The quaint town of McGregor nestles below the northern slopes of the Riviersonderend mountains. Back in the late 1800s the town had an unusual claim to fame.
It was a centre of the production of whip stocks used by drivers of horse carts, mule trains and ox wagons. These were made from bamboo grown around the town and in residents’ gardens. They were exported as far afield as Germany.
Today its renown comes from its inherent charm, tranquil ambience, the good wines produced in the vicinity, and the nearby Vrolikheid Nature Reserve. The town is home to well-preserved historic buildings, many of which are National Monuments. Lining the quiet streets are Victorian facades and Cape cottages with thatched roofs and whitewashed walls.
Irrigation water, known as ‘lei water’, burbles along roadside channels to irrigate the lush and arboreal gardens.
Many artists, crafters and potters have made McGregor their home. Visitors will find some good restaurants and accommodation with excellent rural atmospheres. It’s popular as a destination for city folk to escape the stress of daily life.
Suffused with the rural charm of a century ago, McGregor has an air of purity, acceptance, peace and serenity - centred on the wonderful gardens of Temenos Retreat.
Look out for
McGregor Wine Cellars - open Monday to Saturday for tasting and sales. There are a number of boutique cellars in the vicinity, but most can only be visited by appointment. Ask the local tourism office to arrange a visit.
Millstone Pottery – is where Paul and Nina produce and sell their exquisite pieces; some produced using the ancient wood-fired technique. It’s usually open daily, but if you’re making a special trip, call first.
Temenos Country Retreat – the perfect getaway for weary souls. The grounds are atmospheric, with ponds, fountains, cascading water, thickly-planted flowerbeds and neat lawns. Dotted around the grounds are serene angel statues, small shrines, and temples from numerous religions. The focus is on healing, wellness and meditation. The office is open from mid-morning to late afternoon.
Vrolikheid Nature Reserve - this small reserve is located 5km from town. It is characterised by rugged scenery and succulent vegetation and is great for hiking or just strolling. Springbok, klipspringers, grey rhebok and grysbok are fairly common and there are over 175 species of birds.
Boesmanskloof Hiking Trail – this starts 14km south of McGregor and meanders through the Riviersonderend conservation area to Greyton - a distance of 14km. It’s a good full day’s hike and you must first obtain a permit from the Nature Conservation office.
Mountain biking – there is good mountain biking to be had in the area and the tourism office rents out bikes.