This article is the second in a series to raise awareness of what is possible using Tulbagh as a base. A self-drive day trip to picturesque Porterville, located on the slopes of the Voorberg only 45km from Tulbagh, is a very pleasant way of spending a day in the country with numerous things to do and see…
The Mosaic House in du Toit Street is quite simply astonishing, lovingly created over a number of years by artist Christel Griffiths. Book a tour ahead at only R25 per person and spend an enchanted hour moseying around it.
Golfers will find the lushly greened 9-hole Porterville golf course a wonderful way to while away a morning!
The Jan Danckart museum (named after the leader of the first expedition that travelled through this area in 1660) houses an extensive collection of antique agricultural implements as well as some replicas of the San rock art of the area.
Every Saturday morning the delightful Porterville market takes place on the farm Houdconstandt. Housed in a heritage building you will find a loooooong table in the middle simply groaning with produce and many delights lining the walls – artisan cheeses and breads, preserves, farm butter, organic veggies and fruits, bakes and more. The early birds can join for a fun run through the orchards and there are tractor and pony rides for the kids. Eat a leisurely lunch accompanied by local wines and ales under the trees in summer and cosy around the kaggel in winter.
Dasklip Pass is much loved by nature lovers and the gliding fraternity. It rises up from the wheat and canola plains of the Swartland just north of Porterville to summit at 700m above sea level at the entrance to the Groot Winterhoek reserve. Near the summit you will spot the paraglider launch ramp where the bird-men go airborne for hours, soaring on powerful thermal updrafts. NB: Please drive with caution!
Another lovely option is a visit to 22 Waterfalls on the farm Laatson just outside Porterville to the north. Day passes are possible by prior arrangement (access better during the week) and for a small fee one can experience the beauty of the waterfalls in pristine nature. Pack a picnic of goodies from the market (or order one from Readers Restaurant in Tulbagh before you set off) and enjoy!
En route back to Tulbagh do stop off at Indie Ale Craft Brewery (between Porterville and Gouda on the R44). Kick your shoes off and enjoy the rustic ambience whilst sampling their famous River Blond or Porter’ville Porter. The kids can paddle in the dam and wood-fired pizza is available on weekends, as well as occasional live music gigs.
You might be interested to know that the Gouda Hotel regularly hosts stars of the Afrikaans music scene (find the line up on Facebook) and it’s great Saturday night entertainment!
Finally, coming ‘home’ to Tulbagh through the Nuwekloof pass, you might wish to drop into Lemberg boutique winery just off the R 46 for a tasting of their delectable Syrah or beautiful blanc de noir, with the resident bulldogs at your feet. They also offer catch-and-release fishing in their dam. A little further down the same country road you will find Tulbagh Dried Fruit – but do check opening hours.
And so to rest… and reflect on a happy day spent in the country. There is nothing quite like the peace of our Valley as the sun slips behind the mountains to the west, colouring the Witzenberg to the east pink, and saluting the evening star with a glass of fine local wine… And a little later on stargazing is possible as there is very little ambient light between you and the glories of the Milky Way…
Written by Wendy Upcott March 2018
(With acknowledgement to Trygve Roberts for his cyber Mountain Passes of South Africa)