Home Lifestyle Montagu, a small town with big heart…

Montagu, a small town with big heart…

August 11, 2013

Route 62 is one of the most stunning drives in the Western Cape, probably in the whole of South Africa actually, & one of my favorites. It leads to some of the most picturesque towns & villages in the province, like Montagu, a 2 hour journey from Cape Town & also known as the gateway to the Klein Karoo. I was there to co-adjudicate the dance section of the annual youth arts festival with Miz Fiona du Plooy.
The dramatic entrance to the town is via that famous ‘gat innie berg’ or hole in the mountain that was blasted into existence in 1899 by one Thomas Bain, to clear a passage through the rock face. Surrounded by the impressive low lying Langeberg mountains that are currently blanketed in snow, Montagu is overflowing with amazingness. Stroll down Long Street where there are no fewer than 14 national monuments; take beautiful walks, go quad- biking, or enjoy wonderful restaurants like Ye Olde Tavern, the Burgundy Gherkin, the Rambling Rose & Die Boord. Browse in fabulous gift shops like those at Church Corner (I picked up exquisite crystal wine glasses at the antique store & a wool coat at the Diva Dressing Room second hand outlet), or forget all that retail therapy & head for the soothing hot mineral springs to de-stress.
There are more than 50 wine cellars in the Montagu area – they say 62 has the longest wine route on the Planet. Montagu- produced ‘takeaways’, other than the nectar of the gods, include olives & olive oil, dried fruit & nuts, honey, home made rusks, rose geranium products & preserves.
Other than its scenic beauty & must-have wares, what impressed me was the friendliness, hospitality & amazing service I experienced (almost) everywhere I went, be it the Montagu Country Hotel, the local Shoprite, or waiters at the restaurants I mentioned earlier. Take, for example, my experience at Niël se Huiswinkel…walking past I spied a table in the winter sun & thinking I could, I asked for tea. Proprietor Niël Ackermann didn’t bat an eyelid, but warmly obliged & as it turned out his store is a DIY enterprise, not a coffee shop, not even close; Niël was just being friendly, in the Montagu way…too fabulous & another reason I love the town.

On my way…flaming red disa flowers line the way on sections of Route 62…

The famous hole in the Kogelberg…blasted by Thoams Bain in 1899..
One of many national monuments on Long Street…

The NG Kerk…

Meet Niël Ackermann…the friendly man with the coffee shop that isn’t …

Die Boord…the outdoor area with a gorgeous view…try their bobotie…

Piet Antonie, seen on Long Street with his home made musical bicycle, a real gem..

For more about Montagu, www.montagu.org.za *

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Cheryl Mulder August 11, 2013 - 9:00 pm

Do not forget to visit the OFFICIAL Montagu-Ashton Tourism info office where the staff are warm & friendly & promote the entire vilage's tourism products: http://www.montagu-ashton.info/
And then there is http://www.langeberg.gov.za/index.php/component/mtree/langeberg-tourism if you wish to learn more about the other 4 quaint towns in the district too!

Allison Foat August 12, 2013 - 11:46 am

Thanks Cheryl!

Ronel Preston August 12, 2013 - 8:01 pm

You said it Allison …. just being friendly and having people go out of their way to make someone happy, is the 'Montagu way'.
One of the strengths of Montagu is how, for the most part, the community is able to work together as one team. Few see each other as competition, they support one another and work towards the same goal: MONTAGU.

It is the friendliness of the people that draws visitors and brings them back time after time!


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