So you have spent the last few days sight-seeing in Cape Town and now you are ready to set off and explore more of South Africa. Well you could opt to fly but that would mean missing out on some stunning scenery. Driving from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth there are 2 main routes; the most popular route is the Garden Route via the N2 but we elected to take the Route 62 which takes you through the wine growing region of the Western Cape.
Top Tip: Make sure you leave yourself enough time along the way to stop and enjoy the scenery and to sample some of the delicious food and wine en route.
Eating on the Route 62
To get to the start of the R62 head out of Cape Town on the N1 main route signposted to Paarl. Paarl is stuck right in the heart of the famous Cape Winelands and just a short drive from the University town of Stellenbosch. The backdrop of mountains and wine estates make driving a real pleasure. If you want to stop for lunch we highly recommend the Spier Wine Farm which has a lovely outdoor casual restaurant. Order one of their delicious cheese platters and a glass of wine and kick back and relax next to a beautiful dam surrounded by old trees. If you are a real gourmet food-freak then head over to the beautiful small town of Franschhoek which has a well-deserved reputation as the Food Capital of South Africa.
Take your time
Now we did say don’t rush this trip so it’s a good idea to find overnight accommodation in the area to give you enough time to explore properly. From Franschhoek you can either travel straight onto Worcester or decide to explore travel other pretty towns close by like Tulbagh and Ceres. Tulbagh is surrounded by mountains and is famous for its row of old houses that were restored following an earthquake in the 1960’s which destroyed a large section of the town. Perhaps it is the unique occurrence of an earthquake in South Africa that has made this area so special. We recommend a bite to eat at the Paddagang restaurant one of the best known restaurants and famous for its typically South African food. Just a short drive from Tulbagh is Ceres famous for fruit farms. The R46 road to Ceres is very beautiful taking you through unusually beautiful craggy mountains.
Start of the Route 62
Do an about turn and head back along the R43 to the town of Worcester, which is considered to be the official start of the Route 62. It’s a bustling town with a number of unique attractions like the Die Klein Plaasie a living museum that shows visitors how farms used to work, the implements used and how food was cooked.
Head out of Worcester and just before you get to Robertson turn off to visit Rooiberg. There is a beautiful winery here plus a restaurant which serves very good light meals. Don’t miss the small farm stall where there is a myriad of local produce on offer. The wine farms around Robertson are some of the most beautiful in the Cape Winelands and it is worth devoting some extra time here. If the younger ones are getting a bit bored of sitting in a car then this is a good spot to stretch your legs on a hike or to go horse-riding.
From Robertson wind your way slowly through Ashton, home to some huge fruit and vegetable canning factories, proof that the area is not solely reliant on the wine industry. Continue on from Ashton traveling along a road that at times seems to get a little bit narrow all the way until you reach the town of Montagu, famous for its Hot Springs, dried fruit and olives. An unusual attraction in Montagu is the tractor ride up the mountain; unfortunately this only operates at certain times so check in advance if you are interested in doing this.
From Montagu the scenery changes as you drive through fruit farms and in February they sell the locally grown produce at the farm stalls so do stop and take a look.
Barrydale is the next town, a very popular place to stopover for travellers who are driving from Oudtshoorn to Cape Town. If you wish to visit the town turn off the main road and you will immediately feel as if you have gone back in time. As you come into the town there is a sense that the rush and bustle of modern life has passed this place by. From Barrydale to Ladysmith the road takes you through desert-like country – a sharp contrast to the scenery you have got used to. Here the vegetation is sparse and at times non-existent.
The Route 62 continues on through Calitzdorp which is the port capital of South Africa and a stop at one of the port cellars is well worth doing. The next big town en route is Oudtshoorn famous for its ostriches and the Cango Caves. There are a number of ostrich farms which are happy to welcome visitors and they pride themselves on teaching you all about these fascinating birds.
From Oudtshoorn you have 2 choices – either travel down to George where you will re-join the N2 and the Garden Route on to Port Elizabeth or alternatively continue on the R62 through the Langeberg and miles of fruit farms. This route is a lot quieter than the N2 and you join the N2 just before Humansdorp where you continue onto your final destination – Port Elizabeth.