The Grabouw/Elgin district is the first town in the Municipal area when driving from Cape Town along the N2. It borders on the Kogelberg Biosphere reserve and the Hottentots Holland reserve. These provide excellent opportunities for adventure-based sports such as cycling. It has various conservation areas around it. The Eikenhof Dam is in the town.
The town is well known for its apples, open gardens and is increasingly becoming known as a tourist and wine buying region. It has two popular farm stalls that attract passing visitors, Orchards and Peregrine. There are also several farm-based attractions in the surrounding areas. The Elgin tourism association is established and has a recognised brand. It is complemented by the emerging wine industry and established wine guild.
It is the largest apple growing area and produces about 60% of South Africa export apple crop. It is also the third largest pear growing area. The valley is renowned for cultivating fresh chrysanthemums, roses and proteas. In addition to primary production, the area is also home to several agri-processing firms including Appletiser and Elgin Fruit Juices. It also has an established transport industry, with both Bosman’s freight carriers and Gaffleys’ Buses located in the town.
The area is also home to two adult training centres: Elgin Learning Foundation, a private FET college, which provides training in agriculture and the social sector and has an SMME support unit; and Overberg Training Centre which focuses on construction training.
In the Growth Potential of Small Towns Study, conducted by Van der Merwe in 2004, Grabouw is classified as an agricultural service centre and an apple town. It is regarded as a town with high human needs and medium development potential, using a scale of very low to very high. Residents and the DBSA both disagree with the medium potential ranking and believe the town has high growth potential.
The area has recently received a boost, being one of six pilot sustainable community sites initiated by the DBSA. The Sustainable Development Framework (SDF) for Elgin-Grabouw, developed as part of this initiative, provides a sustainable spatial vision and supporting strategies for the town.Last published 18 February 2016