The small town of Citrusdal is in the Olifants River Valley, situated at the base of the Cederberg mountains about 160 kilometres north of Cape Town.
Known for its citrus farming, you will be surprised to find how much there is to do in and around Citrusdal - from mountain hikes, excellent wines and superb cuisine - you will leave Citrusdal feeling that you have discovered one of the Cape's best-kept secrets.
Mountain bike trails - The Cederberg Circuit:
The Cederberg Circuit is a 245 km circular mountain route that has recently been launched by the Western Cape Government. It starts at the big yellow pin next to the Citrusdal Museum.
The route takes you on a scenic journey through winding mountain passes, past crystal clear rivers and unique nature reserves.
Die Sandveldhuisie is a quirky little house that houses community arts and crafts projects.
Every corner of the historic little building, including its garden and verandah, are adorned with brightly coloured everyday items including pots, pans, shoes, hats - in fact almost anything that can be recycled. It is a place that needs to be savoured -so make sure that you have time to enjoy this magical little house with its eccentric caretaker, Juandre, who told me about the local artists and crafters who produce these colourful items.
Juandre is passionate about The Ubuntu Child Development Centre, which gives teenagers the opportunity to be creative play a positive role in the community. The programme receives no funding and is reliant on visitor buying the arts and crafts from Sandveldhuisie - making it a worthwhile cause to support.
The Citrusdal Museum:
The museum is located next to Die Sandveldhuisie and it houses the materials and equipment that the local women use to create items that can be sold to support their families.
The building was the original church in Citrusdal, built in 1917. The museum has fascinating displays of clothing, furniture and household items from days gone by.
The Hebron farm stall is situated on the bend of Piekernerskloof pass just before Citrusdal. It is also the home to Piekenerskloof Wine and a unique wine and rooibos tea pairing experience. Piekernerskloof wines are certified Heritage wines (meaning that their vineyards are over 25 years old). 30% Of their vines are bush vines - requiring no irrigation as their roots are deep enough to search for their own underground water source.
Both Piekernerskloof wine and Carmien Rooibos Tea are grown in the surrounding valleys, making for a perfect pairing. The tea is used as a palate cleanser between meals.
Assistant white winemaker, Elroy, took us through the pairing. He paired the Wooded Chenin with honeybush mint tea and cashew nuts, the Grenache Rose with mint, watermelon and strawberry tea and anchovy-stuffed olives (it may sound odd, however, it works incredibly well), and the Cinsault was paired with cherry-orange rooibos and cranberries.
Together with the views, the excellent wine and the warm atmosphere, this is one experience not to be missed.
The recently opened Smul Restaurant in Main Street is definitely worth popping into. All of the food is freshly prepared and the menu offers something for everyone - including gourmet burgers, steaks, pizzas, home-made cakes and Truth coffee.
It has a laid-back, farm-kitchen feel inside and the wide verandah is the perfect place to kick back, relax and watch the locals meander down the main street of Citrusdal. A word of caution - go hungry - the portions are west coast size - ie. huge!
It is open Tuesday to Sunday for breakfast, lunch and dinner.