The Karoo was our last and final stretch back home. I never really understood what the big deal was with the Karoo. I mean there’s not much to do there and it’s just a wide open vast piece of land. Boy was I ever so wrong! Before we arrived back home, we already started planning our next road trip which would only be about the Karoo!
We were very unfortunate though that we didn’t get to drive through the Swartberg pass as this is apparently one of the most famous and beautiful passes: the road was washed away on the Prince Albert side of the mountain which made it completely inaccessible. However, the canyons and valleys which we got to drive through almost made up for it and definitely lifted our spirits:
The photos simply don’t do it justice – i took way more videos.
To begin with, we started making our way through the 42 wine farms that are all huddled together at the beginning of the famous Route62, which starts in Rooiberg.
Our first stop was Rooiberg Estate itself where we feasted on the most delicious, fresh out the oven croissants. You must stop here! If you don’t fancy a croissant, be sure to stop over at the Four Cousins Estate for some yummy pizzas! When you get to Rooiberg, ask for the Wine Route Map. That will show you where all the wine farms are.
So with our tummies lined up with some good ol buttery croissants, we started making our way to our first wine farm: Springfield. I must note; all our wine tastings were FREE! With the best service added to that as well! We were in for fun day.
We were advised by our fellow travellers in Paternoster to try their white wine as we’ve found a new love for white wine. The wines here weren’t our favourite, but the setting and the views were so relaxing that you don’t have a choice but to just have a good relaxing time here.
Next stop was Excelsior! Now, we know the Excelsior wine and this wouldn’t have been an estate we would’ve picked to visit, but they have a huge drawing card! And that’s that you actually get to blend, bottle and label your own wine! And it only costs R70. To be fair, it’s more of a fun little gimmick but fun it definitely was! We got to taste their red wines first to see which ones we liked. Then we got to blend any of their three red wines, to any percentage which we wanted. They let us taste it first to see if we liked the blend. Once we were happy with our blend, we got to bottle our own wine and then create our own label! I HIGHLY recommend you stop over and do this little activity.
Our next stop was Zandvliet. What a beautiful estate. Unfortunately by now we were running out of time, but there’s just so much to do in these areas! The people at Zandvliet are amazing and SO knowledgeable! We ended up walking away with one of their wines and some gin! I asked if the gin they were selling was available for tasting as it was quite a pricey bottle but I really wanted to buy it. They advised that they didn’t do gin tastings but were more than willing to crack open a bottle for me so that I could have a taste! I mean really! So instead I just bought the bottle. Which was SO worth it.
From here on it was time for us to make our way to our next accommodation: The Place. I cant express in words how highly I recommend you stay here! It’s affordable, absolutely breathtaking, peaceful and it’s just you and another cottage. We had to drive through 3 different farm gates to get to this place (forget GPS directions) and finally found this tiny cottage tucked away in the mountains.
But before we reached our final destination for the day, we just had to find Ronnie’s Sex Shop! Which has become very famous in the Karoo and on Route62. We finally reached it at about 17:00 and we were so elated to find it still open and quickly pulled in for much needed drink!
Back to our accommodation:
We were so sorry that we only ended up staying here for one night and strongly contemplated on staying another night. It was a tough decision but we decided to move on. Budget was starting to come into play as we decided to change our route back home as well and would have to book into another BnB along the way.
So the next day we hit the road again, heading towards Beaufort West, through Oudtshoorn.
We did a quick stop over at another little Wine Farm before we hit the long open road. By now we were seasoned wine drinkers and bought bottles at every place we stopped! Sadly, not many bottles made it back home with us.
Our next stop was the Karoo National Park. It’s not a very long drive from where we stayed, which made it possible for us to enjoy a nice relaxing drive. However, the closer we got to Beaufort, the bigger the storm got that was awaiting us!
We literally made it just in time!
The Karoo National Park is not your normal game reserve in terms of it’s landscape. Normal game reserves are rather flat, with dense trees and bushes. This place, is extremely mountainous with hardly any trees and bushes! Having said that, you would think spotting animals would be easy! We spotted a few, but they were so far away we could hardly pick them up on our cameras. Beautiful reserve, with very interested roads and passes.
We camped here for two nights. We enjoyed their tiny hike through the camp site area, which takes you through their fossil section which was rather interesting to see. Being in the bush, naturally has this calming effect on us and we ended up having a really lovely stay here and managed to unwind completely before our last stop before we headed home.
Last and final stop: Clarens!
We decided to change our route here and rather drive through Bloemfontein and stay in Clarens for one night. That was we only had a short 4 hour drive home. We stayed in Clarens just for one night. I must admit, I was shocked at how expensive Clarens was! We decided we were just going to eat out while we were there as we didn’t feel like missioning with cooking etc. We went out for dinner at Clementines which is apparently one of their more famous restaurants. It was a lovely experience, but bit old fart. Definitely not a place to just hang out and have a few drinks and chat to some local people. Nevertheless, we had a lovely meal and a lovely time.
After our larney dinner we decided to head on over to the German restaurant which was way more our kind of vibe. Here we carried on drinking and tried to soak up our final last evening of our trip and what it had all meant for us. And to be honest, we can’t put it into words. Friends ask us how the trip was and we find it very difficult to express what we had just been through. It was life changing. And we simply can’t wait to go back that beautiful part of the world that has stolen BIG pieces of our heart and soul.
4639 kilometers later and we were back home. It was surreal to be back home after such a long time. Our home almost didn’t feel like our home. It was so unfamiliar. Like we didn’t belong.
To our next journey!