Surviving the road trip to Tulbagh is easy; surviving the wine trip is another story. Three Horak’s, Elmarie, Nandi and me set off for a winter’s break to Tulbagh. Elmarie’s birtday is on 21 June; the shortest day in South Africa and her Sotho name is Maserami. Her gogo said:
Baby Elmarie came with the cold.
Cold. Very cold. So Elmarie wanted to spend a weekend in the cold. I would love a road trip including a few passes. Nandi, our daughter; she had an obligation. Obviously with three dogs we looked like the SPCA on wheels.
High expectations; off we go to find the cold in Tulbagh; three nights of blankets, fires and red wine. Via Baden Powel on to Stellenbosch via Helshooghte pass (dates back to 1854), off to Paarl and Bain’s Kloof Pass and Tulbagh.
It is 27.3 km in length from the bridge over the Breede River to the outskirts of Wellington. Built circa 1849 by Andrew Geddes Bain, this pass was a tough nut to crack, working with convicts and raw, rough materials and methods. As always seemed to be the case with Bain, he oversaw a marvellous job of the pass which, having stood the test of time, is now a national monument. mountainpassessouthafrica.
At the top you’ll find Bain’s Kloof village; an interesting and very small place with sun basking baboons on roofs as well as other hikers. We saw a few self catering options and could stay here for a day or two (see Bainskloof Corner Lodge – not affiliated).
The slow winding pass took us through interesting rock formations…
On a road trip you cannot just drive past a bush pub.
So we stopped at Calabash push pub. Only two bikers having a beer and many lazy dogs. The dry lady arrived at our table, which complimenting her dry pub. This sun-faded place needed more than a Savanna for colour.
The setting was worth a stop!
We ordered three beers, chicken livers and two schnitzels. The chef exceeded our expectations with tasty food.
From here via Wolseley to Tulbagh.
Traveling the main road through Tulbagh looks like most other another rural towns but that assumption, you don’t want to make; you are missing the famous Church Street.
Through town we traveled, past Twee Jonggesellen’s turn-off and Rijk’s wines, not knowing what lay install for us, towards our accommodation at Vrolikheid called Bergsicht Farm Cottages – and they are pet-friendly.
Aneretha, the host, made us feel welcome with ample firewood for the braai and fireplace, some coffee, milk and all the essentials. There are electric blankets, extra blankets. However Elmarie was still disappointed; the sun shone everyday.
And if you ever wanted a view then cottage 3 cannot be beaten. Okay, Table Mountain is special…but let’s focus on Tulbagh here.
Unpacked and ready to rush to Twee Jongesellen for Krone bubbles (MCC).
We tasted everything. Nothing wasted because all their MCC is also sulfur free. And we need to mention the lovely lady sharing her insights with us.
After carrying boxes of Krone to the car we went to Rijk’s for lots of red wine; not for tasting but indulging. If only I knew….
Elmarie, Nandi and friends; Martelize and De Klerk arranged to meet at Rijk’s where we were treated royally by Elaine and Jeannine.
Later we braaied at home and as the sun set Nandi and Gino had some fun in the sky.
We woke early to see the sunrise over this amazing valley; no wonder it’s called Bergsight.
Apparently there’s a lot of frogs and the road down to the restaurant building became known as frog alley, therefore, the name padda-gang.
The dogs could run around on the large lawn while we sampled Belguim food and Belguim beer. The peacocks were cautious and kept their distance.
By now I had more than my fair share and could retreat but pushed trough. The others were strong. And we’ll leave it at that.
Up and about the next day; another summer’s day to Maserami’s disappointment.
Our third day brought us the few kilometers to Ceres over Michell’s Pass (without the t):
Michells Pass (frequently misspelt as Mitchells Pass) was named after Charles Michell who planned the original route through the Skurweberg & Witzenberg Mountains from Tulbagh and Wolseley through to Ceres. mountainpassessouthafrica
Stopping at at Die Tolhuis; Die Republiek van Roosterkoek a must.
The restaurant and pub is cosy, pet- and baboon friendly; as Elmarie approached the entrance from the wrong side Big Bob was sitting on a garden chair smiling at her with his large white fangs. She fainted (nearly) and ran through us to safely. The chef, with broom in hand, escorted us but Bob was gone. For all we know there was no Bob; just Elmarie’s imagination. She’s still adamant though.
They offer really tasty dishes like Melkkos:
After this boerekos breakfast, the two previous wine days, Nandi and I wanted to close our eyes there and then but Elmarie was strong; it was her birthday and no time for sleeping.
We went up and down Gydo pass on the other side of Ceres but with low energy we returned home. Happily watching the dogs parade in the sun at our lovely accommodation.
The next day was really Elmarie’s birthday; a Sunday (still sunny), Father’s day in Riebeek Kasteel (packed with hippies, juppies, joopie, poppie and other famous people).
At the most packed restaurant we had a pizza. Elmarie said it was one of the best pizzas ever. Try Mamma Cucina when in Riebeek Kasteel.
If you don’t know the town and looking for a restaurant you’ll never make a mistake choosing the packed one before going to the empty one….
Driving home via Klapmuts to collect our Delico Lamb from the 7 day a week farm-butchery outlet. The butchery is in Riebeek Kasteel but we order and collect at the outlet next to Potbelly Pantry. They do biltong (R190/kg), droe wors (R160/kg), cabanossi (R160/kg).
Packed; lamb, cabanossi, 3 dogs and the two people and Maserami – the cold one remember, we arrived home after a sunny weekend. Just to hear Elmarie commenting on the snow forecasted for this coming weekend.
If your wife’s name is Maserami you are in for a surprise. At least Nandi is normal and the dogs love me.
Things That May Interest You:
- Route: Simonstown to Tulbagh and our petfriendly accommodation.
- Route: Tulbagh to Michell’s pass.
- Accommodation: Bergsicht Farm Cottage – Pet Friendly at Vrolikheid Farm
- Route: Tulbach to Michell’s pass visiting Roosterkoek Republiek.
- Route: Tulbach, Riebeek Kasteel, Potbelly for our lamb and Simonstown
- Restaurant: Riebeek Kasteel: Mamma Cucine.
- Wine Farm: Twee Jonggeselling for Krone MCC
- Wine Farm: Rijk’s
- Restaurant and Pub: Calabash at Bain’s Kloof Pass
- Restaurant and Pub: Tolhuis Roosterkoek Republiek.