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TThe Rooibos Route is exclusive to the Cederberg region of the Cape West Coast. Elandsberg Eco Tourism, a tour operator and accommodation provider based at one of the region's largest tea plantations, offers one-hour guided tours of a Rooibos tea farm, as well as a Fynbos safari.
Your rooibos tea safari is conducted by Chris du Plessis, co-owner of Elandsberg Eco Tourism along with his wife, Annette. Both are West Coast locals with a deep passion for the region's unique plant life, cultural heritage, scenic beauty and cuisine.
There are two tour options, a Rooibos tea farm tour and a Fynbos safari, which can be taken separately or combined into an extended tour. Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is a species of Fynbos endemic to the Clanwilliam Cederberg area, so the combined Rooibos/Fynbos tour will prove particularly interesting to those who want to find out more about the Fynbos biome that makes up the Cape Floral Region.
The Groenkol Rooibos Tea Estate, where the tours take place, is unique in that all aspects related to the production of Rooibos tea are done on the estate – from growing the seedlings through to the final packaging and marketing.
Also included in the tour is a discussion on how Rooibos benefits the regional economy and how climate change is affecting this rare-plant crop.
The Fynbos tour (approximately 1.5 hours) is adjusted according to what is happening seasonally in the veld (grassland). Du Plessis explains how the Fynbos of the Cederberg adapts to survive the region’s very hot, dry, summer conditions, how the plants attract pollinators, and how they protect themselves against insects and pests.
During the tour, guests can also visit the farm’s beautiful rock formations, which, according to Du Plessis, play a vital part in the ecology of the Cape Floral Region.
After the tour/s, guests are treated to special spiced Rooibos tea, and can browse the estate shop’s selection of rooibos products.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Elandsberg Eco Tourism
Tel: +27 (0)27 482 2022
How to get there
Elandsberg Eco Tourism is about a 2,5-hour drive from Cape Town. Follow the N7 north from Cape Town and take the turn-off for Clanwilliam and Lambert’s Bay. At the T-junction, turn left towards Lambert’s Bay on the R364. Drive for 13km then turn right at Skurfkop sign and follow a gravel road for 3km. At the Elandsberg Eco Tourism sign, turn left. Follow the farm road for 3km.
Best time to visit
Late summer and early autumn tours, when harvesting takes place, are especially interesting. Tour start times are not fixed, but are based on the number of participants and their availability. The farm’s processing plant shuts down for three weeks at the end of the year.
Things to do
Nearby are the towns of Clanwilliam. Lambert’s Bay and Leipoldtville, as well as the Cederberg mountain. Namaqualand, the focal point of the region’s spring flower displays, is a day trip by car from Elandsberg. Take a boat trip to see the gannet colony at Lambert's Bay, and visit a unique quiver tree forest a short car trip from Niewoudtville. In addition to safari vehicle tours, guests at Elandsberg can hike, explore rock formations and visit San cave painting sites, as well as an indigenous plant nursery. Seasonal wildflowers are in bloom from April until November.
What to pack
From mid-January to mid-March, temperatures in the Cederberg can be very hot, while winters are generally mild with plenty of sunshine, so pack accordingly. Sun protection is recommended all year round. Bring extra drinking water and comfortable walking shoes if you’ll be doing the fynbos safari tour.
Where to stay
Elandsberg Eco Tourism has two spacious self-catering apartments located on the tea farm.
What to eat
Annette du Plessis specialises in regional West Coast cuisine. Weather permitting, overnight guests at Elandsberg are treated to an authentic meal prepared using local ingredients (including rooibos) and recipes in the outdoor kitchen known as the Uil Kombuis (Owl Kitchen).