Montagu, a small town with big heart...

2013-11-18 16:13
Cape Town Allison Foat shares her latest meanderings through the Western Cape....

"Route 62 is one of the most stunning drives in the Western Cape, probably in the whole of South Africa actually, & one of my favorites. It leads to some of the most picturesque towns & villages in the province, like Montagu, a 2-hour journey from Cape Town & also known as the gateway to the Klein Karoo.

I was there to co-adjudicate the dance section of the annual youth arts festival with Miz Fiona du Plooy.

The dramatic entrance to the town is via that famous 'gat innie berg' or hole in the mountain that was blasted into existence in 1899 by one Thomas Bain, to clear a passage through the rock face. Surrounded by the impressive low lying Langeberg mountains that are currently blanketed in snow, Montagu is overflowing with amazingness.

Stroll down Long Street where there are no fewer than 14 national monuments; take beautiful walks, go quad- biking, or enjoy wonderful restaurants like Ye Olde Tavern, the Burgundy Gherkin, the Rambling Rose & Die Boord. Browse in fabulous gift shops like those at Church Corner (I picked up exquisite crystal wine glasses at the antique store & a wool coat at the Diva Dressing Room second hand outlet), or forget all that retail therapy & head for the soothing hot mineral springs to de-stress.

There are more than 50 wine cellars in the Montagu area - they say 62 has the longest wine route on the Planet. Montagu- produced 'takeaways', other than the nectar of the gods, include olives & olive oil, dried fruit & nuts, honey, home made rusks, rose geranium products & preserves.
Other than its scenic beauty & must-have wares, what impressed me was the friendliness, hospitality & amazing service I experienced (almost) everywhere I went, be it the Montagu Country Hotel, the local Shoprite, or waiters at the restaurants I mentioned earlier. Take, for example, my experience at Niël se Huiswinkel...walking past I spied a table in the winter sun & thinking I could, I asked for tea. Proprietor Niël Ackermann didn't bat an eyelid, but warmly obliged & as it turned out his store is a DIY enterprise, not a coffee shop, not even close; Niël was just being friendly, in the Montagu way...too fabulous & another reason I love the town.

On my way...flaming red disa flowers line the way on sections of Route 62...

The famous hole in the Kogelberg...blasted by Thoams Bain in 1899..

One of many national monuments on Long Street...

The NG Kerk...

Meet Niël Ackermann...the friendly man with the coffee shop that isn't ... 

This blog post first appeared on

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel


#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.