The quaint mid-19th century village of McGregor is situated in the fertile Valley of Wine and Roses and just off Route 62 - the longest Wine Route in the Western Cape. McGregor is under 2 hours drive from Cape Town and 15 minutes from Robertson along a picturesque (tarred) country road which meanders past farmlands, orchards and vineyards on the "road to nowhere" .
A well kept secret amongst the visitors who come to recharge and bask in the timelessness and tranquility of this unique little village, McGregor is home to several local wineries, a Donkey Sanctuary whose Patron is David Kramer, and a potter, as well as a number of artists including the renowned Edna Fourie, who has an Art Gallery on the main street in McGregor.
McGregor is one of the most perfectly preserved 19th century villages in South Africa, and is a gentle, unspoilt place surrounded by mountains and reminiscent of a bygone era - country roads bustle with wild guinea fowl, an occasional wandering pig, sheep or cow, rolling fields of lucerne, rosemary, fruit orchards, olive groves and vineyards, old stone lei water channels still supplying water to timeworn whitewashed thatched cottages silhouetted against cloudless - bluer than blue - skies.
Savour the crystal clear air, marvel at the magnificent star studded nights, and allow the peace and tranquillity to soothe your very soul - this is truly God's country!
A Brief History of McGregor
Founded in 1861, this settlement was originally named after Lady Grey, the wife of the Governor Sir George Grey (1854-61) but - due to much confusion with another McGregor in the Eastern Cape - in 1903 the congregation of the Dutch Reformed Church decided to call their parish and new church in Voortrekker Street after their much loved pastor Rev Andrew McGregor, and this was gazetted in April 1906.
McGregor is a true gem among Cape villages, having - until fairly recently - hardly grown since the end of the 19th century. Off the beaten track and on a "road to nowhere", McGregor has remained almost unchanged since Victorian times and is counted among the best preserved towns in the Cape. Sections of the older part of the village are so well preserved as to rival some of the mission villages as an example of the 19th century village vernacular.
Gabled buildings are rare in McGregor, but there are scores of modest thatched houses, several of them dating from the first few years of the village's existence. Sadly many of these historic houses are falling into disrepair and in some instances traditional thatched roofs are being replaced by corrugated iron.It is to be hoped that the National Heritage Society is ultimately successful in it's endeavor to restore these cottages to their former condition, thus preserving for future generations the unique character of this historic village where time almost stood still.
The Road to Nowhere
In 1862 the village was officially proclaimed and the land divided into 2.5 hectare plots which were sold by public auction to 19 farmers and smallholders who were told that the road from Cape Town would most probably pass through the village. This never happened, and neither did the planned road over the mountains through the Boesmanskloof Pass to Greyton - the road goes through the village and then.............. just stops.
The village shares the climate of the Little Karoo - low rainfall, hot is summer and cold in winter.
Ensure you bring your sunglasses and sunhat and prepare for a tranquil midday siesta in the hot summer months, and warm winter woolies for the short cold winter months. Excellent locally produced red wine is readily available to warm the cockles of your heart and complete the cosy fireside evenings in the wintertime.
The Seasons of McGregor
McGregor does not really have an "off" season, and is a great winter venue - winters are delightful with little rain, clear blue skies and chilly evenings round an open fire being the norm.
Each season is wonderful in it's own way and has a beauty of it's own :
The fruit trees dressed in shades of pink, new shoots pushing through the earth, young green foliage bursting out on the trees - the scent of new life on the breeze.
The heat shimmering over the vines, the call of many varied tropical birds - the scents of summer heavy on the still air - and absolute luxury of an ice cold drink under shade drenched trees.
Leaves turning to red & gold - a nip in the air, a hint of the colder weather to come.
Crisp winter air, red wine drunk in front of the the open fire crackling warm in a cosy cottage - the impossible beauty of snow sparkling on the mountain tops.
Join us in McGregor for a while and escape the stresses of the city and become part of our village life for a day - or a week - or stay forever (as many have!).