Our big, fat guide to Route 62 stops

In August 2017, CNN identified Route 62 as one of the 10 best road trips in the world. With 65 wineries, more or less, and spanning across nearly 530km, Route 62 is definitely one of the most popular routes, attracting both local and international travellers.

One of the main reasons the route is so popular is because it stretches from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth (depending on how far you want to go), both of which are popular tourist destinations themselves.

While the exact start and finish of the route can be contested, the official route62.co.za website shows that the route stretches from Cape Town, across the winelands into the Klein Karoo, linking up with the Garden Route and ending in Port Elizabeth, making for a quite thrilling ride!

Some of South Africa’s most picturesque little towns form part of this route and therefore you have the opportunity to explore different regions and different cultures while making your way through one of the most beautiful regions in South Africa.

To assist you in the mammoth task of planning the ultimate Route 62 road trip, I’ve compiled a list of all my favourite stops, eateries, tasting experiences, stunning views and well-kept secrets to make your trip from Cape Town to Oudtshoorn unforgettable.

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The Winelands

The Cape Winelands has no shortage of unique experiences. Stellenbosch is filled with several foodie experiences and shopping hotspots. Paarl is another treasure of the area, boasting different cultural and heritage experiences, as well as its own share of wine farms. Wellington is another of the favourite winelands towns, and although much smaller than the aforementioned towns, still has a few must-visit spots.

Oom Samie se Winkel

This iconic shop in the heart of Stellenbosch opened its doors in 1904 and is a national monument. It looks pretty much the same as it had at its inception.

The shop, which is a true Stellenbosch institution, is a popular tourist destination. They stock rare antiques and several local hand-crafted products, as well as fresh produce, among all sorts of random bric a brac. I always find myself nostalgically rummaging through the sweets aisle, looking for Wilson’s toffees, Chappies bubblegum and sour worms.

 

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Taalmonument

IMO, you cannot head through Paarl without heading up to the Taalmonument. Not only can you see the entire Paarl valley from up there, you can also see the impressive architecture that went into the construction of the monument. If you cannot understand Afrikaans, the monument staff are on hand to translate whatever necessary into English.

What makes it the perfect pit stop is the fact that it is not only awe-inspiring to behold, but is also educational. After taking a walk through the monument grounds, you can spread out on the lawn for a picnic or have a coffee at the Volksmond restaurant on the monument grounds.

 

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Val du Charron

All that road trippin’ must have you famished! How about some pizza? Just outside of Wellington is the beautiful Val du Charron estate in the Bovlei valley. Other than tasting their wines, which are delicious by the way, you can sit down for some well-deserved carbs at their Piza e Vino restaurant which is located on the farm.

When visiting the farm, you can also take a cellar tour while enjoying a wine tasting. The stunning views of the valley ensure that whether you are just having a taste, taking a tour or eating pizza, all five of your senses will be stimulated by visiting this beautiful farmstead.

 

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Witzenberg Region

To the north of the winelands is the Witzenberg region which includes Tulbagh, Ceres and Prince Alfred’s Hamlet. In this region, known as one of the most prominent fruit producing areas in the country, you will often find either scorching hot summer’s days or freezing cold winter’s days. During the winter, we even took a trip to hunt down snow in this region.

Waverley Hills

Everyone knows that organic is the new black, and the Waverley Hills Estate just outside of Ceres produces delicious organic wines. The farm fertilises the vineyards with compost and manure, and uses cover crops for soil improvements. The farm has also been recognised as a WWF Conservation Champion.

Upon visiting them you have the chance to not only taste some spectacular sulphur free wines, you can also enjoy the exquisite views from the tasting room vantage point on the hill. The estate also produces organic olives which they either bottle, make into olive oil or dry. The first time I tasted the dried olives, I was quite sceptical, but in the end the their nutty taste made it the highlight of the visit.

 

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Twee Jonge Gezellen

I have long since realised that I am happiest with a glass of bubbles in hand. Therefore, one of my ultimate pit stops would be the home of Krone, just outside of Tulbagh. The Twee Jonge Gezellen farm features a collection of notable, vintage-only South African Méthode Cap Classiques, and at any given day you can enjoy a glass of bubbly on the stoep.

The farm has daily tastings, as well as a cellar tour where you will discover how the Krone MCCs are made – from vineyard to fermentation to bottling. Once a year, the estate heads out at night for a night harvest. They have been following this method since the 1980s and believes that it preserves the grape quality as well as the delicate aromas and flavours.

 

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The Robertson Wine Valley

The expansive Robertson wine valley includes the towns of Robertson, Ashton, McGregor and Bonnievale. The area boasts over 50 wineries and tourism establishments, and plays host to some of the most well-known wine festivals in the region – keep an eye out for the Wine on the River happening this October.

Bon Courage

Does it feel like this road trip has only wine stops? Why else do you think it was named one of the best in the world? The Bon Courage Wine Estate is situated just outside of Robertson on the R317. Also known for their range of bubblies, you can spend the day tasting your way through the extensive Bon Courage range of wines.

The Bon Courage homestead dates back to 1818 and the current Bruwer family celebrates their third generation on the farm. This wine estate is an obvious choice to me, as it one of the estates in the region that truly celebrates the Robertson wine valley and its heritage. Situated under the shade of an old African pepper tree, Cafe Maude is the perfect place to stop for lunch.

 

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Temenos

You’re right, you’re right; it can’t all be wine tastings and boozy lunches. So, how about a pit stop for the soul? One of my favourite towns in the whole of South Africa is McGregor. There is barely any cell phone signal and most of the roads are dirt roads. Tucked away in a forest-like garden in the middle of town, is the Temenos Retreat.

From accommodation to food, wellness retreats, a labyrinth and a chapel – Temenos has everything you need for the ultimate spiritual retreat. We visited in early October and upon checking in, was informed by the manager that this spiritual spot is a place of answers and we enjoyed the evening under the stars in front of the fire – a definite answer to every day stress.

 

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Jan Harmsgat

Okay, back to the wine adventures. Along the slopes of the Langeberg, between the mountain and the Breede River, is one of the oldest farms in the country. The farm’s history dates as far back as 1723. For the longest time, the farm was famous for its oranges, but today you will find orchards of fruit, nut and olive trees. You will also be able to find wildlife such as Black Wildebeest, Springbuck, Grey Rheebuck and Ostriches on the farm.

Aside from the scenery – which is definitely the number one reason for the pit stop – you can also taste some of their wines. I’d recommend giving their Cabernet Sauvignon a try, yum! They are a very family-friendly space and on weekends you will find a bunch of families enjoying the afternoon sun under the trees.

 

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Klein Karoo

Now we are heading into the heart of Route 62. The Klein Karoo is separated from the Greater Karoo by the Swartberg Mountain range. The entire Klein Karoo is actually surrounded by grandiose mountain ranges and the area stretches from Montagu and Barrydale in the North, to Uniondale and Willowmore in the East. If you’ve ever been enchanted by a landscape, you need to head to the Klein Karoo – the area is known for its quiet mysticism and it is easy to get lost in its charms.

Montagu Guano Cave

Montagu is a wonderful example of one of those beautiful Klein Karoo towns, and just outside of the hustle and bustle in Montagu, on the R62 heading towards Barrydale, you will find the Montagu Guano Cave. The resort features a petting zoo, horse rides, hiking trails, fishing and a large pool with a super tube and fast slides – a true oasis in this semi-desert.

As a day visitor, you get the chance to experience all of the activities listed above. More than that even, as you can head to the actual Guano Cave which is home to between 4 and 5 different species of bats. They have recently upgraded many of the facilities, making it a necessary stop on the famous Route 62. One of these upgrades also includes a Roman Bath, which I am dying to try.

 

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The Blue Cow

Barrydale has no shortage of interesting stops in this small town that is nestled at the foot of the Langeberg mountains. But sometimes it is good idea to turn off the main road to discover the hidden treasures that the locals have to offer. So, just before you head out of town in the direction of Calitzdorp, turn off to the Blue Cow that overlooks the Tradouw Valley.

The locals refer to the spot as the ‘Blue Cow Coffee Shop at the Barrydale Waterfront’, because at this charming shop you can spend a leisurely afternoon relaxing on the deck overlooking the Tradouw Valley with the sounds of birds chirping, and a relaxing farm atmosphere.

But that’s not the real reason you should head to the Blue Cow – their food is to die for! They are famous for their chicken cheesecake, but you would be making a huge mistake if you did not try their apple tart or milkshakes. If you tend to enjoy something healthier, opt for one of their gorgeous salads. My personal favourite is their Millionaire’s breakfast, a mouthwatering meal of delicious salmon and fluffy scrambled eggs with fresh lemon.

 

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De Krans Wines

After lunch in Barrydale, you’re probably ready for something sweet. Calitzdorp is home to some of the best fortified and port-style wines in the country, and De Krans Wines is one of these Calitzdorp gems. The first vineyards were planted on the farm in 1936, but it wasn’t until 1973 that the first Portuguese grape variety, Tinta Barocca, was planted. They are also the innovators of the pink, port-style wine that has gained popularity over the last few years.

It can get quite hot in the summer, but heading out on De Krans’ walking trail is a must! The trail was opened in 1988 and ventures pass different Hanepoot varietals, irrigation canals, some of the aforementioned Portuguese grape vineyards, as well as an apricot orchard.

During the months of November through to February visitors can partake in a farm favourite of picking seasonal fruit. From 24 November to 1 December the Bulida apricots will be available to pick at R7.50 per kg. If you prefer peaches best you diarise 15 to 27 December when the Oom Sarel cling peaches will be ready for perfect pickings at R8.00 per kg. Kickstart 2019 with picking your share of super sweet Hanepoot grapes at R8.50 per kg. These grapes are expected to be ready for picking throughout February, but we advise contacting the farm in early January to get exact dates.

 

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Queen’s Hotel

In the very centre of Oudtshoorn lies the Queen’s Hotel. Its stoep is quite a popular tourist destination, as it is a vantage point to the hustle and bustle of Oudtshoorn’s main road. Having tea and a scone in the Klein Karoo sun is almost a rite of passage when entering this quaint town.

This tastefully decorated hotel is one of the oldest in South Africa and is, in fact, the oldest 4 star hotel in the country . The hotel first opened its doors in 1880, and has in recent years been revamp to retain and accentuate its natural grandeur.

 

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Do you have any favourite pitstops on Route 62? Pop your recommendations below.

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