|20.9.2013 – 24.09.2013||Hermanus Whale Festival|
|24.09.2013||Heritage Day – public holiday|
|03.10.2013 – 06.10.2013||Rocking the Daisies Music Festival|
|05.10.2013 – 06.10.2013||DSTV Delicious Food & Music Festival|
|12.10.2013||Pinotage on Tap Festival|
|13.10.2013 – 16.10.2013||Rihanna – Diamonds World Tour|
|22.10.2013 – 02.11.2013||Trevor Noah – It’s My Culture|
|31.10.2013 – 03.11.2013||Mzanzi Cape Town Salsa Festival|
On a cold, stormy Cape Winter morning, our groups department departed Cape Town along the picturesque Route 62 to reacquaint ourselves with some of the hotels and restaurants along the Garden Route.
Montagu Country Hotel
The Montagu Country Hotel fits perfectly with the ambience of Montagu. The Art-Deco style hotel is a little older, however is still well kept and looked after. Breakfast is served buffet-style with warm selections offered a la carte. An absolute “must“ are the scones which the hotel is well known for in the area.
Dinner is served in the main dining area and is accompanied by live piano music every night. The extensive a la carte menu, offering regional and traditional dishes, is well presented in English as well as in German.
The hotel has 33 rooms in total, 22 of which are Classic Rooms and 11 Luxury Rooms. The decor of the rooms is in the same style as the rest of the hotel – Art-Deco with many antiquities. The bathrooms are a bit dated, but clean and comfortable.
The Classic Rooms are situated in the main building whereas the Luxury Rooms, which have been newly refurbished, are in the garden house. The Luxury Rooms are more modern and have beautiful bathrooms.
Montagu Country Hotels boasts two swimming pools, one of which is a heated mineral pool. The hotel also offers spa treatments as well as a beautifully manicured garden.
Situated between Montagu and Oudtshoorn is the quirky Smitswinkel – a fantastic farm stall to stop for a quick bite to eat. Smitswinkel offers a small shop where one can purchase snack items such as cool drinks and crisps, as well as a wine shop and homemade jams, knitted items and more curious and interesting little bits and pieces.
Lunch is served on the veranda at the back of the farm stall overlooking a small garden and workshop. Enjoy a homemade meal, such as ostrich burgers, sandwiches or quiche. All prepared very simply but deliciously.
Smitswinkel is an authentic, rustic little shop situated in the Karoo. A highly recommended stop on a long road trip.
Jemima’s Restaurant in Oudtshoorn lies on Baron Van Reede Street – the main road of the town. Immediately one feels at home. This cute and tastefully decorated restaurant offers a bar area, several dining rooms and a back dining room which is converted into a lounge with a warm and cosy fire place in winter. In summer it opens onto the garden.
The service is attentive and friendly and the food delicious. The homemade bread with butternut butter and the venison pie are the house specialities.
Pearl Of Oudtshoorn
Situated just off Baron Van Rheede Street, the 120 room large 3-star Pearl of Oudtshoorn Hotel is the refurbished old Oudtshoorn Inn (or Garden Court Oudtshoorn).
The dining area has been newly designed and serves breakfast as well as an a la carte dinner menu.
The hotel also offers a pool with a very big garden area. A great place for kids in summer with plenty of space around the pool. In summer a cocktail bar is open, and a braai facility is on offer.
Nearly all rooms are fitted with carpets – 10 refurbished rooms are with tiles and 5 have laminate flooring. The rooms facing the pool area are preferable as the other rooms face the main street which is not very attractive. The bathrooms have not yet been renovated and are old compared to the rooms, however they are still clean and neat.
In general the Pearl of Oudtshoorn is a surprising lovely group hotel, or ideal for guests on a budget.
Safari Ostrich Show Farm
A visit to Oudtshoorn also calls for a visit to an ostrich farm. Oudtshoorn is known as the ostrich feather capital of the world and boasts many farms breeding these interesting creatures. 10 minutes from the city centre is the Safari Ostrich Show Farm. The standard tour takes approximately 1 hour and begins with a short film introducing the farm and breeding process of the ostrich. Afterwards an experienced guide will show you around the farm, while introducing you to the various Ostrich species.
After the tour there is an optional lunch or dinner which is served on the terrace in good weather. Should it be raining or cold,meals are served indoors in a cosy dining room.
Pearl Of Wilderness
The Pearl of Wilderness is the sister hotel of the Pearl of Oudtshoorn and is currently also undergoing renovations. This 3-star hotel is the ‘old’ Wilderness Beach Hotel, just a stone’s throw from the beach.
The Pearl of Wilderness is in the same style as the Oudtshoorn Hotel – a classic modern group hotel. The absolute highlight of the hotel is its location! Situated right next to the ocean, guests have direct access to the beach over wooden walkways and stairs.
The rooms do not offer direct views of the ocean, but rather of the swimming pool or parking area.
The breakfast area is very spacious and has a view of the garden area and ocean. Through this area one has access to the terrace and pool area, which offers recliners as well as a playground for children and a braai area. Furthermore, the hotel also boasts a tennis court as well as a small spa.
The bar area has been fully renovated and carries a black and red diner theme – a concept which does not fully fit the hotel.
Of 140 rooms, 25 have been newly refurbished. The new rooms are modern with clean lines, while still offering all the creature comforts.
Far Hills Country Hotel
Far Hills Country Hotel is situated just outside of George en-route to Wilderness. Even though the hotel has a beautiful location with incredible views of the Outeniqua Mountains, the hotel does not feel loved or cared for, despite its obvious potential.
The Deluxe Rooms are situated in several annexes accessible over sneaking walkways through beautiful forest-like fauna and flora. The walkways are not very well lit though, which could be problematic at night. The rooms and en suite bathrooms are very spacious and are decorated with African-themed accessories. The rooms are quite cold, but this can be resolved by using the air-conditioning/ heating unit in the room. The Standard Rooms are smaller, however generally more comfortable than the Deluxe Rooms.
The facilities of the hotel include a swimming pool, bar and restaurant, hair salon as well as braai facilities.
Breakfast consists of a cold and warm buffet, with eggs prepared to order.
So much for today! Our tour will be concluded in next month’s newsletter.