Imagine three unruly girls: one the quintessential 80's teenager, big perm and too much blue eye shadow. The other a nerdy long-limbed thirteen-year-old and a tomboy terror stuck in the middle. All packed into a 70's Volkswagen station wagon with a maximum speed of 90km per hour.
That's my first road-trip memory, and the only way we survived this yearly haul, to our beach house five hours away, was with padkos and sing along songs.
Today we salute the inventors of padkos... the Voortrekkers. As a salute to their conquering spirit let's undertake a trip on Route 62. Starting in Cape Town and ending at, the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) held in Oudtshoorn.
Our first stop will be the local tuisbedryf (Afrikaans for bakery/cake shop). On your checklist should be: koeksisters, milk tarts, finger sized chicken pies, biltong scones, droë wors, boerbeskuit and hertzoggies.This will be your staple padkos for the trip... we'll also find some treats along the way. Of less importance will be the checking of all those mechanical things: tires, oil, gas tank and Valium if needed. You'll need something upbeat and light to kick off this trip, maybe some vintage Madonna. Tap the steering wheel and sing,"Holiday" while nibbling on a koeksister and let the road take you.
The first official stop will be Worcester, about an hour's drive from Cape Town, in the heart of the South African brandy industry. Remember, you're heading to the festival of brandy and coke so a stop at the Olaf Bergh Solera Cellar or the KWV Brandy Cellar (the largest cellar of its kind in the world) is a must. It will not only be educational, but will also provide you with the tools to communicate and barter with intoxicated festival goers. Please just take the tour and save the brandy for later or else, in an intoxicated state, you might stay on the N1 and end up in Laingsburg.
Turn off at the Robertson road sign and feast your eyes on the dramatic mountains and the sprawling vineyards of this area. This girl will wager her pay check that she's not the only one thinking: "There must be some single wine farmer looking for a wife out here." Still driving, still wishing. So let's put on some Bonnie Tyler and screech with her "I need a hero" while biting down on some droë wors.
Our next stop is Montague the gateway to the Klein Karoo. We recommend a stop at the Kloof Padstal, the Mercedes Benz of padstalle. If your tuisbedryf treats are running low, stock up on their traditional Dutch apple tarts, cream cakes and dried fruit. Find a shady tree at the Avalon Mineral Springs, a few kilometres away, and soak your road-weary body and let the road trip vibe flow over you.
You are now half way to your destination.
Rolling into Barrydale you have now reached the last green outpost on your journey before entering the semi-arid Klein Karoo. It is now time to dust off your Afrikaans CDs and to tune your ear to the only music you'll be hearing at the biggest Afrikaner bazaar on the planet, the KKNK. Skip to the 'Leeu loop' track, crank up the volume and enjoy this song about balle. A hertzoggie goes particularly well with this song. After that maybe some Patricia, Valiant, Amor or those Polisiekarre... if these names are lost on you, you are going to the wrong festival.
Outside Barrydale, a stop at Ronnie's Sex Shop is a must. Have a sundowner and add your name to the numerous signatures on wall (maybe between Pik Botha and Steven Seagal). Now you are part of Route 62 history.
Entering Oudtshoorn, we conclude this section of our journey. Park the car at your accommodation, take out that special bottle of brandy from Worcester, find the nearest braai spot and join those plesierige Afrikaners.