Saturday morning creeped up as our alarms went off at 7.30 for an 8am breakfast – we sat sipping our filter coffee as we waited for our bacon and eggs to be prepared. The rain had slowed but the sky was still overcast – mist and clouds covering most of the mountains which surround Swellendam. For most it would be a disappointed but I couldn’t help but feel like the universe was giving me a break.
We hit the road and headed out towards the Tradouw Pass (post a garage pitstop for more coffee and fuel). Chad said I was in for a treat, but I had no idea just how beautiful the drive through the pass would be. Photographs don’t really even begin to do it justice. The air was clean, the light diffused and the clouds resting upon the mountains created an eerie calm unique to itself. If I could capture the views, the smells and the absolute quiet in space and time to revisit when I need a break I would do it in a second. We must have stopped at every single point along the pass to take everything in. This was probably one of the biggest highlights of the trip – constantly being surrounded by the city makes me forget how much I miss and need the outdoors.
Next up we drove to Barrydale before making our way towards Montagu for the night. I mentioned in an instagram post that one of the most intriguing differences between photographing people in the city and people in small towns was the response you get when they notice that you are capturing them. About 90% of the time I would get a smile, some chipper comments or a laugh. The locals have a beautiful energy – one that’s unassuming and raw. It goes without saying that the environment is vastly different but I found the change refreshing.
Here’s the route that we took:
Cape Town – Swellendam via the N2.
+ Peregrines (you can not, I repeat, can not, begin a road trip sans a pie from here. Can highly recommend the pepper-steak pie and the spinach and feta spanakopita.
+ Many many road side pull-offs including a pitstop in Riviersonderend for some whiskey.
We spent the first night at Babette BnB – It was super clean and in a great location (right at the beginning of the town if you come from the N2) The BnB is owned by a lovely dutch couple, Wim and Nicky. They sent us a list of recommended places to eat prior to our arrival so that we could book. Neither of us felt like anything uptight so we opted for Woodpecker Pizza, it was INCREDIBLE. Honestly, I eat a lot of pizza, so much pizza that most people would think that I have a problem. I can honestly say that their pizza was on par with Roberta’s Pizza in NYC – and I really don’t say that lightly. It was delicious.
Day two kicked off with a lovely breakfast at Babbette under the patio. The rain cleared for a bit so that helped. We hit the road and made our way to Barrydale via the Tradouw Pass. There are some incredible dirt road passes in the area, but since there was rain it was recommended to stay clear of them unless you have a 4×4. Unfortunately my bank account doesn’t quite allow for the purchase of one of these so we stuck to the tar.
+ Oude Post Bistro for coffee
+ Tradouw Pass
+ (Various roadside stops)
We stayed a really quaint little guesthouse called Airlies Guesthouse. The main house dates back circa 1912. The BnB is run by a lovely couple (Tielman and Corrie de Villiers) it was really clean, spacious and quiet. We ended up right next door for dinner at a lovely old pub called Ye Olde Tavern which, by the sheer amount of incredibly delicious Lamb Shank we ate along with the amount of whiskey and beer we enjoyed was a massive blessing.
The breakfast at Airlies was everything we needed to get our last day going (fresh seeded bread, fruit salad with the biggest freshest cherries, yoghurt etc and a delicious hot meal of bacon, eggs and mushrooms) it was simple but perfect. Tielman was on it with keeping our mugs filled with a steady supply of coffee – that alone warrants a great rating.
Stops en route home included:
+ Many many roadside stops along route 62.
+ Lunch in Riebeeck Kasteel at Bean About Town.
As the N7 straightened out and Table mountain came into view it dawned on me that reality was yet again about to set in.
Total km traveled: Give or take about 650km.
It was a pretty small trip, but what a weekend it was. We’re going to be making an effort do to these every two or three months. Each time heading into another direction and pushing to see how far out we can make it in three days.