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WESTERN CAPE: Our insider’s guide to Wellington

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Situated not too far from the Cape Town CBD, Wellington offers potential buyers countryside living at competitive prices, services and facilities, wining and dining, all in a breathtaking setting

Wellington can sometimes be overlooked as one of the Western Cape Winelands regions, but it’s definitely a contender, not only in terms of what the vineyards produce, but as a warm, welcoming place to visit or live.

It’s not as far from the CBD as one might think, being well within the range of other small towns close to Cape Town, including Philadelphia, Riebeek-Kasteel, Rawsonville and Franschhoek.

Competitive prices in comparison with these places means Wellington offers property buyers the benefit of country living at suburban prices. It also has the added benefit of services and facilities comparable to large towns or small cities, says Just Property Winelands principal Jacques Basson.

Emile Butler-O’Brien lives just outside Wellington with his husband, Gareth, in a small cottage on a farm on the slopes of the Hawekwa Mountains.

“We call it The House Of BoB (our surname is Butler-O’Brien),” he says.

“It is in the middle of nowhere, a bit out of town needing a 15-minute drive, and we’re surrounded by green scenery and forest. What better way to live your life?

“It’s quiet, serene and surrounded by a beautiful environment. It’s where we unwind. It’s good for the soul. It’s good for the spirit.

The current trend shows Wellington has become a popular buyers’ market among the younger generation. – Jacques Basson, principal, Just Property Winelands Picture: Supplied

“We share our house with our four-legged son, Morris (a dachshund mix) and the three of us go on daily walks on the farms. He loves it, chasing after stuff in the veld with his tail pitched high, like a small antenna telling us, ‘I’m here’.”

Basson says: “The trend indicates Wellington has become a popular buyers’ market among the younger generation, who are often challenged to find affordable reasonable accommodation in the Cape Town area. This market segment is often forced to move to Gauteng, where salaries enable them to enter the property market at an affordable level.

“Our research clearly indicates that first-time property buyers have now identified Wellington as an alternative option.

“Over the past year, 33% of buyers were aged 18 to 35 years.”

There is historic architecture to see and lots to do in and around the town. Picture: Supplied

With the peaceful country living offered by Wellington, there has been expansion of freehold estate complexes. The demand for retirement accommodation is extremely high, and an expansion in the development of retirement complexes is expected over the next five years, says Basson.

“The added value Wellington offers residents is a tranquil environment, panoramic views of the mountain ranges surrounding the town, and it borders on magnificent landscapes. The popular wine route, multiple MTB trails, tertiary education institution, and good schools make this an attractive town in which to invest and reside.”

Emile Butler-O’Brien’s things to do in Wellington

I work in the Cape Town city centre and I commute by train. I always get the question: Why do you live in Wellington, which is so far from work? The answer is easy: It’s literally home away from work. When I travel back from work in the afternoons on the train, you can see the hustle and bustle of the city and suburbs melt away as the landscape changes to open fields, vineyards and farmland. – Emile Butler-O’Brien, Pictured with husband Gareth, right Picture: Supplied

1 Drink

Even before we moved to Wellington in 2013, Gareth and I would drive all the way from Paarl to visit Gecko Lounge and Restaurant Bar (0218642910). All our friends visit the pub on a weekly basis for drinks, cocktails, shooters, watching sport and something to eat. It offers a wide variety that caters for all – pub food, steaks, pizzas, sushi and other specialities. We are good friends with the manager, Brendan Speck, and what we love is that when he has something new, we’ll be the guinea pigs to try it before it goes onto the menu. 

2 Wine

Imbuko Wines on Uitkyk Farm (0218737350) is another favourite place to visit. Besides great wine, they do amazing wine pairings. For instance, now it’s a pie and wine pairing. They change the pairings often so it’s best to look on their website for the latest inventions. 

3 Coffee

Mariaan Se Koffiehuis (0218734857) is close to the train station. It is an antique shop but it also offers coffee and light meals, and if you have a sweet tooth, you can visit them for the best home bakes. 

Piza e Vino at Val du Charron Wine estate on the Bovlei Road offers great food and views. Picture: Supplied

4 Whisky

I am a whisky lover. Big time. Close to the Wellington Golf Club is the James Sedgwick Distillery (0724153440). It is an awesome experience if you want to try something different. It’s the only commercial whisky distillery in Africa and it is home to the internationally award-winning range of Three Ships and Bain’s Cape Mountain whisky. 

5 MTB

If you are a mountain biker, tackling the Bains MTB trails on Welvanpas Farm is your next thing to try when in the area. The route begins and ends at the farm, between the beautiful Hawekwa and Groenberg mountain ranges. It is mainly single track and winds through orchards, vineyards, waterfalls and pristine fynbos. 0218641239.

6 Eat

There are so many commercial pizza places around Wellington, but we have found the most unique experience to be Piza e Vino at Val du Charron Wine estate on the Bovlei Road. It’s nestled between vineyards as far as the eye can see, offers a great play park for the children, and opens your taste buds to the most creative and unique pizzas you can think of. 0218800051.

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