We were out riding with friends at Jubilee Creek Nature Reserve – part of Goudveld in the Garden Route National Park. It was a glorious Garden Route day – cool, windless and the herb scented smell of the fynbos was all around us. “Have you ridden McGregor,” asked Heather? “We had so much fun there”. McGregor…? Back at home we opened up Tracks4Africa mapping software and there it was, near Robertson, tucked up against the Riviersonderend Mountains, right in the middle of wine country. Yesss!!!
McGregor is a historical 19th century village in the Breede River Valley in the Western Cape. It is small but charismatic, with loads of places to stay and things to do. Established in 1861 it was originally called Lady Grey but was renamed in 1905 in honour of the Rev. Andrew McGregor, a Dutch Reformed Church minister in the area for over 40 years. The staff at the Tourism Office in Voortrekker Road are well informed and extremely helpful and there are brochures and contact details for all activities out and about. McGregor is marketed as “mountain biking heaven” and it is that, a map showing 7 routes available at the Tourism Office or just download it here.
We arrived late one afternoon, en route home from Cape Town. First on the list was finding a place to stay and there’s not a huge shortage of establishments but we settled on Nina’s Place. We liked the look of it — quaint, cottagey, looking like it was made from clay, which is most appropriate seeing the owners are Paul de Jongh and Nina Shand of Millstone Pottery.
The idea was to spend the late afternoon chill’n on the stoep, sipping some of Robertson Valley’s finest, but when we went outside with a glass of wine the Haibikes were there propped up against the wall looking at us like a couple of dogs wanting to go walkies. What the hell…
Lord’s Loop seemed like it could be a nice little ride — pretty much around the mountain behind the town. Just 10km it was not much of an outing but still, it was good to be on the bikes after a day in the car. Roads were good and the views towards Robertson and the Langeberg Mountains glorious. As you crest the rise there is a path heading to the right to the Kleinberg Hiking Trail. It’s worth popping up there for a quick look at stunning views of McGregor and the Riviersonderend Mountains.
The route takes you through some private property and then back to McGregor along a small water canal. A word of caution: As you drop down into town, there is a rather steep, rocky decline. For those less adept at technical downhills it may be a good time to get off and push.
Things get pretty quiet in the evenings in McGregor – especially on a Tuesday night it seems. We strolled about the dark town looking for a place to eat. A wine bar seemed open but we were looking for more than that. And then, Open Kitchen appeared. A new restaurant, apparently. Well! They make superb hamburgers — both beef and chicken. And chicken schnitzel. And… So we ate there every night of our stay and loved it. Wine by the glass turned out to be a rather yummy Bonnievale Cab and a Bon Courage Gooseberry Bush. To be recommended.
Route Length: 10km
Route Conditions: Just great. Keep an eye on the Tourism Office map (or the GPS track below) because at one point you have to head off down a road that has a no entry sign… The other thing to watch for is the steep decent back into town as mentioned above.
Check out more of our eBiking photographs.
Nina’s Place: S33° 56.899′ E19° 49.433′
McGregor Tourism (start of the ride): S33° 56.896′ E19° 49.656′