Tag Archives: overberg

A Shipwreck Museum in Bredasdorp (2019-03-23) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 23 OCT 2019

Bredasdorp is the main economic and service hub of the Overberg region. After a particularly nice coffee stop at Bredasdorp Square (i.e. a bribe), I next dragged Chantelle and the girls off to the most surprising of attractions in this small town – a shipwreck museum that happens to lie more than 23 km away from the sea!

The Bredasdorp Shipwreck Museum commemorates the 1815 wrecking of the Arniston (372 lives lost) as well as the other nearly 150 historic wrecks that occurred along the nearby Agulhas Reef. The museum is fairly unusual in that it is the only museum of its kind in the southern hemisphere!

The dimly lit main building is filled with artifacts from the Arniston and other wrecks, and you will be treated to all manner of mastheads, cannons, and interesting stories collected over the years. (Interesting fact, the seaside village of Waenhuiskrans has become so associated with the wreck that it is now primarily known as Arniston, and the wreck itself had a direct influence on the eventual decision to build the famous lighthouse at Cape Agulhas in 1847).

In addition to the shipwreck hall, the museum also opens up at the back onto a big lawn with a few more building converted into museum pieces. The house museum has a lot of interesting vintage decor and antiques on display, while the barn is home to a vintage firetruck, hearse and a couple of well looked after carriages.

And then there are all the anchors, neatly arranged around an old (equally as interesting) tree, giving a picture of how anchor technology has changed over the years. There is also a collection of glass bottles and old sewing machines of all things!

In short, an unexpectedly pleasant little tourist attraction that would appeal greatly to any history buff.

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Breakfast in Bredasdorp Square (2019-03-23) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 15 OCT 2019

I woke up one morning and decided that I wanted to head out to see the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, and thus the family was bundled into the car and off we went. Of course, L’Agulhas isn’t exactly just down the road from Gordon’s Bay, and so a breakfast stop was very much in order. Enter Bredasdorp. Or to be more accurate, Bredasdorp Square.

With its twin Victorian style buildings (built in 1894) looming over the PE Roux Memorial Garden at the center of this Overberg hub town, Bredasdorp Square is a commercial venture with three distinct arms – namely eat, sleep and shop.

Serving breakfasts, lunches, coffee and cake, Bredasdorp Square has four different spaces for you to pull up a chair and start nibbling, namely the Veranda, Dining Lounge, Courtyard and Balcony – the latter offering you distant views of the Arniston dunes. In terms of sleeping, Bredasdorp has four stylish, Victorian bath-equipped, rooms available – all featuring queen size poster beds decked out in percale linen, ready to enforce the feeling of old world charm.

Finally, the actual shop. Tastefully styled, with a sleek upmarket feel, Bredasdorp Square specializes in stocking quality interior decor items, artisan kitchen tools, and locally crafted gifts and curios. (As you might be able to tell from the photos below, there is definitely no boere chic going on over here!)

As for my trio of girls? Well they were here for one thing and one thing only – pancakes and scones all the way!

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Donkeys and Ice Cream at Dassiesfontein outside Caledon (2018-07-22) Farm Stalls | Photo Gallery 19 JAN 2019

Sunday afternoon drives for the sake of Sunday afternoon drives are often quite enjoyable. This particular Sunday drive saw us head out over Sir Lowry’s Pass, through Grabouw, along the picturesque Viljoen’s Pass, past Theewaterskloof Dam and into Villiersdorp. One u-turn later and we were now on the R43, joining up with the N2 just before Dassiesfontein – the perfect excuse to at last stop and stretch our legs.

I have written about the unique little farm stall/restaurant that is Dassiesfontein before, and just like our last visit, it was a case of petting the donkeys, browsing through the inexhaustible pile of home decor odds and ends, and glancing over all the produce and crafts on display. (Honestly, this could probably take all day if you let it!)

Also, refreshing ginger beer and ice cream was had by all.

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To cap off our more than decent roundabout drive, we next popped into the ever reliable (and popular) Peregrine farm stall to stock up on some delicious supplies.

So all in all, not a bad Sunday drive to say the least.

Related Link: Dassiesfontein Farm Stall | Overberg

A Lagoon, a Bridge, and a Beach at Kleinmond (2017-05-06) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 18 MAR 2018

The whole Rooi-Els, Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond strip that we have access to here from Gordon’s Bay always makes for a delightful day outing. One such outing saw the girls and myself spend some time in Kleinmond, first grabbing a rather cheesy pizza from the local Pizza World, and then taking it with us over to where the Kleinmond Lagoon meets the Kleinmond beach.

If you have kids and haven’t visited this area before, then you are in for a treat.

With a large field of grass (strategically dotted with jungle gyms and swings), the kids who don’t like the beach have more than enough space to run around and play, while one short bridge away is the silky soft sands of the beach, perfect for those of us who would rather have some grains of sand between our toes.

Then there is of course the lagoon, which while not great for swimming (thanks to the polluted water), is perfect for a light spot of fishing and of course canoeing or supping (“Stand-Up Paddle Boarding” in case you aren’t familiar with the acronym), or whatever else it is that people do on lagoons.

Oh, and did I mention the never ending views?

In other words, it really is a perfect spot to spend a day with the family then.

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Also, if you are really lucky, you might even spot the famous wild horses of Kleinmond while you are at it…

Related Link: Kleinmond

Pit Stop at Houw Hoek Farm Stall near Grabouw (2017-03-17) Farm Stalls | Photo Gallery 27 OCT 2017

In the middle of Houw Hoek Pass, as you travel between Grabouw and Bot River, you will pass by a very hard to miss white and green building, tucked away in a rocky corner with undoubtedly a lot of cars parked outside.

The popular building in question is of course the longstanding Houw Hoek Farm Stall, known for its quality, fresh, homemade breads, pies and bakes – a trait that makes it rather popular little stop among the locals.

Also, in addition to a good selection of local wines on sale, the shop section is stocked with all manner fresh fruits and vegetables from the farms of the surrounding Elgin Valley, all complemented by the normal farm stall home industry staples like biscuits, jams, biltong, and of course – cake.

Seeing as this is a chef-owned-managed business, the food and coffee on offer in the welcoming little coffee shop is particularly decent, and bonus, if sitting at a table and chairs doesn’t quite appeal to you on the day, then you will be pleased to know that picnic baskets can also be prepared on request.

Somewhat surprisingly, Houw Hoek Farm Stall is also home to three dams stocked with Rainbow trout – making it a great spot for some fly fishing then. (Naturally, rods and tackle can be hired from the farm stall itself.)

Oh, and finally they have a nice little space out in front that is open enough for the little ones to run around and give their legs a stretch.

So. The Orchard. Peregrine. Houw Hoek. Dassiesfontein. Plenty of good, visitor friendly farm stalls to pick and choose from on this first part of the N2 highway then!

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(Bonus: Just in case you were wondering, this particular stop took place back in March this year, when Jessica and myself drove up for a long weekend away with my folks in their place at Pinnacle Point, Mossel Bay.)

Related Link: Houw Hoek Farm Stall | Facebook

A Morning Drive through Rooi-Els (2017-05-06) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 14 OCT 2017

Penguins and Kleinmond were on my agenda with the girls one Saturday back in May, but following the always delightful drive along Clarence Drive (with all of its 77 bends), I decided to first hang a right and slowly cruise through Rooi Els, a little seaside holiday escape that I haven’t actually properly visited since my twenties.

Rooi-Els is known for its fishing and diving opportunities, not to mention the fact that it is forever being bashed by the wind and raided by the local baboon troop.

It consists for the most part of holiday homes, meaning this small hamlet is often pretty quiet, has only a few tarred roads, and thus little in the form of commercial ventures.

Rooiels is of course a part of the vaunted Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve,  the 100,000 hectare UNESCO designated area whose landscape is home to perhaps one of the most complex biodiversity regions on our planet – featuring more than 1,880 different plant species,  77 of which occur nowhere else on earth.

This fynbos haven (sometimes referred to locally as the ‘heart of fynbos’) is also home to a wide variety of animal species like leopard, caracal, baboon, antelope and a particularly rich selection of birds.

Biosphere reserves are different from ordinary conservation areas in that these reserves have no fences to keep ‘people’ out and ‘nature’ in – instead it is the commitment of local communities, farmers, conservation agencies and local government to protect and nurture the land and its biodiversity.

(For reference, the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, which interestingly enough was South Africa’s first ever registered biosphere reserve, encompasses the entire area from Gordon’s Bay to the Bot River Statuary and inland to Grabouw and the Groenland Mountain.)

Of course, being that close to this particular type of vegetation does comes with a big risk – large mountain/vegetation fires are the norm, and because of this the area (and its towns) often bear the scars associated with these all too frequent blazing infernos.

Anyway, having enjoyed our scenic little jaunt, the girls insisted that I refocus on the mission at hand – visiting the Stony Point penguins of Betty’s Bay!

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(Bonus: the Rooi Els area is super popular with local birders – here are two fantastic blog posts from Bryn De Kocks and Mike Buckham to illustrate just why that is so).

Related Link: Rooi-Els

Shopping at the Dassiesfontein Farm Stall (2016-09-23) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 21 NOV 2016

Having thoroughly enjoyed a midweek getaway to Stonehill River Lodge in Buffeljagsrivier (near Swellendam), we were making our way back home on a warm Friday afternoon via the N2 when for the first time ever (note: I’m 36 and we’ve travelled the N2 since I was a baby),  curiousity got the better of me and I decided to pull off at the Dassiesfontein farm stall – which stands literally alone in the middle of nowhere between Caledon and Botrivier.

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Chantelle and the girls were a bit grumpy at having been woken up by me leaving the highway, but they soon cheered up when a) the girls spotted the lovely donkey encampment next to Dassiesfontein’s parking area and b) Chantelle discovered the incredible treasure trove of antiques, art, fashion and food that this rather incredible place actually houses!

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Back to point a) though. Amazingly the girls were far more enamored with the donkeys than I thought they would be. It might be their smaller stature, or perhaps because of the fluffier youngling in the pack, but Jessica and Emily (although the latter from an always safe distance) seemed to both genuinely enjoy interacting with these furry four legged beasts.

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Anyway, I digress. Back to the brilliant farm stall itself. Originally the Dassiesfontein farm stall was little more than a couple of homemade goods being sold from two wagons alongside the N2, before the farm stall was eventually built in 1995. The restaurant was added a year later, and believe it or not, Dassiesfontein has been a super success from then onwards.

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These days though, the quaint thatched roof that characterised the farm stall is nowhere in sight, having been completely covered with end to end solar panels, a big 60.13 kwp generating project brought to life by the team over at RenEnergy.

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Inside however is where the real magic lies. The first thing to note is that Dassiesfontein is much larger inside than what it looks from the outside. Each room kind of spills into the next, and the smorgasboard of items on sale is simply put, jaw dropping.

Antiques, art, clothing, shoes, kids, decor, furniture, food – you name it and they sell it.

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Without a doubt, if Chantelle was here by herself (i.e. with her wallet and without her disapproving of clutter husband), I guarantee she would quite easily be lost for a couple of hours, only to then return with a boot full of stuff!

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Incredibly enough (despite that fact I suppose that I already mentioned this fact in passing), Dassiesfontein even houses a restaurant in the middle of all the muddle, a restaurant which is known for its proper ‘boerekos’ served in portions that well, ‘skrik vir niks’. (Plus, Chantelle was gushing like a fangirl when she spotted their ‘Dover’ cast iron stoves in action!)

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Oh, and then there is the cheese and dairy on sale. So, so much cheese, not to mention the butter which was being sold at such a good price that Chantelle immediately grabbed my wallet and bought a box for her baking.

Right, looks like we’ll be stopping here a little more often now that we’ve finally ‘discovered’ the place!

Also, I have no idea where all these photos come from by the way – because there are very definitely signs up all over the place explicitly reminding you that the taking of photos inside the shopping area is strictly not welcome:

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It’s difficult to miss because it is literally the only thing standing in the middle of nowhere, but just in case you need a map…

Related Link: Dassiesfontein Farm Stall | Facebook

Visiting the Overberg Honey Co. in Stanford (2016-05-21) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 06 JUN 2016

Following our refreshing stroll among the boulders and sand of De Kelders in Gansbaai, Chantelle and I made our way back towards Stanford in order to continue our lovely Blue Gum Country Estate weekend away. However, as we entered the outskirts of the small heritage village of Stanford, a bright yellow signboard peaking out from the small industrial area caught our eye – and so we found ourselves pulling over and entering the bright yellow world of the Overberg Honey Co.

Established around 2011 by the young team of Daniel and Nadia Vorster, the thriving commercial honey producing Overberg Honey Co. pretty much maintains a presence only in Stanford, their business bolstered by their Overberg crop pollination service, something I had never actually thought about as being a commercial need before.

The Stanford shop doubles as the honey production house, bee information hub, and honey-related sales organ, and on the day that Chantelle and I visited, we were lead about by the most amazing Stanford local who was minding the shop for the weekend. This charming lady (a former teacher who now works with autistic children during the week) was a bubbly fountain of knowledge, as she proudly had us taste all the exquisite different types of honey they produce (due to the different crops/vegetation they set their hives up around), as well as show us the ins and outs of their honey production business.

Just as the similar Simply Bee product shop that we visited in Hopefield last year, Overberg Honey Co. also has an observation hive setup so that you can get a closer look at the workings of bees in the hive, as well as a wealth of bee information in the form of posters, pamphlets, and books scattered about.

By the end of our extended visit, Chantelle fell in love with Boekenhout (Cape Beech) honey and we walked out with a jar of that, but had we known about their honey on tap service, we may very well have come out with a lot more honey than just that!

A charming little stop in Stanford indeed.

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Related Link: Overberg Honey Co.

Strolling through the Village of Stanford (2016-05-21) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 03 JUN 2016

As I previously mentioned, Chantelle and I recently enjoyed a relaxing (no kids!) weekend away at the Blue Gum Country Estate just outside of Stanford, which if you don’t know where it is, lies halfway between Hermanus and Gansbaai.

This heritage village was founded in 1857 and is named after its founder, Sir Robert Stanford who owned the original farmland. Situated in the heart of the Overberg, the tiny, relaxed village of Stanford is known for its beautifully preserved and renovated Cape Victorian and Edwardian styled houses and buildings, making it an absolute treat to walk about and take in all the quaint architecture around you.

And that is exactly what Chantelle and I did, first taking a slow drive around the village, before heading back to take a nice stroll down the main road. Although not particularly plentiful, there are some interesting shops and coffee stops to be seen, with the green Don Gelato ice cream shop/restaurant definitely standing out from the crowd! (Yes, we did stop to have ice cream!)

Also, located on the banks of the Klein River, Stanford boasts over 200 different bird species of which 30 are endemic to South Africa. In other words, the perfect spot if you are interested in your ornithology!

However, I suspect that most people either head out for wine or beer tasting at Birkenhead Brewery and the other surrounding wine estates, picnic at the Klein River Cheese Factory, or enjoy river cruises along the beautiful Klein River instead!

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Related Link: Stanford