Calitzdorp, VanWyksdorp and Rooiberg Road trip by Jacques Bekker
Date: 30 Oct ~ 2 Nov 2020 … Total distance – 1105 km
Trip rating – 4/5
N1 Worcester, R60, R62 Calitzdorp, Karoo Water Lodge = 373 km/4h20 min
Calitzdorp, Vanwyksdorp, R62, Barrydale, Tradouwspass, Suurbraak, Riviersonderend, Greyton, Franschoek, Helshoogte = 428 km
Rules of route planning – Avoid main routes/Avoid previously traveled routes if new routes and places can be explored/ Avoid using same route there and back if we can help it….
Places of interest website details:
Groenrivier circle routeRed Stone Hills
Groenerivier nature reserve
The story of the weekend:
A visit to family in Calitzdorp was extended and ended up being unplanned long weekend away.
I took leave on the Friday and Monday and Marelize(my wife) had her last client on Friday afternoon at 12h00. We planned to leave at 13h00 and all went according to plan.
The family we were planning to visit in Calitzdorp had similar plans and they informed us that they arranged for us to join them at the Karoowater Lodge 20km outside Calitzdorp.
As we had limited time getting to Calitzdorp the route on Friday did not include the normal exploring as we wanted to reach our destination before sunset.
Our first stop, after three stop and go’s before Montagu, was in Montagu. We were lucky and caught the stop and go’s at the right time and decided to stop at Die Kloof farmstall on the left as you enter Montagu. The next break was Ladismith for a quick leg stretch and butt rest. The final stop was Calitzdorp to fill up before continuing to Karoowater Lodge. We arrived at 18h00 just before sunset.
Karoowater Lodge, 20 kilometers outside Calitzdorp, is next to Calitzdorp Spa and offer chalets, camping facilities, restaurant, bar, hot and cold swimming pools and wild animals. The facilities are excellent and a stay at the lodge is highly recommended. It was tarred road all the way and can be reached with road bikes. The roads was recently resurfaced and is an excellent condition.
On Sunday morning we did the Groenrivier circle route before breakfast. The route starts in Calitzdorp and includes Red Stone Hills before joining on to the R62 again. This is a beautiful gravel route and one can spend a whole day visiting the galleries, wine farms and other places of interest on this route. There is also a lot of accommodation available and we still want to stay over here in future and spend a whole day visiting all the places of interest.
De Krans wine farm just outside Calitzdorp is well worth a visit for lunch and wine tasting.
After breakfast we left for Vanwyksdorp via the Rooiberg pass. The tar road turn to gravel and the the gravel road turns into a narrow road over the pass with some twisty rocky sections. The pass has a constant steep climb and you are soon elevated to beautiful views and a change in vegetation.
We arrived at Rooiberg Lodge approx 1 hour and 20 minutes later greeted by a stunning lodge with friendly staff. The facilities are well maintained and the lodge is well worth a visit. They hosted the Cape Town Adventure Bike Club 2020 event the weekend.
We left our luggage at the lodge and visited family on a farm past the Zoar settlement on the R62. We would rather have stayed at the lodge, but already committed to visiting the family and had to do the 150 km there and back.
On Monday morning we had breakfast at Rooiberg Lodge and left at 10h00 to explore Van Wyksdorp 12km away. That did not take long and we decided to visit Rickysdrift known for their natural soaps on a farm on our way out of Vanwyksdorp heading towards the R62.
We then headed for Barrydale to fill up and had some milkshakes at Diesel & Creme. We decided to take an alternative route home and turned left after Barrydale and took the Tradouwspass. We rode through Suurbraak and then took the N2 to Riviersonderend. Just after after Riviersonderend we turned right at the Greyton sign and visited friends on a farm close by before stopping off in Greyton for a late afternoon lunch. The gravel road was excellent and we could do similar speeds as on tar.
We then headed for Franschoek over the Franshoek pass where we made a final stop for drinks at Bovine to soak up some of the Franshoek atmosphere and try and forget our trip was almost over. Our final stint home was over Helshoogte pass and we arrived just after sunset.
What an awesome getaway and we realised again that we have so many stunning places to visit on our doorstep. We hope to do it again soon.