The quaint little town of Barrydale in the Western Cape serves as a welcomed oasis at the end of the unique, mostly dry and barren R62 that runs through South Africa’s Klein Karoo.
Upon reaching Barrydale from this Klein Karoo side, you've by now quenched your thirst at Ronnie’s Sex Shop, you've meandered up and down tricky Huis River Passes, and you’ve seen the town of Barrydale from the Tradouw Valley on your ascend.
Another scenic drive will bring you to Barrydale; the N2 through Caledon, bypassing Swellendam and turning off onto the R324 after Buffelsjags via the Tradouws Pass offers a glimpse into the stunning Overberg's side of the town.
Barrydale is nestled at the foot of the Majestic Langeberge where the northern exit of the Tradouws Pass meets the R62 from Worcester, Robertson and Montagu.
Like with many South African dorpies, travellers can spot the protruding Dutch Reformed Church tower long before actually entering the town. And, like with the other dorpies, the church has great significance within the establishment of the town.
It's no exception with Barrydale; farmers who settled on the lands in the valley at the top of the Tradouw Pass decided they wanted their own church and chose the spot for their religious symbol at the point where the R62 and R324 meet. The village thus owes its existence to both a church and crossroads. The latter still being a major source of life for Barrydale.
The village was initially named after James Barry, an early settler in the Overberg, who was not only a trader but acted as lawyer, agent and auctioneer, deputy sheriff and commandant of militia. What a man!
When to go to Barrydale:
This is the time you need to get out and about in Barrydale. Join harvest festivals or do a hiking trail to see the beautiful mountains covered in wild flowers. During the summer months, the town is also a buzzing hub with plenty of evening concerts, dinner clubs and events lined up once the day has cooled.
It gets really, really cold during Klein Karoo winters, and given the high mountain passes surrounding this dorpie, it's notorious for cold wind blowing from the mountain tops down the valley. If you go in winter, book a cozy cabin, buy a bottle of good local red and snug up next to someone you love.
What to do & see:
- Bertus Cooke Trail
Labyrinth & Peace Pagoda
Combine getting to know the Barrydale area on foot with seeing these amazing natural waterfalls and splash pools located high up in the mountains' valleys. It will make the sometimes tough trail every bit worth while.
Drive (or 4x4) the Tradouw Pass
Barrydale Hand Weavers is a skills and job creation project initiated by entrepreneurs Tivane Mavuma and Carol Morris. These guys train local people in the art of hand-weaving on looms and produce beautiful handwoven rugs, carpets, tableware, fabrics and even clothing. The weavery is open to the public and has become a sought after tourist attraction in Barrydale. If you are planning a trip on Route 62, make sure you pop in and see the looms in action, hear the stories of how it all happens and admire the range of pure cotton, handwoven home decor.
Events in Barrydale:
Gerald Clarke and Luna Page
What: Make a weekend of this event and book your stay at the Barrydale Karoo Hotel, where this epic, laid back duo will be held.
When: 25 April
Where to eat & stay:
Barrydale Karoo Hotel