Montagu is situated on top of a huge natural source of underground water, in a basin surrounded by mountains. Above ground, two rivers - the Keisie and Kingna - embrace three sides of the town before joining and flowing through Cogman’s Kloof and finally linking up with the Breede River.
Cogman’s Kloof itself is a natural gateway through the Langeberg Mountains along which the R62 passes, and is a declared national monument.
The town is on the popular Route 62 and is synonymous with the hot springs that bubble to the surface on the outskirts. It’s a picturesque town, not only with regards to its setting, but also because of its well-maintained houses and gardens. As with many towns along Route 62, there’s a diverse range of architectural styles; but here there seems to be more of a tendency towards art deco, the most notable example of which is the Montagu Country Hotel.
From the healing powers of the hot mineral springs, to the lusty palate of the locally produced wines, Montagu has that enigmatic something that makes it a special place to visit.
Look out for
Hot Springs - In the mountains at the back of town the thermal waters are naturally heated to 43º Celsius. The Avalon Springs Spa Resort is an incredible complex offering a diverse range of things to do, including the mineral pools. Day visitors are welcome so it can get very busy on weekends and during public and school holidays.
Kanonkop - For a good view over the town, take a drive up to the viewsite, which looks down on the Keisie River and across to the Langeberg Mountains.
Joubert Museum - Here visitors get a guided tour and explanation of some interesting aspects of life in the early days in Montagu, and some historical facts surrounding the building. It is located in Long Street and is open Mon-Fri 09h30-17h00 and Sat 10h00-12h00.
Historical Walk - The town has an abundance of historical buildings. Pick up a brochure from your guesthouse or tourism office.
Hikes - There are a number of good ones here. Most hikes start at the old mill and a popular stroll is Lover’s Walk through the gorge where the Keisie River flows, to the hot springs. For a day in the mountains try the Bloupunt and Cogmanskloof routes, 15.6kms and 12.1kms respectively.
Bird watchers - At the Leiwater Dam (irrigation dam) on the corner of Bath and Barry streets are 18 breeding species and 50+ visiting species of birds. Look out for the huge flock of sacred ibis.
Montagu Dried Fruit - Stock up on padkos and snacks. It’s a treasure trove that’ll make you feel like a kid in a candy store.
Wine cellars - There are a number of wineries offering tasting, including Montagu Cellar on the corner of Bath Street and Muscadel Street.