Magic McGregor: a Langeberg valley jewel

in photography •  6 months ago

A visit to McGregor is a conscious decision:  you can’t just drive through it and suddenly stop for a coffee and look around.  About two or so hours’ drive from Cape Town, and located half way along the Road to Nowhere, McGregor is the best-preserved Victorian village in the Western Cape, if not South Africa.

In a not-so-sleepy hollow, McGregor was established in 1861, and is flanked on the north and south by the Langeberg and Riviersonderend mountains, respectively.  Originally known as Lady Grey, after the wife of a governor of the Cape of Good Hope, the village was re-named McGregor in 1904, after much-loved minister, Andrew McGregor, who had worked in the district for forty years.  

Robertson is the closest town, and it is only from there, that you get to McGregor. Here you will find an eclectic group of people, from artisan bakers, goldsmiths and cooks, to garagiste and boutique wineries, all of which produce award-winning wines.  Creativity abounds among the folk who live in the village, with intellectuals, authors, poets and artists, with art galleries and working studios dotted around the village.  One of the best-known, is Millstone Pottery, home to renowned potter Paul de Jong, who with his wife, Nina Shand, run regular workshops on various aspects of ceramics and pottery.

For those whose interests don’t lie in wine and the arts, but in the more physical and active, there are two nature reserves that offer great walks and hikes.  The Kleinberg Reserve is an area to the west of the village, and which the local Heritage Society works hard to protect.  The society also curates a museum full of fascinating artefacts and facts about the village and its social and natural history.  Just outside the village is Cape Nature’s Vrolijkheid Reserve which has one of the country’s few braille trails.  Not far from Vrolijkheid is Eeseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary, which is exactly that – a sanctuary for neglected and abused donkeys.  Between Thursday and Sunday, visitors can meet, and even adopt, a donkey, or just have a bite in the little restaurant that overlooks a tranquil dam.

Speaking of food, McGregor is not entirely spoilt for choice when it comes to eateries.  A word to the wise: ask a local who will give you tips about what is open when, like Bemind Winery, on a Monday, for traditional vetkoek, and because things change – often!  Over the weekends, Café Tebaldi’s is the gateway to Temenos, the well-known retreat located in the village’s most beautiful gardens, which offers a light lunch or an evening a la carte menu on a Friday or Saturday.  For a special dinner and fine country cuisine, head to Lady Grey Restaurant at Lord’s Guest Lodge, after you’ve had one of the best toasties in the world at How Bazaar. The new kid on the block, la Pizza Pazza, does fabulous focaccia and, of course, traditional Italian pizza, and is situated adjacent to Grape De-Vine a boutique wine shop bar.  Both of these establishments open on to a courtyard where you will find both fellow travellers and locals, where you can live the old saying, “arrive as strangers, leave as friends”.

McGregor is an increasingly popular destination for mountain bikers, having twice been a spectator point for the Cape Epic, and having three times been included in the route.  It’s also home to the three-day Ride2Nowhere, which emerged from the Epic, and which is now in its seventh year.  This, in turn, has spawned two other events, the Run2Nowhere, which started as an informal trail run, which from 2018, has a dedicated weekend, with both events starting and finishing in the heart of McGregor and in the shadow of the iconic Dutch Reformed church.  They take place on two consecutive weekends at the end of August and beginning of September 2018.  The R2N events conclude on 8 December with a one-day mountain bike race, which starts and finishes at McGregor Winery.

Small though it is, McGregor has ample accommodation ranging from budget and backpacker type, including high in the mountains, to country, farm-style and luxury self-catering as well as bed and breakfast accommodation. Properties range from historical, un-renovated and renovated to properties that are new-builds that honour the Victorian style of the village, but introduce modern touches.

Bottom right photo: Selma

Other events that bring visitors to McGregor in the latter part of the year are:

The Robertson Slow Festival – 3 to 5 August 

Poetry in McGregor, a festival now in its fifth year, and which sees poets, aspirant and published, spend a packed two days in the village – 24 – 26 August

McGregor open gardens (rain-permitting) – Usually the first weekend in October

Wine on the River – 26 – 28 October

For more information, contact Destination McGregor 

Post Script

  • except where indicated, all photos are my own, taken with my Samsung 16.4 mega pixel camera
  • this is the full article submitted, on request, to Mzansi Travel Magazine and which will appear (heavily edited), and with a selection of these and other pictures in their July 2018 edition.


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Hi fionasfavourites,

Your post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Keep creating awesome stuff! Have a great day :)

LEARN MORE: Join Curie on Discord chat and check the pinned notes (pushpin icon, upper right) for Curie Whitepaper, FAQ and most recent guidelines.

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Wow, @curie, thank you. I'm blown away. Will pop over to Discord, thank you for the invitation.

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Thank you! I will pay proper attention in the morning

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I was brought here by @reonlouw's entry. Really like the way you used your photos with some larger and others smaller. Great way to get a ton of photos in without creating a post that is a massive file size. Going to have to use this in the future.

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Thank you for stopping by, @thedarkhorse, and for the compliments. I have discovered that re-sizing my photos really helps, and using collages, even more helpful - and I also re-size those, too. Sometimes I think that a selection of pictures is necessary and as meaningful as the narrative, and not just to break up the text. In this case, and with recipes/cooking, for example.

Amazing photos!! So serene looking at them... Very enjoyable and relaxing!!

An interesting destination, well documented with things to do and see in and around the town @fionasfavourties

I have heard to this delightful village up in the mountains, (neighbour's brother moved there about 15 years ago) tucked away happy community.

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Thanks, Joan. Who is your neighbour's brother? Likely we know (of) him (DM me). Best move we made. This is not, as you gathered, my usual "voice". Also....I could and will write more, and differently.... My newsletter also has a different focus. And yes we are a tucked away (mostly) happy community. This article is to for a "hidden gems" series.

What a wonderful promotion for Mcgreggor!

I will definitely enjoy spending a little more time there :)

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Ha! then you must look us up! Thank you!

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Yeah, I've been in the vicinity previously. Just haven't had the opportunity to stop by. One of the best preserved Cape Dutch buildings in SA, arts, wine, trails etc. Sounds great :)

After your post, I also wanted to visit this wonderful place)) Photo is very beautiful!

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Ah, @veta-less, thank you! Your comment tells me that I have achieved one of the goals of writing the peice - making people want to visit. Hope you do get here one day, you'd be most welcome.

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Thanks for the wish @fionasfavourites ) I hope so! Traveling is something that I adore. But now I can not temporarily do it because of financial difficulties.

I really liked your post very well written, and a nice selection of pictures to go with it. I am glad that @reonlouw featured you in his "Pay it Forward" contest entry.

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Thank you so much!

Wonderful article @fionasfavourites. I agree with @thedarkhorse, I love how you laid out your pictures it enhanced the article rather than taking over. The pictures are wonderful. Looks like a small gem of a town. The scenery is a amazing.

Thank you to @reonlouw for featuring you this week on #PayItForward contest. Keep up the great work.

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Thank you, @tryskele, I hope that the editor agrees - that was the raw copy and they only need about 500 words as opposed to that 800-odd! We are very privileged to live in such a beautiful village. We are in our seventh year here and it's been a great move. Don't plan on moving again! ;)

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I'm sure they will. It is very well done :) It makes me want to visit. I love to travel but don't get to do much...my must see list keep growing due to postings like this one.

How's the day going @fionasfavourites?

Sounds like a great place to kick back, have a glass of wine, and enjoy the view!

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It is, indeed. Love living here!

Congratulations @fionasfavourites!
Your post was mentioned in the Steemit Hit Parade for newcomers in the following categories:

  • Upvotes - Ranked 1 with 543 upvotes
  • Pending payout - Ranked 6 with $ 76,73

I also upvoted your post to increase its reward
If you like my work to promote newcomers and give them more visibility on Steemit, feel free to vote for my witness! You can do it here or use SteemConnect

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THANK YOU! I am quite astounded at how this post has fared. Appreciate the mention and all the good work you do on @steemit. I thought I had voted you as a witness, but clearly, I hadn't. I now have. Good day to you!

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Hello @fionasfavourites, sorry but I can't see any witness vote from you :/

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I've voted again - this time through SteemConnect. Hope you see it this time.... :D

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Got it =)
Thank you for your support @fionasfavourites, really appreciated!

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You are welcome and it was overdue :)

This a wonderful post @fioanfavourites. Thank you for the time and effort you put in to share it with us. Blessings!

The text was fun to read and you have published some truyl wonderful photos in South Africa, @fionasfavourites

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I am glad, and thank you @zorank

@reonlouw featured you in the Pay it Forward curation contest The formating and the amount of information you have placed in this post is awesome

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wow this is an amazing article from you @fionasfavourites! Love the photos and the elaborate post! McGregor looks very scenic and you made it sound like the perfect place to relax. Amazing shots!

Congrats on being curied!!!!! :)

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Thanks, @happycrazycon - on all counts :) :)

This is such an awesome post @fionasfavourites!! I love a place like this, and who knew, the world needed a place for neglected donkeys. The food, wine, and surrounding beauty is just perfect.

I found your post because @reonlouw featured it in the ongoing Pay it Forward Curation contest. You should think about joining us next week :)

Congratulations of being curied as well :)

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Thanks so much @lynncoyle1! We love living here. I am blown away by the response to this - from everyone.

Hope you two are ok.

Thanks for stopping by☺

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It's funny how some posts really grab everyone's attention, isn't it :)

We are both doing pretty good, thanks for asking !

The photos speaks more than what in letters... A great content...
Good to hear that @reonlouw nominated in a pay it forward contest...

Stay blessed

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@angelro thank you so much - that means a lot to an amateur photographer.

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It never looks like an ameature photographs..Nice pictures

Thanks and Stay blessed