Our #DiscoverMcGregor media trip took us from Strictly Coffee in Robertson to Karin’s on Main in Bonnievale. We visited the Donkey Sanctuary and tasted fantastic wines. As if that wasn’t enough, we even toured the town on the “Noddy Bus” and had to slow down for cows and chickens on the road. Sound like your kind of break away? Well, let me entice you some more.
The first wine tasting stop was Van Loveren Family wines. If I was pushed for an answer I would have to say that this one was my favourite. I love it when a wine farm (especially) goes out of their way to ensure a kid friendly experience. The kids had colouring in sheets and were talked through their grape juice and jelly tots tasting experience. How awesome is that? We asked to be seated near the huge “Tangled Tree” and the kids would have happily entertained themselves for hours climbing up and jumping off.
Unfortunately, time marched on relentlessly and it was time to head off to our next stop. Before I go on, I must remember to tell you that Van Loveren offered the most varied tasting experience that I’ve ever seen. From chocolate and cheese to biltong, nuts and nougat options. Each of them around the R50 mark and the samples were generous enough that you could even choose two different pairings and then swap half way so that you could sample what your friend or partner was having.
Our next stop was waiting for us around a mountain pass and down a really long road. The GPS picked up the address we were given as The Sophia Hotel but rest assured, that it’s the right place. Look out for the sea green Vespa above the steps leading to the entrance. We were welcomed by one of the Karin’s from Karin’s on Main and offered the most delicious pizzas. By this time, breakfast at Strictly Coffee was nothing but a distant memory and we descended on the food like a horde of hungry travellers.
We were taken on a tour of the hotel after that and we were delighted to find that each of the rooms in this backpacker-style accommodation was decorated in a quirky South African theme. I don’t want to give away too much information as you have to go and see for yourself. For the whole of winter, these rooms are available for 50% of the price which means you pay something ridiculous like R275 per room, per night. Each room takes 2 people but one of the rooms could be made to fit 4 with some prior arrangement.
I could go into detail about every single place we visited but this post would them ramble on for days (and nobody has time for that). If you’re into wines, the Robertson Valley will not leave you with a lack of options. From Rhebokskraal Olive Estate to Lord’s Wines and just about everything else in between, McGregor makes the ideal home base for your weekend away. If wine isn’t really your scene, there is a Retreat you can visit or art galleries and antique shops you can ramble your way through.
But it’s also kid friendly. Our children rode horses through olive groves and met some tortoises that had been rescued by the family who owns the Olive Estate. They saw the peace and quiet of a small town like McGregor (both the affluent and the poverty stricken) from the back of a bakkie that had had it’s chassis rebuilt in balsa wood. They woke up to the sounds of birds, cows and goats and watched the sun set over a lake.
Trips to towns like McGregor is where memories are made. Kids should arrive home dusty, sun kissed and tired at the end of each day, when they gobble up their supper and fall into bed to sleep like logs for the whole night (and obviously wake up raring to go before the sun is up properly). This little town is ideal to explore on bicycles where the speed limit if 40km/h because, it is said, that there are more dogs in the town than people.
We have plans to explore South Africa thoroughly in 2016 and we will make a point of exploring the small towns to learn about the heart of each one. Keep an eye on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest accounts for more.
*Disclaimer: We were invited to #DiscoverMcGregor as part of a media educational where our accommodation was sponsored as well as many of our meals and wine tastings. These words are all our own and reflect our honest opinion about what we experienced. As a family of 4 living on a single income, we would not have the means to take on a trip like this on our own steam financially but it is exactly the kind of trip we would have done if we were financially able. But yes, this is a “sponsored post”. Very few people get paid to blog in South Africa so each blogger has to choose for themselves what kinds of “trade exchange” they would be willing to work with.