Road trip from Gqeberha to Joburg, one padstal at a time

Posted by Anita Froneman on 4 April 2022

Ryan Enslin shares a special road trip adventure through the lens of the much-loved padstal.

It’s not often I get to truly road trip around South Africa. Most of my travel assignments see me fly in, do my thing and fly home. So when the opportunity came my way to do a dinkum road trip from Gqeberha to Joburg, with Ford and their latest Everest, I was in! Three full days on the road – bliss lay ahead.

The trip actually started two days before we left Gqeberha, as I joined the Ford team and the ladies from Rally to Read on a rather interesting mission. The Rally to Read organisation, in partnership with the Read Educational Trust, provides school books and learning materials to rural and township schools, through a series of organised rallies across the country. I joined them for their Eastern Cape Rally. Not only do they provide the materials, but schools receive ongoing teacher support over a three year period.

With our learning materials duly delivered, we fuelled up the Everest and hit the N2 for the three-day journey back to Joburg.

Nanaga Farm Stall

Just 45-minutes into the trip, we pulled off the N2 for a spot of brunch at the Nanaga Farm Stall. It turns out that Nanaga is legendary on the padstal spectrum. I had a few arched eyebrows raised my way when I informed members of our party that I had not previously visited this much-loved institution.

Nanaga dates back to 1969 when an entrepreneurial Lynn Lake started selling cabbages from the boot of her car on the site. As business increased Lynn built a small stall and expanded her offering to include pies and pineapple juice. 2008 saw a major renovation by Lynn’s daughter, now owner of the property, to what today stands proudly as Nanaga Farm Stall.

One from the arched-eyebrow brigade told me I ‘had’ to have a lamb and mint pie, plus a fresh pineapple juice. I complied and found myself in pie heaven. The 3 500 pies they make and sell each day seems to support this statement. I‘m arching my eyebrow as I type this and suggest that you too opt for the same fare when you next visit Nanaga (what are you doing this weekend?).

Find the Nanaga Farm Stall at the intersection of the N2, R72 and N10 roads, or call them on +2741 468 0353.

Baddaford Farm Stall

Back on the road and we set the navigation system in the Everest for Fort Beaufort. It dawned on me that I should have ordered two lamb and mint pies as the munchies kicked in during the early afternoon. Fortunately Baddaford Farm Stall, on the lesser-travelled R67, was able to sort out the situation.

Set in a lush flower garden, and stocking homemade produce from locals in the area, Baddaford is a definite must-stop. Even if you have to adjust your route. The range of sauces, chutneys and preserves is impressive, and be sure to stock up on the shortbread.

A bit of a mix up on the food order saw me sorting those munchies out with a vegan lasagne. I tackled what would not normally be my meal of choice with gusto, and was pleasantly surprised. Who knew vegan food actually tasted like anything? You learn something new every day.

Find the Baddaford Farm Stall on the R67 just before Fort Beaufort, or call them on +2787 350 4402.

The Ford Pass App

An overnight stop in Hogsback ensured we got some much-needed rest on our journey back to Joburg. I had secretly installed the Ford Pass App on my mobile phone which allowed me to control the Everest in a variety of ways. Of particular interest to me was the ability to unlock the car and start it remotely. I decided to mess around with my driving partner, Mike, by using the app while crouched behind a bush. His face was priceless as the car mystically unlocked and started itself. Oh, the things we do for a bit of fun! And how amazing is that technology.

This app will be an incredible feature during winter – imagine being able to warm your car up before you jump into it to start your day. Rather clever, I think.

Our next day of travel took us through the Eastern Cape and into the Free State, and an overnight stop at the Royal Hotel Bethulie, also known as the Book Hotel. I visited owner Anthony Hocking late last year at the hotel for an upcoming feature in Getaway Magazine, so it was good to touch base again with him and spend time in this legendary South African establishment.

Kuilfontein Farm Stall

Picture: Kuilfontein

Our last day of travel started as we left Bethulie and joined the N1 national road. Rural exploration was over and the business of actually getting home was now to hand. The Kuilfontein Farm Stall makes for a great breakfast stop, should you find yourself on this route. Located near the town of Springfontein and just 500m from the N1, the padstal is situated on a fifth-generation sheep farm. Karoo style baby, all the way!

Picture: Kuilfontein

If you get your planning wrong and need a spot to stay over, Kuilfontein also offers bed and breakfast accommodation. The Kuilfontein cappuccinos will kick some life back into you if you are tired from the drive, and I hear they also do a stand-out lamb and mint pie.

Find Kuilfontein Farm Stall on the N1 just before Springfontein, or call them on +2783 283 7522.

Consider these other options on the N1

There are more padstals on the route between Gqeberha and Joburg than there are meal times, so you will be spoilt for choice. Consider these other padstals on the N1 as you head back to Joburg:

  • Snobs Coffee Roastery in Trompsburg, the town may be but one road, but the coffee is legendary.
  • Jakkalsdrift Padstal just outside Winburg make a great Eggs Benedict.
  • Wafelhuys in Kroonstad, for Dutch stroopwafels.

Padstals truly are a barometer of the South African-ness of our country, with each one proudly displaying their take on our shared heritage. And some great local produce as well. Plan your trip around these creative and inspiring stops to add some local flavour to your journey.

Follow more of Ryan’s adventures in and around Joburg here.

Pictures: Ryan Enslin

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