This is the second post of my travel series outlining our road trip from Joburg to Cape Town.
Having spent the first night at Graaff-Reinet and been totally awe struck by the Valley of Desolation, with even higher expectations we set off for our next destination – Oudtshoorn. Situated in the Western Cape, about 320kms from Graaff, we hoped to reach this town in under 4 hours.
After a hearty breakfast of bacon & eggs, we set off for Oudtshoorn, famous for the largest ostrich population in the world and its numerous ostrich show farms. The drive was through the dry & arid Karoo where for miles at an end, all one can see are small shrubs set against distant mountains. The first 250kms just whizzed by at an average speed of 120km/hr with not many cars on the road. Soon we reached the quaint town of De Rust – just 40kms outside Oudtshoorn. Although we didn’t stop there, it looked like a beautiful old village, seeped in history with its tree-lined roads and warm, welcoming cafes.
Soon we began to cross ostrich farms on either side of the road with big hoardings advertising everything from ostrich eggs to ostrich rides! The road into Oudtshoorn was busy, given that its the largest town in Klein (Little) Karoo. We drove directly to our hotel, located in a nice tree-lined neighbourhood. Having checked in, we realised we were famished & there began our hunt for a pet friendly restaurant. It was almost mid-day, with the hot summer Karoo sun beating down on us, as we walked along the main street and found a pub that would let us and our little baby in.
Lots of food and several beers later, we decided that the only way to spend the rest of the afternoon was to sleep it off in our luxurious hotel suite! Few hours later, refreshed and rejuvenated, we headed to the Rust en Vrede Waterfall, enroute to the Cango Caves – another major attraction of the area. Rust en Vrede is a lovely little waterfall, situated 10km off the main road. Most of the road leading to it is unpaved but the drive itself is very picturesque with rolling hills and a dam on the way. A short 400 metres walk from the parking lot, takes one upto the small waterfall and we were lucky to have the place all to ourselves.
On the way back, we stopped for supper at De Oude Meul Restaurant (The Old Mill Restaurant), which is located in a historic building with an old watermill still inside – approximately 150 years old!
The next morning we were to visit the Cango Caves, located in the foothills of the Swartberg mountains. These are limestone caves formed over millions of years and attract thousands of visitors every year. Unfortunately for us, the early morning tour was fully booked and we had to leave for Knysna soon after, leaving us with no time to wait for a later tour. Cango Caves will have to wait until the next time we decide to visit this part of the country….