The Wonders of Worcester
Worcester is a beautiful historic town nestled in the bowl of a range of spectacular mountains and is the economic and service hub of the Breede Valley and is the largest wine producing area in the country, accounting for 25% of the total production.
Worcester is home to 10 top producing cellars, from award-winning sweet full-bodied muscadels to crisp fruity whites and heartwarming reds. A big attraction in Worcester is the KWV House of Brandy which has the largest still of its kind in the world.
Kleinplasie Open Air Museum takes visitors back in time to the early days of the country’s first settlers. This “living” museum makes bread, candles and witblits in the traditional way which can be bought from their shop on the premises. Other museums of note are the Beck House with the oldest herb garden in South Africa and original bath house, as well as the Hugo Naude / Jean Welz Art Gallery.
The Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden is Africa’s only true succulent garden and euphorbias, cycads, stem succulents, desert grapes, spekboom and brilliantly coloured mesembryantheums thrive in its 144 hectares of natural semi-desert vegetation and 10 hectares of landscaped gardens (visit between January and mid-March for stapelia flowers and in June for the aloes).
Self-guided walks are a leisurely way of seeing the town. Worcester is home to a number of talented artists. The Barn Art & Glass Studio is well worth a visit. Exhibitions of local work can be viewed at the Wine-& Tourism office in Baring Street.
Worcester is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise; the Cape Gliding Club is world renowned for its flights on thermals generated by the mountains, canoeing on the Breede River, a unique stock car racing track, biking, hiking and mountaineering trails, water sports at Brandvlei and Quaggaskloof dams, 4x4 routes, trout fishing and golf courses.
The first weekend in March sees the third greatest grape treading competition take place, the Whoosh. Teams compete against each other in treading 50kgs of grapes in a specified time. The Guinness World Record is always under pressure; a unique and fun experience for the whole family. Other big days are the “Paasbasaar” over the Easter weekend and the Worcester Show at Kleinplasie in January.
Nestled at the foot of the Du Toitskloof, Slanghoek and Dwarsberg mountains lies the quaint town of Rawsonville.
Well known for the Goudini Spa hotwater springs and award-winning wines, Rawsonville offers accommodation from basic self-catering cottages to luxury guest houses. Most guest houses offer dinner on request.
For the activity addict the area provides hiking, mountain biking and 4x4 trails or the opportunity to get up close and personal with the Breede River in the capable hands of African Water Wanderers. The area is also ideal for bird watching, abseiling or mountaineering.