April & May 2021
After a delicious breakfast at the Country Hotel in Montagu, we’ve thanked the staff for a great stay and loaded our luggage in the car again.
Today we are travelling to Oudtshoorn – about 240km (149 miles) further – and we are looking forward to drive through beautiful mountain passes. The weather however, was not looking great – soft rain was falling when we’ve left Montagu.
Rain on the Op de Tradouw Pass:
We’ve travelled through the ‘Op de Tradouw Pass’ between Montagu and Barrydale and could not really took any photo’s, because most of our ride was in rain. But, as we’ve got to the bottom of the pass, the sun came out – happy days!
Hello to ‘Ronnies Sex Shop’:
As we’ve been on this road before, we knew of an interesting pub next to the road … ‘Ronnies Sex Shop’ … but don’t get too alarmed … it’s not what you think it is 😁.
‘Ronnies Sex Shop’ was actually just ‘Ronnies Shop’ when it started back in the late 1990’s. A pub between towns where a weary traveler could stop to have something to drink and eat … but business was not great then, and Ronnie’s friends decided to put the word ‘sex’ to the name … and there you go, the irresistible sign brought in loads of passers-by 😄.
We were quite fortunate to have Ronnie himself coming out to our car and welcoming us to his shop. He offered us a glass of champagne (when he heard we were on our anniversary trip), but since it was still early in the morning (and we had to drive), we’ve opted for coffee and tea!
The inside of the pub is … well, shall we just say ‘interesting’ … ladies’ underwear is hanging from the roof, messages of travelers are written everywhere and a whole lot of different badges and currencies are displayed on the walls … for sure not your ‘normal’ pub!
While we were sitting there, a couple of cars stopped to enjoy something to drink (and had their pictures taken in front of the sign ‘Ronnies Sex Shop’). I wonder if this is a case of ‘sex sell’ … 😜.
Anyway, we still had to travel to our next destination, so we’ve waved goodbye to Ronnies Sex Shop and got back on the road.
It got a bit overcast once again and we’ve had some cool weather on our way to Outdtshoorn.
Lovely Huisrivier Pass:
Our next pass was between Ladismith and Calitzdorp, namely the Huisrivier Pass (translated House River Pass). This pass is 13,4km (8 miles) long and has 39 bends, corners and curves that are packed into this distance.
Although it was still misty over the mountains, we’ve decided to stop at a widen area where we could take some photo’s.
The original pass was built in 1897 and renovated during the 1950’s, followed by further improvement and pavement in 1966.
From here, it was only half an hour’s drive to Oudtshoorn. Our accommodation for the night was actually outside Oudtshoorn, but since it was still early, we’ve decided to have lunch at a restaurant in town.
History on Oudtshoorn:
The town was named after Baron Pieter van Rheede van Oudtshoorn who came to South Africa in 1741 and was appointed Governor of the Cape in 1772.
Oudtshoorn was once known internationally as the ‘ostrich capital of the world’. Royalty and high society adorned themselves with the world’s finest feathers. Today there are still quite a few ostrich farms around Oudtshoorn … in fact, there was one just next to the farm where we’ve stayed.
SOETDORING (Outside Oudtshoorn):
As mentioned before, our accommodation for the night, Soetdoring is outside Oudtshoorn. It is set on a farm with lovely views of the Outeniqua Mountains.
We were really impressed with this accommodation. The peace and quietness you find here is truly remarkable. While exploring the area, we’ve found a footpath that took us to a swimming pool.
A closer look at ostriches:
As mentioned, there is an ostrich farm close-by. When we’ve came back from town, we’ve stopped here to take some pictures of these beautiful animals.
Oudtshoorn is famous for its huge ostrich population, which thrive in these semi-desert conditions. They are the biggest living birds on the planet and fully grown, it can weigh up to 140kg.
There are plenty of ostrich farms offering tours in Oudtshoorn and I would suggest, if you have more time than what we did, visit one where you might just experience a tractor ride or guided walking tour into the field to get closer to the ostriches.
Back at Soetdoring, we’ve enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on the ‘stoep’ (front porch) of our little cottage. The views were breathtaking beautiful and as expected, sunset was a spectacular affair.
Towards the evening, it was time to do what we love most … start a fire and have a ‘braai’!
We had a wonderful evening at Soetdoring. We did not see any other people and although we were only a short distance away from town, it really felt as if we were on another planet where it was just the two of us!
Tomorrow we will leave this lovely place to stay at (another) lovely place … although the name is not suggesting that … ‘The Hell’. And to get there, we will have to drive some ridiculously hair-raising passes and roads. On our way, we will visit the Cango Caves – we hope to show some images of just how beautiful it is there.
But, as for now, we were just enjoying the peace and quietness at Soetdoring.
Just click here to start reading about our third day 👍🏻