Stop and Explore the Port Wine Region of Calitzdorp

Route 62 is the world’s best road trip destination with many unique experiences to enjoy along the way. However, it’s the town of Calitzdorp that should be on top of your list of towns to be exploring.

The Klein Karoo town of Calitzdorp faces harsh and unforgiving hot and dry climates that are excellent for the production of some of the country’s best port wines, but the area faces severe drought leaving the residents with no drinking water.

A fellow reader asked that if anyone plans to come down and visit, please bring bottles of water. That is how dire the situation is.

Arriving on a moody day from De Rust, this Karoo town would allure me to the unique characteristics it’s known for from the arid countryside and mountain ranges to vast open farmlands. To be completely honest, I have a love affair with the region of Karoo.

But what makes Calitzdorp so special?

If you wondering what the lives looked when Calitzdorp became a town in 1845, take a walk down Queen Street and be amazed by the Edwardian and Victorian-style architecture still prominent today with many of the buildings being occupied by accommodations and restaurants alike.

There are many wine farms that will welcome you to do some wine tasting with tastings of some of South Africa’s finest Ports. Make sure to book your stay at Calitzdorp annual Port Festival taking place in June.

Here are a few things you can get up to in Calitzdorp:

A Lekker Traditional Karoo Meal at Die Dorpshuis

Die Dorpshuis is a jack of all trades with not only having a B&B but a lekker restaurant for people to sit back and enjoy a traditional cuisine.

From hearty breakfasts, light lunches and warm suppers, Die Dorpshuis has a wonderful Karoo atmosphere where you sit outside on the patio on a warm, summers day to a cold day sitting beside the fire; enjoying a plate of Lamb Curry which is a definite must-try.

Wine Tasting at De Krans and Calitzdorp Cellar

Calitzdorp is a wine destination so it’s only right to go wine tasting at various wine farms in the area like De Krans and Calitzdorp Cellars.

Calitzdorp Cellars have been producing exceptional wines since 1928 and is well-known for it’s Cape Port.

However, it has a wide range of varietals that cater to every ones’ wine palette. They only have a tasting room in which you can try out any 6 wines of your choice.

The Tinto was a firm favourite for me. A full-bodied red wine with a Portuguese influence with notes of mulberry and cassis.

De Krans offers a range of classic varietals from their Chardonnay, Pinotage, Chenin Blanc and so much more.

The tasting room is in the Bistro so it’s ideal to do some tastings and then grab a bite to eat. You can taste the whites, reds, ports or muscadels or, you can mix and match; whatever suits you.

The Twist of Fate, as well as the new Premium Moscato White Perlé, was impeccable that it had to come home with me. Both wines are different varietals but equally good.

Breakfast at Die Handelshuis Restaurant

The charming restaurant and its quirky gift shop is the perfect place to stop for breakfast.

The building is perfect for an arty soul with miss-matched collector’s items and arts and crafts but, if you in need of some food, sit outside and enjoy the serene atmosphere with Die Handelshuis Breakfast for only R50.00.

Calitzdorp by Foot

If you have limited time as we had, it’s always great to explore a town on foot like a resident.

Many of the buildings are English influenced by Edwardian and Victorian styled homes but it’s fascinating to see the Karoo spin it’s acquired. Take a stroll down the quaint streets and enjoy the slow pace of life the residents seem to love.

There are many walking and hiking trails so if that’s you’re sort of thing, make sure to take full advantage of it.

Where to Stay

If you planning on staying in Calitzdorp, know that there’s no shortage of accommodations from B&Bs to self-catering establishments, there’s something for everyone.

We stayed at The Barn Swallows Nest; a barn located on the Art Route of Calitzdorp surrounded by vineyards and mountainous landscapes.

If being undisturbed is the holiday goal then this is the getaway establishment for you with large windows looking outside, a stoep overlooking the town, a queen-sized bedroom, an open plan bathroom as well as a mini-fridge, and a coffee and tea facility.

The detailing is impeccable and it’s quite obvious that the hosts are both artists. Every item was carefully thought out and it’s easy to see why it would be difficult to leave the property.

Find this charming barn on Airbnb. You are more than welcome to make use of my Airbnb code if you haven’t made use of the platform yet. For every person who completes a stay, you’ll get up to R450 ZAR in credit. Terms apply.

Calitzdorp has a special charm that will ensure your first visit isn’t your last. There are so many more things to do and see like the infamous Red Stones Hill, the Nels River Dam and, doing the Art Route.

Until the next small town.

Stephanie Marthinus Blog