Tulbagh: An Insider’s Guide

Tulbagh Rijk's Wine Estate & Hotel

Welcome to the valley of abundance.

The fourth-oldest town in South Africa (settled in 1699, officially a town from 1743) is a national monument – with most of its beautiful old buildings impressively and lovingly rebuilt after the 1969 earthquake. But it’s not all history here… it’s also a thriving modern agricultural and wine town in a serene, horseshoe-shaped valley. Perhaps less famous than the Winelands of Stellenbosch-Franschhoek, as a weekend getaway, it offers an array of foodie delights, artisanal products, outdoor pursuits and lodgings soaked in authentic country hospitality, against a magnificent mountain backdrop.

Dar El Qamar

Tulbagh Dar El Qamar
Tulbagh Dar El Qamar Exterior
Tulbagh Dar El Qamar Bedroom

One of Church Street’s grand gabled beauties (dating from 1796), Dar El Qamar has received a decor magazine-worthy revamp, filled with mid-century vintage finds, artworks, special touches and little luxuries. Its name means “monastery of the moon” and it is indeed a soul-stirring and tranquil spot that promotes wellbeing (complete with yoga room, sauna and spa room). There are 3 ensuite bedrooms, a lounge with a fireplace, two courtyards, two dining areas, a pool deck, braai and firepit – and a house manager to help guests with anything they need.
Child friendly? Yes, from 6 years
Pet friendly? No
Wifi? Yes
Sleeps 6
Cost From R6 000 per night
Where to find it 26 Church Street, Tulbagh
MAKE A RESERVATION

Nibbana Farm

Tulbagh Nibbana Farm Pool
Tulbagh Nibbana Farm Bedroom
Tulbagh Nibbana Farm Kitchen

In the heart of the Witzenberg Valley, 16km from Tulbagh, Nibbana offers a designer getaway in a peaceful, rural setting surrounded by towering mountains. Book the exclusive-use four-bedroom manor house or one of the Stable Cottages (the family cottage has a wonderful old wood-fired stove in the kitchen). The decor is a delight, and the Secret Garden (with its braai area, pizza oven, sculptures and bubbling brook) is so enchanting you’ll want to stay put.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Wifi? Yes
Sleeps 2 – 8 per cottage
Cost Manor House: from R7 300 per night (sleeps 8)
Stable Cottages: from R2 600 (sleeps 2) or R5 400 (sleeps 6) per night
Where to find it Boontjiesrivier Road, Wolseley
CHECK AVAILABILITY + BOOK DIRECT

Tulbagh Mountain Bungalow

Tulbagh Mountain Bungalow
Tulbagh Mountain Bungalow Exterior
Tulbagh Mountain Bungalow Interior

Open the blue front door of this modern, timber-and-stone chalet in the Witzenberg Game Park and enter a beautifully decorated, colourful space. But it’s the view that’s truly gasp-worthy – thanks to large stacking windows and a deck out front, you have a magnificent panorama of the fields, green valley and mountains. Lie in a lounger and watch nearby springboks and zebras grazing by day; light up the braai and cosy indoor fireplace by night. It has one bedroom and is pet friendly.
Good to know There is also a two-bedroom cabin on the property.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? Yes
Wifi? Yes
Sleeps 2 adults (+ 2 children)
Cost From R1 650 per night
Where to find it Witzenberg Game Park, Wolseley
CHECK AVAILABILITY + BOOK DIRECT

Outpost Cottages at Bergsicht

Tulbagh Bergsicht Outpost Cottages
Tulbagh Bergsicht Outpost Cottages Bedroom
Tulbagh Bergsicht Outpost Cottages Hottub

Tucked away on a fruit farm just out of town, the pair of Outpost Cottages offer a sleek, modern, adults-only update on a rural stay. Their urban-loft style interiors are furnished in style, from the leather sofa and patterned rugs on screed floors to the fine linen and kitchen appliances. The space opens onto a deck with a hot tub, loungers and braai. Bergsicht itself is a magical country escape, with soaring mountain views, bountiful orchards, fragrant fynbos and sought-after tranquillity.
Good to know Bergsicht also offers a selection of family cottages.
Child friendly? No
Pet friendly? No
Wifi? Yes
Sleeps 2
Cost From R2 300 per night.
Where to find it Winterhoek Road, Tulbagh
CHECK AVAILABILITY + BOOK DIRECT

Firemasters House

Tulbagh Firemasters House
Tulbagh Firemasters House Outside
Tulbagh Firemasters House Interior

If you fancy immersing yourself in Tulbagh’s history, right in Church Street, this 18th-century Cape Dutch house will do so in style. It has been immaculately renovated, retaining its heritage features but also updated with more contemporary styling and furnishings. Colourful walls, gleaming wood floors, reed ceilings and artistic touches give it the feel of an Old Master painting. There are three ensuite bedrooms, a dream kitchen, two courtyards (one with a jacuzzi and dining pergola), a boma for fireside gatherings and a garden filled with fruit trees.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Wifi? Yes
Sleeps 6
Cost From R4 560 per night.
Where to find it 34 Church Street, Tulbagh
MAKE A RESERVATION

Daphne’s

Tulbagh Daphnes

In a beautiful Cape Dutch home dating from 1796 on historic Church Street, Daphne’s does upscale country dining with panache. The terrace at the back gives onto a lawn with views to sunset-bathed mountains, and owner David Nicholls and his team offer a warm and hospitable welcome. Think generous portions, vibrant flavours and local ingredients, with dishes such as roast pork fillet stuffed with olive marmalade, katsu chicken curry, wildebeest schnitzel, as well as simple grilled steaks and linefish. Daphne’s also offers a selection of tasty vegan options.
Opening times Wednesday – Friday, 6pm – 9pm
Saturday + Sunday, 12pm – 9pm
Contact 064 059 2985, info@daphnes.co.za
Where to find it 42 Church Street, Tulbagh
Book through DinePlan

Readers

Tulbagh Readers

Also on historic Church Street, Readers has been a go-to in Tulbagh since it opened in 1997, and after its revamp in 2021 (when appearing on the TV series In Die Sop with Bertus Basson) it looks good to go for another 20 years. The cottage-style decor reveals owner and chef, Carol Collins’ love of cats, while the short menu majors on generous comfort food with a focus on fresh local ingredients: deep fried camembert, bobotie, pork chop with sides, rib-eye steak with mustard and caper butter, as well as burgers and quiche. And Carol is known for her creative ice cream flavours… try the ginger and wasabi if it’s one of the flavours of the day.
Opening times Wednesday – Monday, 12pm – 9.30pm
Contact 082 894 0932, info@readersrestaurant.co.za
Where to find it 12 Church Street, Tulbagh

Kole & Deeg

Tulbagh Kole and Deeg

Famous for its roosterkoek and locally roasted coffee, Kole en Deeg is the place for casual breakfasts and light lunches. The coffee shop has an old-school vintage feel with a twist of contemporary chic right on the village main street. You’ll find roosterkoek popping up at breakfast with eggs Benedict and the Platteland full breakfast; or as the base of lush toasted sandwiches and burgers for lunch. There are pot pies and fresh wraps too, plus freshly baked cakes and pasteis de nata for mid-morning spoils.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 8am – 4pm
Sunday, 9am –3pm
Contact 079 489 7428
Where to find it 29 Van Der Stel Street, Tulbagh

Olive Terrace Bistro at The Tulbagh Hotel

Tulbagh Olive Terrace Bistro

The restaurant of this heritage-infused boutique hotel has something for every season.. a cosy dining room with crackling fireplaces for winter and a wide courtyard terrace with the dappled shade of an old karee tree for balmy summer days. The menu is equally seasonal, with the winter menu featuring generous dishes such as lamb rogan josh; Asian pork belly; gourmet beef burgers and steaks. There’s a wood-fired pizza menu and a kids menu too, and the welcoming staff make you feel like one of the family.
Good to know There’s a weekly Sunday Roast special in winter
Opening times Daily, 7am – 10pm
Contact 023 230 0071, reservations@tulbaghhotel.co.za
Where to find it 22 Van Der Stel Street, Tulbagh
Enquire Now

Obiqua Cafe at Duikersdrift

Tulbagh Obiqua Cafe

Peaceful and rustic with mountain views every which way, this is a charming farm café on a wine estate and guest farm along the dirt roads just outside the village. A farm-to-table philosophy and a relaxed approach mean that it’s one for all the family to enjoy, with a menu of juicy burgers and steaks, crispy build-your-own tacos, and thin-based wood-fired pizzas.
Good to know If you’re a craft beer aficionado, add in a tasting of the locally brewed Buchanan’s craft beer (it’s also available on tap). And the hand-crafted wines from Duikersdrift are also available for an informal tasting in the café.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12.30pm – 8pm
Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Contact 060 555 2943, res@duikersdrift.com
Where to find it Duikersdrift Farm, off Winterhoek Road

Walk through history in Church Street

Tulbagh History Walk

Tulbagh’s beautiful Church Street is filled with historical architecture, from Cape Dutch to Victorian and Edwardian – an array of over 32 heritage sites. The Oude Kerk Volksmuseum encompasses four with public access: the church (the oldest in SA still in its original cross shape, built in 1743); the Earthquake Museum (at no. 6); a Victorian house (at no. 14) – which also includes the Christo Coetzee Art Museum; and Pioneer House, a 19th-century home (at no. 22).
Cost R30 (adult), R5 (child), R20 (pensioners)
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Saturday, 9am – 2pm; Sunday from 10am
Contact 023 230 1041, oudekerk@telkomsa.net
Good to know There is an old-style kitchen garden in Church Street open to visitors (where you can purchase something from the “Today’s Harvest” kiosk). The Peace Park beside the river is a lovely spot for a picnic. Both are initiatives of Jayson Augustyn-Clark, guesthouse owner and chairman of the local heritage foundation.

Olive tasting at Oakhurst

Set in a beautiful part of the valley, Lemoendrif farm grows 10 different types of olives to produce its award-winning products. Find out more about how it’s done while enjoying the simple delights of a tutored olive-oil tasting with freshly baked (olive-oil-infused) bread, tapenades, olive jams and marmalades, succulent table olives, cheeses and preserves, combined with picturesque scenery. It’s a sensory experience in a stylish space, akin to a wine-tasting.
Good to know The test kitchen hosts occasional chef masterclasses and gourmet evenings.
Cost R50 per person
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm
Saturday, 9.30am – 2pm
Contact 023 230 0842, info@oakhurstolives.co.za
Where to find it Waveren Street
Enquire Now

Saddle up with Tulbagh Horse Trails

Tulbagh Horse Trails

Based on Vrolikheid fruit farm, enjoy a serene and scenic outride in the fragrant orchards and fynbos. You can also combine it with a romantic cheese-and-wine picnic. All levels of riders are welcome, including children (but there is a weight limit of 85kg).
Good to know If you’d prefer to explore on a bicycle, head to Wine By Bike at Vindoux, for a half-day or full-day rental.
Cost R310 per person (one hour)
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 8am – 6pm
Contact 072 672 6022 (WhatsApp); vrolikheidlandgoed@gmail.com
OR 078 207 9692; tht@breede.co.za
Where to find it Winterhoek Road

Head into the mountains

Tulbagh Mountain Trails

Surrounded by the towering peaks of the Witzenberg (east), Winterhoek (north) and Obiqua (west) mountains, Tulbagh is a playground for nature-lovers. Various trails can be tackled on foot and/or by bike, taking you through a variety of flora and to hidden caves and waterfalls. Best of all, they’re often snow-capped in winter. For easy hiking, head to Murludi, a fruit farm with two trails: the 4km River Route and 10km Elsbos Route. (In summer, on weekends, you can order a picnic box to enjoy afterwards.)
Cost R40 (adult), R20 (child)
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 4pm (winter); 8am – 5pm (summer)
Contact 063 725 5850, murludi@mb-net.co.za
Where to find it Off Misgund Road
Good to know Tulbagh has rapidly become a mountain-biking mecca, and has hosted stages of the Cape Epic a number of times. Contact Tulbagh Mountain Bike Club for all the info you need on routes and permits. tulbaghmtb@gmail.com

Tulbagh Wine Route

Tulbagh has 12 estates. Head west out of town, from Meiring Street onto Twee Jonge Gezellen Road, and you’re in wine country…

Krone @ Twee Jonge Gezellen

Tulbagh Krone

One of the original farms in the area, the 300-year-old estate is now a vintage-only cap classique specialist famous for its night harvesting. You can visit the historic underground cellar (the first in Africa) and enjoy Krone bubbly in the minimalist-chic tasting room, in the cellar or outside with beautiful views of the Saronsberg. Booking is essential. The estate is also home to an outpost of Cape Town’s Whatiftheworld art gallery, with an artist-in-residence programme.
Cost R80 – R100 (tasting)
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Contact 023 230 0680, info@krone.world
Where to find it Twee Jonge Gezellen Road, Tulbagh
Book through DinePlan

Montpellier de Tulbagh

Tulbagh Montpellier

With its blend of picturesque setting, fine wines and rich heritage (established 1714), this estate is a must-visit. In addition to a wine-tasting (under the trees or in the glasshouse), you can stroll through the gardens and forest, visit the magnificent vaulted wine cellar and enjoy a platter (or pizza on weekends) while soaking up the views. Children get their own non-alcoholic pairing experience, can build their own pizza and have a wonderful playground. Pets are welcome.
Good to know Montpellier also serves craft beer, gin and gourmet milkshakes.
Cost R75 (tasting)
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 4.30pm
Contact 082 334 4334, info@montpellier.co.za
Where to find it Twee Jonge Gezellen Road
Enquire Now

Saronsberg

Tulbagh Saronsberg

Another top Tulbagh estate dating back three centuries, and named after the surrounding mountains, Saronsberg combines scenic beauty with a distinctly modern and artistic sensibility. Sculptures are dotted around outdoors and in, and a great South African art collection is on display in the cellar gallery. There are lovely lawns for kids to play on while you relax and enjoy a tasting and a cheeseboard. Afterwards, take a stroll along the lovely river walk.
Cost R120 (tasting)
Opening times Monday – Friday, 8.30am – 5pm
Saturday, 10am – 2pm; Sunday until 1pm
Contact 023 230 0707, wine@saronsberg.com
Where to find it Twee Jonge Gezellen Road
Enquire Now

Oude Compagnies Post

Tulbagh Oude Compagnies Post

This boutique estate is home to Swanepoel Wines, maker of a rare white pinotage and grenache noir cap classique (among others). The estate offers wine-tastings in the old stone barn, barrel-tastings in the cellar, as well as a mountain-top tasting and picnic with the winemaker amid the fynbos (for groups, in summer only; booking required), as well as a romantic picnic option. There is also a Buchu Trail to explore on foot or by bike.
Cost R100 (tasting); R350 (mountain-top tasting)
Buchu trail: R50 (hiker), R60 (MTB)
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 4pm; Sunday until 2pm
Contact 076 523 8278, info@oudecompagnies.com
Where to find it Oude Compagnies Post Farm, Tulbagh
Enquire Now

Rijk’s Wine Estate & Hotel

Tulbagh Rijk's Wine Estate

A chenin blanc and pinotage specialist, this estate boasts a restaurant beside the vineyards with a seasonal menu, and a farm hotel – where wine-tastings are done on the terrace or in the cosy wine lounge. There are also cellar tours and outdoor activities (such as hiking, mountain-biking and fishing in three dams), plus some wildlife to spot between the vines.
Cost R75 (tasting of 4 wines); R350 (cellar tour + tasting)
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Contact 023 230 1622, bookings@rijks.co.za
Where to find it Van der Stel Street
Enquire Now

Tulbagh Christmas in Winter

Tulbagh famously celebrates Christmas in Winter. This year festivities are from 28 to 30 June 2024, complete with twinkling lights, trees and decorations, VIP guest Santa, and hearty traditional meals, drinks and desserts. Highlights include a Farmers’ Electric Light Parade, a Christmas market and kiddies’ winter wonderland.
Cost R220 (weekend pass)

Good to know Ceres Rail is offering a special steam-train journey to the festival, with two nights of glamping in Tulbagh, a brunch and lunch, and shuttle services to wine farms and festival events.
Cost From R5 360
Enquire Now

Which are your favourites? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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Disclaimer:

The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 19 June 2024

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2 Responses to “Tulbagh: An Insider’s Guide”

  1. Ulf

    Thank you for this lovely article on our hometown Tulbagh!
    There are more and more options in the valley – the skilled and professional Tulbagh Tourism Team will guide any enquiries into the right direction.
    Thank you again – wonderful to read!

    Reply