Exploring Route 62 with Montagu Springs Resort as our stopover

If you want a kaleidoscope of treats, you have to explore Route 62. Our family enjoyed our short breakaway to Montagu Springs Resort in Montagu. Whenever we take such trips, we pack in as many activities as we can.

 

Travelling from Worcester along scenic Route 62 is sheer driving pleasure. You snake through farms with wide expanses of vineyards and breathtaking mountainous landscapes. From Worcester you pass through Robertson which resembles a sleepy town scattered on the hilly landscape.

Sprawling vineyards
Ashton

When you arrive in Ashton, do stop over at the old steam locomotive that is on display in this rural town. We enjoyed clambering on it and took tons of pictures, pretending we were the drivers on the train. Our casual tour guide, one of the town's residents, slightly under the "vine", gave us an impromptu talk. Apparently this steam locomotive (number 2010) was housed at the municipal offices before. It was later moved to the main road to delight both residents and tourists passing through.
Reagan doing a balancing act on steam train no. 2010
We had arranged to meet Christopher John, my cousin's son who lives in Ashton. Christopher, who works for the Ashton municipality, regular posts information about refuse collection updates on his facebook page for residents. He even posted his temporary mobile number where he could be reached while his regular phone was in for repairs. It is interesting to see how Christopher uses facebook in this small town to share information.
 
Cogmanskloof Pass

Cogmanskloof pass joins Ashton to Montague, our destination. The distance between these two towns is under 10 kilometers and the scenic beauty is magical. The different rock formations and the deep earthy colours are absolutely awesome.
 
Then you reach the Tunnel that looks more like a gaping hole in the mountain. This fascinating feature surprises you when you arrive at it after driving round one of the bends on Cogmanskloof Pass. When you look through the tunnel the exit resembles a cat sitting there, musing about life. Christopher told us to look out for the fort perched above this tunnel. Thank goodness he did, else we would have missed seeing this monument.
 
This English fort was built in the 19th century. We had to pull off the road to get a proper view of this fort, camouflaged perfectly as it is built from the same rock of the surrounding mountains. A group of bikers was quite daring as they took turns parking or standing in the middle of the tunnel.
 

The English Fort above the Tunnel. See the plaque on the left hand side of the picture.

 

Bikers taking their pictures. Note the sitting cat on the opposite end of the tunnel.

 

Montagu

Once you have passed through the Cogmanskloof pass, you find Montagu. Montagu is known as the heart of Route 62.

We booked in at the self-catering Golden Terraces chalets at Montagu Springs resort. This section of the resort has a private, modern village ambience. The paved terraced snaking roads, lined with well-maintained flower beds and mature trees like the bottlebrush, lead you to the well-spaced chalets. The cheeky chalets have been baptised with quaint names like Magic Moments and Swaelnes. Our chalet's name was Serendipidity, a perfect match for its occupants!
 
Each of the chalets has undercover parking, its own braai area on the patio and an indoor fireplace for those cold days. There are enough facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts , bicycle and cart rides for young and old to enjoy. The Keise River which flows past the resort houses many interesting waterfowl species. You can sit on one of the thatched-roofed swings and enjoy watching the various birds wading in the water or feeding on unseen morsels they seem to find on the lawn.
A few of the waterfowl species

If you visit Montagu, you should fit in a hike along one of the trails. We went on a short hike along Lovers's walk in the light rain. I had even gone to buy black bags to double as rain gear, just in case my family members wanted to duck out of this one. Levona, my sister, and my brother-in-law , Ricardo,celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary on this day.

 

Armed with champagne, we hiked along this interesting trail. The scenery changes as you walk along the River bank, hop over stone crossings in the river, trek through sections covered with tall reeds and follow the path along the lower mountain slopes. We were lucky to see a catfish that got into difficulty in the shallow waters.

 

The rock formations are spectacular. There are numerous caves dotting the mountain along this walk. Shouting affirmations to ourselves, nature and life came bouncing back to us via the countless echoes of our own voices. The vastness of nature with its own sculptures and serenity touch your soul here. After about 45 minutes of easy walking, you reach a natural amphitheatre.


 

We saw a few hikers sitting and chatting in one of the deeper caves high.up, near the peak of the mountain. You have to be a rock climber and be super fit to scale those slopes.

 
A rock stack that looks like a man

 

Part of the amphitheatre, with Basil and Sasha strolling along.

 

Sasha and Reagan resting for a while
 
Stunning rock formations along

We were happy to chill under an overhang, toasted to the couple, gorged ourselves on snacks and then walked back to our holiday den.

 

The next day, as a finale to the breakaway, we stopped at the famous Montagu Dried fruit factory shop. Although the shop is well-stocked, I found the prices only fractionally cheaper than the prices we pay for the same brand in Cape Town. I suppose it is more the novelty of buying the goods at its place of origin that added a bit of charm.

 

We returned home tired but energized and happy. This is a worthwhile, affordable breakaway you can do anytime of the year. So, pack those bags and hit the R62 road.

 

The rock overhang that forms a perfect resting place

 

Toasting to Levona and Ricardo

 

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