Montagu: A Regular Favourite
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
I had planned a trip to one of our favourite places for our 8 year wedding anniversay, on the 31st of March. Due to the lockdown we have had to postpone that plan, but I have enough photos and info to still write an article about it. So I hope this entertains you for a little while and gets you dreaming about after lockdown trips.
There is one place we return to time and again, the dogs think it's our own little holiday house. That place is Rainbow Glen, in Montagu. We have been going there since our first travels with the dogs and make sure to stay in the same chalet, Penny Lane, each time. The accomodation itself is quite simple, just a small room with a comfy double bed, toilet with shower and a basic kitchen. Over the years they have improved it, by adding a lick of paint, replacing the 2 plate stove with a better stove, oven combo, etc. But when you are in Montagu you spend very little time inside the chalet, there's so much to do! The braai area is great, shaded, with a bench table and just enclosed enough that you don't get disturbed, but the dogs can watch everything going on in the garden and you can get to know the neighbours. The garden is massive with a big lawn for dogs and kids to play on and a much needed pool for summer. The grounds are very well tended ,and you don't even need to pick up after your dog. The owner, Dave, is very knowledgable about the area and takes people rock climbing and on MTB or hiking tours.
The accomodation is situated in the western part of Montagu, nestled under the mountains. It is a reserve, so technically dogs are not allowed, but lots of happy dogs get taken in anyway. Nature Reserves which don't allow dogs are very strange things, I'm pretty sure that humans mess the place up more than the dogs. Understandably there are some very untrained dogs (and owners), which chase animals, but if your dog is under your control I don't see why he/she shouldn't be allowed. It's not like they are going to leave plastic wrappers and bottles lying around! So we sneak our guys in, no one is around to catch us at 5am at the gate and there is a "secret" route anyway. Maps are easy to find online or at the information centre in town.
There are 2 big mountain summits, Cogmanskloof 690m and about 10-12km, and Bloupunt 1266m and about 14-16km, it depends where you decide to start and end. Both are great routes and you can also link them together to do a longer route. Doing Cogmanskloof you get wonderful views down to Montagu and across to Bloupunt with the amazing rock formations.
The views going up to Bloupunt are gorgeous, all over the Breede River Valley and surrounding mountains.
On the other side of town there is a shorter route, Aasvoelkrans which is about 3km. This is outside the reserve and lovely for a quick run to tag a peak. You can also sometimes see the birds soaring near the top.
Other than the beautiful mountains there is a lot to do in the area. I'll just put down a few of our favourite things. On Saturdays there is a fantastic market on the village green, walking distance from Rainbow Glen. They have lots of yummy homemade goodies and pretty things. Dogs are allowed too and the last time we were there, there was a guy with yummy treats for them!
We mostly braai when we are there, but there is one restaurant we have been to a few times and really enjoyed, Ye Olde Tavern. They used to have deep fried capers as a starter, which isn't on the menu anymore, but if you ask nicely it could happen. There is a lovely outside section, which is nice and cool for summer nights.
Then there are the winefarms of the Breede Valley. There are so many to choose from. You can get a map at the info centre to start with. The first time we went to the area we started by only going to ones that allowed the dogs. So now we have whittled it down to a favourite few. Just on the other side of Ashton in an area called Klaasvoogds East there is the farm, Kranskop. They have a lovely deck, with beautiful views. The last time we were there they were renovating it, so we got to taste in the cellar, which was a super experience, we got to taste straight from a barrel. They have great red wines and their prices are really decent.
On the way there you have to stop at Marbrin Olives. They do fantastic oils and the tasting is really fun. You will probably be asked to join in for a Limoncello tasting too. It's really good, not as sweet as normal. It's a bit busy sometimes these days to take the dogs, so best to call and check first. Their Intense oil is our favourite and we make sure to always have a can at home.
On the way out from Kranskop, you should stop at Owl's Rest - Olive and Lavendar Farm. They focus on using everything in their processes, to be waste free. So when they saw there was space between the olive trees they planted lavendar. They do amazing essential oils and all sorts of things made from olives and lavendar. There is also a little coffee shop. Phone to check about dogs first, as there is a resident dog.
A bit further towards Robertson is Springfield, everyones favourite. They are the only farm, that I know of, that encourages people to bring their own picnics. Most Western Cape wine farms only allow you to have their picnics, which are crazy expensive and just a money grubbing scheme. At Springfield they understand that they have an unutilised space which people can use to picnic, and while they are there they will purchase many bottles of delicious wine, win win. And they allow dogs of course. They do fantastic reds and whites, so you have to taste them all. Oh, and tastings are FREE.
Going southeast from there, towards Bonnivale, you get to Esona. A lovely setting with cool grass for the dogs to lie in while you taste. They do vertical tastings, which are super, as you get to taste the difference in the wines over the years, very interesting. We mostly buy reds, but their whites are nice too. They also do snacks.
The last time we were there, we were sitting downstairs and could hear a big group on the deck, tasting and having a good party. A lady from the group came down and sat at the furthest table from us to have a smoke. Dash, being the friendly boy he is, went over to check her out, but as he got closer he lay down and started sneezing and rubbing his nose, as if he was commenting on her smoking! The lady very quickly put out her cigarette and went back up. I promise we didn't train him to do this!
In between those places there are about a million more. So go Explore! We will be, as soon as "The Boss" allows us out.