8 Great Pitstops along the R36

Along the R36 between Lydenburg and the Abel Erasmus Pass, there are pitstops aplenty offering food for the soul (and the stomach), as Sue Adams discovers…

Words and Pictures: Sue Adams

The road north is a route I tend to rush when travelling from the flyfishing mecca of Lydenburg to the bushveld near Hoedspruit.

But it’s worth slowing down and stopping to taste real boerekos, as well as meet the artists that hide away there…

  1. Pure Plaas Nursery, just south of Ohrigstad may be known for its aloes but the locals know it for its Friday market where you can find delicious eats like pancakes, vetkoek and home-made rusks.
  2. Trix Koertzen is an artist who has lived in her caravan in Ohrigstad for the last 18 years. She says she was passing through one day looking for a place to stay and never left. Trix paints mostly wildlife and does historical maps on leather, as well as being involved in the community including a leopard research project. Look out for her work at the Engen Garage centre near the 4-way stop.
  3. As you head north out of Ohrigstad, Tiezers Forkenmeat (yes, the spelling is correct) is a must. Jan and Alida Jacobs run a butchery and small tea garden on their farm with the best biltong. If you stop for a meal, I highly recommend the biltong salad or the hamburgers.
  4. The Shoe Caves is a quirky place with religious carvings in the caves, but it’s also renowned for its hamburgers.
  5. There is a Zimbabwean wood carver at the Echo Caves turn off who is passionate about his work and has some interesting pieces for sale.
  6. On the Abel Erasmus Pass at the village of Tswenyane there is a community project called the Afrikania Gallery. Artist Tom Joubert was fascinated by the ancient patterns used to decorate pots and started this project. The little shop is an oasis of green with some interesting work to be viewed.
  7. If its curios you want then the stalls either side the J G Strijdom Tunnel on the Abel Erasmus Pass are a good place to wander and haggle. They have lovely pots, as well as woodwork.
  8. And don’t forget the fruit stalls with citrus and avocadoes in abundance.

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