All about the quaint village of McGregor
A well-kept secret, McGregor is the ideal place to visit to take a break and unwind in the tranquility of this unique little village. Located at the foot of the Riviersonderend Mountains, 20km from Robertson, McGregor is just under 2 hours drive from Cape Town.
Founded in 1861, this settlement was originally named after Lady Grey, the wife of the Governor Sir George Grey (1854-61) but in 1902 the congregation of the Dutch Reformed Church decided to name 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, 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 well preserved as an example of the 19th Century village vernacular.
There is a good tarred road that runs from Roberston to McGregor. The tar road runs to the heart of the village and then peters out. This is called ‘the road to nowhere’ by locals. The road was originally meant to continue through the mountains to Greyton and then on to Cape Town but a change in plans meant it was never completed. Adding to the quirky nature of the village, ‘the road to nowhere’ has contributed to McGregor becoming one of the most perfectly preserved 19th Century villages in South Africa.
The gentle, unspoilt village is surrounded by rolling fields, vineyards, fruit orchards, and olive groves. Reminiscent of a bygone era, old stone lei water channels still supply water to timeworn whitewashed thatched cottages silhouetted against clear blue skies.
When to visit
The village shares the climate of the Little Karoo. It has low rainfall and is generally hot in summer and cold in winter. Summertime brings the heat shimmering over the vines and the scents of summer heavy in the air. Ensure you bring your sunglasses and sunhat as you breezily drift though the town’s attractions or relax and enjoy an ice-cold drink under shade drenched trees.
Winters in McGregor are delightful with little rain, clear blue skies and chilly evenings round an open fire. Excellent locally produced wine is readily available to complete the cosy fireside evenings in the wintertime.