Seventh Heaven in Ramsgate

Ramsgate on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast is renowned for its beaches, but beyond the seaside there is so much more to explore and enjoy. Here is our heavenly seven of must-do’s…

Words and Pictures: Andrea Abbott

1. Tie up your steed and burst into Pistols Saloon, a cowboy pub that’s as close as you’ll get to the real thing. Swagger over to the bar, or grab a table and order yourselves a burger or steak and a bottle of ale, before checking out the Wild West Museum that features cowboy memorabilia and information about outlaws like Billy the Kid. This is one quirky place and is open daily from before High Noon until late. To get there, ride out of town on the R620 toward Southbroom. You’ll find Pistols on the left opposite Oatlands Road. 039 316 8463, www.pistolssaloon.co.za

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2. Need cowboy boots, or other shoes? Or just a more tranquil spot? Then head on down the R620 to S’khumba Crafts. There, in the beautiful setting of an indigenous forest, top-quality leather shoes, sandals, belts and bags are designed and handcrafted by Brian and Karen Bernstein. Relax in the coffee bar over an ice-cold beer or great coffee and a homemade treat. 039 316 8212

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3. Continue south down the R620 to where the river bends, to Riverbend Art & Wine Cellar. The gallery displays works by some of the country’s top artists, including wildlife artist, Kim Donaldson. Leading off from the gallery is the wine cellar, which has an excellent selection of the finest South African wines. On the same property, there is a crocodile farm and licensed restaurant. 039 316 6204, www.crocodilecrazy.co.za

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Ramsgate online 10 (2000x3000)4. Another venue for fine art is Artists’ Gallery in Marine Drive in the centre of town. It’s a unique collective of eight prominent South African artists and a place where you can chat to whichever of those artists is there on the day. The art exhibited includes works by painters Jocelyn Boyley, Rob Wareing, Anton Benzon and Diane Erasmus; sculptors Marke Meyer and Michael Canadas; jewellery designer Gela Tölken; and pencil artist Vince Reid. Marke 082 818 4552, Diane 082 495 9810, www.artistsgallerykzn.com

5. Just up from Artists’ Gallery at 957 Marine Drive is the quirkiest of treasure chests. Ramsgate Relics and Antiques was originally a bottle store established in the mid 1930s but changed to an antiques store in the 1950s. A tiny labyrinth of a place, it’s chock-full of every type of collectible. Says owner Silvia Flores, “People say you haven’t been to Ramsgate if you haven’t been to Relics.” 039 314 4260

6. Continue north along Marine Drive to the Waffle House where you’ll find the Gaze Gallery. Gorgeous paintings, sculptures, ceramics, glassware and other crafts are displayed in the cool, thatched building, and across the way is The Curio and Basket Shop that gives local crafters and weavers an outlet for their unique talents. 039 314 4011, www.wafflehouse.co.za

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7. Finally, at 46 Fascadale Road, Butterfly Valley is a family orientated venue where the focus is on indigenous butterflies. Owner Dave Swart says, “Besides trying to make our guided tours as enjoyable and interesting as possible, we try to deliver a more serious conservation message. Urbanisation and conservation can work hand in hand with just a little effort and awareness.” Also on site are a river trail and tea garden. 072 235 3688, www.butterflyfarm.co.za

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