Barrydale, Western Cape

Barrydale

Barrydale – one of the bright lights of Route 62.

Words and Photographs by Chris Marais

Barrydale is one of those tucked-away mountain villages along Route 62 in the Little Karoo, the kind of place that’s very hard to simply pass by.

In the 1800s, there were few more enterprising traders and merchants in the Cape than Joseph Barry. Whenever he moved into an area or town, he would establish a trading store.

In 1882, however, he set up a whole village called Barrydale, on the eastern side of the Tradouw Pass. It has developed into one of the Western Cape’s finest country destinations.

Barrydale’s lovely location, good weather and stately architecture have drawn artists, writers and hoteliers to live and flourish here, making it a tourist hot spot in the process.

For the creative, there’s always a weekend adventure in Barrydale. You can take art classes with a local maestro and learn how to sculpt or paint. You can join a photography group and venture out into the magnificent landscape of the Little Karoo for nature and landscape work with the camera.

There are mountain biking, hiking and horse riding adventures to be had, yoga sessions at a special retreat just outside the town and a visit to the local labyrinth for some walking meditation. At the same venue, there’s the South African Peace Pagoda, which was consecrated by a Burmese monk in the year 2000.

And driving east from Barrydale, you come to the legendary Ronnie’s Sex Shop, which is a rather beautiful place to settle in behind a long beer and contemplate the marvels of fresh air, open skies and a beckoning highway.

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