Things to do in Barrydale.

On the border of the Western Cape's Overberg and Klein Karoo regions lies the little town called Barrydale. Known for its milkshakes, handweavers and fruit trees, it's a must-stop on South Africa's famous Route 62.


Barrydale's history dates back to the early 1800s when farmers established themselves in the area, drawn by the fertile land of the lush Tradouw Valley. The community church was built on the intersection of the R62 and the northern end of the Tradouw pass (R324), which winds its way through the mountains to Swellendam.


The name is derived from Joseph Barry, a resourceful merchant who established a store or tradepost in any town or area he found himself in. In 1882, he must've drawn a liking to this area specifically, as this time around he decided to set up an entire village, calling it Barrydale.


Today, the town has drawn both old and young, from Karoo farmers to artists, writers, and restauranteers. All living and working together to make Barrydale the tourist hotspot that it's become.

STAY HERE

The Karoo Moon House & Cottage consists of two units, situated on one shared property. The Karoo Moon House, beautifully restored and decorated with dramatic French pieces, sleeps three. Whereas the delicately decorated cottage can accommodate up to two people, either as one big group or split. The property is ideal as a base from which to explore the town itself or some of the further lying attractions along Route 62.


Book the house here (sleeps 3) at R800 per unit per night.

Book the cottage here (sleeps 2) at R800 per unit per night.

 

EAT HERE

It's no secret, Diesel & Crème is simply a must. Famous for its milkshakes (although I’d argue that the chips are equally as hype-worthy) this vintage diner takes you back in time with old-school slogans, logos and tin signs displaying anything from Pepsi and Steri-Stumpi, to Lucky Strike, BP and Caltex.


Mez Karoo Kitchen offers a mix of Mediterranean, Greek and Spanish cuisine, perfectly intertwined with some local favourites. The blackboard menu changes frequently but you're always guaranteed a vegan option and a choice of a lamb dish, made with locally sourced lamb.

The Blue Cow, just 1 km from the centre of town, on the Barrydale ‘waterfront’, is a cozy little coffee shop offering breakfast, light lunches, and various baked treats.


To Do

Visit the House of Books on Van Riebeeck Street. They have an amazing selection of new and second hand books for sale.

Pop into the Magpie Art Collective. Described as a "socially conscious art collective” (Elle 2008), Magpie was established as a Cape Town-based studio in 1998, by craft icon, Scott Hart and entrepreneur, Shane Petzer. Relocating to Barrydale in 2003, where fine-artist, Sean Daniel and administrator, Richard Panaino, joined to expand the Studio into the MagpieArtCollective.

Their designs and pieces are driven largely by environment concern and you'll see pieces produced from a broad range of mediums, often incorporating repurposed, found, memorabilia, or recycled elements.


“We believe the work we do links art, design and craft with meaningful commercial and social entrepreneurism.”

— MAGPIEARTCOLLECTIVE


The Maker's Brew, a small craft beer brewery on the edge of town is definitely worth a visit. Owner, Ryno Reyneke, will warmly invite you in to join them in the process of creating, making and enjoying their craft beers. Their selection includes an amber ale, a blonde ale, a Saison and a porter. If you're not a fan of beer, they also offer a selection of locally crafted gins, whiskey and wine. Coffee and cooldrinks for non-drinkers and their homemade sourdough pizzas are incredible.


The space itself is stunning, with work by South African artist, Helen Vaughan, on display.

Barrydale Hand Weavers was born of a conscious desire to preserve an ancient process that, not only results in beautiful products, but also serves as a means to empower, employ and develop the skills of the local community. They're all about product, process, and people. It's why they keep the makers themselves at the heart of their business. Owners, Kate and Arran Bastable, say they're proud to share their range of hand-woven rugs, tableware and fabrics with their customers.

Next door is MUD, a gallery built from materials naturally found in the area, with a collection of paintings, sculptures and ceramics from local artists on display. Hardy’s Memories of Africa is another trinket-trove, just down the road, with a selection of art and crafts from all over Africa.


For the adventurous, there's a hike up to a waterfall that overlooks the Barrydale Valley. The ease of the gradual incline makes it perfect for trail runners, as well as dogs and children who can manage a 4-5 hour walk. An early start is suggested, as there is little shade to be found along the trail; and the African sun should not be underestimated during the hottest parts of the day.

Trail starts and ends at -33.92005, 20.74112 and you'll find more info HERE.


Plant enthusiasts will be spoiled by the richness and diversity along the route, which includes some very special endemic species of Fynbos. Botanist, Flora Cameron, found her home in Barrydale and offers outdoor enthusiasts guided hikes in the area at R100 per person. Flora is also a member of Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers and you can reach out to her at 082 853 6452.

Further Out

The Tradouw Pass, meaning “women’s path” in the old Khoi language, is a 16 km drive through some of the most beautiful scenery that the Langeberg has to offer. It truly is just one of those mountain passes that you must drive whenever you get the chance.


Take a drive to the town of Suurbraak

Considered one of the most beautiful towns in the Western Cape, the village was established in 1812, when the London Missionary Society established a mission station to serve the Attaqua Khoikhoi. Visitors can still visit the mission station, as well as the original church. Otherwise, explore the town with Dawie's Village Car Rides (082 269 2174), pop in at Donovan Julius Contemporary Art, make a stop at Xairu Rustic Furniture and sit down at Paradise Organic for lunch.

Ronnie’s Sex Shop, just under 30km from Barrydale, is a must-stop pub on Route 62. Now, before you get too excited, you will not get sex here. Ronnie's Sex Shop is the result of a (very fortunate) prank. The story goes that Frank Ronald (Ronnie) Price bought a tiny farmer's cottage on a remote section of the R62, with the aim to open a farm stall. He painted the name ‘Ronnies Shop' on the side of the building and started selling fresh produce and refreshments to the travellers passing through.


His friends decided for a laugh, they would add the word ‘Sex' to the name, making it read ‘Ronnies Sex Shop'. Pretty soon this irresistible sign brought in loads of curious tourists. Ronnie's initial irritation was transformed as he began to see the business opportunities and, on the advice of these very same friends, Ronnie’s Sex Shop became a pub... the rest, as they say, is history.