The Go Hustle Work & Play Location Guide is all about making it easier for you to play where you work. This week we’re heading to Barrydale…
Who doesn’t love to explore? And if you can do it while on the job, even better. Internationally, the Bizcation (Business Vacation) has been trending for a while. Bleasure (Business and Pleasure) is a thing in travel circles. And, since lockdown had us working from, well, anywhere, it’s become a career vibe we can all tap into. Yup – we’re working where we play, and playing where we work. So, in the spirit of the roving office, we’re making it easier for you to do just that when you’re next away from your “official” desk. First up… Oudtshoorn.
The place: Oudtshoorn
A small town in the Klein Karoo, Oudtshoorn is a truly unique slice of SA’s Western Cape. Whether you’re passing through on a work trip, or felt like a change of “remote office” scenery, putting down temporary roots in this historic spot will have tremendous personal payoffs.
Stay here: The Wildehondekloof Private Game Reserve
A hallmark Cape Country Routes property, Wildehondekloof Private Game Reserve is a sight for computer-strained eyes. Situated 50km from Oudtshoorn, this 4 000-hectare farm and luxury game lodge is close enough to the town to zip in and out for meetings (or a spot of exploration), but tucked far enough away from the buzz that you feel like you’ve arrived in the middle of blissy nowhere. The lodge offers nine comfortable en-suite, air-conditioned bedrooms, all with sweeping mountain and river views. A recent addition, a few metres from the main lodge, is a self-catering villa complete with inside braai – if you feel like bringing the fam along.
Wifi: free. Tip: If you’ve got a task list as long as your arm and need to be online a lot, take a room at the main lodge rather than the standalone accommodation closer to the river, where the signal is patchier. Alternatively, set up a temporary work station at the indoor dining area or near the fire in the cosy lounge. Even better, work from one of the charming coffee shops in the town, before switching off at Wildehondekloof at the end of each day. Breathe in the natural beauty that surrounds you. Watch the buck graze on your doorstep. Unwind with a glass of something special at the outdoor braai pit, or soak away your troubles in the luxe bath. It’s called balance – and it’s much healthier for you!
Dining: thumbs up! Speaking of healthier… Wildehondekloof gets our nod for its focus on fresh farm produce and its openness to catering for all dietary needs. While carnivores tuck into free-range meat, vegetarians and vegans will be left heartily satisfied too. As will the gluten-free tribe. So don’t stress about “complicated” meal requests – the kitchen staff will look after you.
Do this: Our top picks of activities in the area
Walk, mountain bike, or go on a game drive
Wildehondekloof offers guided game drives that’ll have you spotting wildebeest, nyala, eland, kudu, giraffe, oryx, hartebeest, Cape mountain zebra, diverse birdlife and a variety of other small creatures. Or hit one of the hiking trails. (There are both shorter routes for beginners and longer ones for seasoned walkers.) Traverse the wide open spaces of the Klein Karoo and marvel at the colourful succulents and Cape thicket fynbos. Mountain biker? Explore Wildehondekloof’s dirt roads, riverbeds, winding paths and single tracks to your heart’s content.
Visit the Safari Ostrich Farm
Oudtshoorn isn’t called the ostrich capital of the world for nothing. So Safari Ostrich Farm, a working ostrich farm, is a must. This Cape Country Routes activity allows you to get up close and very personalwith these giant fluff balls on a guided tour. Tours are offered daily, every hour between 8am and 4pm (R162 per person). Hop on board the only Ostrich Tractor Safari in SA, then pop in at the farm shop and score yourself a unique ostrich leather purse, handbag or belt. We’re partial to the mini feather dusters! And stay for a bite… If you don’t want to eat the poor bird, don’t fret – they’ve got great veggie options too.
Explore the Cango Caves
A visit to Oudtshoorn isn’t complete without experiencing SA’s oldest tourist attraction! The perfect mix of adventure and heritage, the 20-million year old Cango Caves consist of a series of hidden chambers cut deep into a thick limestone layer of the Swartberg Mountains. Just 30km outside of Oudtshoorn, a standard Heritage Tour lasts 60 mins (R170) – but we’d recommend the 90-minute Adventure Tour (R240), which takes you through the entire Cango 1. This route will have you crawling through tight passages, climbing up sheer rock formations… and retelling the story for years to come. There’s also a curio shop to poke around in, and the restaurant serves up traditional SA dishes to fill hungry bellies.
Have a 5 Shy Meerkat experience
Cuteness overload! The guided Five Shy Meerkats tour (R660 per person) begins at sunrise. First you’ll be handed a steaming cup of coffee and a homemade rusk (or two). Then, wrapped in a blanket, from your viewing chair, you’ll be treated to the rarest of opportunities as a family of meerkats poke their heads out of their burrows to greet the morning. Watch them cuddle and sunbathe as they gather the energy to begin the day’s foraging. Note: The meerkats are wild and there is zero human interaction. Rather, you get the unique privilege of getting up close to them in their natural habitat. After the tour, we recommend you pop in for brunch at De Zeekoe’s Windpomp Restaurant. With its emphasis on fresh, local ingredients, and catering to all dietary needs, it’s the picture-perfect stop after the morning’s excitement.
Drive this: The Ford Everest Sport
Spacious and comfy, the Ford Everest Sport delivers all the mod-cons that make a road trip extra-smooth. It’s all so effortless! Think: a seven-seater in snug leather, cruise control, and a keyless system that allows you to unlock and start the engine without removing the key from your bag. Then there’s the “infotainment” system that synchs seamlessly with your smartphone and other devices. Never mind intuitive voice control and embedded navigation (standard maps and Tracks for Africa) so you can keep your attention firmly on the road, and that beautiful view! This ride scores bonus points for fuel economy. And it’s just so slick. We love.
PS: The 4×2 is perfect for dorpie hopping, but if you’re planning to give it horns, the 4×4 variation of the Everest Sport lets you select the preferred driving mode to suit the terrain. Simply turn the Terrain Management System (TMS) dial to snow, mud, grass, rocks or paved roads – et voila. Plus: Hill Descent Control helps you safely negotiate steep slopes with confidence.
Psst: Wildehondekloof is currently running a winter special: R1 300 per person per night, bed and breakfast. Minimum two nights’ stay.