A Taste of Riebeek Kasteel

Nestled firmly between the ‘castle mountain’ of Kasteelberg Nature Reserve lies one of the oldest towns in South Africa; Riebeek Kasteel and it’s sister town Riebeek West, known as the perfect retreat for any city dweller.

The weather was unwelcoming.

Yet when one travels, you always expect the weather to play in your favour. However, the clouds began to open up and bless Cape Town with some much-needed rain. For many, it’s a sign to come back another day but for us, we were on a mission to venture off with an umbrella and funny enough, me in a dress and explore the town of Riebeek Kasteel.

Discover Riebeek Kasteel

It’s an exquisite wine region town.

With a population of around 4800 residents, it’s not difficult to fall in love with this charming place. Established in the mid-19th century as a result of a congregational fight, it formed two towns namely; Riebeek Kasteel in 1861 and Riebeek West established in 1858.

Yes, there are two different parts.

The area was first visited in 1661 by a Dutch party who named the mountain peak after their Commander, Jan van Riebeek. Today, it’s a vibrant region with a tranquil atmosphere known for its olive groves, rolling vineyards and wheat fields, its no wonder it offers that unhurried pace of life.

A Taste of the Town

We literally did have a taste of it.

One would assume for a small town of this magnitude, there’s not much happening but you’re wrong. The energy of this close-knit community is on another level. Everyone knows everyone and, even we were surprised that the restaurant we dined in was completely full and reserved! Virtually on every street corner, the smell of freshly made coffee or a hint of food is in the air. Not to mention the quirky building colours that make you want to take a peek inside like a naughty school kid.

Here are a few places we ate at, explored or popped in for a cup of coffee:

Supper at Mama Cucina

Known for their infamous Italian pizzas, it’s a restaurant with a vibrant yet welcoming atmosphere. Their blackboards on the walls scribbled in chalk have the chef’s specials that instantly make your mouth water with hunger. We tried an amazing dish called Slow Lamb Shank with sweet potato mash and grilled vegetables which made both of us roll out with huge smiles on our faces.

Visit their website here for more information and view their incredible menu selections.

A dash of caffeine at Beans About Coffee

On a rainy Sunday morning with churchgoers making their way to cafes for some hot coffee, Beans About Coffee is a cafe you should be popping into. Their delicious breakfast menu will make your hunger pains disappear and their coffee is not to be excluded from your table. It has that warm, family feeling yet quite cozy for a winters day.

Visit their website and see what time they’ll be open to serve you here.

Antique shopping at King Olaf Furniture and Collectibles

Nothing excites me more than searching for antique furniture or old collectibles that take me back to my childhood. Even though we didn’t plan to purchase anything from the store, it’s a great five to ten minute browse around to see what the store has to offer. And, a great way to make you laugh at really old collectibles.

Visit their Facebook page for more images on what they have.

Cupcakes at Wicked Treats

The building is colourful and chic and lures you in, instantly. It’s a tiny bakery that offers light meals and refreshments. The restaurant is quite charming with its bright colours and friendly staff. Try one of their freshly baked goods on the table or cut a slice of their delicious cakes because you can’t leave without having a bite. We sat on their twine stools, admired the wall signages and laughed cheerful at the hilarious sayings.

Pop on over to their website for more.

Go down memory lane at Jan Smuts Museum 

Visiting museums is a must on our itinerary so it was fitting to pop in at Jan Smuts Museum which is on the grounds of the PPC factory in Riebeek West. Smuts was a prominent South African and Commonwealth statesman, military leader, and philosopher during the 1900s. The museum exhibits his life and early childhood memories, displaying fascinating artifacts that make Courtney and I giggle on occasion.

The grounds are small so you spend about a half an hour browsing the around. It has a great setting for hosting a picnic when there is no activity at the cement factory.

Get local at Aitsa

A building you definitely can’t miss with its bright red stripes is Aitsa; a local shop that sells everything locally made. We went in search of a key ring that represents the town but alas, nothing. Instead, we found various items from clothing to accessories, old books, crockery which we loved so we got ourselves cool tin mugs, various locally made goodies such as their rusks that were absolutely out of this world and the infamous biltongs.

You can contact them on 022 448 1492 for more information.

Other activities in the town

There’s a number of restaurants and cafes to feast at. Not to mention the array of small-town activities. I compiled a list of a few places to visit, eat and stay at that will certainly help you on your way through the town:

  • Go back in time by visiting the De Oude Kerk Museum.
  • If you an olive lover than you should pop in at The Olive Boutique in Church Street
  • Got a sweet tooth? Then pay a visit to Le Petit Chocolat that has handmade chocolate in all the shapes and flavours to choose from
  • Admire the NG Church, built in 1913 with an impressive red roof
  • Lick your lips off at Kasteelberg Country Inn & Bistro with a tasty, home-cooked menu
  • Stay at The Royal Hotel, known as the oldest hotel in Cape Town
  • Book a room at Katarina’s modern-Provence style establishment
  • Go on a morning game drive with Bartholomeus Klip Game Viewing Day Trips
  • Explore Heatherby’s Heritage Rose Sanctuary & Nursery

Until the next town.

Stephanie Marthinus Blog