Elgin, is a picturesque gem known for its fruit farms, stunning natural landscapes, thrilling outdoor activities, and vibrant community rich in hospitality and culture. And yet, its winding country roads still retain an unspoilt air. No more than an hour’s drive from Cape Town’s city centre, Elgin is a world apart – It really is the Cape’s best-kept secret.
The Origins of Elgin: A History Steeped in Richness
It is said by some that Elgin’s history dates back to the 1800s when a local child named Elgine Herold lost her life to a snake bite near the Palmiet River. The little hamlet was later named Elgin in her memory. The pronunciation of Elgin is often debated, but this historical context suggests that the original pronunciation of Elgin likely employed the same “g” sound as in the word “engine”. Whichever way you choose to say it, we wholeheartedly encourage you to visit this incredible destination!
We will share a few of the region’s gems below.
Experience the magic of the Elgin Steam Train, a 160km round-trip day visit
Because Elgin is so close to Cape Town, you can easily visit in a day. Hop on the Elgin Steam train and enjoy the most picturesque scenery. Starting from Cape Town’s Foreshore District, this round trip takes approximately three and a half hours. Additionally, the round-trip also includes South Africa’s steepest train track. The stunning scenery includes mountains, fynbos, apple and pear orchards.
The final stop is the Elgin Railway Market, an experience of its own. Visitors can enjoy live music, food, accessories, toy stalls, and entertainment for kids. Adults can indulge in beer and wine tasting and savour various local dishes.
Built by Italian prisoners of war, the old apple warehouse proudly sports an art-deco-steampunk vibe. Whether you choose a day trip or opt to spend the night, the Elgin Steam Train experience is a must-try.
Immerse yourself in relaxation: Cosy accommodation for you to enjoy
Elgin’s charm extends to its cosy accommodation. This makes it an excellent choice for a relaxing stay, especially during winter. Cherry Glamping’s Koraal Huisie, a tiny container-sized house atop a hill, offers complete isolation and a warm and snug space for guests. Expect encounters with zebra and springbok, too!
Functions and conferences set in the most breathtaking setting
A firm favourite is South Hill Vineyards, a boutique wine farm that caters to weddings, functions and conferences.
Several accommodation options are available, with some currently undergoing renovations. The most romantic choice for visitors this season is the Pumphouse Honeymoon Cottage, nestled among the vineyards with a view over a lake.
This sweet, self-catering cottage features an open-plan living room with a potbelly fireplace. Enjoy your private courtyard with a wood-fired hot tub, hammock, and personal braai facilities. Set in glorious seclusion, your only visitors will be the guinea fowl and francolins. There are beautiful walks and trails to discover. Should you not feel like cooking, you can visit the farm’s newly revamped restaurant for a wine tasting and a selection of delectable local dishes.
Another option available to you is The Residence Boutique Hotel, the only 5-star hotel in the region.
Thrilling Outdoor Adventures: The Grapevine’s Best-Kept Secret
Elgin’s geographical landscape, with over 7 000 hectares of fertile farming land, makes it an ideal region for wine production. Surrounded by mountains with only four access points, Elgin experiences the coolest climate, making it perfect for grape farming and winemaking. Several renowned wineries offer wine-tasting experiences, allowing visitors to indulge in themed tastings. South Hill Vineyards, Oak Valley Estate, Elgin Vintners and Charles Fox Wine Estate are among the top-rated places to enjoy wine tasting in Elgin.
The region is truly a paradise for wine lovers and has earned a well-deserved reputation as a pioneer in fruit farming.
Embrace the Essence of Elgin
Predominantly known as the growth place of apples and pears, as well as our popular fizzy drink Appletizer, Elgin captivates visitors with its outdoor adventures, fresh air, wines, charming restaurants, and cosy, affordable accommodation.
Its proximity to Cape Town makes it a very accessible destination for long stays or quick weekend escapes. A visit any time of the year is a wonderful experience. Sip on a glass of award-winning wine in one of South Africa’s most beautiful corners.
For more information, please visit South Hill Vineyards, or call (+27) 21 844 0888.