For us it was already obvious on the way to Port Elizabeth that we would avoid the N2 on the way back to Cape Town. We wanted to treat ourselves to more variety and decided to leave the Garden Route at George. We left the coast and drove inland towards Oudtshoorn. From there we took Route 62 (R62) through the Little Karoo to Montagu. In Oudtshoorn the weather was still bad and it was supposed to rain again. Sonja wanted to spend the night in a guesthouse and when she found an unbeatable offer at Booking, Guido couldn’t help but agree.
Bed heating on the Route 62!
The next night we slept in a 4* Guesthouse, the Riverside Guest Lodge, in a big bed with bed heating and a rich breakfast the next morning for hardly believable but true 55 swiss francs for both of us. We enjoyed spending the afternoon lightly dressed in bed – with heating – watching a movie on the iPad before sitting in the lounge and ordering a bottle of red wine. The operators Albert and Elza are very pleasant hosts with style and your house is highly recommended.
The morning after, we drove calmly in the direction of Prince Albert. We stayed on the tarred main road and arrived well-timed in Prince Albert. The place is known, among other things, that you can buy mohair products there. Furthermore, there are many nuts and almonds to buy here. We were in Prince Albert during the week and did not find much except a small town. If you want to experience the typical things in their variety, you have to be there on a Saturday and visit the market. We found a nice campsite in the middle of a gorge, booked in for the night and were deprived of sleep by mating baboons. The cries echoed extremely in the gorge and went through marrow and leg. A respect-inspiring experience – unfortunately at the wrong time!
Swartberg Pass – the most beautiful pass in South Africa?
The next morning we started early to drive over the famous Swartberg Pass back towards Oudtshoorn. The pass is mostly narrow and the track is not wide enough for two vehicles. We were lucky to meet oncoming traffic only in the last section before Oudtshoorn. There are very beautiful passages on the pass but to speak of the most beautiful pass in South Africa, as travel guides do in unison, seems to us a bit exaggerated. We were very impressed by the history. When we imagine what tremendous efforts were necessary to build the pass in the 19th century, we can only stand in awe of this incredible achievement. There are some ruins from times past along the pass. The remains of a hostel are still the best preserved, although they are no longer recognizable as such.
The Station and wineries in Calitzdorp
Before reaching Oudtshoorn, we turned onto a dirt road and drove on a back road through the Karoo towards Calitzdorp. The town is widely known for its port-style wine. Rather by accident, it came to produce this wine. Port wine is not allowed to be called that outside of Portugal. The heirs of the original winemaker, two brothers, separated and it is because of this that today there are two major producers – almost door to door – in Calitzdorp: Boplaas on the one hand and De Krans on the other. One year one is ahead, the next year the other. We checked into the converted Calitzdorp train station. This disused station is being given a new lease of life. There is a campsite, a bar and glamping tents. Péu a Péu everything is converted by the current owner and we thought it was a great idea.
Winetasting at De Krans
Our wine tasting at De Krans (we had to choose one of the two) produced amazing things. Not only was it one of the most beautiful tastings of our time in the Cape in terms of ambience, but it was also one of the few with a real food offering from an attached restaurant. The tasting venue is built in the middle of the vineyards and has a very cozy and stylish feel. We loved staying there and took the opportunity to have lunch right away. Of twelve wines purchased, only a third was port. That speaks for the fact that they can also normal wines well. The next day we moved to the Calitzdorp Spa, camped there for a night and enjoyed a bath in the naturally hot springs.
Dried fruit in Montagu
Route 62 takes you all the way to the town of Montagu. Between Calitzdorp and Barrydale, Ronnie’s Sex Shop is located directly on Route 62. The link tells you what it’s all about. In the immediate vicinity we saw two beautiful rainbows. Montagu is widely known for the production of dried fruit. Montagu and Cape Dry have a very similar assortment and are sold in their own stores as well as in supermarkets and/or specialty stores. Here we bought fruits for ourselves and also a supply for our friends we will meet in Namibia at the end of August.
From Montagu to Worcester
From Montagu the way led us further towards Worcester, where we found by chance a very wonderful lonely campsite at a river. We rested here for two days, relaxed and decided that we will go to the coast again to challenge our luck with the whales. We will report about that in the next blog post.