Where to Stay - South Africa
 

On a recent day trip, we took the Tradouw Pass along to Barrydale which is situated about 61km km from Montagu along the famous Cape Route 62. On the one side of the Tradouw Valleys is Barrydale and on the other side is the semi-arid Klein Karoo. This beautiful Pass, built by Sir Thomas Bain is renowned for its wild flowers, waterfalls and magnificent swimming pools. We stopped here to capture some aerial footage with our DJI Pro Drone. You can see the short video we made here which really gives you a bird’s eye view of the Tradouw Pass – Tradouw Pass Video

Getting aerial shots

Getting aerial shots

 

Barrydale is unique and offers a variety of places to eat and things to do and see all year round. We parked and then took a stroll along the main road. The town is totally geared up for people stopping to explore, grab a bite to eat and buy a curio or two. It’s a very popular stop with the tourist buses! We grabbed some lunch at Diesel and Crème and we would definitely recommend having one of their specialty milkshakes or craft beers. And yes the Milkshakes really are this big and this pink! On a hot day it is the perfect way to cool down.

Diesel & Creme inside

Diesel & Creme inside

Each place has its own attraction and unique quality and it’s worthwhile exploring the little shops with their artisan specialties. Take a stroll up and down the main high street and don’t be afraid to pop your head into places like the Hand Weavers to watch the ladies in there hard at work. Fascinating to watch them.

This charming town has sunny days for most of the year and is built at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains. It offers unsurpassed vistas of the mountains and there is a wide range of pathways and foot trails for hikers and walkers alike. Excellent wines, brandy and craft beers are produced in the area.

Just 24km outside Barrydale (en route to Ladismith) is the infamous Ronnies Sex Shop. This is well worth a stop for a cold beer or drink to quench your thirst and take in the surroundings. Ronnie’s Sex Shop has had visitors from all over the world and is a regular pit stop for bikers, local farmers and people travelling this road regularly. It has to be said that when a group of riders ride in or out it makes for quite a sight and as for the sound – well some ear plugs might come in handy for the little ones.

 

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As regular visitors to the Cape Winelands and in particular to Franschhoek – our favourite of all the Winelands towns – we always try to do something a bit different each trip. This trip took place in January 2017 and the weather was incredible for the duration of our week-long stay in Franschhoek. Given the weather conditions we decided that we would try a self-ride bicycle tour of some local wine estates. We headed off to Franschhoek Cycles located at 2 Main Road – this is the main road that runs through the centre of Franschhoek. We rented 2 bikes here for a full day which is up to 7 hours. If you are not familiar with the area or the wine-estates just ask and they will provide maps and guidance on the distances between stops and also the overall terrain in terms of hills, etc.

Franschhoek Wine Tasting by Bicycle

Our Bikes!

As we were quite familiar with the area we had a good idea of where we wanted to go and opted for the following 4 wine farms to visit.

  • Mullineux & Lieu Family Wines
  • Four Paws
  • Leopards Leap
  • La Motte

Part of the enjoyment of cycling is being able to keep to your own pace and be able to stop whenever you want for photos or just for a breather! When I said the weather was incredible I wasn’t wrong as we managed to co-inside our cycle tour with the hottest day of our getaway with temperatures reaching over 93F (34C). Plenty of cold water was kept on board at all times! Our first stop was at Mullineux & Leeu which has beautifully manicured gardens and a path that leads you right up to the Tasting Room.

Franschhoek Wine Estate

Mullineux & Leeu

 

From Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines it was a very pleasant gentle downhill ride to our next stop which was Four Paws. Now Four Paws is what I would call ‘unpretentious’ – it isn’t like many other wine tastings you will go to but the service you get accompanied by some very friendly pets made for an awesome experience. Gerda, the winemaker, is extremely knowledgeable and if you like Rose or White Wine then you should definitely make this a stop. Great value for money as well.

Four Paws Wine Tasting

Four Paws!

From Four Paws, located at La Vigne Estate on Robertsvlei Road we took a fairly flat but longish ride to Leopards Leap Wine Estate. Coming from Four Paws it just illustrates the high diversity in size of operation and how it is great to enjoy and support the smaller wine growers. The Restaurant and Wine Tasting area is quite large and has views across the grounds to the mountains.

Leopard's Leap Wine Estate

Leopard’s Leap

From Leopard’s Leap we wanted to make one final stop before we took our bikes back. Having stopped at La Motte on a previous visit to Franschhoek we couldn’t wait to stop over again. The fact that we also enjoy red wine probably did have a lot to do with our decision to stop here. Plus La Motte is beautiful; the gardens are manicured with lovely water features and the Tasting Room is wonderfully relaxing.

La Motte Wine Estate

La Motte

We can thoroughly recommend a cycling tour of the Wine Estates around Franschhoek and something we will definitely do again. Although we did our own self-cycle tour you can get ‘guided cycle tours’ as well which is probably great fun in a group. Naturally we were quite tired at the end of the day not helped by the fact we had to cycle quickly to get back to the Cycle Shop before it closed at 17h00 but that was just down to slightly misjudging the length of time it would take us to get back from La Motte. So whether you are saying in Franschhoek or Stellenbosch be sure to give this a try!

Check out all our Cape Winelands Accommodation here

Top Tip:

If buying wine – many of the estates will deliver to your accommodation OR like we did, hold the wine for you to collect the next day.

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We decided to use the Victorian village of Stanford as a base for exploring the area.  We had Dudley, our miniature Schnauzer with us so we booked pet-friendly accommodation on the outskirts of the village. We stayed in a cottage on a working vineyard and ended up spending 4 nights there.

Stanford is ideally situated to explore Hermanus and the surrounding areas as well as Gansbaai – the Great White Shark Capital of the World. Stanford itself is one of the few villages in South Africa where the village market square has been retained and is still used for community events.  The Klein River offers excellent bird watching opportunities, as well as lovely walks along the banks of the river. There’s an excellent choice of restaurants, shops and wine tasting available and there is also a microbrewery worth visiting.

River Walk in Stanford

River Walk in Stanford

We found an amazing Italian restaurant La Trattoria, situated on the main street through Stanford, which said we could bring Dudley into the lovely courtyard at the back of their restaurant. The restaurant makes their own pasta and has a wonderful selection of Italian wines.  Our meal was sublime and set the bar for the rest of our stay.

On one of the days on our trip we set off on a scenic drive to Hermanus which is only 20km away.  Hermanus is most famous for the best land-based whale watching in the world and is only 120km from Cape Town. The town boasts 12km of cliff walks and over 45km of walks in the nature reserve and on the beaches.

Amazing cliffs in Hermanus

Amazing cliffs in Hermanus

The cosmopolitan town has something for everyone and we found the cafés and restaurants very accommodating for pets – always bringing out a bowl of fresh water for Dudley. Of course, he thoroughly enjoyed the winding cliff walks and cooling down in the water.  Do lookout for the signs indicating if the beaches are dog-friendly.

There’s a host of beaches to pick from – these include: Grotto, Kammabaai and Langbaai, Voelklip, Sandbaai Beaches, Onrus, Vermont, Plankhuis, Hawston and Fisherhaven.

We stopped off at Onrus for our lunch and would highly recommend eating at Casa Beira-Mar@ Bamboo Beach.

Food mmm

Food mmm

Another day was spent exploring Gansbaai and De Kelders.

The Harbour in Gansbaai is one of the few commercial fishing harbours in the country. There’s a pub / restaurant within the harbour and we recommend walking along the harbour wall for some great photo shots.

Gansbaai Harbour Wall

Gansbaai Harbour Wall

We stopped for coffee and decided to have breakfast as well and we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food and the coffee!! Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to try the pizza or pasta but will do so on our next trip.

We loved this area and would recommend spending at least a couple of days to explore and take in the magnificent surroundings and beaches.

For options on Hermanus accommodation please click here:

For Western Cape accommodation please click here:

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We’ve often travelled through Swellendam on our way to Cape Town or other areas within the Western Cape however never actually stayed there. (Swellendam is about 220 kms from Cape Town). However on our last trip, we decided to put this right and to spend a couple of nights in which to explore the town and the area and aren’t we glad we did this! So a bit about Swellendam – it’s the third-oldest town in South Africa being declared a magisterial district in 1743.  The town is at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains and is well known for its fascinating past, great outdoor life and its eclectic architecture. Swellendam is just one of a number of great places to explore in the wider Overberg Region of the Western Cape.

Swellendam Town

Swellendam Town

We stayed a few kilometres outside of Swellendam at a pet-friendly, self-catering chalet, at Kwetu Guest Farm.  We bought all our supplies in Swellendam as there’s an excellent choice of shops.  For those opting for B&B / Guest House or other – there are loads of places to stay in Swellendam and of course, a variety of places to eat – definitely something for everyone.

Swellendam Mountains

Views of the mountains

The view was amazing from our chalet and can I can honestly say we really looked forward to our sundowners as we had the most amazing multi-colour sunsets with the backdrop of the mountains. The accommodation is Pet-Friendly but they do have buck roaming on the farm so you may need to keep an eye on your loved one.

Sundowners in Swellendam

Sundowners

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to activities and things to do. About 7km from town is the famous Bontebok National Park – a world heritage site; the Drostdy Museum which has a collection of 18th and 19th century Cape furniture; Dutch Reformed Church with its eclectic architectural features including Renaissance, Gothic, Baroque and vernacular Cape elements. Marloth Nature Reserve is on the southern slopes of the Langeberg Mountains and the reserve has an abundance of wild flowers and fynbos.

Swellendam Sunset

Swellendam Sunset

As for activities – you can pick from abseiling, canoeing, hiking, horse riding, kloffing, walking, whale watching trips and mountain biking. The area is well known for great hiking and mountain biking trails such as the Whale Trail and the 4 – 6 day Swellendam Hiking Trail.

For accommodation options in the Overberg Region please click here Overberg Accommodation


Click here for a short video of our Cape Town Road Trip

Living in Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape and planning a road trip to Cape Town always requires a little bit of planning especially when you want to take in new sights and travel down routes you haven’t been before. We had been wanting to visit Paternoster on the West Coast for quite some time now so as it wasn’t that far from Cape Town we decided that this would be a first port of call. Now first of lets understand that it is just over 1000kms from Port Alfred to Paternoster which is at least 11 hours driving. Given that we do like to have a few stops along the way to eat and refresh plus we always advise against driving at night this meant planning a stopover both on the way down and on the way home.

Our route from Port Alfred took us initially along the R72, then onto the N2 through Port Elizabeth and then we turned left onto the Route 62 signposted to Joubertina and Kareedouw. This route is very pretty and takes you through an area called Apple Valley which is not hard to understand why. Either side of the road the fields are full of Apple trees and other fruit trees. The Route 62 took us all the way to Oudtshoorn and through the other side onto the R328 where just 7kms outside of Oudtshoorn was our stopover – Buffelsdrift Game Lodge.

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