Worcester is a city in the Cape Winelands. It is the largest town in the Western Cape's interior region, it serves as the hub of the Western Cape's interior commercial, distribution and retail activity with a shopping mall, well-developed central business district and infrastructure.
The town is the administrative capital of the Breede Valley Local Municipality and the regional headquarters for most central and Provincial Government Departments.
Geographically, the district is delimited mainly by mountains; to the southwest lies the massive Stettyns mountain range with an annual rainfall in excess of 2000 mm. To the west lie the Du Toitskloof Mountains and northwest lies the Slanghoek, Little Drakenstein, Elandskloof and Lemiet mountain ranges. To the north rises the Hex River Mountains which include the towering peaks of Chavonness, Brandwacht, Fonteintjiesberg and Audensberg. Northeast of the town the colourful Keerom Mountain runs into the Langeberg range.
Worcester and its surroundings form part of the Breede River catchment area, which is fed by a number of smaller rivers supplemented by the run-off from the winter snows in the mountains. The district also includes the Hex River Valley.
Worcester experiences more extremes of temperature than neighbouring Cape Town, as oceanic influences are blocked by the Du Toitskloof and Slanghoek mountain ranges to the west.
The daytime maximum in summer averages in the low 30s °C, but some days in February can reach in excess of 40 °C. Summer is generally dry with the rare late summer thunderstorm, whilst spring and autumn are shoulder seasons of pleasant temperatures ranging from an average 10 °C minimum to 25 °C maximum, with the occasional rain shower.
Winters are generally very windy and often cool to cold with snow being common on the higher lying ground above 1500m. Daytime maximums range from 10 °C-17 °C, with minimums hovering at or just above freezing. Winter brings most of Worcester's 175 mm of annual rainfall. The town lies in a curious rain-shadow phenomenon caused by the surrounding high mountains.
Worchester is about 120 kilometres from Cape Town along the N1 highway through the Huguenot Tunnel.
Worcester can also be reached by driving through spectacular mountain passes. From Cape Town Du Toitskloof, from Wellington Bainskloof, from Malmesbury, Western Cape Nieuwekloof, from Ceres Mitchells, from Robertson Goree, from Hermanus Rooihoogte and from Johannesburg Hex River, with vistas over the Hex River Valley.
There is a once daily commuter train from Cape Town as well as 2-3 long-distance trains from Johannesburg per week.
- 1 Worcester railway station.
- Minivan taxis. there are minivan taxis to/from Bellville metrorail station in Capetown.
- 1 Worchester Museum, ☏ . M-F 08:00-16:00. A cultural history museum with a focus on agriculture. The collections examine the Cape colonial history. The grounds have structures forming a traditional Cape farm yard. Live demonstrations depict activities such as baking bread in an outdoor brick oven and forging metal by a blacksmith. Adult R15, child R5.
- Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden, 108 Roux Road, ☏ . Daily 07:00-18:00. A 154-hectare garden lies at the foot of the Hex River Mountain range that cultivates and displays a wide variety of arid and semi-arid plants. Adult R30, student R15, pensioner R20, Child R10.
Riders need a permit to cycle on the various mountain bike routes. Permits are available from one of the following venues: Manic Cycles in High Streets; or the venues where the various routes start. The cost of a permit is R30 per day, or R250 per year (as of Mar 2021).
- The Golf course-Casino route (13-km very easy loop, minimal climbing). Permits available at ManiC Cycles. Three circular, family-oriented routes: 2.5 km, 5 or 13 km.
- The Apiesklip route (challenging 14-km loop, with over 400m of ascent). Permits available at ManiC Cycles. Parts of this were built to host stages of the 2015 Absa Cape Epic. It is a tough and challenging route for more experienced riders. Starting from the Damas restaurant outside town and finish at the gates of the Fairy Glen game reserve.
- The Heatlie-farm route, also known as the “Heuweltjie” route. Permits available at ManiC Cycles. A wide variety of single tracks through the hills up to the windmill at the top of the hill for a breathtaking view of the Brandwacht valley.
- The Nuy-on-the-hill route. A 25-km marked route. Permits can be bought from the Worcester Tourist Office, Manic Cycles, or at Nuy-on-the-hill.
- The Olyfberg route is under construction in the Eilandia area, in the hills and mountains adjacent to the Breede River. Buy your permit at the Worcester Tourism Office or Manic Cycles.
- De Wet cellar route: A beautiful trip into the mountains behind De Wet wine cellar. 21 km with some single track and one really tough challenging climb.
- The Slanghoek Wine Cellar route: a 30-km challenging marked route through vineyards, across dam walls, beneath cliffs and on single tracks snaking through indigenous fynbos. Permits can be purchased from Slanghoek Wine Cellar.
- Du Toitskloof – Goudyn – Stettynskloof: 3 routes in the Breedekloof area incorporating rides in the Slanghoek, Goudyn and Stettynskloof areas, including some single track sections.
- Shoprire supermarket, Russell street. 8am-19.00. lower prices.
- Jasmyn House Worcester, 8 Distillery Road, Worcester, South Africa, ☏ . With the beauty of the surrounding mountains and countryside as a backdrop, their self-catering units is a springboard for your daily trips to explore the area.
- Excelsior Manor Guest House, R315, Ashton, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Situated along Route 62 in a restored “feather palace” farmhouse, set amongst the vines of the Breede River Valley. Double from R2000.
- Tolbos Backpackers, ̥5 Bird street. Check-in: 24 hours, check-out: 11am. dorm beds. 200.