- Western Cape
Where Time Stood Still
Established in 1861 and originally called Lady Grey, McGregor lies approximately 150 km east of Cape Town at the foot of the Riviersonderend Mountains in the Western Cape province. In 1905 the town was renamed in honour of Rev. Andrew McGregor, a Dutch Reformed Church minister of the Roberston District for forty years. In the days of horse buggies and carts, McGregor was famed for its bamboo whip handles.
Little has changed in McGregor with its best preserved and most complete example of mid-nineteenth century townscape in the Cape Province. The town still has its traditional, whitewashed, thatched cottages set in quiet streets, surrounded by mountains, wildlife, and wine estates. A local Heritage Society works hard to maintain the historical significance of McGregor. An aesthetics committee is also in place, ensuring that any new building going up in McGregor adheres to a set of guidelines.
Over the years the town has become somewhat of a magnet for alternative lifestyles. Crafters, painters, potters, metalworkers, musicians and sculptors have all found a home in McGregor, and they have set up a local art route where they sell their products straight from their studios.
Retreats, meditation centres, massage services, tarot readings and healing body therapies cater for the wellness side of McGregor.
The town has a progressive Waldorf school and more than a dozen hiking trails around the village and surrounding mountains.
McGregor falls within part of the broader wine route network of the Western Cape and incorporates the following wineries:
- Lord's Winery
- McGregor Winery
- Tanagra Private Cellar
The village irrigation system dates back many years. A water channel fed from the town dam runs down the edge of the streets. Each landowner has a slot allocated during the week where they get a few minutes to an hour of the channel flowing into their property; the time allocated dependant on the size of the property. In recent years some controversy has arisen due to the reduction of the roster to every second week in an effort to keep a fuller dam. However, during the summer of 2012/13 extensive work was undertaken to rebuild the dam and to prevent its main wall from leaking and it is now hoped that this problem will be a thing of the past.
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