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Self Drive Route 2 from Cape Town to P.E. on the scenic R62

From Cape Town, we take you on a scenic meander to the start of the historical Route 62 which winds through small farming communities and is one of the country’s favourite tourism routes. Known as the world’s longest wine route, it’s lined by rugged mountains, clear streams, orchards and plenty of port and wine cellars.

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Soak it all in slowly as you won’t want your trip to end!

If it is diversity of scenery you enjoy, then this inland route is world class. Photographic opportunities abound, with the towering cliffs and open spaces of the Karoo. The old world country charm draws you in, and the whole experience renews your soul.

The route is a completely different experience from the coastal route between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. We absolutely love them both!

Take your time – a relaxed 5 to 9 days for the best holiday!

From Cape Town, the direct route to Port Elizabeth is 800kms. To see the sights and soak up the small-town feel, allow 3 days. If you would like to visit Paarl and spend time in some of the small towns, allow an extra 2 days, or take the magnificent drive to Prince Albert over the Swartberg Pass, – Detour 2C – allow an extra day. To do Detour 2D, off the Swartberg Pass, to Die Hel, also allow an extra day (best done in a 4×4). Allow a day in Oudtshoorn if you want to do Cango Caves, and the Ostrich and Wildlife Farms. An extra day if you wish to visit George (Detour 1D on Route 1)

R62

Yes, you could drive the 800 kms direct route in 1 day, but besides collecting speeding fines, you will miss out on all this route has to offer. So, to see the sights that you would most enjoy, we have given you a selection of superb detours from which to choose, and customise your trip.

Make every day your kind of day!

As the basic route is the R62, each detour takes you off the R62, only to re-join it later.

And if you have some extra time, why not drive back to Cape Town on our Route 1 – you will never be the same!

Route Outline

Cape Town – Worcester via Du Toits Kloof PassRobertsonMontaguBarrydaleLadismithCalitzdorpOudtshoornLangkloofPort Elizabeth

Route Map from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth on the R62

Route Map from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth via the R62

Click on map to zoom in

Detailed Route Information

Drive from Cape Town to Paarl along the N1. Take the R44 (Klapmuts) off ramp to do the Detour 2A to Paarl or continue on the N1 to do Detour 2B to Montagu via De Doorns and the Keisie Valley.

To continue with R62, take the R101 off ramp at Paarl, and follow the old route to Worcester via Du Toit’s Kloof Pass over the mountains. You’ll miss the toll fees, highway traffic and the long Huguenot Tunnel, and the views from the top of the pass are wonderful. Stop and feel free to take some pictures on this much quieter road.

Worcester via Du Toits Kloof Pass

du toits kloof

Watch out for the beautiful fynbos on the mountain pass. You can stop and park at the top and look down onto the expansive valley below. Pass the manicured vineyards of this well known grape producing region.

karoo nat botanical garden

Follow the R101 and re-join the N1 just outside Worcester. Should you wish to visit the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden or take Detour 2B, then stay on the N1. The Gardens are signposted on the left just after the R60 intersection with the N1.

The Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden is Africa’s only true succulent or vygie garden: cycads, euphorbias, stemsucculents, desert grapes, spekboom and brilliantly colored mesembryanthemums thrive in its 144 hectares of natural semi-desert vegetation and 10 hectares of landscaped gardens.  At Worcester, pass the R60 (Rabie Ave) intersection with the N1, and the garden is clearly signposted on your left.

To continue with Route 62, look out for the turnoff to the right to Robertson (R43). This road (Trappe) will take you through Worcester.

kleinplasiecartOn the way to Robertson, approximately 1km outside Worcester, is Kleinplasie Open Air Museum – see how the first settlers made bread, candles and alcohol (known as witblits) in the traditional way.

Take the kids to Kleinplasie Reptile World – right next to the Kleinplasie Open Air Museum. See snakes, crocodiles, leguaans, tortoises and more.

Brandy Route

Take a cellar tour at the renowned KWV Cellars – it features the famous Cathedral Cellar, in the world’s largest cellar complex.

Vate barrydale

Brandy is undoubtedly South Africa’s favourite spirit, with over 50 South African trademarks found in the market place. Distilled from only the finest grapes and left to be matured in French Oak Barrels for at least three years, South African brandies have the reputation for outstanding quality. The Worcester region is the country’s most important brandy producing area.

Tours are available in several languages, throughout the day. You can alsotaste some of  KWV’s  award-winning wines, brandies and fortified wines.  Contact them on +27 (0)21 807 3007/8.

The first weekend in March sees the grape treading competition, known as the Whoosh festival, taking place in Worcester.

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Continue on the R60 towards Robertson with vistas of wall to wall vineyards and fruit farms. In the spring the veld is ablaze with indigenous wild flowers.

Robertson

Robertson1

Robertson is situated on the Breede River, and is famous for its tree lined streets and beautiful Victorian and Georgian era buildings with their garden roses. It has a history of 150 years, and is firmly entrenched in the wine making industry.

If you are wine enthusiast and would like to tour the more than 30 cellars in the valley, call on the Robertson Tourism Office for info.  It is left off the R60 at Reitz Street – +27(0) 23 6264437.

cactus1

Visit the Sheilam Cactus Garden – established in 1954 this cactus and succulent nursery has been owned and operated by the Schwegmann family since 1967. Boasting more than 2000 species of plants, the nursery is recognised by authorities as one of the finest collections of specimen plants. It is approximately 7.5 km outside Robertson towards Ashton take the Klaas Voogds West turn-off. After 1km on a gravel road you’ll find Sheilam Cactus Garden.

If you happen to be in the Robertson Valley in October, you can join in the festivities of the Food and Wine Festival.

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Continue on the R62 to Montagu.

Montagu

Montagu

Montagu is a quaint town surrounded by mountains. The fruit blossoms and roses are sure to impress you in spring; the relaxing outdoor restaurants, famous Montagu hot springs, grand Cape Dutch architecture and the general laid-back feel will charm you throughout the year.

Hot springs1

Montagu is surrounded by the most amazing rock formations and is a beautiful base for mountain biking and hiking. It boasts wonderful hot springs—a huge hit among children – that stay open late at night and take on additional charms under a starry sky. To get to the hot springs, go to the junction with the R318, and turn onto the R318 towards the golf course. The springs are just past the golf course. For bookings phone (023) 614 1050

Montagu has become one of the ten climbing “hot spots” worldwide and every year sees an increasein overseas visitors. The mountains have a unique rock face that excites even the most jaded climber. The many crags that vary in grade and steepness offer a wide range of climbing challenges and the weather conditions are normally perfect for climbing.

De Bos Guest Farm is the local headquarters for climbing and all the other adventure sports. Contact no:+27(0) 23 614 2532.

Montagu Tourism Bureau Tel:  (+27(0)23 614 2471 at 24 Bath Street.

For more information on Montagu, visit ShowMe Montagu.

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Barrydale

Continue on the R62 towards Ladismith.

Karoo Saloon

15 kms before Barrydale you will pass the Karoo Saloon. This is an interesting biker’s theme pub ‘n grub stopover, which has been decorated in the American R66 style.

Not much further on is the Tradaux Wine Estate and Deli, where you can have lunch and enjoy wine-tasting and Cellar tours.

Barrydale1Barrydale, surrounded by the Langeberg Mountain, is one of the most picturesque villages along the R62. The Barrydale wine cellar has won many awards. The Barrydale Brandy and Wine Cellar is just before Barrydale on the R62.

Barrydale Hand Weavers

Barrydale Hand Weaversis a project aimed at providing a skill to people who might otherwise be unemployed, and who now are able to provide for their families through the sale of their products. The weavers are encouraged to use their design skills by introducing color and pattern into the woven products. This flexibility allows for a unique range of pure cotton products in vibrant colours as well as in earthy, natural tones.  Find us in Laing Street, (behind the Barrydale Hotel).

Between Barrydale and Ladismith is Ronnie’s Sex Shop, another interesting stop for lunch, a snack or tea (but not, however, a sex shop!). Here you could meet visitors from all over the world or read graffiti from adoring fans!

For an unusual swim try Warmwaterberg Spaa hot mineral spring, surrounded by five Klein Karoo mountain ranges. It offers a wide variety of self catering accommodation, caravan sites and camping. Private Roman baths are situated in the Main House where you may relax and enjoy one of natures’ spoils. Find it off the R62 on the Ladismith side of Barrydale just past Ronnie’s Sex Shop. Tel: +27 (0) 28 572-1609

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Ladismith

Ladismith produces a third of South Africa’s apricots!

Travel SA

Ladismith serves as an extensive farming area with ideal climate for the production of quality fruit apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines and grapes.

Towerkop, the rocky outcrop guarding Ladismith, is a good spot for rock climbing.

The town has some beautiful churches and is also renowned for the local cheeses. There are two cheese factories, Ladismith Cheese Factory:  in Schoongesight Avenue Tel (028) 551 1613 and Parmalat is in Suid Street (R62).

The local winery offers the wine lover a great selection of Towerkop wines. Turn right onto Ko-operasie Rd, just before the T-junction with Suid for Ladismith Wine and Brandy Cellars. Turn right into Suid Street for Ladismith Cellars which is on the R62.

We recommend you do our Detour 2C through the beautiful Hoeko Valley, where in the spring and autumn you experience breathtaking views of the orchards.

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Calitzdorp

calitzdorp1

Calitzdorp lies in the dramatic Gamka Valley. It is known as the heart of the Klein Karoo, and is also the port wine capital of South Africa. Prepare to be wowed by the bougainvillea blooms, the many flawless Victorian, Cape Dutch, Georgian and Karoo-style houses, and the star-studded Karoo night sky.

Visit the Dutch Reformed Church – each evening you can enjoy the popular organ recital by Dr Noël Jean Creil. At Die Dorpshuis, opposite the church, ask for keys to see the famous tapestries that illustrate biblical scenes, woven by congregants many years ago.

Visit the many cellars for free tastings of some of their award-winning ports, brandies and wines. Turn off the Route 62 at Van Riebeck Street signposted for De Krans and Boplaas cellars. The Calitzdorp Wine Cellar is also popular. For information on all the cellars, phone the Tourism Office on +27 (0)44 213 3755

Relax and rejuvenate in the mineral-rich hot springs of the Calitzdorp Spa. For bookings or more information, call +27 (0)44 213 3371

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Continue on the R62 towards Oudtshoorn. If you would like to do the Detour 2D to Oudtshoorn via the Nels Valley, Prince Albert and De Rust, watch out for the turnoff to the left to Kruis River and Matjies River. It is about 13kms from Calitzdorp.

In our opinion, this is one of the best road trips anywhere in the world. Most of it is on unpaved roads, but as long as it’s not raining, it is fine.

Oudtshoorn

Continue with the R62 if you want to go directly to Oudtshoorn. Sunny all year round, Oudtshoorn is an outdoor paradise. The capital of the ostrich feather industry, Oudtshoorn boasts many ‘feather palaces” and other fine examples of sandstone architecture built around 1810 and kept in pristine condition. le_roux_townhouse_5

If you’re keen to find out more about the ostrich industry in Oudtshoorn, visit the C.P.   Nel Museumwhich displays the history of the Ostrich trade; it’s on 3 Baron van Rheede Street. Or go to the Le Roux townhouse, a perfectly preserved Ostrich Palace. It’s situated in High Street, between Church and St Saviour Streets.

Visit the Cango Caves – a limestone wonderland that’s etched deep into the Swartberg Mountains. It’s decked out with stalactites and dripstone formations. Find the turn-off on the R328 towards Prince Albert.

On the way to the Cango Caves, you will find:

Cango Wildlife Ranch and Cango Ostrich Show Farm.

Cango Wildlife Montage

The Cango Wildlife Ranch is an endangered species breeding facility.  It is oldest and biggest cheetah contact centre worldwide and offers visitors the rare opportunity of interacting with hand reared cheetahs and getting actively involved in saving this species and others from extinction. Find out about crocodiles, Bengal tigers or even wrap yourself in a python or dive with Nile crocodiles. See baby hippos, wallabies, otters and much more. Cango ostrich farm 1

Cango Ostrich Show Farm is 14 km from Oudtshoorn. Here you can touch, feel, sit on or even ride an ostrich, find out all about them, see the babies hatch, taste ostrich meat, visit the wine shop and browse the huge range of curios –  or have lunch at the restaurant. Contact Info: +27 (0)44 272-4623 – Opening hours: Daily from 09h00 to 17h00.

For a very lively Afrikaans cultural experience of theatre, entertainment and crafts, don’t miss the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, which attracts 250 000 visitors to the town in early April.

meerkat magic

If you’re a meerkat fan, you might like to interact with these sweet and silly suricatesat Meerkat Magic. This is a conservation project for these animals. Book your own tour with Grant, the Meerkat man +27 (0) 82 413 6895

Oudtshoorn bustles with many other fun things to do and see. Contact the Tourism Office for info on the Klein Karoo wine route, and all the other activities.  Tel: 27 (0)44 279 2532

For more information on Oudtshoorn, visit ShowMe Oudtshoorn.

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Langkloof

From Oudtshoorn, take the N12 towards George. At the junction with the N9, turn left onto the N9.

If you would like to see George, you could do our Detour 1D on Self Drive Route 1 and then either join Route 1 to Port Elizabeth or return to Route 2 (R62) to P. E.

Oudtshoorn to Plett link

 

Can you believe the change in scenery!

Uniondale road montage

If you would like to branch down to the coast at this stage, you can take our Link 4 to Plettenberg Bay and Knysna. At Uniondale, watch for the R339/R340 to Avontuur. This will take you on a gravel road over the Prince Albert Pass. See Link 4.

Langkloof Valley

langkloof fruit

 

 

 

 

And then you reach the Langkloof Valley which stretches for more than 160km. Once home to Bushmen and Gonagua Hottentots, today it is the second largest fruit production area in S.A. – specialising in apples and pears, with many other varieties.  Joubertina is the main town in the Langkloof.

Continue on the R62 which will eventually bring you out on the N2, just before Port Elizabeth. Turn left for P.E.

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Port Elizabeth

The seaport city of Port Elizabeth boasts 40 kilometers of magnificent beaches. Also known as PE, or “the friendly city”, it forms part of the bigger Nelson Mandela Bay metro with the towns Uitenhage and Despatch, and marks the gateway to the Eastern Cape.

PE Montage1 Take a stroll down Kings Beach, stretching from the harbour wall to Humewood, which has Blue Flag status.

Kids can whizz down the super tube or explore the rock pools at Hobie Beach.

Go watch the dolphins show off at the Bayworld Oceanarium and Snake Park. It’s on Beach Road in Humewood. Tel: +27(0)41 584 0650

Visit the Seaview Lion Park – take the N2 off-ramp 730 to Greenbushes/Seaview onto the Seaview Road, taking the Seaview direction for 3km and take a fork left into Lower Seaview Road. The Lion Park entrance is on the left. The park is unique in that it offers you a self-drive option, where you can drive up close to wild animals in their natural environment. You can also choose to interact with lion cubs, watch the daily feeding of the lions at midday, or walk along the boardwalk to view the sanctuary animals. For Info, call +27(0) 41 378 1702

Walk the Sacramento Trail – an 8km walk starting at the west end of Schoenmakerskop and following the coast to Sardinia Bay or try out the 9km Roseate Tern Trail at Cape Recife Nature Reserve. Look out for the lighthouse, built in 1851. Leave your vehicles outside the gate.

Nelson Mandela Bay has been called South Africa’s water sports capital. It has excellent conditions for wind surfing, kite surfing, and wave jumping. The many shipwrecks, coral fish and reefs provide for some top notch scuba diving sites too. Call the PE Tourism Bureau for more info: + (27) 41 582 2575

NoordhoekThe dependable wind at Noordhoek creates some of the best conditions for experienced wave-jumpers. This spot is 8 km from Hobie beach along Marine Drive and  is generally free of crowds. Call the PE Tourism Bureau for more info on all water sports: + (27) 41 582 2575

Visit 47 historical Settler sights on the 5km Donkin Heritage Trail through Central Town. Buy a booklet from the Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism office at the Donkin Reserve in the historical lighthouse building, and then simply follow the painted blue line.

For all the tourist attractions and events in Port Elizabeth, visit ShowMe Port Elizabeth.

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Route Detours

Detour 2A to Paarl

Paarl Detour

This picturesque town showcases our cultural heritage, premier wine estates  and the large granite outcrop that gave Paarl its name

Paarl has so much to offer – a magnificent countryside, five mountain passes, a bounty of fruit orchards and beautiful vineyards, with the Berg River winding its way through and giving life to this fertile valley.

Add to this a rich cultural heritage and diversity of historic buildings throughout the town, balanced by modern architecture and amenities. Excellent dining and exquisite wines, friendly people and a transcending feeling of tranquility – be sure to experience all this for yourself! butterfly world

As you turn off the N1 onto the R44 to Klapmuts, you will see Butterfly World on your left. It’s the largest butterfly park in Africa. Butterflies fly freely in a large landscaped covered garden. There is also a coffee garden and craft centre. Tel. +27 (0)44 875 5628

After Butterfly World, turn left onto the R45.  You will pass Simonsvlei on your right. To visit Fairview and Seidelberg, turn next left and cross the N1.

Fairview, a unique experience – peacocks scatter as you drive past the famous goat tower. The tasting room is warm and welcoming, and a large selection of fine wines and delicious cheesestempt the palate. Fairview not only produces award-winning wines, but also Jersey milk Brie and Camembert, as well as a wide variety of Italian and French style goats and sheep’s cheeses.

Fairview Farm

Further along the same road is the Seidelberg Wine Estate, which also houses the Red Hot Glass Studio.

Red Hot Glass

Return to the R45 and turn next left onto Sandwyk Street and first right onto Pieter Hugo Street.  Turn left onto Gabbema Doordrift Rd. You will see the signs to the ultra modern Afrikaanse Taal Monument.

Next to the historic Afrikaans Taal Monument, the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is a truly stunning 2000-hectare retreat, with hiking and biking trails, fishing opportunities and breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and winelands. Take a drive through the reserve – you won’t be disappointed! If you are interested in rock climbing, the Paarl Rock in the reserve is a favourite spot.

Adjoining the nature reserve, finely situated on the slopes of the hill, is the small Meulwater Wild Flower Reserve, with some 200 species of indigenous plants. It is particularly beautiful in late spring, when the flowers display their best.

Return to the R45 which is also the Main Road of Paarl.

A picture house of architectureis found along the 2 kilometer stretch of the Main Street, starting at the Strooidak Church – the oldest Dutch Reformed Church in the country still in use. Zeederberg Square is surrounded by picturesque Cape Dutch, Georgian and Victorian houses.

Pop into the Tourism Office at 216 Main Road – Tel: +27 (0)21 872 0860 to collect info and maps for  the wine route.

KWV

Paarl and its immediate vicinity boast enough wine cellars and estates to justify its own wine route. Wine cellars on the Paarl Wine Route include:

  • Boland Wine Cellar, with its charming new, underground tasting venue
  • De Zoete Inval, which has become a popular meeting place for family, friends and visitors –  cheese and cheese pastry are served in between exceptional wines
  • The KWV – apart from producing wines and spirits of internationally renowned quality, the KWV also sponsors the annual Berg River Canoe Marathon, which takes place in September and attracts participants from near and far
  • Laborie Estate, which serves elegant wines and divine traditional dishes in a stylish restaurant, where the splendor of the Paarl Valley stretches away in an incredible vista
  • Nederburg, located on the northern end of Paarl and the setting for the fabulous Nederburg Wine Auction each year during April. This event is considered a highlight on the International wine calendar that attracts wine lovers from around the globe. The Auction takes place over two days and main features include an international guest speaker, a trend-setting fashion show and, of course, the auction itself

Continue on Main Road till Hout Street, on your left. Soon after Hout Street, turn right onto Pastorie Avenue. Here you will find the Afrikaanse Taal Museum.

Paarl toring kerkAfter the Taal Museum, turn right into van der Lingen Street, for the Oude Pastorie. The Oude Pastorie (Old Parsonage) was built in 1787 and renovated in 1939. It is one of the most precious architectural treasures of Paarl, situated below the impressive “Toringkerk” (Tower Church). It is now a museum with a fine collection of Cape Dutch furniture, antiques, silver, copperware, brass, porcelain and glass, textiles of Huguenot origin and Afrikaner culture.

Return along van der Lingen Street, to Main Road and turn right to find the Paarl Museum at 303 Main Rd. The original building was used to accommodate eleven ministers from the Strooidak Kerk between 1715 and 1872.  The building was renovated in 1939. The museum focuses on the history of Paarl and displays a fascinating collection of Cape Antiques, artifacts, documents and photographs, which reflect the cultural diversity and development of the town.

Turn right onto Lady Grey Street (R101). Turn right onto the Berg River Boulevard (R45). Go straight over the circle, and just before you rejoin the Main Road (R45), turn left onto Cecilia Street. Continue to the circle and turn left onto Arboretum Avenue and left again to visit the Arboretum.

Botanists will love the Paarl Arboretum. Over 700 species of trees and shrubs from 6 continents line the banks of the Berg River. Some of these oaks were donated by Simon van der Stel.

Continue on Arboretum Avenue and at the T-junction, turn left onto the R301 (Jan van Riebeeck Rd) if you would like to visit the Paarl Bird Sanctuary or turn right, to re-join the N1.

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Enjoy the more than 140 bird species at the 45-hectare Paarl Bird Sanctuary, especially popular for waterfowls. Birders can expect to see many wetland and mountain rarities. Follow the signs from Drommedaris Street.

After re-joining the N1, turn left off the N1 at the R101 off ramp, not too much further on. At the top of the offramp, turn left and first right onto Lafayette Avenue, the R101. This is the route to the Du Toits Kloof Pass and you are back on R62.

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Detour 2B from Worcester to Montagu via Keisie Valley (133kms)

Route Map from De Doorns to Montagu via Keisie Valley

Route Map from De Doorns to Keisie Valley

Zoom to see the map details of the green route.

 

De Doorns

If you have driven the R62 before, then this is a very different route from Worcester to Montagu. Drive through the scenic Hex River Valley and Hex River Pass. After De Doorns, turn right onto the R318 to Montagu and drive over the Rooihoogte and Burgers Passes through the Keisie River Valley. This route is only 54 kms longer than the direct route from Worcester to Montagu.

You will experience beautiful Karoo vegetation with something different around each corner!

The Hex River Valley in the autumn is a photographer’s dream with all the rust colored vines.

Stop for tea or lunch at the Velskoen Farm Stall near De Doorns on the left side of the road – a real surprise!

De Doorns boasts having the toughest 4×4 trail in South Africa (Hex River 4×4 trail), so manna, here is the number – +27(0) 82 770 4931 or +27(0) 23 358 2207. The trail begins 3.9 kilometres north of the small town of De Doorns, on the N1 between Worcester and Touwsriver. If travelling northwards, the entrance is on the right and well signposted.

De Doorns2

Just before you arrive in Montagu, you will pass the Hot Springs – maybe a thought for a relaxing evening after the drive.

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Detour 2C to the Hoeko Valley

This 17 km detour from Ladismith brings you out onto the R62 closer to Calitzdorp.

We took this route because we were looking for accommodation, and it was an accidental surprise that we loved!

Hoeko Valley 2

At the intersection of the R62 and Suid Street in Ladismith, turn left and first right onto Church Street. Continue and turn left into North Street. This road will take you to the Hoeko Valley. It is a trip that is really away from it all, mountains, farms, partly unpaved – just great!

Hoeko Valley 1

Back to Main Route

Detour 2D to Oudtshoorn via Nels Valley, Swartberg Pass, Prince Albert and De Rust

Route Map for the Nels Valley Detour

Calitzdorp Self Drive Route to Oudtshoorn

Click for enlarged map of Nels Valley Detour

About 13 kms from Calitzdorp, you  turn off left to Kruis River and the Nels River Valley which emerges at the foot of the Swartberg Pass. The towering Swartberg, with its unusual red color, stays with you as you pass ostrich farms, fertile green valleys and beautiful scenery.

Nels river 1

The 186-kilometre drive through the Nels Valley and over the Swartberg Pass to the charming village of Prince Albert and then through Meiringspoort and De Rust and back to Oudtshoorn is probably one of the most rugged, amazing drives you will do anywhere in the world.

Definitely one of our favourites!

Nels River 2

Once you join the R328, you can explore the Cango Caves now, rather than from Oudtshoorn. Turn right and drive for about 11.6 kms to the entrance on your left (the caves are 27km from Oudtshoorn). cango_caves 2

The caves are the spectacular underground wonder of the Klein Karoo.  Situated in a limestone ridge parallel to the well known Swartberg Mountains, you will find the finest dripstone caverns, with their vast halls and towering formations.

There are different tours available from walking to squeezing through the smallest of tunnels – it’s up to you!

Retrace your steps and continue with the R328 up the Swartberg Pass. The Swartberg Pass is the crowning achievement of Thomas Bain, the master pass builder of South Africa, and was built from 1881-1888. If it is raining, bear in mind the road is gravel, but in good condition. The Swartberg Pass is fine for cars, but not trailers.

Swartberg Pass1

Near the top of the pass is the turn off for Detour 2E to Gamkaskloof – the descent into the historic settlement of Die Hel – a National Heritage Site – will never be forgotten and will keep your camera clicking.

It takes about 2 hours to get down to Die Hel at Gamkaskloof and with spending some time there, it will be at least 5-6 hours before you get back up. You will probably need to overnight there in the restored, original valley cottages.  Accommodation bookings at: www.diehel.com or phone 023 541 1107 during the day. Alternatively, if you start very early in the morning, you can get down and back in 4 hours with some extra time to look around.

You will see indigenous fynbos, little rivers, birds and flowers, all from a 37km winding road that is probably best driven in a 4×4 and is not suitable for trailers.

De Hel 4

History: The earliest inhabitants of the valley were the San Bushmen followed by a group of farmers in the early 1830’s. They lived here in virtual isolation for about 130 years. In 1958, the first car was brought into the valley through the Gamka River gorge. In 1962 a road was built into the valley which facilitated communication with the outside world, and was the main reason for the exodus of the youth. The older folks had to follow.  The last remaining farmer left in 1991, leaving the valley with no permanent residents but with the houses intact.

If you do not go to Gamkaskloof, continue over the pass and at the T-junction, turn left to Prince Albert – one of those unknown secret gems of South Africa. From the historic architecture to the quaint shops; from star gazing to bird watching, this is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable country towns to visit. And the wonderful locals just add to the experience!

Prince Albert 1

  • For some quality Karoo views, take the Koppie walk at sunset. You don’t need a permit. The path starts at the top of Cromwell Street, and end in Klip Street. Wear a hat, some good walking shoes, and bring some water.
  • Die Wolschuur Mohair Shop on Kerk Street sells 100% mohair hand-woven carpets, blankets, jerseys and other products. They also sell other handcrafted goodies and jewelry.

Prince Albert 2

  • On Saturdays, visit the market on the square next to the Fransie Pienaar museum. You can buy homemade pickles, jams, fresh or dried fruit and more
  • Go olive tasting at the Swartrivier Olive Farm. Book your tour or tasting with them beforehand on +27 (0)23 5411 917. It’s 5 kms out of Prince Albert on the Kruidfontein Road
  • Visit Gay’s Cheese Factoryfor farm fresh milk, yoghurt, cream, amasi & cheese. Tel: +27(0) 23 5411 274 at Upper Kerkstraat
  • Visit the old Watermill at the southern entrance of Prince Albert
  • Attend the Olive Festival in May

For a small town, there are surprisingly many things to do. We recommend phoning the Tourism office for a list of all the options – including fig farms, wine tasting, 4×4 routes, biking and cheese making. +27 (0) 23 541 1788

After Prince Albert, carry on the R407 to De Rust, via the dramatic Meiringspoort Pass, and then on to the N12 to Oudtshoorn.

Prince Albert to De Rust

The scenery speaks for itself – such diversity!

De Rust to Oudtshoorn

Arrive in Oudtshoorn.

Back to Main Route

Link 4 to Plett or Knysna via Prince Alfred Pass

At Uniondale, turn onto the R339 to Avontuur, Knysna and Plett.

Prince Alfred Pass Montage

After the Pass and Avontuur, you will come to a fork in the road – bear left on the R340 to Plettenberg Bay and right onto the R339 to Knysna. Not far along the R339 to Knysna is the signpost to Spitskop, and if you are going to Plett, it is really worthwhile to make the short detour to this amazing viewsite.

spitzkop1

You will come out on the N2 and can then take our Route 1 along the N2 to Cape Town or continue on the N2 to Port Elizabeth.

Back to Main Route

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More info on the town of Joubertina More info on the Langkloof area



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