Snooping about Route 62

Posted by Mishqah Schippers on 27 October 2021

Meandering between the quirky dorps on the R62, you can bask in the rural scenery, explore art routes, tuck into fresh padstal fare and stay at charming lodges and farms. It turns out that many of these places also welcome pets. Rachel Moncrieff-Robinson and Valentino, her furry travelling companion, sniffed out the top spots for dogs (and their humans).

Words: Rachel Moncrieff-Robinson | Photography: Supplied

You’ll find delicious curries, a wide selection of gin and a doggie menu at Gypsy’s Gin Bar, Bistro, Deli in Ladismith.

I return to Route 62 time and again for the simple reason that I prefer back roads to highways, the slowness of country living, and I have a penchant for port. There is no greater delight than “popping in” at a padstal to find myself leaving hours later having scoffed roosterkoek, sporting a milkshake moustache and laden with jars of jam and chutneys that sit in the fridge for months afterwards.

This time I took Valentino along on a week’s journey from Montagu to Oudtshoorn, where we spent our days stoep-sitting at farmhouses steeped in history, enjoying ambles through the pastures and cosying up next to blazing fireplaces. By the end of the week, cellphones and laptops were of little importance. Thankfully Valentino is not much bigger than a rabbit so we made our way back to Cape Town in a car laden with frozen ostrich steaks, bottles of port, Wagyu boerewors and even more jars of jam.

Rainbow Glen has been welcoming dogs, cats and bunnies for years and always ensures that their pet guests won’t clash.

Montagu

We have been returning to Rainbow Glen for more than 10 years. It’s budget-friendly, dog-friendly and child-friendly. Owners David and Tara Webster frequented the property for many years and loved it so much that they bought it when it came up for sale. It is fully enclosed so your dogs can safely snoop about; there’s a huge lawn for ball games and plenty of great routes nearby to take them for walks. It’s also close to the centre of town and perfect for those who want to enjoy hiking, biking and mountain climbing.

Cottages from R650 for two pn. 023 614 1294, rainbowglen.co.za

Pet policy: Well-behaved and well-socialised dogs are always welcome. The entire area is enclosed but only The Garden Cottage has its own fence.

The large stoep at Kleindoorn is the perfect spot to bask in the sun.

Barrydale

After a full day, we arrived at Kleindoorn Guesthouse, a typical Karoo farmhouse built in 1900, and relaxed on the stoep to watch the sun set. The next morning, owner Bertus le Roux, who grew up in the house (Valentino and I slept in his childhood bedroom) popped over for tea with Lucy, his exuberant Hungarian pointer and we sat on the stoep chatting about farm life. Apart from much stoep-sitting, we enjoyed Bertus’ Wagyu beef boerewors (R100/kg) on the massive indoor braai and took a walk to the waterfall.

Calitzdorp

English country living with an African touch is what you’ll find at Danielskraal Farm, built in the early 1800s. This exclusive guesthouse is owned and run by Rosheen Kriegler and Sandra Galbraith, a pair straight out of Absolutely Fabulous (sans the wine) who will make sure your every comfort is catered for, while regaling you with delightful farm tales, some involving their pet sheep. Think plump couches on the stoep with plenty of reading material, beautifully decorated dining tables, harlequin-floored bathrooms and twinkling chandeliers. Antiques mix with modern amenities such as ice-makers and a Nespresso coffee-maker – with pods supplied. To be honest, it’s remarkable that this exquisitely restored manor house is pet-friendly. There’s a swimming pool and an outdoor braai for summer days, while a warm fire can be enjoyed in the comfortable and cosy lounge on winter evenings. It’s not surprising that CJ Langenhoven stayed here and wrote a book – you may find yourself holing up for some time, too.

From R6 000 pn (sleeps 10, minimum stay of two nights).
082 887 1055, danielskraalfarm.co.za

Pet policy: Well-behaved pets are welcome but please bear in mind that while the owner loves animals, she doesn’t want muddy prints on her lovely couches or linen. There is a huge lawn for dogs to enjoy but they can venture further afield so you will need to keep an eye on them.

Life slows down at Wolverfontein so and your dog will get to enjoy plenty of quality time together

If you prefer something a little more rural with an arty touch and served with good strong coffee, Kraaldoorn Farm Cottage on the Calitzdorp Art Route in the Groenfontein Valley is perfect. Our host, artist (and recently published author) Peter Coe, had kindly fired up the “drum” in the lounge before we got there so everything was warm and toasty in spite of the Karoo winter gale. When I got into my bed I was taken straight back to my childhood: flannel sheets and pillowcases. I felt so warm and snug it was not easy to get out of bed the next morning. Do make some time to chat to Peter – he’s quite the character and will delight in showing you some of his rather creative installations on the property. If you’re there on a Sunday night you could even pop down the road to watch a movie under the stars on a neighbouring farm.

From R600 pn (sleeps four).
063 041 5027, book through AirBnB.

Pet policy: All dogs are welcome and they will enjoy a walk on the farm or along the valley’s roads. The entire property is enclosed and there is fencing around the deck.

Andre Hagen and Ashley Brownlee, owners of Wolverfontein, with their two ridgebacks.

Pet-friendly pit stops

These spots welcome well-behaved dogs on leashes, with some offering treats and a doggie menu.

• The Orchard, Montagu.

• Diesel & Crème and The Karoo Daisy, Barrydale.
@dieselandcreme

• Ronnie’s Sex Shop near Barrydale.
Facebook: Ronnies Sex Shop & Roadkill Cafe

• Gypsy’s Gin Bar, Bistro, Deli, Ladismith.
Facebook: @GypsysLadismithR62

• Bella de Karoo, Die Bakhuis and De Krans, Calitzdorp.
Facebook: @www.belladekaroo.co.za

You may get a visit from the resident donkeys while you enjoy a steaming cup of Karoo coffee on the deck at Kraaldoorn.

Oudstoorn

When you get to Red Stone Hills you have to hoot three times and ring an old school bell to let Petro Potgieter know you’ve arrived. This is partly because she’s busy doing farming things and partly because the cellphone reception isn’t very good thanks to the iron oxide in the rocks surrounding the farm. This fifth-generation working ostrich farm is popular with pet owners, especially during the Outeniqua Dog Show when it gets booked out long in advance. Our Vineyard Cottage (built in 1876) was homely, with comfortable leather couches around an indoor fireplace, two braai areas (indoors and out) and a huge table on the stoep for tucking into said braai. It’s the kind of place where you can relax and nobody worries if you get mud (or paw prints) on the tiles. Sunsets and sunrises over the red hills are a sight to behold. Don’t panic if you hear the roar of a lion during the night – it’s just the booming call of the male ostriches on the farm during mating season.

From R700 for two.
072 901 5654, redstone.co.za

Pet policy: All types of dogs stay here (it’s booked out during the Outeniqua Dog Show), but while some of the cottages are fenced, adventurous dogs will need to be watched as they could get out.

The cottages at Red Stone Hills, each with their own theme, are set far apart, allowing guests plenty of privacy in their own space.

Considering it’s on a working ostrich farm, I was surprised to hear Berluda Farmhouse has a cottage that is pet-friendly. Thankfully the ostriches are not right on your doorstep so you won’t have to worry about run-ins involving large toes and beaks! Self-cater or treat yourself to a Karoo dinner, or scrambled ostrich eggs for breakfast in the dining room.

From R2 850 pn, sleeps five (B&B).
044 272 7774, berluda.co.za

Pet policy: Well-behaved dogs are welcome in the cottage but not in the dining room and there’s no fencing around the cottage.

Berluda has been welcoming guests and their pets to their spacious cottages and beautiful gardens for 20 years.

At the time of writing, news came in that Africamps Klein Karoo is now also pet-friendly. Valentino hasn’t had the pleasure of staying there, but I have and will always be a big fan of the Africamps glamping experience.

R1 740 pn for two.
063 170 4222 / 021 300 5694, africamps.com

Tino the Traveller

Valentino, affectionately known as Tino, had his first adventure to the Getaway offices when he was eight weeks old and this continued for much of his puppyhood. In his 13 years he’s gandered along the Garden Route, explored the Overberg, wagged his way along the West Coast and roamed Route 62, along with enjoying puppacinnos at padstals, high tea at hotels and the occasional wine farm visit. He may be getting a bit slower and his hearing and sight are going, but he’s always up for a roadtrip and can smell a fresh roosterkoek from a kilometre away.






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