The Karoo Gravel Grinder is a three-day culinary / mountain biking adventure through one of the most beautiful and vast landscape of the Western Cape – the Cape Karoo. Challenging, but manageable, you will experience something new and unique each day, returning from your adventures to a sumptuous culinary delight. But we know that three days is not enough to experience this incredible region, so we have carefully chosen some additional experiences to extend – and enhance – your stay in the Cape Karoo.
Day 1 – Saturday, 21 September
Experience: 2Doorn Equine Horse Rides
At 2Doorn Equine you will be taken into the veld, where the heart is. Hosted by the owners of two neighbouring family farms, you will be guided and follow old jeep tracks and game paths through the foothills of the spectacular Swartberg mountain range. Descendants of the Cape Riding Horses are used for the rides, a local breed with a noble history. These horses have excellent temperaments and are extremely surefooted.
Experience: Meijer’s Rust Farm
Meijer’s Rust invites you to enjoy the varied activities they have at their farm. You will find night skies that are an astronomer’s dream, abundant birdlife and numerous walking trails taking you wherever your sense of adventure may lead. In addition to being an active farm where children can return to nature, Meijer’s Rust is also the perfect gateway to many of the other fantastic attractions located within the region.
Eat: Karusa Vineyards
The vineyard’s wine garden with the great Swartberg Mountains as a backdrop is the perfect site to savour their exquisite wines over a relaxed lunch. The Karoo Victorian-style homestead and relaxed atmosphere creates that tranquil “Karoo feeling”. Mix and match your Karoo lunch selection, perfectly complimented by a crisp white or rose - perfect for those warm Karoo days.
Day 2 – Sunday, 22 September
Experience: Gamkaskloof Sightseeing and Cycle Tour
Lindsay is a registered tourist guide with a passion for the Swartberg mountain and cycling. Join him in his comfortable vehicle on a sightseeing tour all the way to Gamkaskloof, known as ‘the Hell’. Lindsay’s knowledge of the history and the natural splendour will unlock a marvelous experience of a unique place. Not so keen on the confines of a vehicle? Lindsay will get you on a bike and provide backup for your epic cycle – up the pass, down the pass, more than one pass . . . your choice!
Experience: Unimog Trip up Swartberg Pass
Embark on a one-of-a-kind adventure on a Unimog Trip. Join in for a scenic trip up the breathtaking Swartberg Pass. Experience the spectacular panoramic views of the mountain range and enjoy a scrumptious champagne breakfast!
Eat: Swartberg Hotel Coffee Shop
The coffee shop serves both residents and the hotel’s guests breakfast and lunch. Served from 7am, they love nothing more than to watch the Karoo sun rise over the sleepy town of Prince Albert from the hotel porch with a cup of coffee and a plate of bacon and eggs, or one of the great vegetarian options. The coffee shop loves catering to families, and also includes a special kids menu.
Day 3 – Monday, 23 September
Experience: Wolwekraal Nature Walks
Enjoy the spectacular scenery near the southern Karoo desert village of Prince Albert and learn about the geology, botany, a natural and cultural history of the area on a two-hour guided nature walk.
Experience: Olive Tour at O for Olive
Situated just minutes from the famous Great Karoo town itself, Swartrivier Farm is home to the beautiful olive orchards and the O for Olive brand, a popular café-restaurant, and a sweeping view of the Swartberg Mountains. Come and enjoy the olive experience and discover the art of olive farming and olive oil production. www.oforolive.co.za
Eat: Café O
Recently refurbished inside and out, Café O displays all the restaurant’s delicious products for sale, as well as offering tea, cakes, fresh breads, light lunches, tapas and tasting sessions. The newly added patio and outdoor area, complete with manicured garden and water features, is complemented by a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains.
Day 4 – Tuesday, 24 September
Experience: Foraging excursion with African Relish
Learn to forage in the Karoo and cook with wild ingredients. With the Swartberg Mountains, part of the Cape Fold Mountain series, and the Greater Karoo as a backdrop, African Relish takes you to get acquainted with the Karoo veld, its inhabitants, and what it has to offer on this unique outing with plant ecologist and guide, Dr. Sue Milton-Dean, and their resident chef.
Eat: The Sanctuary
The Sanctuary is a small café and shop and brings many elements together in order to provide a tranquil place to have a wholesome, reasonably priced meal, to sit and think, or work, or simply sit under the oak tree and admire the view of their orchard and the mountains. Where possible, they use the fresh produce from the garden, and serve locally, organically grown, seasonably available food that has not been packaged, refrigerated for any length of time, or transported from afar. The Sanctuary sells fresh produce from the garden at their shop.
Recommended accommodation in Prince Albert
Dennehof Karoo Guesthouse
Karoo-Rust Self-catering Guesthouse
African Relish Cottages
Mai’s Guest Lodge
Mirtehof Guest Farm Estate
Karoo View Cottages
Places to visit along the route
Leipzig Country House & Winery | Worcester
Leipzig is nestled in the Nuy Valley at the start of the exquisite Route 62. Forget the map, go off the radar and travel to a unique hidden gem where you can kick back and enjoy quality in the quiet of nature. Mountain biking, wine tasting, tractor rides out in the vineyards, dips in the pool, walks in the field or visiting the secret tortoise garden – Leipzig has it all for those seeking a new adventure.
Aquila Game Reserve | Touws River
Aquila Private Game Reserve, offering big 5 safaris two hours from Cape Town, makes it easy for you no matter what your time constraints are. Other facilities to explore at the Reserve include the Tranqila Spa, infinity pool, cigar lounge, a curio shop, and a children’s entertainment area.
Oskopvlakte Guesthouse | Laingsburg
Oskopvlakte Guest House is a small working farm of 1700 hectares; they grow their own tasty olives and make their own wonderful garlic products. People come from miles away to buy the products. The guesthouse has a vast area of Karoo farmland that you can explore by hiking. Put on your hiking boots, remember to bring your camera and enjoy the fresh Karoo air and everything nature has to offer. During the hot summer days you can take a dip in the farm dam to cool off after a long tiresome trip and enjoy the 360 view of nature all around you.
Herold Wines | Herold
Herold Wines is the perfect destination for an outing or weekend getaway in the Garden Route, accessed via the scenic and historic Montagu Pass which winds its way up through the mountains above George in the Southern Cape. Enjoy a cellar tour to learn how Herold Wines are made, cycle on the farm roads or walk through the vineyards
De Zeekoe Farm | Oudtshoorn
De Zeekoe Guest House Accommodation in Oudtshoorn offers a wide range of activities on the farm including meerkat tours, self-guided hiking trails, mountain biking and canoeing, to name a few.
De Rustica Olive Estate | De Rust
De Rustica is a triple gold award-winning olive estate that focuses on blending perfection and creating only the best quality extra virgin olive oil. Their extra virgin olive oil can compete with the very best from anywhere in the world! Apart from the highly successful olive oil division the Estates has a large selection of domestic farm animals and is especially proud of the high quality of its sheep and cattle herds.
Distances to Prince Albert:
From Cape Town via N1 – 393 km (4h 15min)
From George via N12 – 163 km (2h 20min)