My partner ,Rob, and I went on our first vacation ever this year. The year has been faced with many challenges, especially after Rob was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, which was a devastating revelation after he had spent three and a half weeks in hospital prior to he diagnosis. He started with chemotherapy shortly after that, and will hopefully will be done in November. The journey has been a tumultuous one, with a lot of uncertainty and exhaustion, but through all of it Rob has been a beam of hope, love and support (even though he is the patient). His strength has been my strength and our partnership has helped us stay positive throughout this time. The cancer has almost, completely receded, and Rob has managed to gain back a lot of his energy, but I can’t say much about his gorgeous ginger hair ;). We decided that we should give ourselves some time off and away.
Since this was the first trip in a while, we wanted to go to a place that would help us unwind and take our minds off of reality for a bit. And so we decided on a small town by the name of Greyton.
Greyton is located about 140 kilometers outside of Cape Town, in the Overberg. An old town, founded in 1854, that is at the end of the R406 just off N2. It is nestled in the Riviersonderend Mountains and hugged by by two rivers.
Greyton has been called the most beautiful village in the Cape, and it is not hard to see why. The road (R406) leading to this place is surrounded by wheat and sheep farmlands and picturesque canola fields. As you enter the town, you are welcomed by wise oaks along the main road. The town’s layout, look and feel has hardly changed since its establishment, including their working leiwater (irrigation) system that runs along the sides of the roads. Many of the houses are quint, with beautiful gardens. Find out more about Greyton’s fascinating history here.
Greyton is also South Africa’s first Transition town, which has focused its efforts in building a resilient, self-sustaining and eco-friendly community that benefits all its residents. There are initiatives like the Incredible Edible Greyton table every Wednesday morning where local and home-grown food can be traded or sold.
As if that is not enough, this place has some amazing places to eat out, including the Post House and the Abbey Rose, where we had dinner and lunch, respectively. There is also a Saturday Morning Market, and our favourite candle shop, GQuinlan Artisan Chandlers.
There was a cold front the previous night that brought heavy rains and strong winds. Unfortunately, one of the old oaks was knocked down and partially uprooted. The tree was home to a bee hive and we were able to witness the local beekeepers attempt to evacuate and save the bee colony. We decided to grab some tea and cheesecake from Oak & Vigne across the street as we watched the situation unfold.
There is a reason why Greyton has been coined the most beautiful village; not only is it pretty and cozy, the people are also warm and welcoming. For a small town you might think there would not be much to see or do, but there are so many activities to try out, that we plan to come back to do them all. One can rent a bike, take the historic walking tour of the town, go chocolate shopping or candle making, and even do some hiking and biking on the many trails found in the surrounding mountains. Our plan though, was to just take it nice and slow, walk around town and explore the place.
As I mentioned before, the town folk are very interesting. Like the family that hosted our stay at the River Goose. They moved to Greyton after their time in the corporate world in Gauteng. They, with a number of other residents, have taken it upon themselves to rehabilitate one of the rivers that runs parallel to Oak street. They have cut down alien invasive trees and plants, and replanted the river area with indigenous vegetation. The river has transformed into a shared space for people to utilise.
On the lighter side, other residents have some unique forms of communication, such as leaving passive-aggressive signs like the one below. This was one of the highlights of the trip.
We spent our Sunday morning exploring the river, taking pictures of some of the lovely wild flowers that were scattered along the open space. It was a nice way to start the morning; quiet, serene and relaxed. We even had the opportunity to interact with a number of people that stopped by the river to take in the serenity. If I was not sure yet, this is when I was certain that Greytonians are an open and friendly bunch.
As we were about to leave for our next stop, we drove through one of the back roads only to be met by a shallow river crossing. We were about to turn around and find another route when one of the friendly neighbours yelled out that the water was only a few centimeters deep and we could easily pass. The water only looked deep because of the colour of the water from the Fynbos. We went through and we were fine!
The last stop before lunch at the Abbey Rose, was the Greyton Nature Reserve. We had heard that it was a great place to go for walks or hikes and to take in the natural beauty of Greyton, as if the town itself was not enough.
We loved Greyton so much that it has been decided that it will be our regular quick out of town place to go. We have even planned to go back for their up coming Rose Fair that will be taking place at the end of October. This time we hope to make it in time for their Saturday market as well.
If you find yourself around the area, come and join in. You might just fall in love with this place as we did ;). For more information on Greyton please visit their website.