The Jam Tarts – The Perfect Pitstop on South Africa’s Route 62
Written by Jaillan Yehia
We expected it to be breathtaking, but Route 62 still turned out to be the most under-rated journey we took during our three weeks in South Africa. A tight schedule meant that we drove virtually the entire length of this celebrated back-road through South Africa’s Klein Karoo in single unforgettable day, and our final stop-off before reaching the end of the road was The Jam Tarts in the unpromisingly-named town of Barrydale.
If you’re touring South Africa, chances are you’ll be doing a lot of driving. Nothing can prepare you for the vast distances from one stop to the next, especially if you’re from a small island like the UK. So it becomes essential to find a great place every now and then to take a pause the amazing views flashing past your window (it’s a hard life!) and actually stop and smell the coffee, or in this case drink it, accompanied by a scone and a some home-made jam.
We’d been driving for some hours through the hot and arid landscape of the Klein Karoo – a sort of desert-like back garden alternative to the better-known coastal Garden Route – and we hadn’t stopped since the unofficial regional capital at Oudtshoorn.
With a beady eye on the clock we knew we shouldn’t stop at all, but as we hurtled through the town of Barrydale, past a colourful, bohemian-looking cafe set alongside the road, a blackboard proclaiming lemon meringue, carrot cake and scones caught my eye and we slammed on the brakes, did a U-turn and unfolded our legs from their car-based captivity to lounge on The Jam Tarts‘ outdoor patio.
The area around Barrydale is home to some low-key attractions which seem to form an alternative laid-back travellers trail; hot springs at the wonderfully literally-named Warmwaterberg, nature reserves, a labyrinth, and some rural wineries and farms which offer a more rustic and wholesome experience compared to their counterparts in the shiny towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, and of course Cape Town itself which for most Route 62 motorists is the ultimate destination.
The Jam Tarts serves its highly-recommended clay-fired pizzas throughout the evenings, a rarity in the town, but even if you’re not overnighting in the area, it’s the perfect place to break your journey, enjoy a snack, chat to the friendly owners and browse a large and enticing selection of home-made goodies. We left with a bumper haul of jars of jam, coconut macaroons and olive oil – all locally produced by hand and all delicious.
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