A visit to South Africa can be an exhilarating experience for any adventurous soul. Riding through the majestic highlands and valleys out into the African safari, the view can truly be intoxicating. And among the most interesting places in South Africa that can literally intoxicate is the famous Route 62.
Route 62 is a tourist route spanning 850 kilometers of scenic roads and highways leading up to the most beautiful wine-growing areas in the region. Wine is the most popular and lucrative product of South Africa and the government wisely made the making of its best wines and brandy not only a business industry but a tourist attraction as well.
Route 62 will lead any tourist to appreciate how nature made this part of the world so perfect, it even enriched its land to grow crops that make the most delicious wines. As the longest wine route in the country, the route takes almost a week to complete, but every single destination will make the time and journey worth it.
Stretching between Cape Town and Oudtshoorn, the Langkloof and Port Elizabeth, the route passes through the gorgeous towns of Montagu, Barrydale and Ladismith, Clitzdorp, Oudtshoorn, and Robertson. The most fertile wine valleys and oldest vineyards greet wanderers who have the option to tour surrounding estates by car or horseback.
What makes this journey more exhilarating is the opportunity to taste the best African-brand wines and brandies exquisitely made in 18th century wineries. Driving through the Worcester winelands is unforgettable as it is inebriating. It is the largest wine-growing area in South Africa and wine estates are connected by a road system to make it easier to tour the vast vineyards even on horseback. Among the popular wineries in Worcester often visited by wine lovers are the Slanghoek Cellar and the Du Toitskloof Winary.
Several kilometers ahead is the Robertson Valley where the historic wine cellar and restaurant Fraai Uitzicht 1798 grandly sits on the beautiful Langeberg Hills. The wine, of course, is not to be missed. But what is also quite interesting is the culinary feast offered at the restaurant. Only freshly picked herbs and vegetables from the nearby garden are used for each meticulously prepared dish. The menu contains a range of country-style cuisine to original African fare that will truly be enjoyed by any bon vivant. Try the Karoo Lamb, a traditional African dish of lamb loin chop with Parmesan cheese and rib chop on ratatouille. Or the Warthog Carpaccio which has thinly-sliced smoked warthog fillet with truffle oil and served with blue cheese ice cream.
There are several more engaging attractions on Route 62 that will excite those who love outdoor fun. The mountain trails on Barrydale and Ladismith are great for mountain biking and hiking. Guided tours also offer a variety of activities including canoeing, fishing, caving, ostrich riding, and, for those who want real excitement, skydiving.
Still, the most memorable experience on Route 62 is, of course, the tasting of the sweetest wine and brandy. The master blenders of Calitzdorp and of the rest of the wine lands will astound anyone with their expertise and their love for the vino. On Route 62 one understands why South African wine can be so rare and expensive and very much valued and respected. And, as soon as you sip on a Jerepigo, a sweet dessert wine offered at Kango Co-op, or a herbal buchu brandy, you will begin seeing South Africa with a whole new perspective.