Coming down the Lovely Houw Hoek Mountains on the N2 with busy City of Cape Town behind you, you look over a pleasant little village Bot River another Gateway to our Beautiful Overberg.
Bot River initially started on the farm Compagnies Drift and back then was used as a bartering and trading station for the VOC. Compagnies Drift lied on the original wagon track to the Overberg and Josias de Kock first owner started providing accomodation to travelers and their oxen, given them a good rest before continuing their journey through the Overberg.
In the early 1890’s it is believed the Bot river Hotel open its door and so took over the duties of the traditional overnight stop. Today the Hotel is owned by Mr Grey van Pittuis and has become a very popular watering hole and bus stop, with walls filled with the village history.
But a Afrikaans Television series premiered on 22 February 1979 and introduced Bot River to many South African families. The story revolves around a small community in the Caledon area ‘ Bot River’, where the telephone operator knows more about the inhabitants’ comings and goings than anyone else. Many came to the town wanting to meet the cast and see were scene of the show were filmed.
Today Bot River can Pride them self in their excellent and award winning wine of the area. One of these wine estates is Beaumond Estate, the original Compagnies Drift farm presently owned by Raoul and Jayne Buaumond. The have restored the old wine cellar and together with their son and daughter produces outstanding wine for both local and export market.
Before continuing your expedition through the rest of the Overberg get yourself fuelled up at the local pizza restaurant the Shuntin Shed if you are lucky a train might past while you are there make sure to wave at the driver and he might delight you with a piercing hoot.
Another small Diamond in the Overberg situated on Clerance Drive 'R44' on one of South Africa's most magnificent roads, with its beautiful Ocean views and Mountains filled with our unique fynbos, also part of the Cape Whale Route.
Betty's Bay was established in 1963 named after Betty Youlden daughter of property developer Arthur Youlden. But history in this small town started long before then. Though today Betty's Bay is known for it's peace and quiet and provides a safe to a colony of Jackass Penguins down at Stoney Point but it was not always this way...
In the late 1700's the, British, French and Americans came to South Africa waters to hunt the Southern Right Whale. 1913 a whaling station was established at Stoney Point, on the proberty of Mr. Walsh who sold 60 acres to Mr Frank Cook who employed a small group of Norweigians and started the whaling station 'waaigat' which operated until 1930.
Today the remains of this horrible place is still visible to remind us of how these animals were slaughtered. Images of the Whales station can be viewed at the Whale station Restaurant.
Though all of this Betty's Bay has since change into a beautiful charming town, situated within the Kogelberg Biosphere and home to the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden.
Betty's Bay is renowned for it beautiful floral kingdom it's a paradise for any nature lover or if your just seeking some peace and quiet with Kleinmond or Gordens Bay only a short Drive away.
Today we find our self at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains in a small town Barrydale situated on the Famous Route 62, the longest wine route in the world. Not only does this town produce outstanding wines, but also some of the Overberg’s best brandy’s are formed here. Barrydale is mostly sustained on its agriculture as it’s got rich soil and the perfect climate condition for fruit farming.
As Barrydale is the Gateway to the Overberg to all visitors coming from the Klein Karoo direction, this town gives to many their first impression of our Beautiful region. Though Barrydale might not be our biggest or busiest town it never seems to disappoint.
Established in 1880 this town has been able to carry on its inimitable country charm over the years, the town was originally built on the Barry family’s farm, and so the town inherited the name Barrydale.
A popular destination in the area is Warmwaterberg Spa a hot mineral spring only a few kilometers out of town. Even more popular is Ronnie Sex Shop a small pub on the R62 outside of town. Originally a small shop own by local farmer Ronnie, after the shop had closed down some friends wanted to play a trick on Ronnie and painted the word ‘sex’ in-between Ronnies name and the word ‘shop’. Driving by people could not help noticing this phrase painted in bright red letters. People started to stop and take pictures as Ronnies realised the interest shown he turn the shop into a small pub and has since become well known stop to tourist and other drive by’s
But before you shoot to all these places outside of town make sure to take a drive through the street of Barrydale and admire its splendor, also make sure to grab a bite at the Country Pumpkin for some local cuisine.
Having two names is not something every town can pride itself in, but this small town nested away on the eastern coastline of the Overberg has manage to keep two names along with its distinctive history. This town has truly stood still in time, though Arniston/ Weanhuiskrans has become a popular holiday destination.
The Name Arniston comes from a British transport ship that was wrecked on the sharp reef on the Arniston shoreline. Tragically it was not only soldier that’s lives were lost but women and children as well. Only six survived this horrible ordeal.
Then the other name Weanhuiskrans that originates, from the famous cave and well known icon to the Cape Agulhas area. According to local assumption the cave is big enough for a wagon and hole span of oxen to turn in.
If you are looking for an electrifying night life and exhilarating activities you won’t find them in Arniston, when you think Arniston/ Weanhuiskrans the following come to mind- peaceful, relaxation, serenity, nature, the ideal breakaway from you hectic urban life.
The area is very popular to photographers and artist, from its harbor with the colorful salt-stained fishing boats, the beautiful natural surrounding but especially the 200 year old fishing village Kassiesbaai ‘small wooden boxes bay’ with its whitewashed, thatched roofed cottages all clustered around the shoreline and still inhabited by local fisherman. The entire area has been declared a national monument.
Arniston is the place to disappear to, and if the peace and quiet gets to much towns like Struisbaai and Bredasdorp is only a few minutes away.
In the hart of the Cape Fynbos floral Kingdom set between the Palmiet and Kleinmond Lagoon lies the small but vibrant town Kleinmond.
Kleinmond has been a popular summer resort sense 1860's when farmers of the Caledon and Elgin area use to spent their summer holiday at this coastal paradise, and still today Kleinmond consist of many holiday homes.
Kleinmond got its name from the small mouth of the Bot River that mouths at Kleinmond into the ocean.
Kleinmond has many attractions, something for everyone, if you are into sport activities like ab-seiling, dune surfing, riverrafting, scuba-diving and then of course there is still Kleinmond famous Blue flag beach that is perfect for most water sport activities. Kleinmond also has a beautiful 18 hole golf course and the famous Arabella is only a short drive away.
For Nature lovers, I don't even know where to start at the 25 hiking trails or the wild horses of Rooisan Nature Reserve, it is just endless but coming to Kleinmond a must stop is the penguin colony at Stoney Point, the first Penguin reserve on the South African main land and it seems these Jackass Penguins have made them self quiet at home.
But something even more amazing to experience - make your way down to the beach at first light on a winters morning were you will find Pape Nautilus (Argonauta argo) shell, a shy female octopus, the female use this unique shell as a carry case for her eggs.
Kleinmond has a rich historic background with entertaining and interesting stories of shipwrecks, pirates and runaway slaves. Also found in Kleinmond is Hans die Skipper home of the well known late afrikaans author DF. Malherbe
The locals are very welcoming to visitors, make your way down to harbor were you will find a hype of shops, galleries and restaurants and surely you will find some locals that will amaze you with some stories of the area.
Nested at the bottom of the Rivieronderend Mountains founded in 1854 by Herbert Vigne on his farm Weltevreden is the small town Greyton with its perfectly oak lined main road, and Vaguely Victorian atmosphere.
Greyton is one of the few towns were you still share the roads with donkey carts and stop to let momma duck and her ducklings cross the road.
But why not park your car at the Guest House and go on a sight seeing walk through the historic streets of Greyton filled with antique shops, a pub and restaurants with the sweet smell of roses filling the streets in blooming time. Make sure to make a stop at the Post House build 1860's in English country style, take some time to grab a home made pizza at the Old Mill Restaurant.
before alternative routes, the boesmanskloof trail was the only link between Greyton and McGregor, the local rugby team use to walk the 17km trail to play a match against the town. Today this trail is still a very popular hiking trail for visitors.
Other Activities in Greyton includes bird watching, horse riding, mountain biking or just enjoy a relaxing massage and beauty experience at the Nature's Touch.
So make your next getaway a Greyton getaway.
Were two ocean meets, and the rich soil of Africa stretches out its most southern point, stands on of South Africa's oldest lighthouses, build in 1848 to guide ships around the rocky Cape Agulhas coast line and its stormy waters.
As this is the place were the two oceans meets it seem the area like to do things in two's as not only one but two town have developed , Struisbaai and L'Agulhas.
There has been debate on were the name Struisbaai originates from. Some believe it means 'strawbay' named after the old fisherman's cottages that were build of straw, others believe the name come from the Dutch word vogelstruijs or 'ostrich' as the area use to be a natural habitat to these birds. Struisbaai is a bit more vibrant than L'Agulhas, most shops, restaurants and nightlife entertainment are found in Struisbaai. Struisbaai also has a very popular beach which is also the longest beach in the Overberg it's stretches for 14km.
The meeting of the warm and cold currents make for very rich fish water and is still the main income for many of the local families. The harbor can also be located in Struisbaai, the Struisbaai harbor is also one of the best places to buy ice cream or if you thinking something a bit stronger there is also a small seafood restaurant were you can enjoy a sun downer, another popular place for a sun-downer is Nostra which located right on the Struisbaai beach.
And when you want only that little bit more peace and quiet L'Agulhas is only a few minute away, make sure to take the coast road as it is utterly beautiful, the town are separated by a small town and connected by what locals call Spookdraai 'ghost turn'. L'Agulhas mostly consist out of holiday homes, but lately has developed a few of it own restaurants and shops. If your a mom with small children the Soldate Gat 'soldier whole' is a safe little swimming pool in the sea complete with a jungle gym and sand box. Allot of the popular fishing spots is also in L'Agulhas.
Though these might be quiet little for a perfect relaxing holiday don't be fooled both these town are very popular holiday destination and during the December summer school holidays these towns are crawling with holiday makers and the 14km beach is filled with girls in bikini's, body surfers, kids playing and just people enjoying the sun.
Most people visiting Struisbaai and L'Agulhas Return for a second, third and fourth visit, I now it's one of my favorites destinations in the Overberg
Between two of the Overberg very well known towns, Hermanus and Gansbaai lies a small but unique little town , known for it's historical buildings, and beautiful natural surroundings. People who know the area will know that I can only be talking about one town, Stanford.
Stanford is the perfect getaway from the busy city-life and any nature lover or bird watchers paradise. A very famous way observing the areas rich divers bird life is by River cruise down the Kleinrivier "small river", and after a relaxing cruise, you can visit one of local wine estate and end your afternoon with glass of red wine while watching the sunset over the over the Klein Rivier Mountains.
While visiting Stanford many young women has fell in love with The Anglican Church on village Green and Brides from all over has chosen this fairy tale venue as the place to make there vows to their true loves.
Stanford is utterly a place of relaxation. One can imagine that this is a top destination for artist and writers and many of South Africa's famous has been spotted there.
Visiting Stanford on a regular bases, country market lovers can expect a variety of local wines, as well as delicious home baked Treats and other organic products.
Many of us pass this historical town on our way to the exciting White Shark adventures in Gansbaai, so why not add a view days in Stanford to your itinerary , I can promise you it will be an unforgettable experience.