Food for the Soul (and the Stomach) on the R36

Words and images by Sue Adams

The R36 is a route I tend to rush to get from the fly fishing 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 here.

  • Pure Plaas Nursery just south of Ohrigstad may be known for its aloes but the locals know it for its Friday market full of delicious eats like pancakes, vetkoek and homemade rusks.
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When not Pure Plaas Nursery near Ohrigstad which sells aloes has a ‘boerekos’ market on Fridays.
  • 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.

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Artist, Trix Koertzen, is renowned in Ohrigstad for her community involvement.
  • 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, then I highly recommend the biltong salad or the hamburgers.
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Jan and Alida Jacobs are famous for their biltong at Tiezers Forkenmeat outside Ohrigstad.
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The biltong salad at Tiezers is a must.
  • The Shoe Caves is a quirky place with religious carvings in the caves but it’s also renowned for its hamburgers.
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The Shoe near Echo Caves makes a mean hamburger.
  • There is a Zimbabwean wood carver at the Echo Caves turn off the R36 who is passionate about his work and has some interesting pieces for sale.
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This Zimbabwean wood carver works at the Echo Caves turnoff and produces unique pieces.

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  • 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.
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Afrikania Gallery celebrates the traditional decorations on local pottery.
  • If its curios you want then the stalls either side of 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.

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The curio stalls along Abel Erasmus Pass are well known for their pottery and woodwork.
  • And don’t forget the fruit stalls with citrus and avocados in abundance.
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Export citrus has taken over from tobacco as the prime crop in this Ohrigstad valley.
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The ubiquitous African chicken is for sale on the Abel Erasmus Pass.