Tar. Gravel. Steep, rocky rutted inclines. The most incredible views. Perfect blue skies in all directions. Could there ever be a better way to start the day? The iconic Swartberg Pass. This pass is considered one of the best in Africa. It was constructed in the late 1800s, crossing the Swartberg mountains, which divide the Little Karoo to the south and the Upper Karoo to the north. The pass was made a little more difficult for us as on the steep inclines near the top, the fuel pickup on the GS, well, was not picking up the fuel. It kept feeling like I was running out of fuel. Feels treacherous when on the edge of gravely dirt with no barriers between you and a steep cliff.
We finally made it to the top and found the most beautiful part of the pass riding into Prince Albert. Sheer red rock cliffs piercing the brilliant blue sky above our heads. Streams crossing the road, coming out of the sides of the canyon in so many shades of green. Beautiful! After refueling in Prince Albert we rode back to the south through another beautiful pass 50 kms east of the Swartnerg, the Meiringspoort, or Meiring’s Pass.
Back at our starting point, we started our crossing of the Little Karoo, headed towards wine country on route 62, the longest wine route in the world. We have two days to get there and there are a couple must see things to do on the way. The first is a place called Ronnie Sex Shop.
Ronnie’s Sex Shop had its beginnings when Ronnie opened a farmstand, in the middle of nowhere, at this location and painted “Ronnie’s Shop” on the side of the whitewashed cottage in large red letters. As a practical joke, a couple of his mates added the word “Sex”, in red, to Ronnie’s original words. The name was so popular it stuck, and a pub was opened, along with the Roadkill Cafe. So now, some 40 years later, Ronnie still owns and runs this popular destination. The interior is decorated in various pieces of clothing hanging from the ceiling, graffiti, business cards and money covering every available inch of the walls. We sat for a beer, added our own graffiti and chatted with Ronnie himself for a while. Send me a photo of my graffiti, 2WANDRRs, on the wall, and your beer is on me.
From there we headed to Barrydale, and the Diesel and Cream, the place to have a milkshake in the Karoo. We slerpped down a Strawberry milkshake and decided we would just stay in this little town. Next door was the Barrydale Backpackers and the Dung Beetle Pub. On Saturday nights they did braai on Lamb Chops and sausage. Sign us up! It seems the place to be on a Saturday night as many townspeople, along with the guests of the inn packed the pub and the outdoor braai area.
After enough beer and braai, and a good night sleep, we headed of in the morning to Paarl, where we would be meeting Kinga again, and preparing mentally for the following day. It would be our wine tour day. We found a great little homestay in Paarl, two rooms and a pool. The day was very warm, so our host gathered a few beers for us and we spent the afternoon in the pool, before Ubering to a brewery for a couple micros and supper.