Route 62, known to wine connoisseurs and lovers of the road-less-travelled, is often overlooked by the typical motorist en route to other parts of the country. For the fortunate few who take the time to explore; a treasure trove of rich, cultural experiences, majestic scenery, food and of course, world-acclaimed varietals of wine can be found right at your fingertips.
Named after the iconic US Route 66, the Cape Route 66 will take you along the longest wine route in the Western Cape, and some may contend the world. It may come as no surprise to the reader, then, that some of South Africa’s leading wine producers can be found in the region.
If you’re planning an off-the-beaten-track weekend getaway, we have made your lives a little easier by providing you with a comprehensive guide on what you can do, where you can eat, stay, and, of course, the best restaurants and wineries to sip on smooth reds and dry white wines in Barrydale, Robertson, Bonnievale and Oudtshoorn.
Get well acquainted with cheese at Parmalat
What could accompany a crisp sauvignon blanc better than a piece of gruyere? If you love cheese as much as you enjoy the fruits of the vine, we suggest you take a visit to the Parmalat Cheese Factory in Bonnievale.
The factory, renowned for being the single largest cheese factory in South Africa, have been awarded the title of ‘best cheese manufacturer of the year’ for three years running. Here, fans of the dairy product can learn interesting tidbits about the process of cheese making, and sample a number of varietals.
Smell the roses at the Heritage Garden in Barrydale
The Heritage Garden was established to give all passers-by the opportunity to share in on the rich floral wealth of the region. Take a moment to relax in the peaceful environment while being surrounded by colourful tapestries of flowers.
Due to seasonal change, the garden offers something new upon each visit – at the right time of year, you can spot the aloes in full bloom, or the rarest plant in the Little Karoo, the Glottiphyllum Barydalensis.
Visit the Klipdrift Brandy Distillery in Robertson
A visit to the Klipdrift Brand distillery is a must if you are a seasoned brandy drinker. The distillery offers informative tours that provide a glimpse into the history of Klipdrift. Visitors can also enjoy tasting of this much-loved drink in the cellar room. If you’re more of a wine-drinker, fine Robertson wines are also up for the tasting.
Afterward, soak up the brandy with a hearty meal at Die Brandenwyntuin. These home cooked meals are proudly South African classics and will certainly tantalise the taste buds.
Indulge some international cuisine at Bourbon Street
You’ll hear the sounds of merriment and good cheer before you enter inside this Robertson eatery.
The staff are friendly and laid-back while still being exceptionally proficient. Meals on offer are an eclectic combination of Mexican, Italian and, of course, South African cuisine. Favourite meals on the menu include springbok carpaccio as well as ostrich steaks.
Enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation at the Rosendal Winery and Wellness Retreat
Rosendal Winery and Wellness Retreat is a place of sanctuary for worn-out travellers. Following a filled with exploring, enjoy a night’s rest at one of the spa suites. A stay here is a blend of luxury mixed with ultimate comfort, with views that overlook the crystal-clear pool, a pond and the sprawling grape orchards.
Apart from world-class accommodation, guests can look forward to classical cuisine prepared by a dedicated team of chefs. All of this can be accompanied by award-winning Rosendal wines.
Exploring the Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn
The Cango Caves, found at the heart of the picturesque Cango Valley, is home to some of the biggest stalagmite formations. These formations (which are set in limestone), have taken millions of years to form and are considered a geological phenomena by world experts.
Those who are looking to explore a series of caves deep underground can book a heart-pummelling adventure tour. The tour sees you squeezing through tight spaces and fumbling on all four through dark tunnels.
Enjoy traditional Karoo meal at Karoopot Restaurant
Karoopot is a family-run business known for its warm hospitality and classic meals.
Being situated on a wine route means that vino is in ample supply in the area. At Karoopot, the comprehensive wine list boasts several different varietals selected from the finest cellars in the Western Cape and the Klein Karoo.
A spicy shiraz can be paired with a traditional curry or hearty leg of lamb to enhance the exotic flavours of traditional Karoo meals.
Donkey Trails in Calitzdorp
If you’re looking for a more scenic route to do your exploring, then a two-day trek over the Swartberg Mountains to De Hel is just the ticket. While you won’t be sitting on top of a donkey, all your equipment will be carried by mules.
Weary travellers will be put up for the night after a long day’s hiking, before setting off again at sunrise. Meals and refreshments will be catered for to ensure that you don’t go hungry.
Drink wine and pick apricots at De Krans Wine Cellar
If you’re not in the mood for an adventure, while away an afternoon at the De Krans Wine Cellar. The cosy winery has many varietals up for the tasting, including Moscato, Pink and Cape Ruby Port and a few other fortified wines.
If you’re visiting during late November and early December, take part in some apricot picking.
Enjoy a tranquil stay at Port Wine Guest House
Port Wine Guest House is a restored, 1830’s homestead found in the port capital of South Africa, Calitzdorp.
Guests will be provided with all the amenities they might need, including access to a large swimming pool and a beautiful, fragrance rose garden. Some of the rooms overlook the port vineyards, which is certainly a beautiful vista to marvel at, especially when the sun begins to set. The guest house is ideally located in the middle of the town, meaning that a couple of wineries, art galleries, bistros and museum are within walking distance.
A myriad of outdoor activities can also be enjoyed in the area. It is a haven for twitchers with its prevalence of birds in the region, hiking trails are in close proximity to the establishment and there are cycling routes for the dedicated mountain biker.