There is more to the Cape to Namibia route than meets the eye, what with many sub-routes and a choice of scenic stops with tasty delights
Words and Pictures Ron Swilling
1. Desert Rose, N7-Koringberg junction
Look out for Desert Rose as you leave the city behind you and enter rolling farmland, and reach the Koringberg turn-off between Moorreesburg and Piketberg. “It started like a regte farm stall with a small structure alongside the road selling fruit and veg from the farm,” says owner, Sonia van Niekerk. When customers started asking for meals, it grew into the quaint padstal it is today with a shop, restaurant, shaded outside area and children’s playground.
But it’s a padstal with a difference. Unusually, it has a touch of vintage. Sonia explains how she has a love for old things, and that some of the bric-a-brac is for sale while some just adds a touch of sentiment and beauty. “I wanted to create something different to a regular farm stall, and make people feel as if they’ve just walked into their own home.”
Watching children turn the toy basket upside down on the floor before rummaging happily through it, and a family sitting comfortably on the outdoor couches, I can see that she has done just that. In addition to the normal padstal goodies, the freshly baked bread, jars of jam and koeksisters on the counter, this padstal offers a touch of home and olden-day charm.
082 884 8714
Open 08h00-17h00 daily
2. De Tol, Piekenierskloof Pass
About 150km north of Cape Town, the Piekenierskloof Pass snakes up the mountain, leading motorists into ‘Citrus Central’. Several padstalle are dotted around Citrusdal and sell the juicy fruits during the citrus season. One of my favourites in this area, right on the top of the pass, is De Tol, housed in the 166-year-old (yes, built in 1849) toll house. It always gets my vote for its down-to-earth character, its charm and for stocking everything my ideal padstal would sell – citrus, freshly baked farm bread, dried fruit, jars of jam and blatjang, Hertzoggies, koeksisters, rusks, soetkoekies (biscuits), you name it. They even have a potjie simmering on the coals on Sundays.
A family-run business, De Tol’s products are made mostly by the Therons. Even the rooibos tea comes from their farm – ‘vanaf die plaas’, as the label states. While I’m stocking up for my road trip (I’m a real padstal junkie), I hear Monica Theron tell a customer, “Ja, alles is tuisgemaak.” Yes, everything is home-made.
She is often behind the counter (and is responsible for the orange buttermilk rusks) while her dad, Sebastian, or Basjan for short, cooks the Sunday potjie. Monica adds that her mom bakes the best melktert. When I ask “In the Cape?” she replies, without missing a beat, “In the country.”
022 921 2792
Open 07h30-19h00 every day of the week
3. Kom Proe, Citrusdal
From Citrusdal northwards to Sonop Motors, most of the citrus orchards belong to a single farm, and the produce is sold at the Kom Proe padstal. Signs alongside the road entice passers-by: ‘Kom Proe’, ‘Yes, Come Taste’.
The simple farm stall is the place to stop and load up with reasonably-priced oranges and naartjies, and multiple citrus varieties like navels, Valencias, clementines and satsumas. That is, in the wintertime. Kom Proe is open from about the end of January to the middle to end of October. In the months before the first citrus is harvested, Kom Proe sells an assortment of summer fruit from the area. Their policy is ‘Come Taste’ as owner Liezel Lubbe tells me and they are always happy to peel a bright orange naartjie for you to try.
Kom Proe also stocks sugary favourites like maketaan, (a watermelon preserve that is delicious with Camembert or Brie and Salticrax), mosbrood that is made using fermented grape juice as a rising-agent, and dried fruit and jams. “You can’t have a padstal without apricot jam,” says Liezel.
083 456 2707
Open 08h00-17h00 daily (closes 18h30 on public holidays)