It is said that Route 62 is the longest wine route in the world, but if you’re not that big on wine, you can just drink in the beauty of the mountains and spectacular scenery while you take a leisurely road trip along this long winding road. Veer off the N2 onto this meandering route between the Western and Eastern Cape and while you’re here, do yourself a favour and make a few pit stops along the way.
Taste along the way
If you like to take your time with a leisurely drive and want to get to know the locals along the way, this off the beaten track wine route is just the place to stop and explore. Visit up to 70 wine farms on this route, from Wellington, Tulbach, Worcester, Robertson to the Klein Karoo. This also includes 11 specialist brandy cellars. If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, make sure to spend some time in Calitzdorp, the port-making capital of South Africa. Due to EU export legislation South African port producers are prohibited from naming their product “port” so the master blenders in Calitzdorp produce Cape Tawny, Cape Vintage and Cape Ruby, that is of outstanding quality.
Nestled at the foot of the Langeberge in the Tradouw Valley, the country’s smallest wine district, lies Barrydale. Taste some world-class pot still brandies and quality Chardonnay and Syrah in this area. For the more unconventional tasters, head on to Grundheim Wines in the Klein Karoo for some witblitz (a potently strong white brandy spirit) or if you’d rather stick to the more mellow tastings, try their flavoured cream-based liqueurs.
This scenic route is filled with so much to see and do, you cannot go wrong by stopping along the way, tasting what the locals has to offer and breathing in some fresh, Route 62 air.
Ronnie’s Sex Shop
This oddly named stop next to the road needs a mention of its own. Driving past the white building with red graffiti lettering just outside Barrydale, you might want to tell the children to look the other way, but do take the turnoff and stop for a quick drink and you will see why Ronnie’s business has become so popular. Ronnie’s initial plan was to open a farm stall to sell fresh produce and fruit when he innocently painted the name Ronnie’s Shop on the cottage wall next to Route 62. When his friends added the word sex between “Ronnie’s and “shop”, he was, needless to say, not very impressed. Nevertheless, he left the name while he was fixing the building. During this time his friends would come over for a few beers and a braai and it was at one of these gatherings that one of them suggested he open a pub. And that’s what he did. Visitors can pop in for a drink, a light pub meal or even pick up a braai pack and salad to enjoy before heading off again. Ronnie’s Sex Shop has attracted visitors from all over the world and welcomes all kinds of people, from bikers to local farmers.
If time is on your side and the journey is part of your holiday, why not plan to visit a private game reserve for a night or two. There are a few game reserves in the area, including these ones:
Sanbona Wildlife Reserve
The reserve is home to the only free-roaming white lions in the world, so need we say more? Located at the foot of the Warmwaterberg Mountain Range in the Little Karoo, Sanbona is one of the largest privately owned game reserves in South Africa. It pays tribute to the San people who lived in this area for centuries and visitors can enjoy the stillness and isolation amid its vast open plains. Come to see the big five, grab your binoculars and enjoy the bird life or take a walk back in time and experience the legacy of the Bushmen’s rock art. This is also the only conserved habitat for the endangered Riverine Rabbit, the 13th most endangered mammal in the world.
Touwsberg Private Game Reserve
Located 35km southwest of Ladismith, this game reserve is home to kudu, eland, giraffe, red hartebeest, black wildebeest, gemsbok and the threatened Cape Mountain Zebra. Smaller game varieties include springbok, duiker, steenbok and the klipspringer, while predators such as leopard, caracal (rooikat) and jackal also roam in the area.
This is a great place to relax with sundowners at the open bar while watching the sun set. Hopefully you will catch a glimpse of kudu, giraffe, elephants or Cape Mountain Zebra passing by. Buffelsdrift is located at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains, en route to the Cango Caves near Oudtshoorn. It’s home to 20 game species and more than 217 bird species.
This popular tourist attraction cannot be missed. Located at the foothills of the Swartberg Mountain range near Oudtshoorn, the range of dripstone formations will amaze you. Although the tunnels and chambers stretch over four kilometres, only about a quarter of this is open to visitors. Guided tours take place at regular intervals and there is an option between the standard tour and the adventure tour. For the more adventurous, the latter includes crawling through narrow passages and climbing up steep rock formations. Whichever tour you choose, this is a must see attraction on Route 62.
So much more
This route is filled with so much to see and do, so it’s up to you to decide where the road takes you. Montagu’s stunning rock formations make for a great playground for hikers and mountain bikers. Various farm stalls can be found along the way selling produce made in the local districts. Have the children with you? Don’t forget to take them to see Oudtshoorn’s famous ostriches. Wherever you decide to stop, jus remember to take it easy, relax and drink in the beauty of this spectacular route.