I am South-African, I was born there but have not lived there for 15 years. Crazy how time flies. However, it has never really left my soul, the longing for it and the hole in my heart has only grown throughout the years.
I decided to write this post because I would like to share with you some of the amazing experiences I encountered on this recent trip to South-Africa, I hope that it moves you, if even only a fraction of how it has moved me.
They call it Route 62 and our first stop and accommodation was in the Robertson wine area, Bushman’s Pad wine estate. Which didn’t only have some of the most lovely rosé wine I have tasted, but also beautiful self catering cottages high up on a hill which gave one of the most outstanding views. After the long drive, the night culminated with a proper South-African braai and wine.
Our goal was to see and experience as much as possible, so we spent most days on the road discovering. There are many lovely farm stalls and quirky places to stop along the route and we simply had to stop at all of them. Spanspek se Plek was a farm stall just up the road from Bushman’s Pad, selling Bushman’s Pad wines, locally made flavoured olive oils, light lunches and so much more.
After spending some time browsing around this special little farm stall, we drove a few kilometres further up the road and found La Mont cheese farm where we couldn’t resist indulging in a cheese platter and a cap classique (South-African bubbly for those of you who don’t know, also known as MCC) for breakfast. The cheeses and the view were simply irresistible.
Our adventure continued with our tummies stuffed and our tastebuds satisfied. Next stop was another great place which we managed to visit multiple times called Platform 62. Once again, with so many different trinkets and artifacts that one could spend hours wandering around intrigued. Not to mention the amazing selection of South-African wines, local craft gins and local liqueurs. Tastings were also possible of jams, wines, brandy’s, craft gins, liqueurs and more. Another visit to Platform 62 we stopped in to have breakfast joined by of some of the most pampered chickens I have ever seen 🙂
We made our way through the mountains and a long tunnel, to the beautiful town of Montagu. This was for me probably the most beautiful South-African town I have ever visited. It almost felt as if we stumbled upon a hidden village which only a few have been lucky enough to discover, peaceful and so laid-back. At this point we were pretty thirsty after the drive and Montagu’s temperature that day was well in the 40’s, and our ‘spidey sense’ sensed it. The first street we decided to drive down, we came across the Route 62 Brewing Company where we just had to stop. Their craft beers were well put together and enjoyed, I decided to go for their cider which was very refreshing!
We left Montagu with a little wish in our heart that some day we could also live in such a beautiful place tucked away in the mountains.
Continuing on our road trip we stopped at many little farm stalls, all with different and interesting things to offer. There was Pic Pad stall, Die Tollhuis and many more along the way.
Then finally it became time to visit wine farms of which there were many on this trip, which also included buying wine at each! We visited Springfield wine estate which in my opinion makes one of the best sauvignon blancs this plant has to offer! Arabella wine estate was another favourite as I remember purchasing their wine when living in Norway. The farm also has amazing views and many beautiful horses grazing in the fields.
We went on to visit Excelsior wine where we had a tasting sitting by the river.
Another truly beautiful wine farm was Viljoensdrift with a painting for a view, you can see what I mean by the picture below.
It was time to leave the wondrous wine area of Robertson and make our way to the land of fruit called Ceres, but first we had to make one more stop at Saggy Stone craft brewery since we were thirsty again, and the road is long.
Our destination was Rhodene Farm Cottages which is located on a fruit farm just meters away from the orchards, this was to be our home for the next two nights. It included a few surprises including a little buck which almost gave me a heart attack when it ran out of the bushes next to me, and a peacock trying to pick up a lady.
Ceres is a very big fruit growing district and grapes are a fruit, so yes more wine farms 😀 Our first wine farm in this area was Lemberg wine, which we were so excited to get to, that we arrived before they even opened! Then we had to wait around for a while, but the wait was worth it. There we were also informed of a great wine farm just down the road which has very tasty MCC. The farm was Twee Jong Gezellen with the view absolutely breath taking and MCC called Krone made it even better! It is one of those places that you just never want to leave but the road trip had to continue and there were more wonderful things to discover ahead.
Further down the road we discovered Owl’s rest lavender and olive farm which has a shop selling home made goods made from olives and lavender. Body creams, shampoos, essential oils, olive oils and even lavender cordial which I decided will go amazing with gin, so just had to get it, amongst other things 🙂 After smelling like lavender and collecting more purchases which could barely fit into our already over loaded car, we made our way to Kranskop wines and then the town of Tulbagh. Here we stopped to have lunch and wandered around interesting little shops where I bought a pretty little tea set. We then stumbled upon yet another wine farm called Paddagang where I bought fortified wine, which I felt would be a great substitute as a sweetener in cocktails.
As we were leaving Tullbag we saw a sign saying chocolatier and we just couldn’t resist! Moniki Chocolate it is called, and it was well worth the visit, not only is it also located on a beautiful farm but the chocolate was just yummy!
Our adventure continued and it was time to leave the fruit region behind as we made our way to the lovely town of Paarl and our accommodation for the night Skinkikofi guest house. Staying here was like taking a step back in time, complete with tin cups and antique furniture.
After our stay in Paarl that night, we made our way to Simons Town. This was our destination but the journey included many more amazing places to discover.
Drakenstein lion park is not just any lion park, it is a sanctuary for lions who have been rescued from the most horrid conditions. Some come from circuses from all over the world where their nails have been removed and they never saw the sun, and some from living on a small apartment balconies in a high-rise building. Their stories are truly sad but their place now is a very happy one.
Next stop Wilderer craft gin distillery, where we not only tasted gin, but also mampoer! We indulged in a tasting like all other places we had visited, and left with even more bottles to find space for in the car.
Our next visit was Nederburg which is the first wine farm I visited when I was only 11 years old, ha, I started young! It was really special to see how it’s changed and grown through the years and their wine simply can not be faulted! I ended up buying two of their wine glasses, as I didn’t have space for more.
Van Ryn’s brandy distillery was next with a very tasty chocolate and brandy pairing included. We also had a delicious welcome drink which was made of their 5 year old brandy and apricot juice, the combined was delicious!
Finally we arrived in Simons Town, the home of the African penguin. Simons Town has a lot to offer. It’s situated in an area which is sprinkled with so many things to do and the town itself has a lot to offer. Like Boulder‘s beach where you can relax in the sun all day and swim with penguins, or wander around the many diverse shops which you can find along the main road. There is also the navy museum and a toy museum which one can visit, as well as lots of amazing restaurants serving everything from seafood to game dishes. The sunrise in Simons Town is also not to be missed and if you fancy a windy session of golf with a to die for view, Simons Town would be the place.
This post could go on for days if I continue to describe and explain absolutely every place we visited and everything we experienced. All the things we did that will stay with us all for the rest of our days. I feel that if I have not convinced you by now to make the Western Cape or indeed anywhere in South-Africa a journey to be included on your bucket list; there is nothing else that I could possibly to do convince you. The pictures speak for themselves.