Rijk’s Wine Estate & Hotel in Tulbagh, Western Cape

, March 20, 2024

Push north of Paarl and you’ll reach the enclave of Tulbagh in South Africa’s Western Cape, nested in the lap of three ranges – the Obliqua Mountains to the west, Groot Winterhoek Mountain to the north and the Witzenberg Mountains on the east. Located 120km from Cape Town, the bowl that cradles the small town of Tulbagh is also home to a series of South Africa’s prized vineyards, olive groves and hotels. This infrastructure is reinforced on the athletic front by mountain bike trails and running routes providing plenty of ways to balance the valley’s bounty with runs and rides.

Tulbagh’s historic town centre has endured since its first founding in 1798, even despite major damage from an earthquake in 1969. Found less than two miles from Tulbagh’s town centre is hotel and wine estate Rijk’s, also the story of gradual evolution. Originally purchased and developed by Cape Townian Neville Dorrington as a working farm and vineyard from 1996, the 90 hectares of agricultural land was then fused with the adjacent hotel in 2018. Neville’s son, Tiger, joined the business two years prior, steering the hotel’s upgrade and now acts at Managing Director.

Superior Bedroom at Rijk’s

Rijk’s hotel offering is made of 12 rooms, each sleeping two guests, and three Vineyard Cottages suited to families and groups (bookings with children aren’t allowed to select rooms). Room types range from Superior, Luxury and Suite, each styled with modern finishes and natural wood surfaces beneath traditional Cape Dutch thatch roofs. Two Honeymoon Suites are larger still, with the multi-room Vineyard Cottages each with two bedroom (Double and Twin bed configuration).

Ecopool at Rijk’s

Beyond the handsome buildings, dining and winemaking are a centrepiece at Rijk’s. Winemaker Adriaan Jacobs joined in 2022, continuing to direct the Chenin Blanc (40%) and Pinotage (60%) vines toward the highest standards of Cape Wine, with the 888 limited edition as the standout wine. Rijk’s Pinotage is the go-to and accompanies well with the hotel’s fine dining setup – a central kitchen for people across the Tulbagh valley. Expect wines to be switched with a health green juice in the morning, just one cornerstone of the buffet breakfast option which is included in the night price.

For a relaxed day out beyond Rijk’s, plug into Oakhurst Olives for a late-morning olive tasting, then route to wine tasting at Saronsberg and take lunch at OBIQUA Café on the Duikersdrift Estate. These can also be connected using mountain bikes – email will@zafiri.com to learn about recreational mountain bike options in Tulbagh.

Training Notes

Reaching to heights of nearly 2,000m, the peaks of the Obiqua, Winterhoek and Witzenberg
mountains provide an inspiring backdrop that’s easily observed from Rijk’s terrace during breakfast.

Runners can enjoy the trails contained within Rijk’s Estate, or venture further via other vineyards. A trailhead for the Winterhoek range is a short drive to the north – see the 10km Klein Winterhoek route, or stay in closer proximity by using estate hiking trail at Murludi – the have a 8km loop.

The Duikersdrift parkrun is Tulbagh’s local, with the timed 5km event taking place at 8am each Saturday. It’s nearly possible to jog to the start from Rijk’s (c. 4km), but be wary of the route back and the elevated temperatures from 9am.

Hardpack trail within Rijk’s Estate

Despite the abundance of mountain bike trails in Tulbagh, quality mountain bikes rentals aren’t easily found in Tulbagh. Stellenbosch Specialized Experience are able to service guests with mountain bikes and guiding services – just note that their base is one hour away so you’ll be charged for delivery.

As for trails around Tulbagh, seek out Tulbagh Mountain Bike Club who a detailed route map. Note that a small daily contribution is recommended to support the maintenance of trails and smart signage.

There is no swimming pool near Tulbagh. The nearest option is the Virgin Active in Paarl, 30km from Tulbagh – they have a 50m lap pool and have an option to use a free day pass.

Review based on a March 2023 stay in Room #3. For more information, visit rijks.co.za