Deciding to head to Tulbagh last autumn, we arrived in the village and weren’t actually sure what to do. It’s a quaint little town known for great wine and gorgeous wedding venues, however, I’ve always struggled to get a greater sense of the town.
Many of the tourist attractions also close around 2pm, which doesn’t help in trying to figure things out. This spring, we returned to the beloved wedding venue town and were given a guided tour. AH HA! So much to see and do!
How to Make The Most of a Tulbagh Visit
- Arrive Early – as mentioned, a lot of places close early on a Saturday so try your best to arrive early from the city to make the most of it.
- The town’s quite spread out so get out your Google maps and work out where you can go first and last, with closing times so that you don’t miss anything.
- Enquire at the visitor’s centre – they have a printed map with extra locations on like olive tasting and chocolate tasting, which I’ve heard are both excellent (will put them on my own to do list!).
- Check whether your accommodation is self-catering or not so you know whether to shop early and ensure you have everything you need.
- Bring a jacket – the wind can pump through the valley, making it quite cold.
If you’ve found yourself unsure while visiting Tulbagh, here are the 10 things to do in Tulbagh (in no particular order) over a weekend:
1. Visit the Saronsberg Art Gallery
As well known as Saronsberg is for their exquisite wine, they also have a large gallery located at their wine cellar. Visit the duplex Saronsberg art gallery and explore some powerful, beautiful, authentic South African artworks including paintings, crafts and sculptures. (And then definitely do a wine tasting and Richard Bosman cheese board!)
2. Lunch at Made in Tulbach
Made in Tulbagh is a new store that celebrates all things local (Tulbagh) and the surrounds (Ceres, Wolseley, etc). Think: quality leather bags, hand crafted toys, preservatives, “create your own” spekboom forests, embellished clutch bags, leather jackets, concrete pot plants, etc.
Created by Arthur, former creative director of GQ magazine, and Gail (the brains 😉 ), Made in Tulbagh is worth a visit if you’re looking for superior gifts and good quality clothing items.
They also have a fresh veg market and the odd wine tasting session on selected Saturdays. Either pop in or take a seat to enjoy a quick lunch from their small in-house kitchen.
3. MCC Tasting at Krone
The Krone property is impressive upon arrival as the stark white building shines against the large green vineyards and rugged mountains. Once upstairs in the tasting room, one might be attracted to the shade but the real fun is on the roof top porch.
They have a selection of MCC’s, something for every palate, and enough space for everyone to lounge around and relax while taking in the expansive views across the valley.
4. Gift Shopping at Makers Mark
Honestly, Makers Mark doesn’t look like much from the outside. We noted that it was highly recommended on Trip Advisor but apart from the neat sign outside, didn’t get a sense of what was inside.
Take a short walk up the garden steps to the foyer opening onto a hedged garden lined with black and white portraits created by a local artist. Makers Mark has a pottery shop (all local), coffee bar and small guest house – featuring more beautiful local artworks.
It’s a far larger space than what appears from the road side and is worth popping in to see for a brunch or coffee.
5. Walk Down Church Street
If you drove down the main road of Tulbagh you could miss this hugely significant historical road, Church Street, that runs parallel with the main road. Church street is lined with beautiful, Cape Dutch houses built over 300 years ago.
While Church street holds the records for the most national monuments in one road, in South Africa, the houses are now filled by small businesses or hotels. It’s a wonderful road to take a slow stroll or drive to take in a little bit of history and view the gorgeous architecture.
6. Have a Spa Treatment at Vindoux Spa
If you’ve decided to escape the city then don’t forget that Vindoux also has a day spa. Pop in for a full body massage, foot massage or some general pampering for “out of town” rates (like R250 for 30 minute back destress massage or Hot Stone full body massage for R450!), if you’re looking for some relaxing “me” time in the valley.
7. Red Wine Tasting at Digger’s Home
We visited Digger’s Home by pure chance as we’d run into the wine maker in town. A friend of a friend had invited us over so we changed our plans and headed through. It was such a homely, fun farm to visit with really tasty food and delicious red wine.
If you want some good, local hospitality, the opportunity to chat red wine production, have a hearty farm cooked meal (on occasions) then relax at Digger’s Home and enjoy a unique, homely South African experience.
8. Events at Essere Lodge
Local b&b Essere Lodge hosts a number of events throughout the year for visitors staying both at the lodge or in the greater Tulbagh area. They have a large field and access to a reasonably shallow river which allows for lots of space for eventing.
Check out the Day at the Duck Races on during spring. Grab your gumboots and head to the river for loads of fun and a good cause!
9. Dinner at the Tulbagh Hotel
The Tulbagh Hotel is set on the main road of Tulbagh and offers a warm welcome as the foyer lights warm up the stone porch. Christmas lights twinkle in the trees and the service is kind. We weren’t expecting too much from our meal when we arrived without a booking, but were pleasantly surprised. We’d be happy to return to the hotel for a meal in the future.
10. Wine Tasting at Mont Pellier
One of Tulbagh’s most loved venues due to it’s 300 year old heritage and charming chapel on the hills, Mont Pellier is known for its relaxed atmosphere and world class wines. This is another venue that closes reasonably early, so be sure to visit earlier in the day in order to pop in for some of great South African wine.
Tip: View Antelope at Vindoux
The Vindoux Estate has a viewing deck for visitors. They have springbok and zebras on their farm, which may be available for public viewing. Give them a ring and see if they’ll let you pop in for a visit.
As Cape Town has become more popular, accommodation close to town has become more expensive. Towns slightly further out give you a greater sense of being away at affordable rates.
If you head out to Tulbagh, have a great visit!