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TThe Breede (‘broad’) River rises in the mountains of Ceres in Western Cape province and flows through its self-carved valley for some 320km to the Indian Ocean.
This is the longest navigable river in Western Cape, and it provides vital irrigation for the fruit and wine farms along the Breede River Valley, flowing past some important agricultural towns like Worcester and Swellendam.
It's also a recreational playground for residents and visitors alike.
On its way to the sea, the Breede River flows past the Bontebok National Park, which has a delightful campsite and comfortable chalets. Here visitors can go swimming, paddling, angling (with a valid permit) or simply relax with a picnic basket on its banks.
The river meets the sea at Witsand, a beautiful estuary where sea tides can push water as far as 50km upriver, providing an important ecological haven for young fish. Witsand and nearby Cape Infanta are also premier whale-watching destinations in spring and early summer (September to December).
The estuary is favoured by anglers, who fish for spotted grunter and dusky kob in its waters. A few kilometres upstream, the calmer waters of the river are popular with water sports enthusiasts.
Wine lovers will delight in a visit to one of the many wine estates found in this region. The longest wine route in the world, Route 62, starts here at Robertson, in a region famous for its Hanepoot and Muscadel dessert wines.
Those with energy to spare might like to try river rafting – and local campsites offer inexpensive yet comfortable accommodation to complement your river adventure.
TTravel tips & Planning info
How to get here
The start of the Breede River Valley is close to Worcester, a little over 100km from Cape Town on the N1 freeway.
Best time to visit
To experience the best of the area’s flora, come is early spring (September and October). Any time of the year is perfect for wine-tasting, but water sports are best enjoyed in the warmer, drier months (October to March).
What to pack
A hat and sunscreen, plus your swimming gear. If you’re meandering along the wine routes between May and September, rain gear is essential.
Where to stay
Accommodation is plentiful in Robertson and Worcester, ranging from guest houses, backpackers’ hostels and B&Bs to lodges and hotels. You could also stay in the Bontebok Park or find B&Bs and self-catering cottage closer to the coast.
Look out for the Wacky Wine Weekend in Robertson in June.
The Breede River Valley, at the start of the Route 62 wine route, presents a great opportunity to taste a variety of South African wines and stock up on a few cases of your favourites – which will be especially affordable if you’re arriving with pounds, euros or dollars.