MONTAGU (Montagu Country Hotel)
April & May 2021
It was time for a BIG celebration … this year marks our 25th wedding anniversary and we’ve planned a break-away for a couple of days.
When Berto asked me where I would like to go, I said that my only wish for this trip was to spent at least one night in a fancy hotel … the rest was up to him.
I got my wish of a hotel and Berto … well, he got a whole lot of adventure on roads we have not driven before … all the way to “The Hell” … say what!? you ask … well, don’t go too far in order to find out more!
We’ve decided to visit The Karoo. This is a semi-desert natural region in South Africa. There is the Klein (or Little) Karoo and the Groot (or Big) Karoo. Our aim was to visit the Klein Karoo, that would include towns such as Montagu and Oudtshoorn.
Oh … and we will drive on a lot of passes … so, get your seatbelt fasten – there are some hair-raising driving ahead!
When we’ve left on a bright Wednesday afternoon, it took us just under an hour to find ourselves on the first gravel road of this trip – we knew there were more (lots more) of gravel road laying ahead and we’ve enjoyed this one.
Montagu was founded on the farm “Uitvlugt” in 1851 and is known for its hot mineral springs and scenic mountains. This beautiful town lies on Route 62 – a tourist route that offers a scenic alternative to the N2 highway … and so worth the drive!
On the way to Montagu, we drove through Cogmanskloof Pass (a creation of the famous pass builder, Thomas Bain), built in 1877. On this pass, we’ve driven through the iconic tunnel (which is, according to many websites, the only solid, unsupported rock tunnel in South Africa). There are a lot of road works on this pass currently, so be prepared and be patient.
MONTAGU COUNTRY HOTEL:
Our first overnight stop was at the Montagu Country Hotel. This hotel was built in 1875 and is the oldest accommodation establishment in the village … for me, there is no better way of describing it as ‘old world charm’! I just love the beautiful Art Deco rooms, the antique pieces that can be seen everywhere and their luscious green garden … and did I mention the food?
The staff received us friendly and we were checked into our room in no time. They showed us to a safe parking area at the back of the hotel and helped us with our luggage to our room … now, this felt like a second honeymoon!
After booking dinner at the hotel, we’ve spent the early evening in their lovely bar – enjoying a glass of wine and the hospitality of the friendly staff. We were even served complimentary glasses of Montagu Muscadel (a muscadel with ripe muscat flavours and a product of this very same town).
Our dinner was a five-star event! It was quite cold and we were happy that there was a fire in the corner of the dining room to keep us cozy and warm.
The food, prepared by Chef Werner Blom, was really delicious and the presentation beautifully done. Berto enjoyed Ratatouille Crisp as a starter and I had a tasty bowl of onion soup and home-baked whole-wheat seed bread.
Our main courses were a real delight. My choice (without even a slight hesitation) fell on the Cape Malay Bobotie and Berto had Karoo Lamb Pie (we are in the Karoo after all).
The dessert menu was a wonderful treat … but after all that yumminess, I had to pass. Berto however, decided on the Baked Lemon Cheese Cake – a very good choice!
We had such a great evening in the Montagu Country Hotel … there was not even time to make use of their Wellness Spa … ah well, next time! At least, I can tick off my wish of one night in a fancy hotel!
In our next post we will take you all the way to Oudtshoorn – on route, we’ve found a surprise ‘shop’ and then entered ostrich world. Another beautiful place was waiting for us to relax for the evening … don’t miss it, see you there!
You can read about Day 2 here.