Following our visit to Stellenbosch we drove back through Franschhoek to join route 60 which takes you to Robertson. We had read that there are some good wine tasting spots in the Robertson area, and whilst we did see various wineries offering wine tastings, the town of Robertson itself was a disappointment. Perhaps our expectations had been skewed by just coming from Stellenbosch and Franschhoek but Robertson seemed to us run down, dishevelled and littered. We drove around a few times thinking perhaps we had driven in on the ‘dodgy’ side of town but it seemed not, so we decided to just keep driving. If you carry on along route 60 it then turns into route 62.
Near Robertson is the small town of McGregor which is at the end of a dead end road. Small, quaint and quite quiet. We stopped at a small winery called Tanagra for a wine tasting. They only make red wine but they also make grappa. We didn’t try the grappa as we hadn’t even had lunch yet but we did buy a bottle of red. Nom nom. We carried on driving onto Montagu for an overnight stop. The town seemed to have a few streets with some small shops and restaurants but as it was a Sunday, everything was closed!
The following day we carried on along route 62 to a town called Calitzdorp. This town is famous for making port (they also produce wine) so as soon as we saw a sign for port tasting, the van was parked quick smart and we did well not to run into the place. We did some wine and port tasting at De Krans winery which was a stunning little place. You can sit out to eat and drink under the vines which trail around their building. The port was really good having won various awards for the last, give or take, 10 years so we bought 3 different bottles. We drove onto a town called Oudtshoorn and found a great campsite called Kleinplaas Caravan Park. Definitely recommend the caravan park if you are ever in the area. The town itself was supremely popular in the 1800s when ostrich feathers adorned the hats of every lady in society which were sourced from this town. Some of the wealth from the industry is reflected through the architecture of its older buildings and there are still shops that sell ostrich products.
We didn’t spend too much time in the town itself as it was super hot so we made use of the pool at the campsite and the much needed shade under the trees where we had set up a hammock. Heaven!
The following day we set off in the van to drive the Swartberg Pass. There is a road that runs from Oudtshoorn to a small town called Prince Albert. Part of this road is a gravel track that takes you over the mountains between the two. This was some drive. To be honest it probably wasn’t the best idea to attempt this drive in a van that has already celebrated it’s 25th birthday but what a drive it was. The views were amazing and whilst some parts of the drive were a bit nail biting, it was definitely worth it. Saying that, once we had driven it, Andy did say ‘now that we’ve ticked that off the bucket list, I won’t be driving it again!’.
Once you reach the town of Prince Albert, which is pretty small and had a few small shops and a couple of restaurants, you can drive back along the main road so you don’t have to drive the pass again on the way home. Phew!
We headed back to Kleinplass Caravan Park for the night before setting off to the coast the next day to hit the Garden Route…