- Start Robertson
- End Oudtshoorn
- Length 260km; three to four days
If you're heading east towards the Garden Route, Route 62 makes for a marvellous drive and a great alternative to taking the N2 both there and back. The route begins in Robertson, a farming town on the Breede River, where you can spend a day or two riding horses, rafting on the river or hopping between unpretentious wineries before heading out to enjoy Route 62.
After about 15km you pass through the untidy town of Ashton with its sizeable wine cellar. There's not much to hold you here, but once you leave Ashton the route quickly takes a turn for the scenic as you near the Langeberg range. The road twists and turns towards Cogmanskloof (Cogmans Gorge). Here you'll see a sign denoting the Old English Fort. Built in 1899 in anticipation of the Anglo-Boer War, the fort sits above the road – keep an eye out for it as you pass through an archway in the mountains.
This archway heralds your arrival in Montagu, an adorable town with good restaurants, superlative rock climbing and a cheery hot springs resort. Once you leave Montagu, the road straightens out and passes by orchards – the area is known for its fruit, particularly dried fruit.
This is perhaps the least interesting stretch of the trip, but do keep an eye out for Joubert-Tradauw after about 50km. The winery makes for a lovely lunch stop and offers tastings – grab a bottle of its R62 red blend as a memento of your drive. From here it's only 12km to Barrydale. Most people drive straight past, but if you veer off the main road, the town has some interesting galleries and restaurants and a very pretty church.
Some 27km east of Barrydale, you can't miss the tatty whitewashed building on the right, with fluttering flags and untidy lettering proclaiming that you have reached 'Ronnies Sex Shop'. Ronnies has become one of the most famous spots on Route 62. It began life as a simple shop and the owner, struggling to get customers in, painted 'Ronnies Shop' on the facade. Some prankster pals added the word 'sex' and suggested he start a bar rather than sticking with the road stall idea. Today Ronnies is a dingy biker bar and most don't stick around longer than it takes to snap a few photos of the bar, endowed with row upon row of bras and knickers. Nearby there is a spa with warm water pumped from underground springs.
The scenery remains the same – undulating semidesert scrubland typical of the Little Karoo – until you pass Ladismith, a pleasant town with a couple of decent farm stalls, and Zoar, a small farming settlement. Suddenly the mountains begin to rise and you reach the highly scenic Huisrivier Pass, which counts two river crossings along its 13km of dips and hills. This is the prettiest part of the drive, so take time to stop at one of the lay-bys set up for view-hunters.
On the other side of the pass is Calitzdorp, best known for its port-style wines. The main road isn't the most relaxing place to pause, but turn right onto Van Riebeek St and you'll find a higgledy-piggledy maze of roads lined with handsome old buildings. There are wineries within walking distance of the town, including Boplaas and De Krans. Sample the various dessert wines or pop into Porto Deli for a lunch inspired by Portuguese and Mozambican cuisine.
The road once again flattens out as you leave Calitzdorp and soon enough you start to see the first ostrich farms. Oudtshoorn likes to call itself the 'ostrich capital of the world', with its industry that dates back to Victorian times. The town lies 55km east of Calitzdorp and is home to a number of ostrich farms where you can learn about the industry and meet the birds. This is also the home of the impressive Cango Caves, the interesting CP Nel Museum and a much-loved meerkat experience.
It is also the end of the trip, although Route 62 actually stretches all the way to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. Celebrate the drive with an ostrich dinner and some local red wine in one of Oudtshoorn's restaurants, then wave goodbye to Route 62 and make for the N12, which connects Oudtshoorn with the Garden Route.