Grabouw & Elgin Valley + Bot River & Villiersdorp
Originally an outspan called Koffiekraal on the Cape Town-Caledon road, Elgin got its name from a group of apple farms called Glen Elgin, after the Molteno brothers (who owned the farms) gave land for the railway station. There is no actual town called Elgin and the main town in the valley is Grabouw.
Elgin valley lies between the Hottentots-Holland, Kogelberg and Groenland Mountains, with a valley floor some 450m above sea level that is substantially very hilly. Bot River lies at the foot of Houw Hoek Pass and at the base of another very narrow valley behind the Groenland mountain that leads to Van der Stel Pass and Villiersdorp.
Most people enter the area by Sir Lowry's Pass from Cape Town or Houwhoek Pass on the Hermanus side. There is a spectacular drive called the Three Passes that takes in Helshoogte Pass between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, Franschhoek Pass that leads to Grabouw, and then over Sir Lowry's Pass to Somerset West. If you have never done it, it's a wonderful day trip from Cape Town with lots to do and see en route.
One would have thought that the area would have capitalised on its international renown as South Africa's prime apple-growing area... and more recently the Elgin wines... but it's managed to really confuse visitors when it named its first website "Groenland" (Greenland) and now with marketing predominance given to the Green Mountain Eco-Route. And Elgin is such a strong brand!
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