Did you know?
Elim in Agulhas is named after the biblical place where Moses reputedly rested the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land (Exodus 15:27).
Elim Winegrowers’ vineyards hark back to 1824 when Moravian missionaries founded a mission station, and planted vines for sacramental winemaking purposes.
Winemaking on the Elim wine route began in earnest in 1992, when Elim’s soils were found to be not just feasible, but desirable for viticulture. Wine connoisseurs agree that few Cape wines reveal their terroir as forcefully and peculiarly as those from the Elim Winegrowers.
Fierce winds from the Atlantic Ocean batter the the Agulhas peninsula on three sides, year-round. Consequently, Elim’s vineyards benefit from the consistently cool conditions, and vines withstand the harsh environment by growing low, to produce pea-sized grapes that ripen slowly, yielding layers of intense fruit and natural acidity.
Soil types found on this Overberg wine route range vary intensely from shale and sandstone to hard-wearing conglomerate rock, called 'Koffieklip' ('coffee stone'), from which local houses are built.
The herbaceous and mineral-like flavours in Elim wines are attributable in part to the high soil variances (with up to five different types in a single vineyard block), winter rainfall and coastal mists that increase salinity levels in Elim’s soils.
Noted for their non-conformist Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz wines, six wine estates make up the Elim Winegrowers, all of whom have incorporated their farms into the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA), with the aim of preserving the endangered flora and fauna of the Agulhas Coastal Plain.
Farms on the Elim wine route are located close together, so it’s possible to explore them all in one day, including a wine estate in nearby Napier.
For tar all the way, take the R317 from Bredasdorp, to Strandveld Vineyards, with a small deviation off the R317, on the Wolvengat road, your first stop. ??Return to the R317 and visit Black Oystercatcher, The Berrio, Hidden Valley Wines and Zoetendal vineyards.
A walking tour through Elim village is an option before heading to Quoin Rock vineyards. Either before or after reaching Bredasdorp, make a point of visiting the estate of Jean Daneel and the Dragonfly Farm for organic goat's cheese in Napier.
With wines to match its astonishing geography, the Elim wine route may lead your palate into unchartered territory, but like Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama’s first expeditionary voyage around Cape Agulhas, some risks are so worth taking.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tourism Cape Agulhas
Tel: +27 (0)28 424 2584
Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA)
Game viewing and wine tasting
Mobile: +27 (0)84 478 2831
Grootbos Nature Reserve
Tel: +27 (0)28 384 8000
How to get here
From Cape Town, take the N2 Bredasdorp, and then take the R314 to Elim.
Alternatively, from Cape Town take the N2 to Caledon. From Caledon, take the R316 to Napier, and then follow the dirt road to Elim. This is very scenic, but is a good route only in dry weather.
From Gansbaai, take the R43 coastal road to Die Dam, the dirt road to Wolvengat, and follow it to Elim. This is also a dry weather route only.
Best time to visit
From August to September onwards, the Overberg’s canola fields, wild flowers, and vineyards are in bloom, and whales are often visible from L’Agulhas, Struisbaai, and De Hoop.
Around the area
It's worth visiting the Agulhas National Park and the museum in the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, De Mond Nature Reserve, De Hoop Nature Reserve, Heuningberg Nature Reserve, Napier’s Mountain Conservancy and the toy museum, Geelkop Reserve in Elim, the shipwreck museum in Bredasdorp, and beaches at Struisbaai and Arniston.
Tours to do
A guided walking tour of Elim village, and the Moravian Mission, available though the tourist office, is recommended. The Grootbos Nature Reserve offers wine tours of Elim. Game viewing and wine tasting tours are available through the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area.
There are no car rental companies in L’Agulhas, so hire a car in Cape Town. In season (Dec-Jan), wine tours by minivan are available from Bredasdorp.
Length of stay
A weekend to a week.
Where to stay
Accommodation options at Elim, Napier, Bredasdorp, Struisbaai and L’Agulhas range from camping to luxury lodges. Strandveld and Zoetendal vineyards have guest cottages.
What to eat
Black Oystercatcher Wines and Jean Daneel wines have restaurants on the Elim wine route. The Berrio and Quoin Rock do cheese platters. Bredasdorp and surrounds are noted for lamb, beef and dairy, and sweet potatoes. Enjoy fish and chips at Struisbaai’s harbour.
Look out for the Southern Tip Commemoration Day and Agulhas Wine Festival in May; the Napier Patat ('potato') Festival in June; the Potberg Mountain Bike Race in August; the Elim Wild Flower Festival in September; and the Cape Agulhas ‘Foot of Africa’ Marathon in October.
Wines, Kapula candles, Julian’s Ceramics, Ntshiba crafts from Bredasdorp.