What’s So Special About The Historic Botrivier Hotel?

Posted by The Cape Country Meander on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 with 3 comments
One of the first things you notice about Botrivier is that the surrounding mountains and hills are covered in lush indigenous vegetation. This includes a spectacular array of fynbos species for which the region is well known. The town is situated at the foot of the Houw Hoek Mountains in a particularly beautiful part of the Overberg. It has a distinctive personality, made even more so by the presence of the historic Botrivier Hotel.

Genuinely warm local people

The other thing you notice is the incredibly warm and welcoming attitude of the local town folk. On a weekend afternoon you’ll probably meet a couple of them at the Botrivier Hotel’s pub. Packed with some fascinating memorabilia, it’s a popular place to go for a drink and a friendly chat.

Wine, fun, history, adventure

Botrivier is a short 50-minute drive from Cape Town. It’s short in the sense that you don’t have to travel for hours to find yourself in gorgeous Cape countryside that’s not yet discovered by the crowds. It also has it’s own Botrivier Wine Route. You can do some wine tasting and purchase a bottle or two of handcrafted wine to take home. Venture out into nature on foot, by mountain bike or quad bike, or on horseback. Alternatively, stay close to town and visit Compagnes Drift Farm, which marks the site of an old staging post that brought Botrivier’s first European settlers.

One of South Africa’s oldest hotels

With so much to experience most day visitors lament that they didn’t book a night or two at one of South Africa’s oldest hotels. Owner Herman, is a database of historic and local information and a big part of why people return again and again. Botrivier Hotel includes twelve comfortable rooms each with an ensuite bathroom (with shower). Each room opens out onto a second level wrap-around “stoep” (Afrikaans for verandah). You’ll want to wake up in this grand old lady to really appreciate the phenomenal early morning views. Where many establishments talk up their hot, hearty breakfast, the hotel’s Bellows Restaurant is true to its word. It’s also famous for it’s homely “boerekos” (farmer food) Sunday lunch.

What’s in a name?

Practically everyone wants to know how the town got its unusual name. In the early days Dutch settlers moved further inland and encountered the Khoi-khoi people, the first inhabitants in the region. The Dutch produced butter, which they traded with the Khoi-khoi at a bend on the now, Bot River. The Khoi called the river “Couga” which means “abundant or rich in fat”. The Dutch (and Afrikaans) word for butter is “botter”.

With a guest book dating back to 1929, the hotel deservedly shares its name with the river, town, and surrounding countryside of which it forms an iconic part.