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6 of the Best Pit Stops in The Karoo

6 of the Best Pit Stops in The Karoo

This story was first published on 9 September 2014 and updated on 14 December 2018.

The vineyards, orchards and olive groves of Route 60/62 from Worcester to Oudtshoorn promise a bounty at pit stops along the way.

Here are Marion Whitehead’s favourite pit stops in the Karoo.

Worcester District

Pumpkins grown on the farm are turned into sweet and savoury treats at Pampoenstalletjie.

Pumpkins grown on the farm are turned into sweet and savoury treats at Pampoenstalletjie.

Die Pampoenstalletjie, a few kilometres east of Worcester at the Vlakplaas turn-off must be the most photogenic stop along this route, with pumpkins large and small displayed with rustic abandon. The pumpkin motif is carried through in the decor – check out the quilted patchwork pumpkins made by owner Hettie Viljoen – as well as the snack menu; be sure to try a pumpkin muffin with cheese and jam, together with a cup of moerkoffie or home-made ginger beer.

Apart from fresh fruit and farm veggies, among the baskets and knick-knacks you’ll find a range of biscuits, rusks, jams and quince sweets produced by Hettie and smiling sisters Sebiena Niewenhuys and Eva Mouton. 023 342 1224

A little further on, just before the turn-off to Nuy Winery, is Pitkos Farm Stall & Wine House, crammed with the most amazing variety of produce from the Nuy Valley – pop some honey, olives, grapes, curried peaches, jam and dried-fruit rolls in your basket for starters. You can also order roosterkoek with toppings such as cheese and biltong to consume at the shady picnic spot outside, followed by beskuit, filter coffee and ginger beer.

Nuy Wines are for sale at cellar prices, but you’ll have to go to the farm seven kilometres away for tastings. “We’re celebrating 50 years of our Rooi Muscadel vintages. It wins awards regularly,” says Frances Booysen, in charge of wine sales. Closed Sundays. 023 342 1534

Ashton

Platform 62 owner Leon Steenkamp tempts brandy lovers with potstill tastings.

Platform 62 owner Leon Steenkamp tempts brandy lovers with potstill tastings.

Platform 62 on the main road is big enough for several trains to park inside. Instead, there’s a CRB 13 2010 steam engine in the car park to delight avid train spotters and small boys. Browse through a hall of fascinating bric-a-brac and collectables on the way to an expansive wine, mampoer and brandy boutique, where you can taste and buy at cellar prices.

Beyond it is the farm stall area, well stocked with everything from dried fruit, honey and rusks to boereseep made by a real tannie. Patrons of The Shed coffee shop are welcomed with shot glasses of honeybush tea. Seating spills onto a lawn with a play area where fancy chickens roam. Springbok pies and kudu burgers are tops here for a taste of the Karoo. 023 615 1834

Robertson

‘Trots Afrikaans’ is the sign over the door at Affie Plaas, which has mushroomed since Louis van Koppenhagen started selling apricots beside the road on the western edge of Robertson. You know you’ve arrived when you see a row of tubby straw people guarding the car park – pa, ma and kleintjies.

These days, Louis does very little farming, but provides an outlet for about 50 farmers and craftspeople from the district. The farm stall’s fresh farm bread made with stoneground flour, plus its plump pies and melktert remain firm favourites, but you can stock up on everything from waterblommetjies and juicy yellow cling peaches to swanky salad splashes and homely rusks, pickles and jams

The cutesy straw-bale family stand guard in the car park at Affie Plaas.

The cutesy straw-bale family stand guard in the car park at Affie Plaas.


At De Oude Kombuis next door, there’s a play area for the kids, while parents can watch them from the back stoep. Closed Saturdays. 023 626 4567

Words and Photography Marion Whitehead

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