Barrydale is a small village situated on the border of the Overberg and Klein Karoo regions of the Western Cape. Its nestled between the Kanaland Private Nature Reserve and the Zuurberg Nature Reserve.
Places to visit in this quaint town include:
- The Blue Cow at the Barrydale Waterfront
- Clarke of the Karoo restaurant
- The Country Pumpkin
- Diesel & Creme and the Karoo Moon Motel
- Route 62 Stop
- Karoo Art Hotel
- Barrydale Backpackers & Dung Beetle Bar
The Little Samadhi retreat is a quiet space found on a hill overlooking the Little Karoo town of Barrydale, along the scenic Route 62. The retreat is aimed at the spiritual traveller who appreciates a little luxury combined with tranquil surrounds that inspires a sense of quiet calm one won't find anywhere near the bustling urban centres.
Wellbeing is the focus at this delightful establishment, and there are regular yoga classes on offer in a stylish studio. Both Hatha and Kundalini yoga are practised at this retreat, and even if you know nothing about either, there will be someone on hand to guide you through each class.
At this Barrydale retreat one can also try healing treatments such as Reiki and therapeutic massage – here, Kahuna massage (also known as Lomi Lomi) is used to get rid of stress and tension and to allow the body to release negative blockages.
Detoxifying programmes are also on offer, if you feel the need to 'clean up', and absolutely no alcohol is served, so temptation is out of reach. Little Samadhi is also a great place to enjoy an individualised retreat tailor-made to your needs; these last between three to five days, but there are also weekend retreats available.
This retreat in Barrydale also offers up 'themed' retreats. There is the 'conscious communication in relationships' retreat for couples; a mother and daughter relationship building retreat; a mother/parents-to-be workshop; and 'Transitions/Departures/Rites of Passage' retreats to help individuals come to terms with change in their lives. For the creative types there are also writer's workshops on offer and artistic workshops from time to time.
Little Samadhi only has accommodation for four guests at any one time, which means that your privacy and quiet space is guaranteed. Booking is obviously essential!
Vegetarian | Smoke-free | Alcohol free
Tel: +27 (0)28 572 1002
Cell: +27 (0)82 823 3179
Route 62 Brandy Route
The Route 62 Brandy Route stretches along the R62 freeway from Worcester to Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape. You will pass through mountain ranges, rivers, vineyards and orchards. The spectacular natural beauty is complemented by a rich history.
Brandy’s presence in South African history reaches back some 330 years. South African brandies are now considered among the best in the world. To get an idea of why this is, and to get an inside look at the brandy culture and industry, enjoy brandy tastings and tours at the brandy distilleries in and around the towns of Worcester, Robertson, Barrydale, Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn.
The KWV House of Brandy in Worcester is the largest distilling cellar in the world. Tastings and tours are available here. Robertson’s Klipdrift Distillery has a restaurant, Die Brandewyntuin, where homemade South African fare gets a brandy twist.
Barrydale marks the western extreme of the Klein Karoo, and the Barrydale Cellar is the town’s oldest. This small village offers loads to do. From a heritage garden to handmade arts and textiles, you’re well advised to spend a day exploring the town itself.
In addition to producing a range of respected brandies, the owners of Boplaas in Calitzdorp are involved in a vegetation rehabilitation project.
Oudtshoorn, already famous for ostriches and the Cango Caves, has two great brandy distilleries nearby. Grundheim is renowned for its witblits (a colourless white spirit) and Mons Ruber makes estate brandy in a traditional pot still.
The Route 62 Brandy Route is one of two dedicated brandy routes in South Africa. The other, the Western Cape Brandy Route, follows a path through Wellington, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Grabouw.
If you choose to spend a night at each of the 6 distilleries on this route, the whole thing can take a week. Alternatively, take 2 to 3 days to explore the area. Any less and you'll miss some key attractions.
Klein Karoo Wine Route
The Klein Karoo Wine Route lies in a flat semi-arid basin. Around it, the great walls of the Langeberge-Outeniqua and Groot Swartberg Mountains rise up; a rugged stone coronet that wraps around fruitful Montagu in the west, all the way along Barrydale, Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn, to De Rust near Meiringspoort in the east.
Roughly speaking, vines in the southern part of this area, namely Montagu, Barrydale, and Tradouw up to Ladismith, are planted in the foothills and kloofs of the Langeberge, with its chalky, shallow soil, weathered from the surrounding sandstone mountains. This terroir, combined with a climate of hot days and cool nights, contribute towards the award-winning ruby cabernets, merlots and chardonnays that come out of this region. Don’t miss Barrydale Cellars' highly awarded pot still brandies.
But it's the area between Ladismith and Oudtshoorn that lends a particular character to the wine route in the Klein Karoo, with Calitzdorp at its heart. Here, a semi-desert environment with intense sunshine brings out the deep berry flavours needed for excellent fortified wines like Cape port (although this name may no longer be used due to a European Union ruling).
Likened to the Douro in Portugal, plantings here consist mainly of the grape varieties of Tinta Barocca and Touriga Nacional. Besides creating champion port (called Cape tawny, vintage and ruby in South Africa) and muscadels, winemakers here are experimenting with typical port cultivars to create interesting red wines.
Visit Boplaas, De Krans, Peter Bayly cellars and make a point of trying Axe Hill's pink and white versions.
Muscat varieties flourish around Oudtshoorn in fertile silt where hot days and warm nights bring out the sweet potency needed for semi-sweet and dessert wines. This wine route in the Klein Karoo is also renowned for the quality of its excellent pot still brandies.
Full of wondrous landscapes and warm hospitality, this 17-cellar Klein Karoo winelands ramble is a wine tour with a difference.
Mountain Passes in Klein Karoo
Let’s go on a road trip to explore the mountain passes of South Africa’s Little Karoo.
As we go along Route 62 from the west, we literally drive through a hole in the magnificent Swartberg Mountains. Welcome to Cogman’s Kloof. This scenic 5km-long pass connects Cape Town and the winelands around Stellenbosch with the valleys and towns of the Little Karoo.
Presently, we come to Montagu, which in some aspects resembles a small French mountain town. Its Cape Dutch architecture is well preserved, its restaurants are famous and its guest houses well worth visiting.
Down the R62 we drive, past Barrydale, and just this side of Ladismith, we turn right on the road to Van Wyksdorp. After lunch in the village, we drive on the Rooiberg Pass – prepare for jaw-dropping landscapes.
The Rooiberg Pass seems to keep going up, and the vegetation changes from the scrub of the Little Karoo to mountain fynbos.
At one point between Ladismith and Calitzdorp we come to a sign announcing we are in the Seweweekspoort (Seven Weeks Gorge) Pass, a beautifully cut road in a giant cathedral of the Cape Folded Mountains.
It is said the folding and the breaking of the sandstone mountains took place over more than 120-million years. It’s some of the best natural art you’ll ever see. Watch out for Verreaux’s eagles (also known as black eagles) hunting for dassies (hyraxes or rock rabbits) in the fractured rock.
Back on the R62 we drive, stocking up on port at Calitzdorp and passing through the ostrich Capital of the world: Oudtshoorn. We are going to tackle the legendary Swartberg Pass, built by Thomas Bain in the 1880s and still holding wonderfully. We stop and take photographs of the excellent dry stone walling, the views back down into the Little Karoo and, presently, the Great Karoo in the distance.
And now we’ve suddenly turned left and are descending into De Hel. That’s the old folk name for Gamkaskloof, and on this pass you hold tight and take it slow.
Through valleys of aloe ferox and burnt protea clusters we drive. The last 4km are enough to test most of our motoring skills. But it’s been a great adventure and, being travellers, that’s what we love: something to talk about when we get home.
At Gamkaskloof we stay in a CapeNature cottage, meet local people at the gift shop and then head back down the other side of the Swartberg Pass to Prince Albert. From here we go to De Rust and drive through our last great pass, Meiringspoort.
It’s a 16km drive through sheer rock, with thoughtfully placed little picnic spots along the way. As we drive through this magnificent gorge and out of the Swartberg range, we immediately begin to miss the mountains and mountain passes…
Karoo Art Hotel
Just 2 ½ hours from Cape Town, off the scenic Route 62 in the farming village of Barrydale, you’ll find the best accommodation in Barrydale in the form of the quirky, relaxed and welcoming Karoo Art Hotel.
This little country hotel showcases and celebrates Art in a big way. Every room in the hotel is individually decorated, one of them by internationally-renowned design collective, Magpie Collective. Aside from the eye-catching interiors and artworks, much of it for sale, the art of winemaking is celebrated with a very good wine list. If Karoo cuisine is an art (and it is!) then this is the studio where it is practised best, being a winner of the Klein Karoo Gourmand Restaurant Award, and a member of the international gastronomic guild Chaîne des Rộtisseurs.
But perhaps the art that is closest to the beating heart of this funky country hotel is music. In the past 4 years it has firmly established itself as the home of Klein Karoo’s best live music events. It showcases the talents of both locals from the area as well as top-notch musicians from the rest of the country including Dave Ferguson, Wendy Oldfield, Valiant Swart, Piet Botha + Akkedis, Nick Turner, to mention but a few.
Within easy reach of the famous Warmwaterberg hot water springs, and in the heart of the Cape’s longest wine route, this is the perfect stop on a road trip via the scenic R62 to Oudtshoorn and the Garden Route. A peaceful weekend bolthole from the city, and a fabulous, affordable exclusive-use party, conference or wedding venue.
Whatever your reason for visiting, plan a few days here. There’s plenty to do, but here’s the real 21st century challenge: rediscover the art of doing nothing. With caring, nurturing staff on hand to take care of you, the Karoo Art Hotel is a great place to start. Because the Cape’s funkiest country hotel still offers that most vital ingredient: warm, old-fashioned Karoo hospitality.
Labyrinth and South African Peace Pagoda
--The Gift of walking the Labyrinth:
In 1998 Peter and Nola Frazer, owners of a farm called The Manger in Lemoenshoek (15km from Barrydale, towards Ladismith on the R62), followed an inspiration to build an outdoor Labyrinth.
They chose to replicate the eleven-circuit Labyrinth embedded in the floor of Charters Cathedral (12th Century, France). The farm offers a stunning view of the Langeberg Mountains and the Labyrinth is surrounded by a beautiful garden, home to an interesting variety of plants.
A Labyrinth is a meditational tool that dates back to the Northern European Bronze Age. Its layout is unicursal, having one well-defined path that leads to the centre and back out again by the same path. Through its specific construction, using ancient geometry, it offers stable space to quieten and clear the mind and walkers use it in their search for healing and heightened self-awareness.
It is necessary to make an appointment to walk the Labyrinth as it attracts pilgrims from everywhere. There is no charge for this, however, donations are welcomed and go towards upkeep and helping with the Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife at The Manager.
Contact them on 028-572-1643 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
--The South African Peace Pagoda:
At sunrise on 7th December 2000 an eminent 90-year-old Burmese monk Sayadaw U Thila Wunta, consecrated the South African Peace Pagoda – gift he had long wanted to bestow on Africa, thus completing his dream and mission to promote peace and harmony in every continent of the world.
Peter and Nola had been approached to provide space for the Peace Pagoda at The Manger, and the building of this seven-meter tall gold structure, crowned with a spherical crystal and copper umbrella, was achieved in three weeks by Sayadaw and three Burmese Monks, a team of twenty Canadians and several local people.
The Manger is privileged to host the Labyrinth and South African Peace Pagoda, the Labyrinth helping create inner peace and harmony, and the Pagoda creating external Universal peace and harmony.
- Home to Little Samadhi (Spiritual Retreat with yoga, meditation etc)
- Visit the Labyrinth and South African Peace Pagoda
- Part of the Route 62 Brandy route
- Part of the Klein Karoo Wine Route
- Take a spectacular drive along the various mountain passes - this area is known for its arid beauty