Tag Archives: barrydale

Coffee at The Blue Cow in Barrydale (2016-04-16) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 10 MAY 2016

Recently we enjoyed a great weekend away at Warmwaterberg Spa, situated on the R62 about 30 km past Barrydale in the Western Cape. Saturday afternoon we decided to take a drive out to Barrydale to have a look around town, and in doing so ended up enjoying a great coffee stop at The Blue Cow – described as the coffee shop on Barrydale’s “Waterfront”!

IMG_20160416_140210 chantelle lotter feeding the fish at the blue cow coffee shop and restaurant in barrydale

Situated on a calf paddock next to the farm’s dam, The Blue Cow is a small, stylish coffee shop that serves great coffee and good treats. The water below the deck is teeming with giant koi fish, and on arrival the girls were both handed pieces of bread to feed the demanding mouths – which obviously was a big hit for the two of them!

There is also an abundance of weaver bird nests alongside the water, and we were treated to a great weaving display by one of the birds while waiting for our order to arrive.

IMG_20160416_143117 monty feeding emily at the blue cow coffee shop and restaurant in barrydale

The atmosphere is tranquil and the views superb, making this quiet coffee shop quite a jewel in Barrydale’s tourist offering.

Plus, I kind of like the description/history on their menu:

“Six generations ago Robert Cooke, a farm worker near Dublin in Ireland fell in love with a landowner’s daughter, Mary-Anne Proudfoot they were forbidden to marry because of the class difference so, undeterred, they jumped aboard a ship to Cape Town and then took an ox-wagon to Swellendam in 1890 the Cooke Family ended up with the farm in Barrydale where they have been farming dairy and fruit ever since.

Boetie and Hannette Cooke continued farming in the family tradition and raised their children Bertus, Anika and Danel on the farm. About eleven years ago Hannette had an idea. She told Boetie what she wanted to do and in true male tradition he told her it was a silly idea and wouldn’t work. It took Hannette two years of female guile to convince Boetie that a restaurant in the “calf paddock by the dam” on the farm would be a good idea.

And a great idea it was… The Blue Cow was born! 11 years running, moo!”

IMG_20160416_142909 cake with ice cream rose at the blue cow coffee shop and restaurant in barrydale

Oh, and everyone rather enjoyed their food!

Related Link: The Blue Cow | Facebook

Weekend away at Warmwaterberg Spa (2016-04-15) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 10 MAY 2016

I may have mentioned it already, but I had a horrible end to last year and a bad beginning to this one. Thus, now that I can pretty much walk normally again (at last!!), I’m doing my best to salvage the year by attempting to go on at least one getaway a month for the rest of the year – and so far we’re doing a pretty good job of it!

IMG_20160416_104325 chantelle photobomb with craig lotter at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

February was Jacobsbaai, March was Mossel Bay, and April was Warmwaterberg Spa (just outside of Barrydale if you are looking for it on the map).

Warmwaterberg Spa is one of the oldest hot spring resorts in the country, having opened in 1887, meaning it turns a healthy 129 years old this year! Chantelle and I have actually been there before, way back in 2010, and we were both pretty excited to now head back and show off the place to the girls.

IMG_20160416_094055 restaurant at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

If you have never been there before, Warmwaterberg Spa is a very simple operation, a place with all the necessities in place but without much luxury attached to it. There are quite a couple of different accommodation options, including caravan and tenting sites, to be had (we chose a timber cabin for the six of us), a restaurant and little shop on the grounds, and most important of all, the pools.

However, what it does have in spades is space, starlit skies, and stunning landscape scenery, with idyllic views that literally stretch on for miles – no matter which direction you look.

IMG_20160416_093425 landscape at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

Discounting the historic Roman baths on the property, there are three public pools in total, each a different temperature. Seeing as it was too cold to make use of the cold water pool, we pretty much stuck to the two warm pools, with Jessica surprising us all by declaring her independence (thank you water wings!) and swimming on her own without clinging to us each and every second like she normally does!

IMG_20160416_071931 morning coffee at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

We were joined on this trip by Monty and Cheryl, and the girls thoroughly enjoyed having Oupa and Ouma along for the adventure. Our weekend flashed by, with lots of swim sessions (including a night dip for Chantelle and myself), peacock stalking, chicken chasing, braai and a potjie suppers, a restaurant breakfast and even a coffee trip to Barrydale.

Oh, and Emily was particularly impressed by being allowed to sleep in her own big bed for a change!

IMG_20160416_113821 girls walking to the pools at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

As luck would have it, the weather played along beautifully for the Friday and Saturday of our weekend away, with the clouds only rolling in on Sunday, making for a slightly damp car packing session.

The girls had fun, I had fun, so yes, apart from the horrible 3 km dirt road to get to resort’s reception, Warmwaterberg Spa Weekend Away 2016 was a brilliant success!

(Naturally, I took loads of photos, as is customary on any of my weekends away…)

Sadly though, despite it’s close proximity to Warmwaterberg Spa (it is literally just before the gravel road turn off), we didn’t make time to pop in at the famous Ronnie’s Sex Shop pub. Maybe when the girls are a little older…

Related Link: Warmwaterberg Spa

Travelling through Tradouw Pass to Barrydale (2016-04-15) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 28 APR 2016

Continuing the trend of this being the year of weekends away as a result of my lack of mobility throughout December and January (February was Jacobsbaai, and March was Mossel Bay), April saw us head out to Warmwaterberg Spa near Barrydale – one of the oldest hot spring resorts in South Africa!

IMG_20160415_171030 hyundai accent in front of the beautiful scenery of tradouw pass in south africa

For us, the best route to get there is the N2 and then cut across the R324 to hit the R62 – in other words, we get to cross the magnificent Tradouw’s Pass in the process!

IMG_20160415_170123 beautiful scenery of tradouw pass in south africa

Originally opened in 1873 and built by the famous South African road and pass builder Thomas Bain, the Tradouw Pass (which more or less means Women’s Path in Khoi) is a 17 kilometer mountain drive through the rugged Langeberg region. It connects Swellendam with Suurbraak and Barrydale, and is by far one of the top tarred passes in the Western Cape in terms of beauty and engineering.

The road offers spectacular views of the surrounding areas, and numerous lookout points have been added over the years to make the most of this.

That said, this route has suffered severe flood damage in its 130+ years of existence, with several rebuilds occurring during its lifetime. 1974 was one of the big ones, with the pass being almost completely rebuilt, widened in places and a couple of hairpin bends removed for good measure. It was also completely tarred in the process, and to add an element of landscaping to the project, 4000 aloes and 2500 indigenous trees and shrubs were also planted!

Mountain Passes South Africa has a great informational video showing off the pass and its story up on their website:

Naturally, we stopped at more than just one lookout point to admire the view (and take a few phone camera snaps!) – after all, the last time that we tackled this pass was literally at the dead of night!

Related Link: Tradouw’s Pass

Warmwaterberg Spa My Life 09 FEB 2010

True, it lies a fair distance away from us, sitting about 26 km outside of Barrydale running towards the Oudtshoorn  side, but after my first experience with the quaint Warmwaterberg Spa resort I can definitely say that it won’t be the last time I’ll make that particular trip! :)

A couple of weekends ago saw Chantelle and myself join up with the rest of the Montgomery clan for a bit of a family weekend away, lured to the inviting naturally warm mineral pools by Cheryl and Monty who rate this as one of their favourite getaway destinations. So Friday night after work we finally managed to hit the road (joined by Robert who decided to catch a lift through with us) and after an uneventful couple of hours drive featuring just the one stop at Buffelsjag and the “turning off the headlamps in order to gauge just how dark it is” incident, we finally made it to the resort in the dead of the night, guided in over the dusty gravel road by Monty’s lone torchlight shining brilliantly in the night.

The seven of us (Monty’s folks were tagging along) were bunking down in one of Warmwaterberg’s wooden chalets (they have a number of different accommodation options, including tenting, caravaning and even a stay in their ancient bathhouse), and I was pleasantly surprised just how spacious the cabin was, featuring a number of separate rooms, a little lounge, kitchen and even a nice patio of all things. Outside of course we were blessed with tons of beautiful space to call our own, a braai place and of course tons of peacocks and fluffy chickens who all seem to come as part of the package!

The area itself is of course dominated by the pool complex where they have two natural warm water baths and then one big fibreglass cold pool, though that unfortunately is currently out of action thanks to a splintering bottom, meaning that one of the warm pools has been hastily converted into a bit of a mixed temperature pool. Outside of that, there is also the giant lapa complex to take into account, featuring a huge indoor entertainment space that hosts a pool table, dart bard, snoopie, bar and even fully licensed restaurant if you’re feeling too lazy to play tongmaster at any point in time.

As for the stay, well the best way to say it is simply that both Chantelle and I returned from the weekend feeling more relaxed than what we have in quite some time. Highlights of the stay was of course Monty taking his cellphone for a dip on the first day, midnight bathing under the stars, Robert playing tongmaster with excellent results as per usual, breakfast at the restaurant, me whipping Rob’s ass at pool, meat eating peacocks (seriously, they stripped the meat right off the rib bones!), watermelon, more swimming than what you can shake a stick at, and of course, Robert’s infamous heart stopping moment when he accidentally grabbed a big hairy spider that was hiding under the balcony beam.

Needless to say, it WAS a good weekend away! :)

(Oh, except for all those damn long thorns I kept stepping in! Was like a giant human pin cushion I tell you!)

An exterior shot of our delightful little wooden cabin tucked away amongst the thorn trees

The Montgomery clan sans one (Rob was checking the cricket score) plus one Lotter. Breakfast was good by the way!

There was quite a lot of this going on the weekend...

...and loads and loads of this! :)

The Warm Water Spa and the Cellphone General Nonsense | My Life 19 JAN 2010

My dear old father-in-law Monty managed to achieve the quite unthinkable this past weekend (which we spent as a Montgomery Clan getaway to Warmwaterberg Spa just by the way) – he managed to completely soak his cellphone by forgetting it in the pockets of his newly purchased swimming trunks as he entered the warm water pool for his very first swim.

Needless to say, he was quite distraught, Cheryl was annoyed and the rest all thought it to be quite hilarious.

Seeing as this happened on the very first day of arriving at the spa, the hapless, unresponsive and rather soggy cellphone proceeded to then spend the rest of the weekend lying around in pieces in the hope that it would dry out and thus render itself useful once more (and had I had access to the Internet, I might have known about the laying in a bowl of rice trick that seems to work rather well according to the denizens of the Net).

Anyway, at the time of writing this quickfire post I have yet to receive an update as to how the phone is faring. Did it survive, is it still salvageable, will insurance cover its repair? Or has it truly shuffled this mortal coil and gone to that ever increasing pile of junk that is electronics heaven?

I’m really not sure, but the whole incident does raise an interesting question in my mind. Is a phone’s dunking survival rate greater depending on the purity and temperature of the water in which it finds itself submerged? For example, does the fact that this phone was submerged in mineral rich, heated natural spa water instead of cold distilled battery water have any effect on its survivability rate?

C’mon, surely there must be an engineer out there who can enlighten me? O.o