Next to chai Masala (Indian, spicy bliss) and Sencha (Japanese green magic), I love, love rooibos tea. Yes, this super healthy and flavorful drink comes from South Africa, from around the Clanwilliam area. So in dedication to this drink, we head from Paternoster to Clanwilliam, meandering along the Wes Kus and taking the smaller road rather then the main N7 going from Cape Town to Windhoek in Namibia.
The idea was to bed down in Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve, apparently one of the finest luxury hotels in this region, but alas, again it was not possible so we opted for a B&B in town. With views over the Cederberg Mountains and surrounded by rooibos and citrus plantations we overnight in the Yellow Aloe and its sister property The Longhouse. The old house is like a little oasis and you can stock up on organic and fair trade rooibos before hitting the road again.
Owner Cheryl Spilbury recommends to do a lunch stop at Fryerâ€™s Cove, the only winemaker located right next to the Atlantic Ocean. Between Clanwilliam and Springbok, along the N7, there is not one single interesting culinary pit stop to make.
First we head out to Lambertâ€™s Bay, another quirky seaside town, albeit less stylish and touristy than Paternoster. From in the distance we spot a thick fog hovering over the ocean. When we approach Lambertâ€™s Bay, the temperature drops almost 10 degrees Celsius and the air gets heavy, cold and misty. We sea our seaside, alfresco lunch falling into the cold Atlantic. Ten minutes later the fog retreats and leaves Lambertâ€™s Bay behind under a steel blue sky.
We continue our Wes Kus exploration along an unpaved road, running parallel with the train tracks and leading us directly to Doringbaai. You can handle this dusty, uneven road with a normal car but with our strong 4×4 Hilux we can speed up a bit more.
If Cheryl hadnâ€™t told us about the little tavern almost falling off the pier into the ocean, we never would have found it. Fryerâ€™s Cove offers a simple menu with wines at a price you pay if you would take them home. So for 3,5 euro we enjoy a fabulous crisp Sauvignon Blanc with views over the Atlantic and tiny Doringbaai. The food is rather simple with huge, filling portions and lots of fried stuff (comâ€™on Freyerâ€™s Cove chefs if you have a calamari in your kitchen try to simply grill it and not kill it with heavy batter and fried oil).
But we enjoy this lunch stop nevertheless and buy some wine to extend the enjoyment while on the road. We go for bottles of Die Kraal and Bamboes Bay Sauvignon Blanc. The latter is made from grapes growing directly next to the Atlantic, the only piece of vineyard this close to this ocean in the whole world. This could be the manzanilla of the Atlantic Ocean, and just like itâ€™s Mediterranean sherry sister, it does taste a bit saltier, more crisp, more alive then any other grape growing inland.
Mission accomplished. We slept in Rooibos central, had an almost pied-dans-lâ€™eau lunch (we paid around 20 euro for the two of us with a bottle of wine) and enjoyed the Atlantic views.
Itâ€™s now time to head in one stretch to the Northern Cape and the empty Karoo.