7 Highlights in Riversdale
Small towns are often overshadowed by more established ones; making it lesser known to the greater public. It’s towns like the one we exploring who open their hearts, greet you with a warm smile and often make you feel like you’re right at home.
Courtney and I recently came back from our road trip; ticking off another small town on our map. This time we chose to venture off to the town of Riversdale; a town many would merely drive pass without giving an ounce of thought to turn into. It lies just off the N2 along the coastal Garden Route where this small agricultural town furnishes one with many surprises.
Founded in 1838, it’s well known for its abundance of indigenous Fynbos. However, we didn’t get to see any with the drought being quite harsh on the vegetation the last few years. We were told to come back in Spring when they host a popular flower show every September and we might take them up on that offer.
Here are 7 of our highlights we think might spark an interest for your next road trip:
Visit the Julius Gordon Africana Centre
Julius Gordon was born in Riversdale in 1892. After many travels and obtaining numerous qualifications, he decided to leave behind all his furnishings and valuable paintings to be presented in the Versfeld House. The house belongs to Theodore Versfeld who passed on in 1960.
The House officially opened in 1966 where it displays old antiques that make reminisce of back in the days. The paintings are prized possessions hence why no one is allowed to take any photographs of them without strict permission.
Address: 29 Lower Long St, Riversdale, 6670 | Phone: 028 713 7939
Pitstop at Die Old Tronk
This is one interesting place and has everything under one building – a coffee shop, craft and curio market, nursery, museum, and a local meeting place.
Built in 1838, this building was originally a trading post up until Gilbert Hay was executed for murdering his mother back in 1860 that it got converted into a jailhouse, a police Office Courthouse as well as Wardens accommodation. Today, the cells are transformed into a series of shops with fascinating crafts.
Don’t mind a quick stay and enjoy a cup of coffee in the courtyard under the various fruit trees.
Address: Murant Street, 6670 Riversdale, Western Cape, South Africa | Phone: 028 713 4300 | Website: Visit here.
Explore the many churches
Churches play a significant role in smaller towns and it’s often seen as a location where the community can come together as one. There are about 10 churches erected in the town; all with different building styles and steeped in loads of history.
Drive towards ‘Sleeping Beauty’
Riversdale is known as “The home of Sleeping Beauty”. Why? Because forming in the background is a perfect silhouette which resembles Sleeping Beauty. We wouldn’t have known it existed if a local resident didn’t point it out to us so we drove towards the farmland and ended up pulling over to get a closer view.
Wine Tasting at Baleia wines
About a 5-minute drive South towards Albertina, you’ll find a small vineyard and a great winery. For only R35, it includes a wine tasting of 4 of their signature wines namely; the 2014 Inge Chardonnay, 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, 2014 Erhard Pinot Noir and their 2016 Tempranillo.
The farm belongs to the Jobert family but the man behind the exquisite wines is Abraham de Klerk. It’s a relatively small estate but offers great hospitality and a glimpse through their cellar. Make sure to spend at least an hour chatting with the tasting manager, Kylie and having more than just a few tasters.
Address: N2 – National Road, Riversdale | Phone: 087 234 8621 | Website: https://www.baleiawines.com/
Eat at La Bella Deli and Restuarant
Established in 2013, it’s situated right next to Baleia wines which are owned by the same family. It’s ideal to eat at after having a few wine tastings. They offer an array of items from serving wholesome breakfasts, jam-packed lunches, and freshly baked treats.
Address: N2, Riversdale | Phone: 028 713 1178 | Website: https://www.baleiawines.com/la-bella
Browse through Caboodels
Caboodels is a highly sought-after gift and furniture store; offering locals and tourist alike interesting and unique gift items to take back home. If you like this sort of thing, you’ll find yourself spending hours going through all the fascinating items as I did.
Address: N2 Highway just outside Riversdale | Phone: 028 713 2055
Riversdale may be situated along the highway but if you’re looking to explore a town that offers many activities, I suggest spending a day or two for a family-filled day. There were so many places to still visit but as usual, the time got the better of us. Maybe it’s the perfect excuse to plan another trip to the Sleeping Beauty town.
How to get there: The drive is approximately three hours from Cape Town along the N2 highway.
Best time to go: I would suggest during off-peak season; usually during May and August when it’s not that touristy. Make sure to bring a jacket along because it gets extremely cold in the area.
Until the next adventure.