Another one of those little South African towns that have become forgotten once rail became less important and national roads were built to bypass it is Botrivier (or Bot River which doesn’t sound nearly as nice), situated at the bottom of Houw Hoek pass, at the foot of the Hottentots-Holland Mountains.
Despite attempts by the local wine industry (there are in face quite a few wine estates dotted around the area) to try and revive tourism to the Botrivier area in recent years, the town itself remains one not really warranting a visit unless you are heading there for some very specific reason.
Now I was particularly keen on finding new places to stop over the course of our recent December holiday to Gouritz (honestly, I’m a little tired of stopping in Buffeljagsrivier every time we head down to the Mossel Bay/Garden Route area via the N2), and succeeded in doing this on the drive there (Stormsvlei and Riversdale), as well as on the way back home again (Heidelberg).
For our final ‘new stop’ of the trip, I opted to turn into the little town of Botrivier, making my way to the old railway station, specifically in search of the quirky little shunting shed that in 2007 was converted into a bar/restaurant – aptly named The Shuntin’ Shed.
Popular with the locals as well as the biking scene, The Shuntin’ Shed is known for their beer, pizza, sticky ribs and Sunday roast.
The seating is actually made up from converted railway sleeping bunks, and there is a lot of rail-related memorabilia on display, as well as quite a few quirky ‘treasures’ from the 70’s and 80’s dotted all over the place.
In other words, a lot of fun conversation fodder if you are there with people from those particular eras!
Apparently the place can get pretty raucous at times (which makes sense considering that it is at its heart a fun loving pub), but made for a perfectly interesting little late lunch time stop for the girls and myself.
That said, it’s not really all that kid friendly (unless they are REALLY good at entertaining themselves), so perhaps leave them behind before dropping in for a rather unusual pub experience.
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Just in case you need to place it on the map: