If you’re seeking a scenic and captivating journey through the Western Cape of South Africa, look no further than Route 62. This remarkable road, modeled after the legendary US Route 66, offers a delightful alternative to the monotonous N2 motorway between Cape Town and George. With its unbeatable scenery and shorter distance, Route 62 is a must-visit for travelers en route to the Garden Route.
As you embark on your adventure along Route 62, you’ll be enchanted by the diverse landscapes and natural wonders that unfold before your eyes. One of the most striking features of this region is the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you. The red soil, dramatic cliff faces, meandering rivers, flourishing orchards, and indigenous scrub create a captivating tapestry of beauty. Along the highway, the delicate Fynbos vegetation, including the exquisite Protea, dances gracefully, offering every passer-by a glimpse of their splendor.
This well-maintained blacktop highway winds its way through a series of charming towns and picturesque valleys, beginning in Worcester and traversing the enchanting Breede River Valley. From there, it continues through the delightful towns of Robertson, Ashton, and Montagu before reaching the iconic landmarks of the Klein Karoo. Finally, Route 62 leads you to George, where the majestic Garden Route awaits.
Throughout your journey on Route 62, be prepared to be mesmerized by the winding mountain passes that gradually reveal themselves. As you ascend these spectacular routes, you’ll be greeted by lush green valleys dotted with crystal-clear streams. The geological formations that surround you exhibit a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes, remnants of rocks that have stood for hundreds of millions of years.
One of the true highlights of Route 62 lies in its abundant flora. Along the way, you’ll encounter an astonishing variety of indigenous plants, including more than 500 species of succulents. The region is also known for its flourishing orchards and vineyards, creating a picturesque landscape filled with bountiful harvests and renowned wineries.
As you travel along this captivating route, keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to spot the Blue Crane. This elegant bird, South Africa’s national treasure and an endangered species, often graces the landscapes of Route 62. Dams and wetlands provide ideal habitats for these majestic creatures, offering you a chance to witness their graceful presence.
Destinations on Route 62
Route 62 is widely recognized as the longest wine route in the world, making it a haven for wine enthusiasts. Explore the charming vineyards, indulge in wine tastings, and savor the flavors of the Western Cape’s renowned wines. The region’s winemaking heritage is deeply intertwined with the landscape and history, creating a unique and immersive experience for visitors.
Amalienstein and Zoar
As you journey along Route 62, you’ll encounter the intertwined sister towns of Amalienstein and Zoar, nestled adjacent to each other. These charming towns are located at the entrance to the Sewe Weeks Poort, with Amalienstein being distinguishable by its beautiful yellow church that catches your eye from the road. Not only are they connected geographically, but they also share a rich history as part of the Missionary Route, which includes other notable towns like Mamre, Genadendal, Wuppertal, Steinkopf, and Elim. Despite their historical significance, Amalienstein and Zoar remain relatively unexplored, relying on tourism for their survival.
The story of these towns begins with Zoar, established in 1817 as the first project of the South African Missionary Society (SAMS). Interestingly, the Berlin Mission Society initially ran the mission station on behalf of SAMS. However, a significant disagreement between the parties led to the establishment of Amalienstein right next door. Both towns received substantial funding from Baroness Amalie von Stein, lending an air of nobility to their shared history.
Yet, the roots of Amalienstein and Zoar delve even deeper. The local inhabitants, colonized by the missionaries, were from the Attequa tribe, who share ancestral ties with the Korana, a Quena/Khoi tribe. You can find descendants of these tribes in neighboring towns like Suurbraak, located just outside Swellendam. Unfortunately, the cultural heritage and traditional way of life of these tribes are fading, as the elders of the towns grow older. In an effort to preserve and share their dwindling knowledge, the elders have initiated the Kannaland Storytelling Initiative. This captivating project aims to capture, share, and showcase the history and memories of the towns. To truly experience the heart and soul of Amalienstein and Zoar, attending these informal storytelling sessions is a must. As the late actor Alan Rickman aptly stated, storytelling fulfills a human need to remember who we are and where we come from. A quick Google search for the Kannaland Storytelling Initiative or a visit to their active Facebook page will provide more information on these unique storytelling opportunities.
While exploring Amalienstein and Zoar, there are several activities you shouldn’t miss. Take a drive into Amalienstein and visit the historic church, known for its striking yellowwood pews. The local coffee shop is also a welcoming spot to relax and soak in the town’s ambiance. For a unique experience, hop aboard the Zoar Donkey Taxi, where Hendrik will provide you with a delightful ride through the village, allowing you to embrace the slow pace of life. If you’re traveling with children, consider joining Allicatt Tours, led by Alistair Reizenberg, for a Land and Sand environmental excursion in the surrounding area. This hands-on experience will engage young minds and foster a deeper appreciation for the natural wonders of the region.
To further enrich your visit, explore the Kanna Biodiversity Route. Established by Open Africa, this route aims to introduce visitors to lesser-known gems like Zoar along the Gouritz River corridor. It offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the biodiversity and cultural heritage of the area, showcasing the hidden wonders that make Amalienstein and Zoar so special.
As you traverse Route 62, make sure to carve out time to delve into the rich history and captivating stories of Amalienstein and Zoar. These sister towns invite you to discover their unique heritage, mingle with the locals, and create lasting memories of your journey through the Karoo.
Nestled in the picturesque Robertson Wine Valley, between the Breede River and the majestic Langeberg Mountains, you’ll find the charming village of Ashton. Renowned for its bountiful fruit, exceptional wines, and flourishing rose nurseries, this little gem is home to two large fruit canneries and five esteemed wineries.
In its early days, Ashton served as a residential area for employees of one of the largest factory co-operatives in the southern hemisphere, specializing in canned fruit, jams, and vegetables. Today, it proudly stands as one of the captivating towns along Route 62, offering a shorter and more scenic alternative to the N2 highway. With its growing reputation as the world’s longest wine route, Route 62 showcases the best of South Africa’s wine-producing regions, and Ashton plays a prominent role as one of the main towns along the renowned Robertson Wine Route.
The Breede River Valley, where Ashton resides, experiences minimal rainfall and boasts a climate characterized by hot, dry days and chilly nights. These unique weather conditions, coupled with the lime-rich soil of the region, contribute to the production of world-class wines with distinctive flavors. If you’re unable to visit Ashton Cellars, make sure to stop by the Wine Boutique on Main Street in Ashton for a delightful wine-tasting experience, where you can savor the region’s finest offerings.
To fully appreciate the breathtaking beauty of this area, follow the road markers leading to the panoramic vista viewpoint just outside of town. Here, you’ll be treated to sweeping vistas that showcase the natural splendor of the surroundings. For those seeking an active adventure, embark on one of the day walks through the foothills of Ashton, immersing yourself in the diverse fynbos vegetation that graces the landscape. The trails provide an excellent opportunity to encounter and appreciate the unique flora that thrives in this region.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, venture 2 kilometers out of Ashton to Cogmans Kloof. This rugged gorge offers daring rock climbing opportunities for enthusiasts looking to test their skills against nature’s vertical challenges.
Ashton beckons travelers with its fruitful bounty, exquisite wines, and awe-inspiring scenery. Immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of this charming village, explore the renowned Robertson Wine Route, and delight in the flavors that grace your palate. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur, nature enthusiast, or thrill-seeker, Ashton in the Breede River Valley promises an unforgettable experience along the captivating Route 62.
Nestled along the iconic Route 62, Calitzdorp welcomes you to a quintessential little Karoo town, located approximately four hours’ drive from Cape Town and conveniently halfway to Port Elizabeth. Calitzdorp possesses an authentic Klein Karoo character, exuding a sense of tranquility where time seems to stand still. The town offers a range of charming lodges, guest farms, and B&Bs that embrace the spirit of the Karoo, where the pace of life is unhurried, and the landscapes stretch endlessly.
The Klein Karoo region is a breathtaking part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, often described as a miniature desert. Its sparse, arid countryside is interlaced with surprisingly fertile valleys, where mountain streams gracefully meander, providing a vital water source for the abundance of fruit orchards in the area.
Calitzdorp’s allure is further enhanced by its unique geography, as it is encircled on three sides by magnificent mountain ranges: the Swartberg, the Rooiberge, and the mountains of the Huisrivier Pass. These natural formations not only shelter the town but also add to its distinct character, creating a picturesque backdrop for exploration and discovery.
However, Calitzdorp is perhaps most renowned for its exceptional production of port wines. The town’s hot and dry climate, often compared to the Duoro Valley in Portugal, is ideal for cultivating grape varietals that are integral to the production of high-quality port. Here, the vines endure the challenges posed by the climate, resulting in grapes with an intense aroma and depth that are essential for crafting exquisite ports.
For a delightful stroll through Calitzdorp’s history, take a leisurely walk down Queen Street, one of the town’s oldest streets. As you meander, you’ll be captivated by the architectural beauty of the Edwardian and Victorian buildings, as well as the charming Karoo-style structures heavily influenced by English design.
Nature enthusiasts will find solace in the surrounding landscapes, with various walking trails waiting to be explored. The Gamkaberg Nature Reserve, the Redstone Hills, and Retreat at Groenfontein offer captivating routes that showcase the region’s natural splendors. Additionally, birdwatching enthusiasts will be rewarded with an array of avian delights amidst the hillsides and fynbos-rich areas.
Calitzdorp invites you to immerse yourself in its timeless allure and embrace the serenity of the Karoo. From savoring exceptional port wines to embarking on nature trails that reveal hidden treasures, this captivating town on Route 62 promises an unforgettable journey through the heart of South Africa’s enchanting landscapes.
Nestled along the captivating Route 62, between Cape Town and Oudtshoorn, lies the picturesque town of Montagu. South Africa’s own version of America’s iconic Route 66, Route 62 offers breathtaking scenery, exceptional wines, and proudly boasts the title of the longest wine route in the world. Within this remarkable landscape, you’ll find Montagu, a town renowned for its wine production and captivating natural beauty.
Dubbed the “mountain mecca” of the Cape, Montagu is surrounded by the majestic Langeberg mountain range, cradled between the Keisie and Kingna Rivers in the western corner of Kannaland. This idyllic setting is characterized by lush orchards, vineyards, indigenous herbs, mesmerizing rock formations, and the healing properties of its hot mineral springs.
Montagu stands as one of the finest examples of a late Victorian agricultural village in the Western Cape. The town showcases a remarkable collection of preserved Cape Dutch and Georgian National Monuments, with Long Street proudly housing 14 of the town’s 22 national treasures. Among these architectural marvels, Joubert House stands as an epitome of late 19th-century living, offering a glimpse into the rich heritage of the region.
Whether you seek relaxation or exhilarating adventures, Montagu has something to offer. Spend your days unwinding in this tranquil oasis, recharging your batteries amidst the serenity of the mountains. Alternatively, if you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, the town provides a range of thrilling activities, including mountain biking, kloofing, abseiling, paragliding, fishing, and river boat trips along the scenic Breede River.
The crown jewel of Montagu is undoubtedly its radioactive hot springs, originally part of the Uitvlucht farm on the outskirts of the village. Lover’s Walk, a charming passage through cliffs leading to the springs, was painstakingly reconstructed after a devastating flood in 1981 that ravaged the Kloof, including the Baths complex.
For a serene alternative to the springs, the Nature Garden offers a peaceful and rejuvenating experience. Established in 1954, the garden is a true delight, particularly during the spring when a colorful tapestry of wildflowers blankets the landscape in vibrant hues. Additionally, Cogmans Kloof, now one of the main entrances to Montagu, was once an impenetrable gorge until the visionary Thomas Bain constructed a pass and tunnel through the kloof, famously navigating the Hole in the Rock—a gateway to the enchanting Klein Karoo.
Montagu beckons travelers with its tranquil charm, captivating history, and abundant natural wonders. Immerse yourself in the beauty of this remarkable town, savor its exquisite wines, and indulge in the therapeutic properties of the hot springs. Whether you seek tranquility or adventure, Montagu promises an unforgettable journey along the breathtaking Route 62.
Nestled along the picturesque banks of the River Kromme, at the foothills of the majestic Groenberg Mountain, lies the charming town of Wellington. Just a short 45-minute drive from Cape Town, Wellington captivates visitors with its glorious valley and breathtaking natural surroundings.
To the east, the imposing Hawequa Mountains stand as silent sentinels, forming a stunning backdrop to the valley. Together, these serene monoliths oversee a land that is truly the home of the vines. Remarkably, nearly 90% of the country’s vines are cultivated in vine-cutting nurseries, known as “stokkieskwekerye,” before being transported to other regions for planting.
In the past, Wellington served as the last bastion of civilization in the Cape before venturing into uncharted territories. It was known as Limiet Vallei (frontier valley) and Val du Charron or Wagenmakersvallei (valley of the wagon maker). This was the place where wagons would receive essential attention before embarking on long and arduous journeys.
Viticulture has deep roots in Wellington, dating back to the time of the French Huguenots in the late 1600s. While the Wellington Wine Route is one of the youngest in the region, having been launched in the mid-1990s, it has quickly gained popularity. The route is compact, with cellars conveniently located within easy driving distance of each other. For information on the route and its offerings, visit the Wellington Tourism Office, housed in the historic Old Market Building, which dates back to 1847 and is just one example of the town’s remarkable architectural heritage.
While wine tasting is a highlight, Wellington offers more than just grape-based libations. Make sure to sample the delightful array of fruits at Wellington’s berry farm, where you can pick your own strawberries, raspberries, youngberries, and Cape gooseberries. Guided tours provide insight into the farm’s operations and the opportunity to savor the freshest produce firsthand.
Nature enthusiasts will be delighted by the Limietberg Nature Reserve, which boasts nine diverse hiking trails winding through fynbos-rich terrain. Additionally, the region offers a plethora of scenic drives, allowing visitors to soak in the awe-inspiring landscapes in and around Wellington.
For the adventurous at heart, embark on the Wellington Wine Walk, a three-day hiking trail through the foothills of the Hawequa Mountains. Traverse vineyards, olive orchards, buchu fields, and vine-cutting plantations, while enjoying overnight stays in local guesthouses, immersing yourself in the region’s beauty.
To delve into the town’s rich history, visit the Wellington Museum on Church Street and explore the Dutch Reformed Church. Beyond the town, a historical gem awaits—Bain’s Kloof Pass. Constructed by Andrew Bain in 1853, this winding road is a testament to engineering ingenuity and offers magnificent views of the valley below. It serves as a link between Wellington, Ceres, and Worcester, providing an unforgettable journey through time and nature.
For comprehensive information on the area and its wine route, visit the Wellington Tourist Bureau located on Main Street. They will be delighted to assist you in discovering all the wonders this captivating region has to offer.
Located on the main route connecting Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Port Elizabeth, Worcester serves as a bustling hub for business and commerce in the region. With a wide range of services and commercial facilities, it has become the primary center for shopping and trade in the entire valley, catering to both locals and visitors alike.
Worcester boasts an impressive cultural heritage, dating back to its proclamation as a sub-drostdy of Tulbagh in 1819. The town began to take shape when two farms were purchased for the purpose of establishing a new settlement. By 1822, Worcester was officially proclaimed a full drostdy. Its name pays homage to the Marquis of Worcester, brother of Lord Charles Somerset. Today, Worcester is renowned as an educational center, housing various schools, a college, and special educational institutions for individuals with disabilities.
Nestled amidst breathtaking mountain ranges and lush valleys, Worcester finds itself in the heart of the largest wine-producing district in the country. The surrounding natural beauty sets the stage for an unforgettable eco-destination, where visitors can explore picturesque towns, vineyards, and valleys. From Worcester, it’s easy to embark on journeys to nearby towns such as Tulbagh, Ceres, or Robertson, each offering its own unique charm and attractions.
One must-visit attraction in Worcester is the KWV Brandy Cellar Complex. Take a tour and delve into the world of brandy production, discovering the craftsmanship and artistry behind this iconic South African spirit. Learn about the aging process, sample exquisite brandies, and gain a deeper appreciation for the art of distillation.
Beyond its cultural and culinary delights, Worcester is an ideal base for outdoor enthusiasts. The region offers a myriad of activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and nature walks. The majestic mountains and picturesque landscapes provide a scenic backdrop for adventure and exploration.
As you wander through the streets of Worcester, you’ll encounter a vibrant community, brimming with history and warmth. Embrace the town’s cultural heritage by visiting local museums, galleries, and historic sites, gaining insight into its fascinating past.
Worcester’s strategic location makes it an ideal starting point for discovering the diverse attractions of the Breede River Valley. Whether you’re a wine lover, nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking a serene escape amidst awe-inspiring scenery, Worcester has something to offer every traveler. Immerse yourself in the splendor of this remarkable destination, where nature, culture, and adventure converge.
Whether you’re an adventure seeker, nature lover, or wine connoisseur, Route 62 in the Western Cape promises an unforgettable journey. Immerse yourself in the unrivaled beauty, rich biodiversity, and cultural heritage that this region has to offer. Embark on a road trip along Route 62, and let its enchanting landscapes and hidden gems captivate your soul.