Day Trip 4

Montagu – Barrydale – Suurbraak – Swellendam – Ashton

Centrally situated between Cape Town and Oudtshoorn, Montagu on the Route 62 nestles in the western corner of the Klein Karoo. Things to do: hot springs; horse riding; wine tasting; quad biking; mountain biking; rock climbing; abseiling; art galleries; 4X4 trails; brandy museum; indigenous herb museum; wild flower garden. Cellars in town are Montagu and Montagu Wine & Spirits Co. It is here that the country’s favourite dessert wine, Muscadel, is produced. Things to do: cellar tours; wine tasting. From here, travel along the R62 towards Barrydale. Next stop along the route is Star Hill Wines at the Akkerboom Farm Stall. Please stop here for wine tasting and something to eat. Further along are Joubert-Tradauw Vineyards and Cellar. Things to do: cellar tours; wine tasting; alfresco deli; Klein Karoo tapas under the vines. The Barrydale Cellar in Barrydale is one of South Africa’s top pot still brandy producers and well worth a visit. Things to do: hot springs; game reserve; quad biking; mountain biking; succulent garden; 4X4 trails; nature reserves; labyrinth; just relax. The spectacular Tradouw’s Pass leads to the historical mission town of Suurbraak. The traveler encounters this quaint town unexpectedly along the Tradouws River at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, on route between Swellendam, Barrydale and Heidelberg. The village is well worth a visit for tourists who wish to explore. Things to do: village walks; mountain hikes; braai facilities alongside the river; bird watching; furniture making; horse riding; cart rides. Then onwards to the N2. Turn left towards Swellendam. Nestled at the foot the Langeberg Mountains, this historic heart of the Overberg will offer you experiences to remember. It has a diverse variety of activities and attraction including history, architecture, wildlife and outdoor adventure. The R60 will take you to Ashton and from there, take the R62 back to Montagu. 

Spend an unforgettable day in the Klein Karoo

Distances: Montagu to Rietrivier Cellar (20 km) – Rietrivier Cellar to Joubert Tradauw (35 km) – Joubert Tradauw to Barrydale (11 km) – Barrydale to Suurbraak (22 km) – Suurbraak to Swellendam (20 km). Swellendam to Ashton (49 km). Ashton to Montagu (10 km). Round trip is 167 km.

Reasons to visit Montagu

A unique rural atmosphere distinguishes Montagu as one of the best preserved late Victorian agricultural villages in the Cape with a variety of superb accommodation and restaurants. Because of the mountains surrounding the town, Montagu is ideal for all mountain related-sport and activities.

Culture and history

Historic Homes

Take a leisurely walk down Long Street and view 14 National Monuments, all private residences. The Historic Homes booklet is available from the Tourist Information Office. Website: www.montagu-ashton.info

Joubert House

25 Long Street. It is the oldest local dwelling and serves as a house museum, portraying the typical country lifestyle of the 1850’s. Behind the house, an indigenous medicinal plant garden was established. Over the past 22 years, the museum has been researching and recording the rich oral history and traditional uses of medicinal plants in the Montagu district, passed down by the Khoikhoi, San and settler farmers from Europe. Open from 08h00 – 17h00 on weekdays and from 10h 00 – 12h 00 on weekends and Public Holidays. Website: www.montagu.org.za

Montagu Museum

41 Long Street. Frequently changing temporary exhibitions form a showcase for the large and diverse museum collection of local history. Open from 09h00 – 13h00 and 14h00 – 17h00 on weekdays and from 10h30 – 12h30 on weekends. Website: www.montagu.org.za

Nature

Birding

One of Montagu’s most popular and easily accessible tourism venues is the Leidam with its large variety of indigenous birds, situated in the heart of town at the north-westerly corner of Barry and Bath Streets. It is home to 18 species of birds (including Sacred Ibis, Herons, Cormorants, Egrets, Shrikes and Weavers) that use it as their breeding ground. If this is not enough, more than 52 visiting species have been identified. Website: www.montagu-ashton.info

Activities

4X4 Routes

The Klein Karoo is criss-crossed with secondary roads (dirt or gravel) which provide a large variety of interesting and scenic drives as well as the highest concentration of 4x4 routes in the country. Several options exist with differently graded routes suitable for all types of off-road vehicles and drivers with different levels of experience. Website: www.montagu-ashton.info

Hiking

Some people just love the wide open spaces of the Klein Karoo, others appreciate the fact that they are hiking a world heritage site, still others appreciate the beauty of walking through an ecological hotspot where three plant biomes (succulent karoo, cape thicket and fynbos) converge. Aasvoëlkrans Trail 2 hours, also shorter walk halfway up 30 minutes. Starts opposite Aasvoëlkrans B&B in Van Riebeeck Street. Bloupunt Trail 15,6 km circular hike and can be completed in 6 – 9 hours. Starts at the Ou Meul. From the 1266 m summit is a breathtaking view of 5 towns. Cogmanskloof Trail 12,1 km circular hike and can be completed in 5 – 6 hours. It is less than half the height of Bloupunt, but has also beautiful views. Starts at the Ou Meul. No dogs. Please take water on above trails. Lover’s Walk Next to the Keisie River. Starts in Barry Street, pass the Ou Meul for a scenic walk through Baths Kloof to the Springs. It is a 2,2 km in walk one direction. Website: www.montagu-ashton.info

Mountain biking Ouberg Route

Go through the town and link up to the R62 in the Barrydale direction. Turn left onto the Talana Road. After a kilometer, turn left again on a dirt road to Ouberg. This road continues with an easy gradient passing through farmland and later mountainous areas. At about the 19km mark, turn left. This is a tougher section along a dirt track and once over the top, it is home along farm roads, connecting you to the R318 and back to Montagu. Baden Route Leave Montagu via the R318 past the golf course and take the right hand fork along a dirt road. Continue until you can turn left through farm land and beautiful scenery, turn left again at the next turning which takes you back to the R318 and home to the left. This can be done clock wise which will give you a fast ride home. Talana Route Go through the town and link up to the R62 in the Barrydale direction. Turn left onto the Talana Road. Follow this road, taking no lefts or rights. There are no big hills on the route except for the section before the R62. Once at the R62 you turn right for a fast tar ride home on the wide shoulder. This is an easy ride with fantastic farm land and mountain views. If you want a little more dirt road, take a right at the shop and connect back onto the Talana road, then home. Tracks Get yourself onto Church Street and head south past the hospital where you will get onto some dirt, carry on up to the top, keep left until you see a track going left. Once on this track it is then up to you to explore the area. Website: www.montagu-ashton.info

Rock climbing

Montagu has become one of the ten climbing “hot spots” worldwide and every year sees an increase in overseas visitors to the beautiful Montagu Mountains. The mountains have a unique rock face that excites even the most jaded climber and the weather conditions are mostly perfect year round. Website: www.montagu-ashton.info

Tractor

An activity which proves to be quite popular, is the Montagu Tractor Trips. The tractor/trailer takes you to the summit of the Langeberg Mountain range. A typical farmhouse potjiekos lunch awaits at the end of this 3 hour excursion. Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10h00 and 14h00. Website: www.montagu-ashton.info

Local tourism information

To find out more about Montagu and its surround, places to stay, where to eat or to get the contact details of the activities mentioned, please contact the Montagu-Ashton Tourism Bureau.

Montagu Tourism Bureau Website: www.montagu-ashton.info www.montagu.org.za

Reasons to visit Barrydale

Despite its ever growing popularity, Barrydale retains its rural, old world charm with long stretching gravel roads and open spaces. It supports a diverse, yet harmonious community of young and old, Afrikaans and English, fruit farmers and artists, long time residents and newcomers. This Karoo village is the perfect destination for visitors who wish to unwind and relax.

Nature

Barrydale is situated in transitional veldt on the northern opening of the Tradouws Pass leading through the Langeberg Mountain range. The mountain range on the south of the town has fynbos vegetation, while the area north of the town is the beginning of the winter rainfall succulent Karoo. The fynbos of this area contains such species as the white sugarbush protea, Protea repens, the King protea, Protea cynaroides, the Queen protea, Protea magnifica and endemics such as Leucodendron tradouwensis, Erica tradouwensis and Erica barrydalensis.

Activities

Eenboom Game Farm

Besides the unbelievable beauty, sunsets and clean air, we offer endless walks in nature, game drives, bird watching, fishing, cycling and exotic wild veldt flowers. Website: www.eenboom.co.za

Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

Absorb the grandeur of the Klein Karoo. The Big 5 is ever present and activities include game drives, nature walks, bird watching, star gazing and rock art. Website: www.sanbona.com

4X4 Routes

The Klein Karoo is criss-crossed with secondary roads (dirt or gravel) which provide a large variety of interesting and scenic drives as well as the highest concentration of 4x4 routes in the country. Several options exist with differently graded routes suitable for all types of off-road vehicles and drivers with different levels of experience. Website: www.klipbok4x4adventures.co.za

Fishing

Bo-Vlakte Trout Farm offers fly fishing and accommodation. Five dams available. Catch and release policy. Website: www.safarinow.com

Hiking

Some people just love the wide open spaces of the Klein Karoo, others appreciate the fact that they are hiking a world heritage site, still others appreciate the beauty of walking through an ecological hotspot where three plant biomes (succulent karoo, cape thicket and fynbos) converge.

Quad biking

Guided tours include mountain drives, karoo veldt drives, senior citizens tours, farm tours, extreme mountain trail and team building exercises. Quads available or bring your own. Website: www.tquads.co.za

Local tourism information

To find out more about Barrydale and its surround, places to stay, where to eat or to get the contact details of the activities mentioned, please contact the Barrydale Tourism Bureau.

Barrydale Tourism Bureau Website: www.barrydale.co.za

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