First built as a settlement along a projected road to link Robertson to Cape Town via Greyton, when the project was given up in the 1920s it feels like the village was left behind in time. “I love the relaxed atmosphere and the beauty of the village and the surrounding mountains.” says Dave Magner, who moved to the area from Durban. “The community is delightful; we enjoy the mix of people in the village.”
Billy Kennedy of Temenos Retreat says, “Most of the residents live here year round and so it has a vibrant life. We are also fortunate to have Robertson only 10 minutes away – a most beautiful drive. This means that many unsightly, commercial operations have not found their way to McGregor. It is still quaint and peaceful.”
The village attracts artists, retirees and creative types, so the diverse community is never dull. As well as hikes in the nature reserves, (and for dedicated hikers the stunning McGregor/Greyton trail) and visits to the wine estates, locals enjoy movies, opera and ballet screenings at Wahnfried, meditation and yoga in the serene gardens of Temenos Retreat, home matches at McGregor Rugby Club, tennis and country dancing, as well as the Saturday markets. “No story of McGregor is complete without mentioning the Poetry in McGregor weekend,” says Dave. “The annual event pulls together poets from around the country for a glorious celebration of the spoken word.”
Living in a Little Karoo climate also has its attractions. “We have beautiful springs when our hills are carpeted in flowers,” says Billy. “We have hot, lazy summers when you drink chilled wine and have long siestas. Autumn brings the most beautiful golden light to the valley, and our winters offer champagne air – and sometimes even snow.”
We have a wonderful local community. One can never be lonely in McGregor. There is something to do every night and sometimes a lot to choose from. It is not a conservative town. Many delicious, contrasting characters add the flavour to an unforgettable experience.
Billy Kennedy, resident
Best in food:
- Karoux Restaurant: for fine dining with a chilled bistro atmosphere
- Flora’s Eatery: for innovative healthy breakfasts and lunches
- Tebaldi’s at Temenos Retreat: for relaxed and peaceful lunches
- Green Gables: for a laid-back country vibe
- How Bazaar: for tea and cake
Things to do:
- Visit Wahnfried for movies, live music and culture
- Meditation and yoga in the gardens at Temenos Retreat
- Hike in the surrounding nature reserves
- Attend the annual Poetry in McGregor festival in August
- Visit the Saturday morning market
- Visit all the art galleries and studios
- Lord’s Wines
- Tanagra Private Cellar
- Bemind Wyne
- McGregor Winery
- Plus all of Robertson Wine Valley
Estate agent Q&A on the McGregor area:
What are the best things for families on holiday in McGregor?
McGregor is a well-preserved 19th century village, unspoiled and surrounded by rolling hills and lofty mountains and is an end destination – there is no through road and this has contributed largely to the preservation of peace and tranquillity in the village. McGregor is an ideal base for exploring the verdant Breede River Valley – 40 wine estates and cooperatives, a wonderful three-hour excursion by tractor to the top of the Langeberg mountains, three barge trips on the Breede River, Montagu hot springs, famous hiking trails and biking, impressive cactus farm / garden, and the well-known Donkey Sanctuary, whose patron is David Kramer, where you can adopt a donkey yourself.
What are your favourite weekend things to do in the area?
Something I enjoy doing on weekends here in our lovely historical village, is relaxing in the shade with a glass of wine with my friends and clients who have become my friends often at the beautiful How Bazaar, a decor and gift shop which also sells coffee and light lunches. We are very relaxed and laid-back here and enjoy the good life we have in this special village. Visiting wine farms/wineries (McGregor and Lord’s wineries). The lovely local coffee shops and restaurants are also very popular, as is our Saturday morning market where one can buy fresh produce, olives, jams, light meals and more.
What do you love about McGregor?
McGregor offers so much for those tired city dwellers. Besides some top restaurants (Karoux winning best country restaurant at the last Eat Out awards and Flora’s Eatery in the top 500), we have beautiful wine farms offering excellent wines, great mountain biking and hiking, wide open spaces, an eclectic Saturday morning market and so much more. There’s a diverse array of properties from quaint country cottages with rambling gardens to grander country homes, lifestyle farms, small holdings and commercial fruit farms. Being only two hours from Cape Town, McGregor is the perfect choice for that weekend escape or your own little country hideaway.
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.