Grabouw is located some 65 km south-east of Cape Town, over Sir Lowry’s Pass from Somerset West, along the N2 highway. The town is the commercial centre for the vast Elgin Valley, the largest single export fruit-producing area in Southern Africa.
Situated by the Palmiet river, Grabouw is surrounded by the Hottentots Holland and Groenland mountains to the north, and the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve to the south. Several routes for exploring the surrounding mountains begin from the town.
Since the end of the 20th century, a large and thriving wine industry has developed across the valley, and wines from the region have won several international awards.
The Elgin valley is South Africa’s coolest climate wine-growing region. A range of other geographic factors (proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, cool temperatures, plentiful winter rainfall, prevailing wind directions, and altitude) have created a set of conditions for wine growing which are markedly different to those in surrounding areas. Of the many varietals grown in the region, special attention has been paid to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
Grabouw and its surrounding valley are historically significant for South Africa’s wine history. Of all the country’s regions, it had one of the earliest movements towards Black ownership of vineyards and wineries. The Elgin winery Thandi was in fact the country’s second post-Apartheid winery with significant black involvement.
The annual Elgin Festival, which takes place on the last weekend in October, boasts a wide range of flower displays, fruit, wines and a great variety of local products.