KAROO TRIP (1)


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!

The Karoo:

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!

Day 1:

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.

A beautiful autumn day to start our trip
Farm roads taking us to the mountains

MONTAGU:

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!

Our spacious room for the night
Small relaxing areas can be found where one can enjoy the beauty of this old hotel
Sweet smelling flowers decorating the outside patio area
There is even a swimming pool (unfortunately, it was too cold to enjoy)

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 complimentary glasses of Montagu Muscadel
A BIG bottle of Montagu Muscadel on the bar counter

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 fire gave warmth while enjoying dinner

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!

Baked Lemon Cheese Cake

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!

The lovely Montagu Country 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.

Categories: South African Break Aways

33 comments

  1. Your journey looks so interesting on all those unmade roads and that unsupported stone arch must have been amazing to drive beneath. I love heritage hotels and the one you have just described looks to be an absolute delight. You both deserved to be pampered on your anniversary and it will be wonderful to look back on these memories in future years. Dinner looked splendid too and how I liked the look of the cosy fireplace in the corner of the restaurant. Looking forward to your next instalment. Goodnight, Marion.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, this hotel was a really great choice! Sometimes it felt as if we were walking into a previous century – like I’ve said, you can only describe it as ‘old world charm’ 😊.
      Oh, the food – it was delicious … how I wish now I had just a small plate of dessert!
      Thanks for reading and your wonderful comments Marion – enjoy your Friday and weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks like the start of a great anniversary! Love that tunnel😊

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Love the old hotel and the food looked great! This trip seemed to have it all with green gardens, dusty roads, mountains and tunnels. Congratulations to you both!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It looks lovely. Those lamps in the Montagu Hotel are really quite something 🤣

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Fancy, Corna! I love the dramatic skies on your drive and the lovely gardens! I enjoyed the food porn, too! Happy weekend! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Stunning images! Happy weekend

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi guys, what a wonderful place to stay for a special celebration. The food looks fabulous! Just to let you know there seems to be a problem with WordPress and we haven’t been receiving any notifications of your posts. Will try and re-follow you and see if that works 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is such a wonderful way to celebrate one’s 25th anniversary, happy anniversary and may you be blessed with many more wonderful years. My experience is that they just get better each year so that is what I wish for you too. I don’t think we have ever been on Montague pass, looks amazing 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Congrats on your 25th wedding anniversary! The hotel looks so nice and cosy, I also quite like the Art Deco style of the interiors…and food looks delicious. I just had a nice lunch, but I could almost eat again just by looking at your pictures!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Nic 😊. I’m glad you like the Art Deco style too – it’s something different, but really beautiful! Ahh, the food … I know the saying of “don’t live to eat, but eat to live”, but when food is this delicious, it’s difficult to remember this saying!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy anniversary!!!! What a wonderful way to celebrate!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I used to travel quite a lot in South Africa before moving to the UK and travelling through the Karoo was a favourite. If travelling at night, I used to stop the car kn the side of the road and we’d lie on the bonnet and look at the stars. So incredible. I remember visiting Montague many years ago. Like most similar towns it was olde worlde charming. I loved the Karoo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, the stars in the Karoo … it almost feel as if you can touch them (I love how you’ve watched the stars next to the road!) We also love the Karoo – visited the “Klein” Karoo, the “Groot” Karoo and the “Tankwa” Karoo (such a beautiful part of our country!)

      Like

      • Whenever I’m out and about at night and look.up to the heavens and see a tiny sprinkling of stars, I’m always reminded of what the night skies really look like…I do hope to take my grandson to a dark sky observatory when he’s older. Its really sad that I’m sure 90% of the urban population have no idea of what the night sky actually looks like

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with you – it’s such a wonderful site to see the stars clearly during the night.
        In one of our next posts about our trip to ‘The Hell’ (of all places), I will mention how clearly we saw the stars – especially the Milky Way. Oh yes, you must take your grandson to see the stars once he’s older … what an adventure that will be for him!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Definitely. It will be awesome

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Hello again,

    I know I have wished you happy anniversary before so I won’t do it again but this looks like a brilliant trip.

    Yes, it is always good to have a “splurge” now and again and your “splurge” looks exceptional. That hotel looks great and, as a lover of cooking, chef excelled himself. The food was presented beautifully but not in a “showy” way, it looked gorgeous and you obviously loved it. I can only imagine what it tasted like!

    I am still waiting with baited breath for the “trip to Hell”. Best wishes to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Fergie 😁 … good to hear from you again (I’m commenting on your posts, but don’t think it’s “registering” on your blog …)
      Anyway, yes thank you, it was a great trip – that hotel was really something special (loved the old world feeling). And the food was absolutely delicious … sometimes is great to eat food that is prepared by someone else (and if it is a chef, even better 😄).
      Don’t worry, you won’t have to wait much longer for the ‘trip to the Hell’ … we’re almost there and I’m sure you will like it!
      Thanks for your wishes – hope you are also doing well.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. A belated happy anniversary. Looks like a great trip and I’m glad you got your wish to stay a night at a fancy hotel. What a dinner!

    Liked by 1 person

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