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Roadside Rendezvous: N7 Farmstalls

N7-farmstalls-sellingRoad trippers’ oases
Farm stalls materialise beside the road like welcome oases in the shimmering heat haze on the long drive up the N7 from Cape Town to Springbok during the spring flower-spotting season. Stopping for some strong moerkoffie or healthy rooibos tea becomes a matter of road safety. Marion Whitehead shares some of her favourite pit stops.

Malmesbury district
Your trip might stall completely at Annex Kloof Farmstall if you’ve got kids – it’s probably the most child-friendly stop on the N7 and little ones won’t want to leave the array of farm animals in enclosures, from cute bunnies and ducks to Fiona the tame ostrich who will be most put out if you don’t buy her some mielies. Pa and ma can treat themselves to vanilla cappuccinos with pampoenkoekies (pumkin fritters) in the coffee shop and stock up with Annex Kloof’s award-winning wines, including a fine Malbec.
081 324 7888

Moreesburg area
There’s usually a motorbike or three pulled up outside Desert Rose Farm Stall at the Koringberg turn-off, as weary travellers crowd the shady stoep and scoff good grub that makes them strong for another few hundred kilometres: biltong scones; French toast with rocket and bacon strips; generous omelettes filled with sweet peppers and onions; and tomato and mozzarella quiche with fresh salad.
Owner Sonia van Niekerk has a magpie eye for collectables, reflected in the quirky décor and gifts on sale, as well as padkos favourites of ginger beer, dried fruit, nuts and rusks.
082 884 8714

Pick of Piekenierskloof Pass
If you want to zone out staring at the view over a plate of rich oxtail bredie, Kardoesie Farm Stall is the spot for you. The parking lot is big enough for tour buses to easily disgorge their loads of flower tourists, who snap up packets of biltong and a range of souvenirs.
022 921 2382

The quaint De Tol Plaasstal, in the historic toll house at the top of the pass, is where industrious mother-and-daughter team Marina and Monica Theron bake a range of goodies, from farm bread and koeksusters to pies and rusks, as well as their orange syrup, jams, chutneys and preserves. Pull in for potjiekos or braai on a Sunday, or an anytime burger or fresh roosterkoek.
022 921 2792

N7-farmstalls-hebronHebron Highway Hospitality is my personal favourite for London-chic foodie delights cooked by co-owner Steve Oldroyd, who spent years running upmarket UK restaurants before returning to the platteland with wife Caroline. “We wanted quality of life for our four children,” he says simply. Steve’s latest venture is his West Coast Wine and Rooibos Tea Tasting Room, where his own melt-in-your-mouth truffles take on another dimension when paired with rooibos in different flavours. Think rooibos and chai spices enhancing the flavour of a chocolate truffle rolled in pistachio nuts… mmm!
022 921 2595

Vanrhynsdorp district
On the stark plains other side the Sishen-Saldanha railway line 27 kilometres north of Vanrhynsdorp stands a lone pantry. Knersvlakte Spens’ shelves are packed with unusual treasures: rare succulents, strange rocks, pomegranates, hand-knitted tea cosies and bottles of fig jam. On the stoep, Buys Wiese and Christine Visser feed visitors traditional fare such as milk tart and koeksusters with rooibos tea. The meal of the day varies, from waterblommetjiebredie to chicken or venison pie.
“We’re open every day unless we’re gatvol. Then we just lock the gates and take a day off,” says Christine with refreshing honesty.
082 829 8669 or 076 391 4700

Deep in the Hardeveld, where it’s hard to plough and survive, a new venture has blossomed in the dorp’s church hall: Bitterfontein Mol. Maretha Coetzee dishes out interesting info about flower sites in the area, together with traditional treats like koeksusters and thick bean soup. Her sister’s chocolate-centred biscuit balls roll out the door fast and most of the crafts in the gift section are made by local people. “So the money goes into uplifting the community,” says Maretha, whose artistic flair is evident in the bits of boere-chic décor she conjures up out of old junk. “Heeljaar Bazaar” (year-round bazaar) announces the cheerful sign outside.
082 544 3773

At Garies Toeristestal, Wilma Jordaan has injected new energy into her mom Sonia’s business since returning to the platteland after studying hospitality management in Stellenbosch. “I was tired of the city,” she says. Their curried mince vetkoek, venison pies and milk tart are firm favourites and travellers like to stock up with preserves such as boerejongens (grapes in brandy). Bop to boeremusiek while you browse their gift shop, a treasure trove of knick-knacks and souvenirs. Book lovers get excited by the shelves of second-hand books: among the Africana, I spotted the collected works of CJ Langenhoven.  
027 652 1220 | 072 178 7390

Another enterprising young Stellenbosch hospitality management graduate has worked wonders with her great granny’s house dating back to 1898, the oldest in the village. During flower season at the Kliphuis Kombuis, chef Christine Beukes serves egte boeretroos coffee, roosterkoek, home-made pies (chicken, steak or venison) and Boer Maak ’n Plan (biltong and cheese on freshly baked bread).
“This has been my dream for a long time. I wish the walls could talk,” says a wistful Christine, who fixes a little more of the historic house each year.
Make sure you book for her slap-up Sunday lunch, which could be anything from bobotie to sheeps’ tail stew.
027 672 1098/1642 | 084 601 0485

Kuiervreugde Coffee Shop, near the church, is open year round and friendly hosts Peet and Elsa Kruger act as the dorp’s informal info centre. “Best cappuccino in the village,” enthused a mountain biker who had pulled in for a braai outside. Their snack menu includes sandwiches made with their home-made bread, pies and delicious bakes.
027 672 1904 | 072 141 8980

This article first appeared in AA Traveller

Good to know
The flower season starts early in August in the north with good sightings around Springbok – visit Goegap Nature Reserve and drive out to Concordia – and the Namaqua National Park. As the weather warms up, it progresses south and by September Niewoudtville, Clanwilliam, Darling and the West Coast National Park are at their best.
Be prepared for delays at roadworks between Clanwilliam and Vanrhynsdorp as the N7 is in the process of being upgraded.

West Coast Tourism publishes a flower report during the season. 022 433 8505 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. |