Ladismith and the R62

A quick post with some recommendations based on what we did and where we stayed on our 30 hour overnighter into the Klein Karoo.

Stay: Mymering Guest & Wine Farm
A chilled, tranquil, beautiful place with friendly people, homegrown wine readily available and some lovely chalets. Nice hiking on the doorstep, nature everywhere, and some stunning night skies.

Eat & Drink: Gypsy’s Gin Bar
More of an experience than a drink and meal. Masood (from Liverpool) and Letitia (Cape Town) settled in Ladismith after wandering the globe together. They’ve created a weird and wonderful place in “a town that doesn’t like change”. Over 150 different gins to try, and then Masood’s home cooked curries to enjoy. It felt like a meal at a friends’ house more than at a restaurant. An amazing place.

Eat & Drink: Diesel and Crème
American themed diner (and motel) in Barrydale that does the best milkshakes and burgers around. Instagram heaven (I resisted) with all the vintage signs, stained glass and roadhouse-themed décor. Part of a touristy strip on the edge of Barrydale, which also features some pretty tacky places peddling overpriced Africana to the buses passing through.

Go: We had business in Buffelsdrift (not a euphemism), and so literally took a Sho’t Left off the R62 about 20km before Ladismith. There’s nothing actually to do here, but there is the Buffelsdrift Conservancy:

Buffelsdrift Conservancy is a 1,600 hectare privately-owned cluster of properties, guided by a land use policy intended to preserve the indigenous flora and fauna of the area. The conservancy has invested in small herds of hartebeeste and zebras and hopes to introduce other species in the future.

It’s a beautiful place to drive through: we saw kingfishers, herons, Namaqua doves, weavers, sunbirds, bishops, baboons, ostriches, mousebirds, springbok and a booted eagle, and we weren’t even trying.

Do: Platform 62 Market
The second biggest thing in sleepy Ashton, after their new, unfeasibly large bridge.
Lots of art, local produce, LOADS of wine. Gin and brandy tasting, a pig called Fanie, and a big stream train outside.

Obviously, there is a lot more to see and do along Route 62, and on the way there. The stunning Dutoitskloof, the Nuy Valley, Robertson, Montagu and Barrydale, and beyond that, on towards Oudtshoorn. It’s an incredible road to drive with some amazing scenery, and we were reminded again of just how lucky we are to have all this “just up the road”.

Looks Familiar

Back from a couple of days away and a bit knackered after a long drive. Lovely little road trip though with some great food, wine and experiences.

So here’s a quick snap taken this morning to demonstrate the power of the iNaturalist app to an interested party.

It’s an LBJ – or, if you use the app – it’s a Familiar Chat. Oenanthe familiaris.

The owner of the property on which were staying has seen loads of these birds every day for year. But he never knew what they were. A quick snap and search and now he knows.

We were also able to point a tiny, cute Neddicky out to him, perched on one of his vineyard posts.

Nice to share.

On the road

As the title suggests, I’m out on the road today, heading about 350km east (well, I can’t exactly go west, can I?) from Cape Town into the wilds of the Western Cape.

I’ve been in SA for nearly 19 years now, and I am still amazed that I can drive for more several (or more) hours a day and still not make it out of my home province. And yes, I know that Australia and Canada are much bigger, but I don’t live in Australia or Canada, so that actually means very little to me.

Incidentally, where I was born and dragged brought up in Sheffield, I could be out of my home county in about 10 minutes, but why would you want to do that anyway?

The place we’re heading to is beautiful, the guest house we’re staying in looks lovely, and we’ve even booked in for a meal at the best restaurant in town (with a choice of two), so although it’s a functional trip, it’s still going to be lovely. I hope.

Watch the ‘Gram for images and updates. T&Cs apply.

Fire

The rules are very clear.

They state that on the first day of the new Premier League season, you have to share this song:

And if you are in the Western Cape (which I are), you are also obliged to remind readers that this fantastic and original video was filmed in Piketberg, just up the road from Cape Town.

I’d much rather that Sheffield United were up there (the Premier League, not Piketberg) competing with the best in the land (and also Nottingham Forest, Dirty L**ds and West Ham), but maybe next year when I share this song again, we’ll be there.

Mass Karaoke

Busy day today. The electricians and the gardener actually turned up (long story), so I’m making many things happen with their assistance. And my bum hurts. Not my legs, not anything else. Just my bum.
Still on a high from last night though.

OK, so if you didn’t click through, that looks really dodgy. But I played football for the first time in over a year and it was great. Glutes, though. Eina.

Anyway, as I said, busy day, so here’s The Pub Choir from Australia singing Kate Bush.

What happens when 1600 strangers have a few drinks, then learn to sing Running Up That Hill in 3 part harmony?

This happens:

Just really nice, the sort of nice that only comes when people are just having a really good time. Sure yes, I know that this is one of those songs that’s come to the fore again because of Stranger Things. And here’s another one of them, but this time with full attribution:

Eddie Munson 4 Ever.