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Wellington, within a 45-minute drive of Cape Town, is located in a scenic part of the Boland at the foot of the Hawequas mountains.
This little town was once the gateway to the interior and experienced something of a boom during the diamond rush in Kimberley in the late 19th century, as travellers to the north would navigate through the narrow Bainskloof Pass.
Established by French Hugenots in 1688, the town was originally called Limietvalley (Limit Valley), and then later renamed Wagenmakersvallei (Wagon Makers' Valley) as many wagon makers settled and made their living here.
Eventually, in 1840, after the Duke of Wellington's defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, it was renamed Wellington by then Governor of the Cape, Sir George Napier.
Today, Wellington's scenic location, fertile soil and relatively easy access to Cape Town have made it a popular tourist destination. There are many guest houses on surrounding farms, good restaurants, a wine route and the historic Bainskloof Pass (where leopards still roam). The area lends itself to outdoor pursuits like horse riding, hiking, abseiling and mountain biking.
The Dutch Reformed Church in WWellington, which dates back to the 1840s, is a spectacular piece of architecture. The town is also an academic hub, with the Huguenot College and Cape Peninsula University of Technology among its list of education institutions.
Travel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Wellington Tourism Bureau
Tel: +27 (0)21 873 4604
How to get here
From Cape Town, head northeast on the N1 and then take the R34 exit after around 36 kilometres. Follow signs to Wellington from here.
Best time to visit
If you prefer warm weather, visit Wellington between October and March.
Things to do
Visit the Wellington Museum with its diverse cultural exhibits, or ‘Ouma-Granny’s’ House that provides a window on life in Wellington in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
There are a number of world-renowned wineries worth visiting – the Wellington Wine Route has 17-members, many with tasting room facilities and cellar tours.
What to pack
Sunblock, a hat and sunglasses are recommended, as are comfy shoes for traipsing around the town to look at the historic buildings or wine estates.