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Your guide to Tulbagh
All About Tulbagh
Surrounded by soaring mountains, this South African town is located in the Western Cape region around 1.5 hours northeast of Cape Town. Dating back to the 1700s, Tulbagh is one of the oldest towns in South Africa, and the city streets are steeped in history with an intriguing mixture of Cape Dutch, Edwardian, and Victorian provincial heritage sites. The town’s main drag, Church Street, is home to an 18th-century church built by the Dutch East India Company, as well as historic buildings that now house museums, restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques.
Head out to one of the 15 wineries just outside of town to try an array of local wines and farm fresh meals, or stop by one of the local microbreweries to try craft beers on tap.
If you want to explore some of Western Cape’s spectacular scenery, Tulbagh provides easy access to several hiking trails, ranging from short, easy hikes to six-mile treks through mountain fynbos that offer tantalizing views of the surrounding countryside along the way.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Tulbagh?
Tulbagh experiences four distinct seasons. Since it’s located in the southern hemisphere, summer runs from December to February and winter is June through August. During the summer it can be very hot, so be sure to bring sunscreen and a hat and try to limit your time outdoors during daylight hours. At night, temperatures can drop drastically, so it’s a good idea to keep a light sweater on hand. In the fall, the surrounding vineyards turn into shades of gold and rust as the weather cools. The weather can get chilly during the winter, particularly at night, and it’s common to catch a glimpse of snow on the nearby mountains. You’ll see a bit more rainfall during winter as well, although most days remain dry and sunny. In July, Tulbagh hosts the Tulbagh Art Festival, which celebrates local art, music, food, and wine. Temperatures begin to rise again in the spring, and the hillsides become covered with splashes of color thanks to the blossoming fruit trees.
What are the top things to do in Tulbagh?
Tulbagh experienced a devastating six-second earthquake in 1969 that damaged some of its renowned villages and Victorian, Edwardian-style architecture. The Earthquake Museum takes you through the events of that day and gives a glimpse into the hard work, care, and dedication that was involved with returning the town to its former glory. Locals who experienced the event share their personal accounts in the aftermath among aftershocks and, soon after, restoration.
Tulbagh Wine Route
Tulbagh is located in South Africa’s Winelands region, making it the perfect place to experience one of the country’s most famous exports. The Tulbagh Wine Route is home to the area’s first wine estates, along with up-and-coming labels made from grapes grown in the local vineyards. Head north of the city center on Winterhoek Road to find a number of the area’s wineries where you can sample the different varieties.
Waterval Nature Reserve
Just a 15-minute drive from Tulbagh, you’ll find a picturesque waterfall cascading down a jagged mountain face into a natural pool of crystal clear water. You can reach the falls by walking along a flat, easy path to the lower pools or you can hike to the top, where you can watch the water as it spills over the rocky edge. Before you visit Waterval Nature Reserve, you’ll need to obtain a permit at the Tulbagh tourism office.