before embarking on more climbing, which will take you up and over the road into the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and your base for the night.
Tesselaarsdal to Elgin Valley
This is arguably the toughest section of the route, but also the most scenic, taking you past award-winning vineyards of the Hemel-en-Aarde valley. You will have the option to detour into the bustling coastal town of Hermanus, or the second optional detour via the protected Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, which forms part of the Cape Floral Kingdom a UNESCO World Heritage Site and ending up in the picturesque valley of Elgin.
Ensure that you are well rested before you take on the rough and corrugated Highlands road climb, which will reward you with panoramic vistas extending over the Cape Whale Coast, as well as the Groenlandberg mountains.
Stop off at the iconic Peregrine Farm Stall and reward yourself with a freshly baked pie and artisanal coffee or fresh pressed apple juice, before crossing the N2 highway on your way to the Elgin Railway Market that takes places every Saturday and also where you will end your Overberg Meander journey.