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South Africa Safari
The Overberg and Helderberg

Interactive Map of Overberg / Helderberg, Western Cape, South Africa

 
You are here: South Africa >> Western Cape Province >> Overberg & Helderberg
Cape Winelands map
The Marine Hermanus
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
The Marine Hermanus
Cape Winelands map
Cape Winelands map
Bartholomeus Klip Farmhouse
Franschhoek Country House & Villas
Grande Roche
Le Quartier Francais
Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyards
River Manor Country House & Spa
Spier Hotel & Winery

Humpback Whale, Hermanus Farm near Caledon Arniston scene Ship at Hermanus
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Photo Gallery: Overberg / Helderberg Photo Gallery

The Overberg and Helderberg
In the most southerly region of Africa, only one hour east of Cape Town, lies the Fairest Cape's best kept secret, a fertile area surrounded by mountains and sea. Simply called the Overberg, it is the traveller's reward for breaching the mountain barriers which divide it from the rest of the country. To early settlers it represented the land beyond the mountains of Africa, a region rich in resources as well as boundless treasures.

Overberg literally means 'over the mountain' and it derives from the early settlers in Cape Town who went over the mountains by ox and wagon to see what was on the other side. They found a fertile coastal belt which now is intensively farmed with fields of wheat and herds of sheep. Some considerate farmers have even put signs up on the edges of their fields to tell travellers what kind of crop they are looking at. The villages and towns are all quite charming, some nestling amongst the mountain ranges and others in lowland river valleys.

The Overberg coast, also called the Whale Coast, has the distinction of splitting the oceans. At Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of the continent, the waters are cleaved into the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The foothills of the mountains, covered in a wealth of indigenous fynbos, roll down through green and gold wheat and sheep country to the lighthouse here. Apart from the cry of seagulls and the endless beat of the surf along a holiday-friendly shoreline - which also gives rest to the wreckage of scores of luckless ships - silence prevails and solitude is easy to find.

A scattering of tiny seaside resorts in the vicinity attract regular caravanners, campers and fishermen. In contrast is Hermanus, a bustling town where crowds flock to watch migrating whales between June and November. The region offers visitors a myriad other activities, such as golf, hiking, birdwatching, canoeing, mountain biking, architectural tours, historical tours, fynbos and flower trails and, of course, unending opportunities to indulge in fine food and wine.

This superb coastal area, stretching from Hangklip to the mouth of the Breede River, can be approached from the Cape Peninsula over the dramatic Sir Lowry's Pass along the N2 national road, by a coastal road carved from the sea cliffs from Gordon's Bay, through the Kogelberg Biosphere - the only one in South Africa. The area can also be journeyed into from other regions of the Western Cape Province such as the Winelands, the Garden Route, the Breede River and the Klein Karoo.

The Cape Helderberg, or Helderberg basin, includes the towns of Gordon's Bay, Sir Lowry's Pass, Somerset West, Macassar and Strand. The Hottentots Holland and Helderberg Mountain ranges provide a lovely backdrop against which the valley descends into picturesque vineyards and the spectacular False Bay coastline. The vast expanse of white, sandy beaches, warm water, cliffs and coves make the area a tourist and photographer's paradise. Less than 30 miles from Cape Town, the Helderberg is the gateway to the Overberg, Winelands and the Garden Route. The Helderberg also has its own wine route with over 20 estates, one of which is the historic Vergelegen in Somerset West.


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