Forget tepid tea and stale sarmies, buy your basics from one of South Africa’s ubiquitous roadside farm stalls en route to your destination and enjoy your food al fresco. It’s an integral part of every road trip, writes CAROLINE HURRY
The original Great Trek started at Cradock, capital of the Karoo Heartland, and if you’re trekking from Gauteng to Cape Town, this town is a must-stop for its historic buildings, Olive Shreiner House, and True Living in Calata Street, for homemade gingerbeer, venison, dried fruit, and baked goods.
All meat products are farmed, hunted, or personally sourced by artisan baker Lani Lombard, and her husband Wentzel. Pastries, breads, biscuits, cakes, rusks and quiches are baked on the premises using unbleached flour from Swellendam and you can stock up on local ground coffee and wine here.
Still in the Karoo, 50km south of Cradock, you’ll find homemade lemonade, preserves, dried fruit, Dutch cheeses, biltong, droewors, fudge, and nougat at the Daggaboer Padstal. Just no dagga, since it’s still outlawed, but their moer koffie (coffee brewed in a tin pot) should hit the spot.
Kuilfontein Farm stall outside Springfontein has tasty lamb pies while good biltong can be found at the Camdeboo Slagtery in Graaff-Reinet or the Farm Butchery in Bedford.
The Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountain ranges separate the arid Karoo from the lush Garden Route, comprising 200km of indigenous forest, pine plantations and fynbos fringing rocky coves and stunning sandy beaches.
While Knysna offers the trendiest galleries, coffee shops, and restaurants, Plettenburg Bay has the most spectacular coastline. Just 20km outside Plett on the way to the Port Elizabeth, Nature’s Way Farm Stall on a working Jersey Dairy Farm in The Crags, is the best place for homemade ice cream, yoghurt, milk, cream, and handmade cheeses.
Owners Judy and Peter Wilson’s on-site bakery produces breads, quiches, pies, milk tarts, cakes, and croissants that can be consumed on the verandah overlooking the pastures, packed as padkos, or enjoyed as a picnic on the nearby Natures Valley beach. You’ll also find local wines, jams, preserves, salami, biltong, garden veggies, rooibos teas, fynbos honey, and free-range eggs here. Children can watch cows being milked in the afternoons, meet the pet pig, rooster, goats, rabbits, cats and guinea pigs. If you’re tired of driving, accommodation is offered in the farmhouse or cottage.
Also on the Garden Route, the Redberry Farm Stall in George stocks fresh and frozen strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, farm butter, yoghurts and gourmet cheeses from grass fed, free range cows. In addition to the Farm Stall, two eateries – a tea garden and the Red Shed Coffee & Berry Bar serve breakfasts and lunches. There’s also a mini-train, a huge hedge maze, pedal go-carts, pony rides, paddleboats, and pony rides for children
In the western Cape, an hour from Cape Town on the N2 and R321 intersection in the Overburg region – the heart of apple country – Peregrine Farm stall’s pies are worth stopping for. Says owner Justin Burls: “Our pies are our most famous padkos item.” Also popular are their breads and baked goods.
Here, you’ll also find locally farmed artisanal foods, fynbos honey, cold-pressed juices, champagne-style apple cider, regional wines and craft beer. There’s also a vintage tractor collection, rose nursery, decor store and kiddies’ park.
Just past Prince Alfred’s Hamlet on the R303 in the Ceres valley towards the Cederberg, Cecilia’s shop on the Koelfontein farm offers delicious dried fruits, hand-roasted nuts in snackable sizes, fresh fruit in season, nougat, chunky fruit bars and chocolate dipped fruit.
In KwaZulu-Natal stop off at Morwen and Andre Bezuidenhout’s Pucketty Farm Stall in the foothills of the southern Drakensberg (main image) on the R617 near Underberg, for homemade pies, quiches, patés, puddings, farm cheeses, jams, marmalades, pickles, chutneys and more.
If you’re on your way to the Waterberg on the R33, then just 5km outside Modimolle (Nylstroom) don’t miss the quirky décor, delicious farm biltong, homemade rusks, honey, jams, and preserves available from Anzé Bezuidenhout’s Ietsi Van Als. On the other side of Modimolle towards Vaalwater, Petro Raubenheimer’s Ma Pita is built in the corrugated iron architecture so typical of the Old Transvaal homes of yore. Here too, you can find all manner of jams and preserves.
Closer to Johannesburg and Pretoria, Jasmyn Farm Stall in the North West just outside Hartbeespoort on the R511 sells preserves, biltong, fresh bread, fruits, vegetables, juices, baked goods and a selection of homemade cheeses.
Built in the shape of a honeycomb, you can’t miss it!by