Focus on Riebeek Valley, Riebeek Kasteel & Riebeek West, Western Cape, South Africa
When one of Jan van Riebeecks corporals, Pieter Cruythoff, summited the neck of the mountain he was to name Kasteelberg in his mentors honour, he would have gazed over a plain filled with wildlife, and early inhabitants.
These early peoples had resided in this ancient area for millennia a painting above Riebeek West records the view of the wildlife for posterity.
It was only in the region of forty years since Cruythoffs incursion before the first settlers arrived, and with it the inevitable conflict, in 1701, as the parties spread out as far as Tulbagh and Riebeek Kasteel. Some of these early pioneers were Huguenots, like Gauillame du Toit who acquired Zonquasdeurdrift and Daniel Hugot whose lands extended through the present day villages.
The prominent wine farms of Kloovenburg and Allesverloren were first established during this period, giving the Riebeek Valley a long history of viticulture.
Today the villages are surrounded by wheatfields, verdant green in winter, golden in summer. A relatively new crop is the nutritious olive, which has successfully led to an annual olive festival on the first weekend of May.
The inhabitants are descendants of all the original peoples, the early settlers and a new generation of city dwellers tired of the rat race, and immigrants from abroad. This has created a vibrant cross culture a veritable united nations.
Visit our stimulating Valley and sample some of our enviable lifestyle!
Text by Chris Murphy
This town is situated on the R311 about 75km NNE of Cape Town. Situated on the slopes of the Kasteelberg (Castle Mountain), a 946m high solitary rock of Table Mountain sandstone, sentinal amidst the rolling wheatfields and vineyards of the Swartland, the tranquil village of Riebeek-Kasteel is covered in the softest hues of pink and white during spring when the peach orchards are in bloom. Riebeek-Kasteel was named after Jan van Riebeeck and the Kasteelberg. The name Riebeek-Kasteel appears for the first time in the journal of the surgeon, Pieter van Meerhof, in 1661 while he was on a discovery expedition
The beautiful little village of Riebeek Kasteel lies at the foot of the Kasteelberg mountain in a Tuscany style valley 70 kilometres from Cape Town.
Bathed in almost continuous sunshine and unpolluted air, this unique little village has become an oasis to writers, painters, and those seeking the beauty and serenity of this little garden of Eden.
There's a long history to the sister villages of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West, dating back to the 1660's. When the Kasteelberg was home to lion, zebra, rhino and wildebeest. Peter Cruythoff, on his journey of discovery, named this mountainous area Riebeeck's Casteel after his Commander Jan van Riebeek.
Things haven't changed much since then. The mountain doesn't boast such exotic animals these days, but the early explorers realized the great fertility of the valley and it is today carpeted with lush vineyards, olive groves and fruit farms - an idyllic peaceful getaway.
Riebeek Kasteel is ideally centrally situated to explore the richness of the surrounding countryside
Riebeek-Wes is situated 4km from Riebeek-Kasteel on the R311 in the direction of Moorreesburg and is closely linked with Riebeek-Kasteel. Riebeek-Wes, like Riebeek-Kasteel used to be a district of the Swartland congregation of the Dutch Reformed Church at Malmesbury, but later became independent. Riebeek-Wes is noted for the fact that two of South Africa's major political figures were born here. General Smuts was born on the farm Bovenplaas in the 1870 and Dr DF Malan on the farm Allesverloren
Situated on the farm Môrester, in the beautiful fertile valley of Riebeek-Kasteel , Het Vlock Casteel derives its name from the castle-like building near the entrance to the farm. This building conjures up thoughts of the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town and is the hub of activity for the processing of the wide range of produce available at the farm shop.
An olive press, where the farm's olives are pressed for oil, as well as the farm's wine cellar is also located here. With future plans for a restaurant with breathtaking views across the valley, the castle is set to become a well known attraction to tourists visiting the region.
Interestingly, the town Riebeek-Kasteel was so named because Kasteelberg reminded people of the Castle of Good Hope . So a full circle is formed with the 'three castles', reminding the Vloks of their Dutch ancestry.
The wines of Kloovenburg
Owner and winemaker Pieter du Toit has selected the best red grape cultivars for the farm's exclusive range of red wines, including Shiraz, Merlot, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon. Grapes from low-yield vines with concentrated fruit flavours go into the crisp, barrel-fermented Chardonnay which is also part of the selection on offer.