Tag Archives: ceres

Moer Koffie and Melktert at Die Tolhuis Bistro and Farm Stall in Ceres (2016-12-10) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 24 JUL 2017

Towards the end of last year, over the course of our weekend away in Tulbagh, Chantelle and I decided on the spur of the moment to try our hand at cherry picking on Klondyke Farm (as well as fuel some nostalgia by checking in on Ceres’ Dennebos – aka Pine Forest – holiday resort that both of us frequented as children), which then of course meant an impromptu trip over Michell’s Pass.

If you are not familiar with it, the pass carves a route through the Skurweberg and Witzenberg mountains, in the process connecting Ceres to Tulbagh and Wolseley, and is named after the Cape Colony’s first Surveyor-General, Charles Michell – incidentally the man responsible for planning this very path in the first place.

The original road was constructed by famed road engineer Andrew Geddes Bain and it stood for nearly a century before finally undergoing two major upgrades to form the tarred pass that we are now so familiar with.

Pleasingly, the historic toll house survived all these changes, and now acts as a welcome halfway stop along the pass, with the grounds hosting a small farm stall filled with odds, ends and tasty treats, and a small bistro (aptly called Die Tolhuis) which serves up some good old traditional ‘boerekos’ on its wickedly tongue-in-cheek menu, very much designed to put a smile on South Africans’ faces.

Melktert. Moer koffie. Enamel cups. What more do you need to know about this self-proclaimed Republic of Roosterkoek?

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Definitely a fun little stop.

Related Link: Die Tolhuis | Facebook

Picking Cherries at the Klondyke Cherry Farm near Ceres (2016-12-10) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 08 APR 2017

Last December Chantelle and I slipped away for a weekend without the kids in the lovely little historic town of Tulbagh. However, as you might have noticed by now, I don’t normally enjoy hanging about in one place for very long, and so naturally we found ourselves spending more time out and about than staying at the actual guest house! Case in point – we first drove all the way to Ceres because we wanted to see if the Dennebos Resort from our childhood still exists, and with that done, then promptly decided to drive another 34km out to the middle of nowhere in order to pick some cherries.

Or rather more accurately, we paid a visit to the famous Klondyke Cherry Farm.

A popular tourist attraction in the area, Klondyke is a a working fruit farm in the Koue Bokkeveld on the outskirts of the Ceres valley.

In terms of crops, the farm has cherries, pears and apples counted among its numerous orchards, and also hosts a campsite and a couple of self-catering cottages.

The big drawcard is of course cherry picking season, during which Klondyke opens its gates to the public, charging them a small entrance fee so that they may grab some containers and head out into the cherry orchards to pick as many cherries as what their hearts desire.

This you then bring back for weighing and paying, after which you can then setup your picnic/portable braai and enjoy some quality time under the shade provided by the large grove of massive pine trees!

It would appear that this is a massively popular attraction, and despite the farm being literally out in the middle of nowhere, there is an almost constant stream of people entering the grounds! (Chantelle and I were amazed!)

I’m not a massive fan of cherries (Chantelle however is), but I have to say, it was rather fun hunting through all the trees trying to find the best looking fruit, and more importantly, trying to find the trees which haven’t yet been ravished by any other eager cherry pickers!

Mind you, it is pretty hot and sweaty work, so best remember to bring a hat and some sunscreen!

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Definitely worth the trek if you have some bored kids on your hands and can maybe pull together a good group of friends for a day out under the trees!

Related Link: Klondyke Cherry Farm | Facebook

Driving over the Bain’s Kloof Pass to Wellington (2016-12-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 07 FEB 2017

Chantelle and I enjoyed a weekend away in Tulbagh towards the end of last year. We decided to head home via Wellington for a change, and that led to a decision to tackle the rocky Bain’s Kloof Pass, a road that I literally haven’t been on since I was a teenager!

Created in the 1850s, the Bain’s Kloof Pass was built to connect Wellington to Ceres, and like all the well made mountain passes in South Africa, was designed and built by a Bain – though this time around it was father Andrew Geddes Bain as opposed to his more famous road engineer son, Thomas Bain!

The now tarred mountain pass is a national heritage site, and runs for about 20 km as it moves from the Breede River, across the Limiet mountains and along the Witte river.

Popular with hikers due to its isolation, striking scenery and of course many rock pools (perfect for swimming), the mountain pass sees a fair bit of tourist activity, with the popular bush pub at the start of the pass (on the Wolseley side) doing brisk business, particularly with all the bikers that take on the pass’s many dangerous twists and turns!

It is relatively nerve-wracking/exciting pass to drive, thanks to its narrowness, unforgiving stone barricades, and sharp drop-offs, not to mention the numerous twists and turns that seem intent on making any person sitting in the passenger seat rather… uncomfortable.

Chantelle found the drive harrowing, I loved it, and the views afforded from the summit overlooking Wellington are simply put, spectacular.

Well worth tackling if you are in the area then.

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The team behind Mountain Passes South Africa do a fantastic job in detailing the various mountain passes of South Africa, and for Bain’s Kloof Pass they’ve actually filmed a four part series, all of which are well worth the watch if you are interesting in the details and story behind this national heritage site of ours:

Part 1: Orientation and Overview:

Part 2: From Breede River to Tweede Tol:

Part 3: From Tweede Tol to Bain’s Kloof Village

Part 4: From Eerste Tol to Wellington:

Finally, a map in case you want to tackle this hairy pass yourself:

Related Link: Bain’s Kloof Pass | Mountain Passes South Africa