Not much beats going road tripping through South Africa’s ever-changing landscapes. It definitely counts as one of my most favorite things to do. But the cherry on the cake for me is discovering quaint little farm stalls or padstalletjies (as they are locally known in Afrikaans) on the side of the road en route to your destination. They are the perfect excuse to stretch your legs after a long drive, breathe the fresh country air and sample some local produce.
I have gone on many a roadtrip through several countries, and nowhere else in the world do you find as many farm stalls dotted along the national roads, as in South Africa. They are part and parcel of our landscape and our DNA.
The next time you visit our beautiful country, whether self-driving or with a guide, do yourself a favour and stop at one of these little gems, it will be well worth your while! South Africa is blessed with numerous farm stalls along its many roads, so don’t regard this as an exclusive list, these are simply a few of my favourites.
1. Peregrine Farm Stall
This one is an old-time favourite, and if you’re on your way to Hermanus to go whale-watching or wine tasting or just starting out on a trip along the Garden Route, this is a must-visit destination.
Located in the beautiful Elgin Valley in the heart of apple country, the Peregrine Farm Stall first opened its doors in the 1960’s and has been going strong ever since. Enjoy freshly-squeezed apple juice and a spot of lunch in the Red Tractor Café or visit the farm stall itself crammed full of the best local produce ranging from berries, honey, delicious preserves, biltong (a local delicacy of dried and cured meat) and rusks.
The Peregrine is well-known for their freshly baked mosbolletjies (a sweet South African favorite, similar to a brioche bun, but made from fermented grape juice), sourdough breads, pecan nut pies, as well as for their extensive range of wines. They even brew their own cider! Recently completely overhauled after a fire, this old favourite has just got even better.
2. Houw Hoek Farm Stall
I never pass Houw Hoek Farm Stall, which lies perched at the top of the pass before meandering down to the coastal towns of Hermanus and Betty’s Bay, without stopping.
They make the best freshly-baked farm pies and seeded health bread, and their café is a welcome respite en route to the seaside towns in the Overberg or down to Cape Agulhas. Their bakery is full of local favourites such as melktert (milktart) and their deli section is stacked to the rafters with interesting spices, preserves, honeys and a to-die-for snoek paté. They also have a great range of local wines and baskets of fynbos bouquets, dried flowers, seasonal fruits for sale and handmade gifts.
3. Affie Plaas Farm Stall
If you want to try a farm stall that is packed with local flavor and authenticity, then the Affie Plaas Farm Stall is perfect for you. Roughly translated ‘from the farm’, this roadside institution is proudly Afrikaans and has been going for over 27 years.
Located just outside Robertson in the heart of South Africa’s fruit-growing and wine country, you can’t miss Affie Plaas with its family of dressed-up hay bales standing guard just off the R60 road. Immerse yourself in this farm stall that is packed full of local delicacies such as freshly made ginger beer and koeksisters (syrup-coated braided doughnuts).
You can find anything from organic jams, fresh farm produce and quail eggs to swanky salad dressings, the best pies (try the waterblommetjie-feta pie), chocolate salami, a great selection of local wines and of course a vast variety of dried fruits and nuts. There is also a restaurant attached to the farm stall, De Oude Kombuis, that is perfect for a freshly brewed pot of coffee and farm-style toasted chicken mayonnaise sandwich.
4. Nature’s Way Farm Stall
If you’re a foodie and serious cheese lover, then stopping off at Nature’s Way Farm Stall is a must. Located just past Plettenberg Bay along the scenic Garden Route, this farm stall is situated on a dairy farm and all the cheeses are made from Jersey milk without any artificial hormones or antibiotics. They also stock an impressive range of local and imported cheeses, best enjoyed on one of their platters on their deck with a glass of wine.
If you’re not keen on cheese, never fear! The farm stall has an array of honeys, homemade jams, pestos and dressings, pickles, fresh farm milk and free-range eggs and olive oil on tap. You can even take the kids to watch the cows being milked.
5. Daggaboer Farm Stall
Last but certainly not least is the Daggaboer Farm Stall, about 50km outside of Craddock on your way to Port Elizabeth. Voted as one of South Africa’s best, this one is definitely worth a visit if you’re driving through the area.
Here you’ll find over 50 types of preserves and jams, biltong, their legendary droewors (dried sausage), a selection of cheeses and milk tart. They are famous for their roosterkoek (a traditional flat bun made on an open fire) and their freshly made lemonade and ginger beer is hard to beat on a hot Karoo day. They also serve up a whole lot of home-made treats – I had one of the most delicious toasties I’ve ever had here, best enjoyed on the verandah soaking up the tranquility of the surroundings with a pot of moer koffie (coffee brewed in a tin pot).
Some of the other farm stalls worth a mention are: the Evergrine Farm Stall in Stanford, the Nanaga Farm Stall in the Eastern Cape, Polkadraai in Stellenbosch, Florida Farm Stall in Wellington and Piggly Wiggly near Howick in KwaZulu Natal.
So if you’re planning a road trip in South Africa this festive season, taking your family on a beach holiday or sneaking away on a romantic weekend getaway, take some time off and stop at one of these farm stalls, and you’ll see that road trips are never quite complete without stopping at a ‘padstal’.