A Road Tripper’s Guide to Route 62

Route 62 is South Africa’s answer to America’s legendary Route 66, a historic interstate highway that covered about 4,000km over 8 states from Los Angeles, California in the west to Chicago, Illinois in the east. Although Route 66 was replaced in 1985, its legacy lives on as a path of epic road trips. Fortunately in South Africa, our 850km Route 62 is still thriving and growing more popular every holiday season. As with its American predecessor, Route 62 is the gateway from the west to the east, running from Cape Town, in the Western Cape, to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. You may not experience a buzz of activity, but you will discover a region of rocks, farms, fatteningly delicious boerekos, top-class wines, and more rocks, with some hidden treasures along the way.

What’s the point of Route 62?

Gone are the days of mundane road trips and are-we-there-yets. Route 62 offers a trail of unique experiences for open-minded travellers who are willing to take it slow and explore more than just their final destination. With a quick exit off the N2, you can enjoy a shorter and more scenic trip from Cape Town, through the Klein Karoo and Garden Route, to Port Elizabeth.

The Route 62 Wine Route is the longest in the world, consisting of about 70 wine farms in Paarl, Wellington, Tulbagh, Worcester, Robertson, and the Klein Karoo. What’s more, 11 of these estates are specialist brandy cellars and make up the R62 Brandy Route, which is an excursion on its own.But Route 62 isn’t just good for its liquor. The road is dotted about with farm stalls, restaurants, and cafés that offer great culinary experiences and will leave you well-stocked with padkos. Also known as the Mountain Route, Route 62 passes through mountains and valleys, past rivers, vineyards, streams, and orchards, offering a multitude of attractions and adventure activities.

10 Things to do on Route 62:

    Stop for some port tasting in Calitzdorp, South Africa’s port-making capital.
    Ride an ostrich in Oudtshoorn.
    Swim in the Tweedetol rock pools in the Bainskloof Pass.
    Relax and revive in the hot springs around Montagu.
    Visit Grundheim Wines in the Klein Karoo and try their potent witblitz (white brandy) and other cream-based liqueurs, which the locals refer to as melkskommel met skop (milkshake with a kick).
    Pop into Ronnie’s (Sex) Shop and see why the small signage prank turned the shop into a popular tourist stop.
    Go on a game drive.
    Play golf at Robertson.
    Climb aboard the Kolgans River Boat and enjoy traditional Afrikaans food while you cruise down the Breede River.
    Have a tasty crocodile pie at the Crocodile Farm near Paarl.

Where to stay?

Tulbagh: Villa Tarentaal is a 4-star boutique B&B in the heart of the wine lands. Every detail has been personally attended to, from the throw cushions to the extra length beds. Enjoy privacy, stunning mountain views, breakfast served at your cottage each morning, and outstanding hospitality.

Montagu: Montagu Country Hotel is uniquely styled in a colonial “art deco” style. This 3-star hotel has an on-site restaurant where you can enjoy traditional cuisine and local wines to the golden oldie sound of a Baby Grand piano. Refresh in their sparkling swimming pool or revitalise in the healing waters of their mineral pool at their Wellness Centre. Finally, explore the route in style with a chauffeur driven Cadillac.

Calitzdorp: Calitzdorp Country House brings you quirky country life in 5-star extravagance. The house is perched on a gentle slope with spectacular views over the indigenous garden and swimming pool, over a valley of green vineyards and lush orchards, with the majestic Swartberg beyond.

Uniondale: Eagle Falls Country Lodgecomes out tops in terms of affordability, privacy, and a simply incredible location. Perched above a waterfall, you can enjoy self-catering or camping accommodation in natural bliss. The units are fully equipped and there is a restaurant and bar onsite.

So turn up the music and start your engines…it’s time to get your kicks on Route…62!

by Desiree Haakonsen on 31 December, 2012

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Barrydale, Klein Karoo
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Barrydale Karoo Hotel
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Tucked into a fold of the Langeberg Mountains, Barrydale is one of the most charming dorpies on Route 62, with a hotel that puts the funk back into country. Just 2.5 hours from Cape Town, it’s a fascinating village,  Read more

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