More Useful Stuff
Visit these iconic destination-restaurants as a reward at the end of (or during) an epic road trip
Slide into a booth and step back in time 40 years, to this family-run diner in the Northern Cape town of the same name. Try a double-thick milkshake with a Dagwood and extra legendary chips that manage magically to be both slap and crispy at the same time. Order via a waitress who relays it to a guy with a microphone and hidden navy seal ambitions. Buy that pretty, hippie girl back home a crystal from the curio/bookshop attached to the diner.
The Bell Tavern
This enclave of Knysna is quieter than the rest of the big Oyster, but The Bell, the renowned bar of the Belvidere Manor Hotel, is something special and arguably the finest country pub in South Africa. With gastro-pub food, a strong selection of beers and the kind of welcoming-ye-olde-hobbit-drinking hole vibe, it’s a must-visit on any tour of the Garden Route. We recommend the crab cakes, Cobb salad, the Bell Burger and the chicken pie. Work up an appetite with a swim and a run at Brenton-On-Sea beforehand.
Nieu Bethesda Brewery
Andre Cilliers of Nieu Bethesda’s Sneeuberg Brewery is pouring himself out a frothy legend in the Karoo by being the man behind several brew pubs across the region. When he’s not helping others make beer (noble chap), he makes his own brews (the Karoo ale, Honey ale and Dark ale) and serves them up with charcuterie from his underground smoker and his Two Goats Deli homemade cheese platters. Reward yourself with a spread after catching some culture and checking out the town’s famous and spooky, Owl House.
Harrie’s Pancake House
Any mission to the lowveld, the Kruger National Park or Mozambique is not complete without a detour through Graskop for a graze at Harrie’s legendary pancake house. While they’ve expanded to Cullinan, Pretoria and Dullstroom, the original, as always, is the business for sweet and savoury pannekoeke.
Good calamari is awesome. Bad calamari – flown half way across the planet from Patagonia, frozen, defrosted and then deep-fried into rubbery rings that resemble hastily-discarded Livestrong bangles – is crap. Smash proper fresh calamari in St Francis Bay caught by the original chokka-fishing family at Christy’s Catch.
The Daggaboer Padstal
You won’t find ganja for sale at this legendary farmstall 50km from Cradock in the direction of Addo National Park, but you will get a chance to sample their renowned roosterkoek and understand why Daggaboer won the hotly-contested best padstal in the country competition last year. Have your koek and eat it with cheese and apricot jam or with biltong powder, wash it down with moerkoffie and chat with the farmers, bikers and Mighty Men returning from a farm conference. Dawdle too long and you’ll come away from the place with a selection of mohair socks, a fine Opinel knife for biltong and other padstal goetes.