Grabouw, Gateway to the Overberg. The wonderous Sir Lowry's Pass brings visitors from Cape Town out of the basin, over the Hottentots Holland mountains and into heaven. Leaving the fantastic view of False Bay and the Cape Peninsula behind you, you are presented with the magical site of huge stretches of forests and seemingly endless mountain peaks.
Steenbras Dam © Julie Morris
The Steenbras Dam, the main source of Cape Town's water, can be seen on the right. Built in 1921 it is situated in a scenic area with terraced rock gardens along the steep river bed. Admission is strictly by permit which can be obtained from the Cape Town municipality. Nearby is the Palmiet Pumped Storage Scheme and Exhibition Centre where modern technology is used to ‘store' electricity. Tours can be organised through the Elgin tourism bureau.
Surrounded by orchards, you know that you are in apple country. This first town that you'll reach, is Grabouw, situated in the heart of the Elgin Valley.It is the centre of the second largest apple producing area in South Africa. Also known as Elgin, it was established as a trading station in 1836.The Elgin Valley borders the Kogelberg Biosphere and is one of the richest fruit growing regions in South Africa. Nestled between the Hottentots Holland and Groenland mountain ranges, it is an intergral part of the Four Passes Fruit Route and is renowned not only for its apples, but also for the production of pears, plums, nectarines and roses. The Elgin Apple Museum, one of only two in the world, documents the history of the apple industry in the region.
Lebanon Trail © Clearly
Hiking and mountain bike trails through fynbos and pine forests and awesome scenic drives are among the rich and varied experiences which Grabouw has to offer. Approaching the town from the Villiersdorp side you drive through Viljoens Pass , named after one of the pioneers of the apple industry. From the summit of this pass over the Groenland mountains, which follows the gorge of the Palmiet River, there is a superb view of the valley of the Riviersonderend ("River without end").
The Elgin Country Club is situated on the banks of the Eikenhof Dam at the foot of the Nuweberg. The annual Elgin Flower Festival is held here and thousands of visitors come to enjoy the astonishing displays of flowers, fruit and other local delights. There is always great entertainment for children, and visitors are free to eat at the club or picnic on the banks of the dam.
The Paul Cluver amphitheatre on the wine estate of the same name nestles in pine forests and stages an excellent variety of entertainment in the warm months. It also has a guest house and conference facilities.
Orchard Farm Stall © Danie VDM
Each of Grabouw's entrances from the national road is graced by a fabulous farmstall. The Orchard at the western entrance offers picnic lunches, a winery, art gallery and a fully licensed restaurant. At the eastern entrance you will find The Peregrine Farmstall. Established in the 1960s it is famous for its biltong and now houses a restaurant, wine cellar, and manufacturing jeweller. It also has a retail outlet for the well-know Duncans Roses.