Travel in Mc Gregor Klein Karoo South Africa in 2014

Fireplace Plum Cottage

This was the first South African break we had taken in a while, 2013 was a helluva year for us. We bought a boat in 2012 in The Netherlands and had to sort out a whole bunch of stuff. We made the decision to scale back and let go of our house. It was far too big for the two of us. Which meant we had to de-clutter, fix up, sell, pack up, store and find another home. And once we found another home, of course our furniture no longer fitted, our new home needed some fixing up and phew! At one point I was homeless. At another point I was living in our empty house surrounded by boxes.

Plum Cottage Mc Gregor

Our new lock up and go home meant we could pop off for a weekend breaks. Yay! We get to see a lot of Europe but we want to see more of South Africa. Everyone ALWAYS raves about a little town in the Klein Karoo called Mc Gregor. I’ve been past the place, but am ashamed to say, never been there. We booked a long weekend at one of the self catering cottages managed by Fountain Place. And looked forward to a break.

The first thing you want to know about Mc Gregor is that it is safe and tranquil. The kind of place you can go to kick back and catch up on rest and relaxation. Not that there aren’t things to do. You

Road in Mc Gregor

can hike in the Krans or Vrolijkheid Nature Reserves, go 4 x 4-ing on the Groot Toren trail or try your hand at mountain biking on one of many biking routes. The helpful people at the Tourism Office will ply you with brochures and issue permits if required.

If that all feels a bit too energetic you can visit one of myriad wine estates in the Robertson Wine Valley. Many have restaurants, so you can squeeze in a lunch while you are stocking up on vino. Some offer unusual things such as vertical wine tasting at Estona, blend your own wine at

Sitting on our patio

Excelsior or have a picnic on a river boat at Viljoensdrift.

A little bit of history about Mc Gregor. Of course like ALL places in Southern Africa, the Bushmen were the very first people wandering around. People don’t realise that Africans migrated south from central Africa and are NOT indigenous to Southern Africa. The Bushmen unfortunately kept no records. The earliest mention of Mc Gregor is in 1838. Documentation mentions two brothers Alewyn and Johannes Smit being granted a farm called Over Den Berg in that year. (Over Den Berg means – over the mountain – and the village is surrounded by mountains) A Mr. J.S. Naude is recorded as the next owner of the farm in 1861. But Mr Naude had already written a letter in 1856 applying

Deli Girls Mc Gregor

for permission to start a village on his farm, he was most likely the owner a few years prior. No one is sure why he wanted the village, possibly because he wanted shops and provisions closer as Cape Town is almost 200 kilometres away.

Mc Gregor was originally called Lady Grey, after the wife of the British governor of the Cape. Not that she had ever been there. Someone else had also tried to ingratiate themselves with Lord and Lady Grey and there was another village called Lady Grey. This caused much confusion with the postal services. Mc Gregor was commonly

Looking at the lunch menu at Temenos

referred to as “Mc Gregor’s Parish” after a much loved Scottish minister who regularly visited the area. It was eventually decided to formally name the village after Reverend Andrew Mc Gregor. A few Mc Gregors lived in the area. The chap who ran the mill and his brother who made whip stocks both lived at the top of Long Street back then. The Mc Gregors came from the West Scottish Highlands. An authentic King James bible can be seen at the museum at inside Tourism Office with what is believed to be Rob Roy Mc Gregor’s signature.

By 1919 the population of Mc Gregor was 1000.

Prickly pears grow in abundance

A century later that figure doubled. That’s hardly a lot of people. And that is exactly what attracts people to Mc Gregor. They say it lies on the road to nowhere. People come to Mc Gregor to get away from it all. The sort of people who live in Mc Gregor are artists, writers, musicians, healers, yoga and pilates instructors, carpenters, garagistes (garage wine makers), artisan food makers, etc . . Some say Mc Gregor is built on top of ley lines. What are ley lines? Apparently mystical alignments of land forms. It certainly is a peaceful and crime free community.

We arrived Thursday 14.55pm and checked into our cottage, (Plum Cottage) then went up the road to check out the area. We found a Tourism Office. The woman gave us heaps of info, so we came back to cottage and had a big fat read-up. That evening we made a huge salad with veggies we brought with us from home. I had texted organic food producers to find out how

Feasting on prickly pears

we could obtain fresh produce. The lady at the Tourism Office kindly gave us the local fresh organic producers contact details.

Friday morning we had a mini lie-in and got going later than planned. Mad dash to Tourism office for directions to Langwater Farm. Found it after much confusion and got organic veg. Came back to Villagers shop and bought home made soap, olives and other items. Went to Deli Girls across the road and ordered ethical raw honey. Went all the way to Robertson to do a mini shop-up and headed off to the wine farms. Van Loveren’s restaurant Christina’s had been highly recommended. Their entire menu had ONE vegetarian pizza. Nothing

Neighbour’s cottage

else and certainly nothing vegan. Every salad had meat. Gave up and went back to Mc Gregor and found a vegan burger at Tabaldi’s Restaurant Temenos. Hoped to see the special garden and shrines, but no such luck. Temenos was having an “international detox” and locals weren’t able to see their famous gardens. Came home and did our own yoga workout and baked a bunch of the organic veggies we bought earlier.

Read Part 2 – on this link.

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

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