If you searching for something a bit different from the Garden Route
Don't get us wrong the Garden Route is beautiful, BUT we need to expose you to some different parts of South Africa that are worth seeing! This is a great route to split up over two days - if you want to get the true Karoo experience. This route will help you explore the Western Cape and can be used as a guide to get you to Cape Town.
This route takes you via Wilderness & George. This is a really pretty part of the garden route and provides an alternative route worth exploring. At least we think it's worth reading up about.
If you leaving early and searching for a nice place to stop off for coffee or breakfast. We would recommend:
A really nice stop off is at the Foundation for coffee in Knysna. They have the most amazing local boutique stores and if you there for lunch, try out the famous Bao from Boa Wow. There is a lovely coffee shop, Trinity and the one of Knysna's first zero waste store, the General Store, that has a selection of local and sustainable brands.
A beautiful view point is East head view point, where you can see Knysna and the heads. A really breakfast stop is East Head Cafe, they have a generator and the coffee shop overlooks the river and ocean,
From there you will need to travel through towards George. Some of the best viewpoints are in Wildnerness - the Map of Africa and Dolphin Point. WIldneress is one of the prettiest scenic towns on the Garden Route (if not the prettiest). If you have time you can canoe to the hidden waterfall.
Then you go through George to the Outeniqua Pass Lookout Point. This is a really beautiful pass and connects the Klein Karoo with George and Oudshoorn. Enjoy 13.3 km of beautiful views of the different terrain as you climb the pass. At the bottom of the pass is the Road Side Deli which is well known stop of spot for pizza's and lunch.
There are two ways to get to Prince Albert
MEIRINGSPOORT (N12 National Road)
Meiringspoort which is stunning route (pass) and one can stop off at the waterfall. This pass crosses the Swartberg mountain range. There are 63 bends, corners and curves, but it definitely worth each and every bend, curve and corner.
Before, entering the pass you can stop off at a small town called De Rust. De Rust has some cute cafes and restaurants to stop off at such as the Art Cafe or Ray's Cafe.
SWARTBERG PASS (R328)
Or you can go via the Cango Caves in Oudtshoren (this route is a bit longer). Then you can travel via the Swartberg Pass. The Swartberg Pass lies on the R328 and is the shortest route between Prince Albert and Oudtshoorn. It is a dirt road and an exciting route.
One of the reasons why you stay in Prince Albert is the opportunity to embrace the Klein Karoo and the famous African Sunsets. Prince Albert is a beautiful quaint town that has so much to offer.
PLACES TO STAY
Prince Albert has some beautiful accommodation. Prince Albert is known for their Cape Dutch style houses. Here are some recommendations of places to stay:
Karoo View Cottages
This owned by a family friend of ours. They offer have a variety of accomodation choices from Karoo cottages to the Masterclass styled cottages. All beautifully curated allowing you to not only have the comfort of a well designed (five star) space but also be in the centre of the beautiful town.
Karoo View Website | +27 82 882 5342
Mont d'Or Swartberg Hotel
A National Monument with over 150 years of history. They have a beautiful restaurant and gin bar if you searching for a place for drinks or dinner. The Hotel also offers a spa.
PLACES TO EAT
Prince Albert is known for its quaintness and has some really interesting restaurants and cafes to try out.
BREAKFAST AND LUNCHES
If you searching for breakfast and coffee:
Lazy Lizard - An authentic South African coffee shop serving the best coffee and cakes in town.
Mont d'Or Swartberg Hotel - serves a nice hearty breakfast selection
Café O - Although it is an olive farm, there is a small cafe that serves breakfast and lunches.
Book in advance | Closed on Monday.
Enjoy exploring Prince Albert night scene:
The Rude Chef -Despite the name, the restaurant is well known and loved by the locals. Enjoy their selection of local goodies.
Bookings are essential | They also serve breakfast from Friday to Monday.
African Relish Cafe -
Karoo Kombuis - Searching for a true karoo experience with traditional home cooked meals.
Book in advance | Closed on Sunday | Not Licensed - No Corkage (BYOB) | No Credit Card Facilities
The Real Food Company - Known for it intimate yet very tasty Karoo - Farm style meals.
Yellow House EAT- There dining experience focuses on farm-to-fork where the kitchen picks from the gardens and locally source produce.There menu changes every month emphasis on hearty and local.
Book in advance | Open Thursday to Monday
THINGS TO SEE & DO
Prince Albert has so much history and things to see and do. It is a great stop off if you want to see a true small Karoo town. Prince Albert was founded in 1762. This town has preserved some of Cape Dutch, Karoo and Victorian architecture. Some may say it is the Franshoek of the Little Karoo and the perfect the place to explore.
EXPLORING THE TOWN
Enjoy walking around Prince Albert and explore all the old streets with the beautiful buildings. Some places to explore:
The Leiwater Furrows
Yes, Prince Albert still uses the age-old water furrow system (Leiwater Furrows). These furrows can be found along the streets and irrigate gardens and small farms in the towns. Enjoy following the furrows along the main street and see all the different shops, cafe and restaurants along the way.
The Albert Mill
A restored mill, just outside the town. It was a Mill that milled flour and now pumps water to the leiwater furrows.
Dustbin Art Gallery
Each dustbin has designs from local artists, schools and children's art group in the surrounding area. During the 250th anniversary in 2012, one of the residents John McKenna thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to convert oil drums into works of art which would also be a dustbin.
Saturday Morning Market
The Saturday Market takes place every Saturday since 1998 . You can find the market next to the Francsie Pienaar Museum. Enjoy pancakes or a dose of fresh produce, cheeses or Karoo lamb (what the Klein Karoo is known for).
Saturday Market | Opens from 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Here is more resources for more information
Prince Albert Tourism - Has all the information from restaurants, to event and activities.
De Rust Heritage - for more information about Heritage n Prince Albert..
Prince Albert is known for their award winning olive industry:
A few minutes drive out of Prince Albert, enjoy the view of the Swartberg Mountain range at O for Olives. Enjoy a guided tour of the olive farm or a tasting at their cafe.
Prince Albert Olives, old school farmers - enjoy a variety of olives, figs and olives to try out.
Lastly, Kredouw Olive Estate is an organic farm on the R407. Enjoy the scenic view of the Swartberg Mountain pass while tying their famous t cold-pressed Kredouw Extra Virgin Olive Oil,
Gay's Guernsey Dairy
This is a local favourite. Gay's Guernsey Dairy has been around for quite some time and is definitely worth the visit. Enjoy all the wide range of dairy products that are all made from Gay's very own herd of cows. As they say get a real taste of farm life. Enjoy a slice a Prince Albert Royal cheese or Prince Albert Regal.
Weltevrede Fig Farm
Weltevrede Fig Farm is 25km outside Prince Albert. This is a lovely fig farm where you can enjoy their delicious fig tart. Enjoy the journey through mountains along the dirt road.
FARM WINE TASTING IN THE KAROO
Prince Albert is home to some boutique wine farms:
Bergwater - 20 km outside Prince Albert off the R407 | Open Monday to Thursday - 09h00 to 16h30 | Saturday & Public Holidays - 10h00 to 15h00.
Fernskloof Wines - This boutique vineyard is situated in the town. Enjoy a wine tasting in the cellar.
FOR THE MORE ADVENTUROUS
Swartberg Nature Reserve | De Hel
You will need to make sure your car is up to it - as in please make sure that you have a sturdy car or at least speak to a local and see if you can make it through. If you can extend your trip and have the opportunity to explore and stay at Swartberg it is something you have not seen before. De Hel or Gamkaskloof has a lot of history as well as, ecological, archaeological importance. The pass down to the valley is spectacular and quite thrilling. There are many activities from day hikes to sleepover hikes, as well as, mountain biking, 4x4 trails,
Cape Nature has many options for accommodation and list of activities to do | Please click here to see.
HEADING TO CAPE TOWN?
After enjoying a slice of the Klein Karoo get ready for a road trip of a lifetime, especially travelling to Cape Town.
There a few different ways:
ROUTE 1: TAKE THE R62
You can go via R62. It is a little detour, but has some beautiful little spots on the way. From Prince Albert you can venture back towards Outshoren and then you will go through Meringspoort. Alternatively, if you have a sturdy car you can go on the Swartberg Pass. This is one of the most beautiful scenic route.
STOPS ALONG THE WAY
Ronies Sex Shop
This roadside cafe became famous due to a friendly prank. Read more about the story here.
Route 62 goes through the longest wine farm region in the world. So enjoy the beauty of Klein Karoo toppled off with vineyards and wine from Wellington, Tulbagh, Worcester, Barrydale, Robertson to name a few.
There are quite a few passes that you can choose from that take you in the direction to Cape Town so we highly recommend doing a little homework to choose the best ones for you:
This pass is on the R62 as you go towards Montagu. This pass was built by Thomas Bain and is iconic for it's beautiful rock formations as it hugs and follows the Kingna River.
This pass is on the will take you through the Du Toitskloof which is really beautiful. This mountain route and goes along N1 which is the most direct route. For more information about the route - please read here.
ROUTE 2: QUICKER ROUTE
Alternative route is to go via N1. This is the quicker route. You will go via N1. Enjoy glimpse of the Karoo and then entering the lush areas of the Western Cape.
STOPS ALONG THE WAY
Stopover at Maitjiesfontein and walk back into time. Immerse yourself in the Victorian-styled town. Explore the Transport museum, the British Army Remount Camp or go on the shorted tour on earth on the Old English Bus and maybe even get to see the train go past. Enjoy lunch at the Hotel Dining Room, The Laird's Arm or the Coffee House.
This is a little padstal/shop that sells pumpkins. Enjoy buying some local delicacies such as jam, rusks or biltong.
Going via the N1 will take you through the Du Toitskloof . There is a tunnel and tollgate.
Alternative Route: Bains Kloof
When you get to Worcester you can go on a detour via the Bains Kloof pass which is also beautiful and a bit of a hidden gem This is off the beaten track.
We've tried to pin most of the locations on this map. Please click here to view