Travel and Tourism

A four day ShotLeft to Oudtshoorn.

1. The Cango Caves and an Ostrich farm experience are iconic to Oudtshoorn, but this underrated town and surrounding area has so much more to offer. Please dont think you can “do” this area in a day.


DAY 1. Coming from Cape Town on the R62  leave early and allow for 7 hours to travel the 380 km to Calitzdorp, where an overnight stop at the hot springs 25 km south of the town is the best way to wash away the any last remnants of the city.

A stop in Robertson, 150 km from Cape Town, for wine or brandy tasting, browsing the shops on the main road and a cup of coffee at “Spaces” after you have explored this cave of unusual goods.

A 60km circular detour along the R317 to Bonnievale for some cheese, wine estates along the banks of the Breede River, a river cruise  if you have the time, and scenic winding roads will take you back to Robertson. Just 16km on from Robertson, Ashton Kelder is well worth stopping at.

For me, lunch is always in Barrydale, and allow for at least an hour to wander around this arty village. InKaroo Jewellery always tempts me to buy something sparkly, and I can never resist the preserves and bottled delights at either Clarkes or the Country Pumpkin.

From Barrydale it is 125km to Calitzdorp. If you are a port lover, stock up on your favourite Boplaas port, and do pop in to DeKrans wines before heading to the hot springs at Calitzdorp Spa.

DAY 2. You can either travel on the R62 , just 51 km to Oudtshoorn, stopping to see the Rietfontein Ostrich Palace on the way, or, as I prefer to, take the Kruisrivier road that leads you through the Red Stone Hills along a silent, winding road before rejoining the R62.

Oudtshoorn is a large town with plenty of accommodation available.  Check in, dump your bags and head for either the Cango Caves or an ostrich farm.

DAY 3.  Make an early start and take a drive you will never forget. Be sure to take a camera. Leaving Oudtshoorn, head north onto the R328. Known as the Cango Route, there are plenty of attractions on the 50km you travel before reaching the start of the mighty Swartberg Pass. Olive estates, Karusa Winery and Tapas, Kobus se Gat country pub, Wilgewandel Holiday Farm and Bella Mia Olives and Pottery to name just a few.

Then take your time as you navigate the Swartberg Pass, stop at the viewing points and marvel at the genius engineering of Thomas Bain. The building of the pass was completed in 1886 and used only by carts and wagons. The first time a car  traversed the pass was in 1904. On completing the drive over the pass, you can either carry on for about 10km to the town of Prince Albert, well worth a visit, or turn right onto the R407, continue on to the N12 and drive along the prettiest pass in South Africa, the Meiringspoort Pass.

This will take you into De Rust. Visit the Village Art Scene, enjoy a donkey cart ride, and do not miss the Doornkraal winery just out of town or Mons Ruber  directly opposite. Pot stilled brandy, witblits and entertaining conversation await you. From there a drive of 25km will take you back into Oudtshoorn.

DAY 4. Leaving Oudtshoorn take the N12 to George on from there you are onto the N2, 480km to Cape Town. A stop in Swellendam for a leg stretch and a large slice of cake with coffee at the Old Gaol  before getting back on the road.

One last stop at Dassiesfontein  for a browse around, and to buy the biggest, best pies you have ever seen to take home for supper.

This #shotleft is so easy to do, four days, or you could easily stretch it to 6 or 8, about 1000km to travel and countless options to entertain, educate and enjoy. The journey there is half the fun. Thats what roadtripping and shotleft is all about.

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  • Reply Francoise Armour 26th Mar 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I fully agree with this itinerary and I wish visitors would give themselves the time to do it.
    I didn’t know the Kruisrivier road comes out again on R62 (which is dof of me because I must’ve seen the signs). The hills are beautiful so it’s worth the detour, but is it a good gravel road all the way?

    • Reply jabedi 26th Mar 2014 at 10:17 pm

      This area just should not be rushed. Road is fine if driven at a leisurely pace. There is also a great road south of Calitzdorp that is really quiete and worth driving. I’ll send you a map.

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