While living in the beautiful Garden Route we sometimes want to get away to an area that is different and remote yet not too far away and it should not cost that much but still feed our souls in a satisfactory way.
The Klein Karoo is such a place on our doorstep to escape to for a breakaway either for a weekend or ideally if you can take a few days off during the week.
There are so many destinations in the Klein Karoo to explore, we ended up just off the R62 close to Ladismith at what used to be the village of Plathuis at the foothills of the Touwsberg. Once a thriving little community with a railway station, school, and church. Unfortunately, huge parts of the railway line were destroyed during the big flood of 1982 when the Buffels River flooded and caused the Laingsburg disaster. Due to the flood the Laingsburg – Oudtshoorn line was decommissioned and the town of Plathuis slowly got to a standstill.
Depending on where you are in the Garden Route, we decided to take the N2 from George to Riverdale then the R323 to the R62 from there our destination for two nights was at the historical Wolverfontein Karoo Cottages with Andre and Ashley our hosts.
What an experience, they have two cottages, one used to be a dwelling for schoolteachers and the other was an old barn. Both magnificently renovated and furnished in a unique style they call “Boere Kitsch”, amazing we loved it. Everything that you can think of to have at your disposal in the middle of the Karoo, just bring your clothes and food, self-catering par excellence.
The journey was quite interesting, at first, we stopped off at the well-known Alcare Aloe factory and shop in Albertinia. This is a must stop if not for the products, it is a welcoming break on your journey, and they have clean bathroom facilities and a coffee shop. The range of skin products for men and women alone were overwhelming, beautiful displays and helpful staff. Aloe ferox is known for its medical and skin applications.
A mere 40 kilometres from Albertinia, we just had to stop again, this time at the Bali Trading and Rooi Aalwyn Padstal and Koffiepot. We had to decide if our journey to the Karoo was going to turn into a shopping trip or just sightseeing?
You will be mesmerized by their range of quality household, leather, and clothing products, and what I believe at a price that cannot be matched anywhere else. Here you will find the Rooi Aalwyn restaurant selling traditional vetkoek and home-made food.
Gin and locally distilled and brewed alcohol, fresh products from the region and so much more. Do yourself a favour, stop here at least once to experience it and you will want to revisit this complex every time you pass Riversdale.
At Riverdale we took the R323 and passed through beautiful farmland, the Garcia pass connected us to the Klein Karoo. As you exit the pass at the turn of to Vanwyksdorp on the left you will have to stop again, this time at Muiskraal Olives Padstal. They have the best black olives in the country, obviously that is open to debate but my whole family will agree because I was tasked with a list of requests from Muiskraal to buy for them. Here you may taste their olives and oil and have a peek into the factory. The staff are so enthusiastic about their products that it is difficult not to become a raving fan of what they are doing.
After all that, it was time to focus on our end destination, so we continued steadily towards the R62 passing through this beautiful Klein Karoo landscape along the Groot River initially then we crossed the Touwsriver which we joined up with at our destination later on. Driving along the Groot River through the cuttings you view beautiful farms with spectacular mountainous backdrops, take your time and enjoy.
It has recently rained in the Klein Karoo, when we arrived at our destination we settled in and after a cup of coffee set off to climb the nearby hill to not only view the surrounding area but to appreciate the abundance of the Klein Karoo flowers.
It was a feast for the eyes, we had luck, must have been those two days when the flowers were at their maximum bloom. At the top of the hill, we had an amazing 360 degrees view, we could see the whole of the Touwsberg, the Towerkop at Ladismith, the snaking Touwsriver and the farmhouses and dwellings around Plathuis. The sunset was awesome, our wandering spirits calmed down and peace and quietness took over, this is what we came for.
For the next day we wanted to do as little as possible, however we got up early, climbed the hill again, this time to witness the sunrise which we did again the last morning. Had a late breakfast, took pictures of the abundance of flowers, played with the dogs, we visited the Touwsberg Nature reserve for a short game drive. When we came back, we had lunch, did some reading, and had a nap. In the afternoon we took a sightseeing round trip all along the Touwsriver then the Groot River and Vyesrus just to be back in time to light the fire for the braai.
What a day it was, planned to do nothing and ended up exploring the region and enjoying nature, there is always a lot to do in the Klein Karoo, does not matte which part you visit.
The last day we leisurely drove back the same way we came because we wanted to revisit the road stalls and witness the beautiful route from the other direction. An alternative way back was via Ladismith, Huisriver Pass, Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn and Outeniqua Pass.
Book a cottage or old farm or volkshuisie in the Klein Karoo, hit the road and let your wandering spirit lead you to new experiences, either by foot, bicycle or car, the Klein Karoo will always surprise you.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in