10 Reasons To Visit Montagu

reasons to visit Montagu

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10 Reasons To Visit Montagu

Today has been the easiest Monday of the year. I’m starting my week with a full tank because I spent the weekend recharging in the small, highland town of Montagu, South Africa.

Known as the gateway to the Karoo, Montagu is a must visit destination for those seeking nature and relaxation under the African sun.

Travelling for work often leads me into the hustle and bustle of busy cities.

Montagu, however, beautifully solved this pain point by offering an escape into the Little Karoo town nestled in the Langeberg Mountains.

Having explored the winding streets and serene valleys of Montagu, I can highly recommend the unique experience this town has to offer.

Montagu has something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a foodie or a digital nomad in need of connectivity, you’ll be accommodated here. Keep reading for insights about what to do, where to stay, what to eat, and other tips that will make your visit unforgettable.

1. Cogmanskloof Pass

Cogmanskloof Pass

First things first, map out your route to Montagu so that you drive via Cogmanskloof Pass. If you’re travelling from Cape Town, Google Maps should take you via Route 62 which culminates in the mountain pass before you enter Montagu.

To construct the pass, labourers used dynamite, a new discovery at the time, to blast a tunnel through Kalkoenkrans.

Cape Town To Montagu Map

2. Art Galleries

Art Galleries at Montagu

We left for Montagu in the early hours of the morning so as soon as we arrived, I went in search of a strong coffee while Kallia found her way into one of the local art galleries, The Osner Gallery. One of the things Kallia and I have in common is that we both studied art.

Although I never completed my degree, I still appreciate a good piece. Every time we find ourselves in a gallery, however, we further confirm how much our tastes in art clash. We will have a very hard time choosing art for our home one day!

3. Montagu Nature Garden

Montagu Nature Garden

With a coffee in hand, we set out to the Montagu Nature Garden for a stroll in the sunlight. You can spend hours walking through the gardens taking in the fauna and flora.

We visited in the Spring while the wildflowers were in bloom, they typically come into bloom from early August until late September.

It’s worth timing your trip for Spring to see the bursts of colour that cover the ground.

Pack a picnic blanket or towel so you can enjoy the sun out on the lawns. We both brought our Kindles along so we could read and enjoy the silence. There is an entrance fee/ donation towards upkeep of R5 per person for adults and R2 per child.

4. Avalon Springs

Avalon Springs at Montagu

We booked into the Avalon Springs Resort for the evening. Montagu is synonymous with hot springs. The spring evening was crisp but we got into our bathing suits and headed for the pools to enjoy the mineral-rich waters that from Cogman’s Kloof. If none of my other recommendations persuade you to visit Montagu, the hot springs should win you over. We enjoyed them so much we will be back to visit once a year.

Sadly a few weeks after we left there was severe flooding in the area which caused significant damage to the property. They estimate that they will reopen in November.

5. Hiking Trails

Montagu Hiking Trails

After a relaxing evening in the hot spring pools, we slept like babies. The next morning we packed up and headed to Bloupunt Hiking Trail. We had just over 16 km to climb with more than 1000m elevation. The view from the summit was spectacular but I was reminded that I need to incorporate more cardio into my training. I would say you need to be moderately fit to enjoy the hike.

6. Blu Vines

Blu Vines at Montagu

As a reward for getting our steps in, we stopped at a winery for lunch called Blu Vines. The location, interior décor and fantastic food made this one of the best restaurants we’ve been to. Our stay at Avalon Springs and our lunch at Blu Vines are two very good reasons we will be repeating our visit to Montagu! Kallia ordered the Barley and Bocconcini Salad and I had the Chargrilled Baby Chicken. We can highly recommend both and can’t wait to try more of the food on the menu when we next visit.

7. Country Hotel Spa

Montagu Country Hotel Spa

With full bellies, we were ready for some R&R. We had booked treatments at the Country Hotel Spa.

Upon arriving we had the happy surprise of learning there was a sauna in the spa.

I am a sucker for a spa…

I decided to cancel my mineral bath and sauna instead, although Kallia said I missed out. We both also had a Swedish massage which was a bit disappointing, I prefer a Thai to a Swedish massage.

The Country Hotel Spa treatments were good value for money; R145 for 30 minutes in the mineral bath, R120 for 30 minutes in the sauna and R680 each for a 60 minute full body massage.

8. 22 Church Street Restaurant

22 Church Street Restaurant at Montagu

For mains I had the fillet steak and Kallia had the buddha bowl salad. The trend of delicious food in Montagu continued with both of these lovely meals. The only downside was that we enjoyed our main meals so much, we had no room left for dessert. The restaurant also has good wifi. If you’re a business owner like me, work doesn’t pause for the weekends. I had to make a quick Whatsapp call to the UK and the connection was stable.

All in all our bill came to R450 (approximate £20), great value in my opinion for a good portion of steak.

9. Badensfontein Glamping

Montagu Badensfontein Glamping

For a truly unique experience, we spent the night in Badensfontein’s Luxury Private Tent. There are only two tents to choose from and you are truly isolated, the only sounds are the rustling of trees in the breeze and the melodies of birdsong. Nestled in nature, it offers serenity and comfort, with all the essentials for quality sleep. We woke early and made the most of the wood fired hot tub before the time came to check out. One night felt too short to fully enjoy the experience. I would recommend staying for 2-3 nights at the least.

10. Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts

Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts

Before we hit the road to travel back to Cape Town on Sunday morning, Kallia wanted to stop at the Montagu Farm Stall to stock up on their famous dried fruit and nuts. The range of dried fruits and nuts here is mind-boggling. Kallia has been on the hunt for Brazil nuts and we both enjoy dried mango. With a year’s worth of dried fruit and nut snacks, we were finally ready to make the journey home.

Closing Thoughts

So, there you have it—10 compelling reasons to visit Montagu, straight from my travel diary. Trust me; you won’t be disappointed. This quaint South African town has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle or a longer stay in a town that has it all, Montagu should be on your travel radar.

Useful Tips for Travellers

Directions to Montagu

Take the N1 from Cape Town and turn off onto the R60 towards Robertson. Once you get to Ashton, turn onto the R62 which will take you into Montagu via the Cogmanskloof Pass.

When to visit Montagu

We recommend visiting in Spring, Autumn – October, the short window within which the magnificent wildflowers bloom. If flowers don’t interest you, November – February are some of the warmest months while March – July are much cooler with more rainfall.

Currency used in Montagu

Like most places in South Africa, Montagu uses the South African Rand (ZAR). We were able to pay by card everywhere we visited but it is a good idea to keep some cash at hand in case of a scheduled power outage (loadshedding) which can disable point of sale systems.

Places to visit near Montagu

Bonnievale (27 minutes)

McGregor (40 minutes)

Swellendam (40 minutes)

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