Posts tagged with “Church Hill Guest House”

Riebeek Vallei – Part 1

Friday, 24 August, 2012


Some 80km’s from Cape Town lies the Riebeek Valley.

[Source:   Map data ©2012 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google]

Travelling from Malmesbury you first get to Riebeek-Kasteel.  Five kilometers further on you find Riebeek-Wes.  It’s difficult figuring out why there are two towns, instead of one, given the demographics of the towns.

According to the 2001 census there were then 2532 people living in Riebeek Kasteel.  The town itself is a wopping 1,4 square kilometers big.  This, as opposed to Riebeek West, which only measures one square kilometer, and had 2661 residents in 2001.  Which means that Riebeek-West is more densely populated, should you care to notice.

In spite of the name indicating the contrary, there is no castle in Riebeek-Kasteel (kasteel = castle).  It would appear that the valley was found in 1661 by one of Jan van Riebeeck’s men, who then for lack of a better name called it Riebeek’s Castle.

Apparently the mountain looks like a castle.  Maybe if you’re on the mountain, dude, but not from below!  But then again, maybe one should give a bit of leeway for the views and needs of the settlers in those days.  I guess a castle counted for something then, and you could hence easily mistake something for your dream castle.  (I wonder what they smoked in those days?)

Rumour has it that some 24 000 people now stays in the Valley.  I’ve got my doubts.  On my first visit there I saw 13 people, which included 9 visitors.  Admittedly, I was on the outer perimeter of Riebeek-Wes.  On my second visit, though, I found myself in the hustle and bustle of down town Riebeek Kasteel.  And indeed, this time I saw more people.  About twenty people, but that was on a Sunday morning just as the church came out.

But these guys use any excuse for a festival.  Maybe that’s when they get the 24000 people.

October               – Shiraz & Arts Weekend

December           – Kloovenburg Summer Market Day

March                    – Mediterranean Fest

April                       – Portuguese Festival

May                       – Olive Festival

July                        – Berg rivir marathon and the Riebeek Mountain Marathon

From the local information brochure I could glean that Riebeek-Kasteel sports 32 overnight places, and 12 eateries.  Clearly, you might die of boredom long before you will die of hunger in this place.   This outperforms Riebeek-Wes that only sports a humble 14 places to stay, and 3 eateries.

But according to my calculation it gives you an option of 46 places to stay, and 15 places to eat at.  And that in two towns totalling 2,4 square kilometers.  Not bad, huh?

For my first visit we went to stay at Andrea Townsend’s Church Hills Guest House in Riebeek-Wes. Andrea is a lawyer turned guest house owner who speaks Afrikaans, English and German.  And a bit of French too, although most locals would probably mistake that for swearing.

A view from the stoep.

We went walkabout through Riebeek-Wes.

Time comes to a standstill.

But still takes its toll.

Each of these towns has its own church as well.

Roads are well marked.  It’s only the Do-Do that has a bit of a problem knowing whether he should go left or right.  No wonder he became extinct!





Riebeek Vallei – Part 2

Friday, 24 August, 2012


By the time you read here, you were supposed to have read my previous posting on Riebeek-Wes.  So as not to repeat myself, most of the vital detail and statistics of the town are to be found in the previous mail.

After our first visit, and just to check that we have not missed something, we went back for a short visit to Riebeek-Kasteel.

And promptly tried out one of their restaurants.  Kasteelberg Inn & Bistro.  It was a coldish morning, with two fires being stoked to keep the place warm.

Behind the Inn you can see the outline of Kasteelberg (Castle Mountain).  Of course it looks like a castle!

You could go next door for coffee.

Or we could also have eaten 20 meters away at De Jonges.

Or at Fat Cats Kitchen.

Or we might have been in a hurry.

Pizzas anyone?  Bread? Cookies?

Or maybe just water?

Of course, there are other important things in life too.

The Royal Hotel.

And of course, the other hallmark of the Afrikaans platteland, the church.

And just as we left, I even noticed a few houses.