Luxury accommodation, star gazing, hiking

The strangest thing to city folk visiting the Karoo is that the residents actually seem to like people, and not in the way that an insurance salesman sees a quick buck, but in the old fashioned, let's swap stories kind of way. It's weird and quite refreshing.  If you feel like a bit of adventure, you can pop out to Prince Albert for lunch in one of the many authentic Karoo restaurants, or go on excursions to interesting places ....  

Prince Albert
Forget about supermarkets and fast food chains!  The nearest town, Prince Albert, a little gem of Cape Dutch and Victorian architecture is a bonanza of authentic Karoo fare, from locally produced wines and organic honey to the famous Karoo lamb to fresh Guernsey milk and cheeses. Planning a menu has never been this much fun, with the fresh produce around, including a fig farm that supplies our larniest delicatessens! Chutneys, jams, home baked cookies and weird vegetables are on offer in colourful farm stalls and little home from home restaurants. Though not quite the oldest town in the Cape, Prince Albert celebrates its 250th anniversary in 2012. That's a lot of history to soak up, dating back to old Zach's  original farm in 1762. 
Prince Albert is pretty famous for its gables and has 13 national monuments among the buildings in the town, among them, the Dutch Reformed Church, Hall and Parsonage, built in 1842. Prince Albert and surrounds offers up an Abundance of  interesting places, eccentric people and memorable visits.

With the migration of artistic people to the Karoo, lots of arty crafty industries have sprung up on the Prince Albert meander.  There are also a wide range of interesting and varied excursions on offer. Choose from a tour to Bushman painting and Karoo fossil sites in the company of a paleontologist, hiking trails in the Bushman Valley, a  walking lecture about the geology, botany, natural and cultural history or visit some of the art and craft galleries, olive and fig farms and wineries.

Named after an obvious hoarder, the Fransie Pienaar Museum is a fascinating collection of historical artifacts, antiques, fossils, paintings and even a functional Witblitz still at the back. 

The Saturday morning market, next to the museum, is a weekly must do. On offer are various crafts but mostly good edible stuff, like  Karoo dried fruit,  homemade jams and preserves, pickles and relishes, cakes, bread, fresh fruit and organic vegetables. Decent coffee, pancakes, lunch and plenty of friendly people, who have the time to talk!

The Prince Albert Gallery

If you’ve never eaten black wildebeest fillet, or if you just love good food and the flavours of the Mediterranean, Middle East, Asia, India and Vietnam, don’t miss out on an opportunity to visit the Prince Albert Art Gallery where Brent Phillips-White has combined his love of art with a love of food. In the fine dining restaurant upstairs, the food art includes Karoo lamb, duck, port and cherry pies, North Indian Vegetarian and lamb bredie, lamb shanks in tomato and red wine sauce, or Osso Bucco with risotto Milanese in winter. The coffee shop on the stoep offers simpler, quicker meals. Great wines on offer too!
Somewhere, between all that, is a rather interesting art gallery, well worth a visit.  
http://www.princealbertgallery.co.za/art/dining

African Relish – hands on dining experience

If you’re looking for an authentic Karoo cooking experience, sign up for a hands on interactive cooking experience at the African Relish Recreational Cooking School. Learn about the Karoo, the food and the legends while cooking your dinner.  Visit www.africanrelish.com for course dates.

The Olive Branch

The Karoo is famous for its eccentric characters and local legend, official Witblits stoker, and gastronome Bokkie Botha, is one of them. His popular award-winning restaurant, The Olive Branch, opens just two nights a week, with menus according to his whim of the day. He uses local, fresh ingredients to concoct his Karoo, French and Italian inspired masterpieces like lamb chops with parsnip puree, confit duck with kumquat sauce, and dark chocolate fondant with espresso ice cream.
Booking is essential. Call Bokkie Direct on +27 82 892 7222. No credit cards.


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