For those of us addicted to roads, roadtripping and stupendous scenery, we’re privileged to be able to enjoy various mountain passes in the Western Cape. It’s total roadcandy.
Driving through a mountain pass carries with it a certain symbolism. More than just the exhilarating sense of freedom that being on the open road evokes, it’s the physical act of passing from one place into another. It’s almost as if the lie of the land echoes the state of your mind… heading towards something new and leaving something else behind…
Interestingly enough, there’s the southernmost mountain pass – Akkedisberg – right on our doorstep (R326). The pass is one of the oldest in South Africa, dating back to 1776. Detouring on the R326 to Napier/Bredasdorp/Arniston, the raw features and breath-taking views of the Akkedisberg are simply jaw-dropping!
This small, scenic pass is almost worth planning your entire holiday around, that’s how stunning it is. There is so much to see and do on the R326 and the Akkedisberg Pass. Here are some top tips (just too mention a few. Wording abridged from their websites)…
Boschrivier Wines is located on two farms that lie at the foot of the Klein River Mountain range on the R326 near Stanford. The first farm, Remhoogte, hosts the vineyards from which Boschrivier wines are produced and a manor house turned into a wine house/coffee shop that is open to the public for wine tasting.
The manor house on the second farm, Boschkloof, is available for guests to rent. Home to blue cranes, takbokke, fynbos and other wildlife, the Boschkloof manor house makes for a true farm getaway.
The Raka brand was named after Piet Dreyer’s black fishing vessel. Piet’s first love has always been the sea. For some 36 years he braved the storms and challenges of the coast, ever in search of the best catch. It is with this same passion that the Dreyer family now pursue the art of winemaking. With the rich blessing of earth and elements, the help of a dedicated workforce, the enthusiasm of winemaker Josef Dreyer and the advantages of a modern gravity flow cellar, Piet Dreyer produces his award-winning Raka wines.
Stanford Valley Guest Farm
Stanford Valley Guest Farm nestles in the valley of the Klein Rivier, 10km outside Stanford village. They offer comfortable accommodation as well as conference facilities. Enjoy upmarket country cuisine, prepared by renowned chef Madre Malan and her team at the Manor House Restaurant whilst soaking in the glorious scenic landscapes.
Klein River Cheese
Klein River Farmstead offers an array of exceptional, high-quality and award-winning South African cheeses. The farm is open to the public and you can taste and purchase cheese as well as a variety of gourmet products in The Cheese Shop; enjoy a delicious picnic on the banks of the river; all while the children enjoy the extensive playground or pet and feed the many farm animals.
White Water Farm
Historic White Water Farm is a welcoming rural haven with magnificent mountain scenery in the Klein River valley. This historical venue is the ideal place to escape – whether it is for a much needed rest, an adventure, a business conference, a wedding or a private retreat. White Water has its own “chapel” as well as restaurant on the premises.
Blue Gum Country Estate
Named after the 140-year old Blue Gum tree that grows on our front lawn, the estate is both a working farm dating back to 1839 and a private, family-run guest house. Whether you stay in the old Manor House suites, the more private Mountain View Cottages or our Blue Gum Family Rooms, you’ll discover a tranquil retreat that offers something for everyone from honeymoon couples to solo travellers and large family groups. With this in mind there is also two restaurants on the estate.
Phillipskop Mountain Reserve
Unwind, explore and discover at this mountain reserve that occupies the southerly slopes of the Klein River Mountains just to the east of Stanford. They offer spacious chalet-style self-catering cottages, perched on the slopes of the Klein River Mountains with sweeping views across the Overberg, as well as opportunities for guests and day visitors to explore the reserve and discover more as they do… Various hiking trails on offer as well as guided botanical walks.
The “Boeredans Cottage” is 2.5 km from the village and is an easy drive for city vehicles. It is also only 30 meters from the Klein River and sleeps 5. The cottage is located on a working farm; sheep, Nguni cattle and Emu’s roam freely and which adds to the farm style atmosphere.
Walkerbay Estate includes Birkenhead Brewery
This is the first wine and brewing estate in the Southern Hemisphere. Visit their vineyard and winery where they produce Walker Bay Vineyards wines, and enjoy their delicious food and freshly home-brewed beer.
And then it’s so true: here in Stanford, we’re really quite proud of all the cool stuff our village and surrounds has to offer. You’ve heard us wax lyrical about our river, mountains, our wine, our wildlife, our heritage, our cape floral kingdom and just gush in general about Stanford’s natural beauty (not to mention its world-class accommodation, restaurants…)
Just remember the following tip when revving up your engines for a scenic trip:
“Here’s the secret to a good mountain view: leave your camera behind. You’ll never see all the beauty of the landscape through your lens, and when you upload your photos at home you’ll be disappointed in the pale colours which only hint at the gorgeous rock hues you’ve witnessed. Drink the view with your eyes and remember that when you need another look you’ll be better off taking another drive than paging through an album. The lofty mountain heights will be there to enjoy long after your photos fade.”
-Jen Hoyer, Getaway Magazine: October 17, 2012