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Experience Calitzdorp – what to do & se...

Experience Calitzdorp – what to do & see

Tiled feature by Helen Doherty, custom made for Boplaas

After spending a few nights in Calitzdorp last year, it’s retained a special place in my heart. There’s something incredibly beautiful about this small farming town in the heart of the Klein Karoo, an oasis surrounded by a semi-arid landscape and breathtaking mountains all around.
 
Magnificent architectural buildings, an abundance of hot pink bougainvilleas, vineyards, spekboom, succulents and quirky Karoo charm are what speak to me.
 

Calitzdorp is situated on Route 62 which is a scenic alternative to the N2 highway, connecting Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. The route meanders through a number of charming towns and is certainly well worth exploring.
 

Despite Calitzdorp’s small size, a quick drive through won’t be enough. There are number of unique places to discover and see, many of these establishments are not open daily and art studios are often by appointment only.
 

When exploring these smaller towns, the invitation is to slow down, take your time and savour the countryside stillness.

 

Calitzdorp Museum, run by volunteers who share a love for the local heritage
Fossil found at Danielskraal Farm

If history intrigues you, pop into the tiny local museum which was once the Standard Bank. The museum is run by volunteers who share a love for the local heritage. It’s also part 2nd hand book shop. Alongside the museum, you’ll find the local Tuisnywerheid and the tourism office.

 
Exploring the town on foot is easy to do and you’ll see that most of the architectural gems are dotted around the Dutch Reformed Church. From rustic Karoo cottages to Victorian beauties and grand Edwardian ladies, it really is a feast if you’re into architecture.
 

Be sure to take a drive through the valley on the other side of the main Voortrekker Street, it is on this side that you’ll discover a number of the local artists and galleries. I suggest taking Wesoewer Road (here you’ll discover Hylton Nel, The Accidental Baker & Under the Peppertree), continue past the Calitzdorp dam and along the scenic Groenfontein Road (for Kraaldoorn Gallows Gallery, Kraaldoring Studio and Gallery & Marcia’s Studio). From here you can continue into the valley and take a circular route back onto the R62, or return the same way.

Calitzdorp Scenery
Calitzdorp Scenery
Calitzdorp Scenery
Calitzdorp Scenery
Café @ The Rose

WHERE TO EAT

 
Café at the Rose
Situated on the Main Road and has quickly become the go-to spot for locals to meet for coffee and a chat. Owners Retief and Louis have created a lovely relaxed space to gather and enjoy good food. They have a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu as well as a delicious selection of freshly baked goods and pastries and the best baked cheesecake!
21 Voortrekker St, 083 561 0131
 

The Accidental Baker
The place to go for artisanal sourdough breads. The bakery and café terrace is only open on Saturdays from 9 AM to 2 PM. Here you can enjoy their freshly baked sourdough bread and cakes, coffee and kombucha. Also home to Mo’s clothing collection and Still Pure natural body products.
53 Wesoewer Road, 079 868 7478
 

Die Bakhuis
Fantastic breakfasts, coffee and delicious wood-fired pizzas, this is a farmstall with a difference! Lovely views too.
064 961 7574

Café @ The Rose
Café @ The Rose
Café @ The Rose
Café @ The Rose
Café @ The Rose
Café @ The Rose

The Kombuis
Brings a taste of India to the Klein Karoo. Enjoy Indian cuisine and flavours in a cosy courtyard setting or indoors on cooler weather.
Available over weekends, booking essential.
Church Street, 060 955 5708
 
De Krans Bistro & Deli Enjoy an al fresco lunch under the vines, their roosterkoek is a must.
 
Konka Tuisnywerheid
Pop in for your supply of fresh home baked goods, sweet treats and deli items.
Open on Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays.
Van Riebeeck Street, next to the museum

Under the Peppertree
A small personable eating experience plus second hand bookshop tucked away under a Peppertree.
Book your lunch with Gary, Thursdays – Saturdays
From R62, 1km along Wesoewer Road, 083 999 0646
 

Danielskraal Farm
Die Bakhuis
The Kombuis {Image courtesy of The Kombuis}
De Krans Bistro
Boplaas distillery

FOR WINE & PORT LOVERS

Calitzdorp is recognised as the port wine capital of South Africa and is well-known for its fortified wines, primarily Cape Port. There are three prominent wine cellars who each produce a fantastic variety of wines and ports. We popped in at Boplaas and were given a tour of their distillery and got to sample their brand new alcohol-free gin. Yes, you heard right, ginless gin is a thing and is incredibly delicious! To be launched soon, so keep your eyes open.
 

De Krans | Calitzdorp Cellar | Boplaas Cellar

 

Hylton Nel ceramics
Part of an upcoming exhibition by Hylton Nel
Rosheen of Danielskraal Farm & ceramic artist, Hylton Nel
Ceramic stoneware by Hylton Nel

ART ENTHUSIASTS

You’re in for a treat, Calitzdorp has a host of talented artists, painters, potters and photographers living and working in the town.

 
Hylton Nel’s working studio is a must visit. You’ll find his incredible work displayed here as well as work done by his apprentices.
 

Kraaldoring Studio and Gallery owned by Albie and Clementina van der Walt lies 11km into the Groenfontein Valley. This is where Clementina makes her one-off ceramic pieces and you’ll find these on display complemented by photographic works and fine art prints by other artists. Visits are by appointment only and need to be arranged in advance – [email protected]

 

Die Handelshuis is an eclectic gallery space at 2 Geyser Street which is home to incredible works by textile artist, Lizel von Wiellig, 
 

Helen Doherty is also another talented fine arts ceramicist who lives and works in Calitzdorp. You can hop over to this blog post for a studio tour and to view her exquisite pieces.
 

Helen Doherty's ceramic studio
Clementina ceramics
Clementina ceramics
Mo's collection at The Accidental Baker
Lizel - textile artist
Lizel's textile aloes
Lizel - textile artist
Lizel's aloes in the making
Lizel - textile artist
Lizel von Wiellig - textile artist
Lizel - textile artist
Repurposing ties

WHERE TO STAY

For a luxurious farm stay, I highly recommend a few nights at Danielskraal Farm. Situated in a lush valley (and only a short drive from the centre of town), this is a wonderful haven where you can take time out, unwind and hit the reset button. The farmhouse sleeps 10 and is beautifully decorated, full of character and stylish flair. 

A big thanks to Rosheen, owner of Danielskraal and unofficial ambassador of Calitzdorp, for introducing me to all of the town’s fabulous people and must-see places!

Danielskraal Farm
Playful character
Al fresco entertaining

Photography: Lana Kenney 


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  1. Luis Ferreira-da-Silva

    20 January

    You are placing Calitzdorp on the map dear Rosheen

  2. Joe Alblas

    7 August

    Beautiful images taken by Lana certainly showcase Calitzdorp with all its quaintness and splendor – a precious jewel in our Karoo.

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