The Overberg is a scenically beautiful area and the Greyton valley with the Riviersonderend Mountains wrapping around it, is no exception to this rule.
Greyton originated in 1854 when a farm in the region was divided into plots and the village was named after the Governor of the Cape at the time, Sir George Grey. Today, its leafy lanes, historic cottages and natural surrounds attract visitors from near and far.
The weather is fine which makes outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, horseriding, walks and swims in river streams very appealing. Especially with the abundant birdlife and wildflowers that occur during Spring.
What amazed me is that even though the village is quaint with mostly dirt roads, the infrastructure is sophisticated with excellent shops. It’s an easy place to live, an even easier place to visit. My favourite thing to do is to walk through the streets which resemble those of an English countryside village with their mature trees and lush well-tendered gardens.
There’s excellent shopping along Main Road, numerous galleries to visit as well as a selection of options for a meals or cafes to enjoy a coffee break.
While walking around remember to take a look at the Doll’s House at Searle’s Trading Post, and check out the schedule for their latest shows at the Dinner Theatre. Even say hello to Charlie, their potty belly pig.
Greyton is known for its Saturday Morning Market with stalls selling everything from pancakes, hand-woven mats, fabrics, leather sandals and a host of other lovely handcrafted items. Pony rides are available for children and families gather to play chess at tables under the trees, or chat casually.
Greyton is South Africa’s first Transition Town which means that the community of Greyton came together ‘to build a resilient, sustainable village in which everybody enjoys security from rising costs in fuel, food and other essentials’.
You can book a walk with Marshall Rinquest, the director of Greyton Transition Town, to learn more about this. His walks are anything from two hours to two days in and around Greyton and Genadendal and his focus is on medicinal plants which are fascinating. I know Marshall through Greenpop and his plant knowledge is limitless. This is something I’d love to return to do.
Horses join the traffic on the main road and goats and cows are often seen wandering around. Then again, children on bicycles playing in the streets, is not an uncommon site here.
There’s a Historic Village Walk and you can pick up a printed map at the information Bureau in the Main Road. A taster below.
Some of the attractions on the route include the Library, which is the second oldest building in the town and was originally a small Anglican Church school. Also the Old Moravian Hall and Die Gang house which incorporates original outbuildings for horses, pigs, cows and poultry.
The Post House which I stayed in is on the corner of Main Road and Uitkyk Street and is where the original road from Genadendal entered the town’s Market Street. This was the town’s main intersection. The building was originally a profitable trading store of the De Villiers family. It also incorporated several “nagmaalkamers” where parishioners attending nagmaal or communion in the town could overnight.
It’s a wonderful way to step back through the varied eras of the village.
Visit Von Geusau chocolates for a tasting with Richard von Geusau, a formerly frustrated city accountant who has turned his passion for good chocolatas into a wonderful business. The shop is situated at the Oak and Vigne Cafe on Ds Botha Rd.
Greyton has three boutique wine producers with Andy Mitchell Wines producing bold garagiste-style wines and Swallow Hill a Tempranillo and Viognier. But it’s the lovely Californian born winemaker Samantha O’Keefe at Lismore Estate Vineyards with her classic cool climate wines that led the way. A visit to her farm is like a peek at heaven. These are well supported in the restaurants around the village.
A few annual events to look out for include The Post House Christmas In July, the Annual Greyton Rose Fair in October, Greyton Two Day Mountain Biking Tour and the Greyton and Genadendal Creative Arts and Crafts Festival.
This is a place fitting for a romantic getaway, break with the family, a coming together of friends in a setting that takes you back to the simple things that matter, like conversations and laughter. A place where we can show our children the values of life, chat to strangers, go for pony rides and walk the pretty streets.
‘Small town idyllic living’ and we get to enjoy it, even if only for a few days at a time …
Read about my stay at The Post House here.
NOTE: Pic of Marshal taken off Greyton Tourism website. Top pic of the street is taken off Xploria, Greyton. See their gallery for more beautiful images.