The well-loved, and some say iconic, Route 62 in South Africa’s Western Cape is generally described as running from Cape Town to Port Elzabeth, a distance of some 800km. Strictly speaking, though, Route 62 starts just outside the town of Ashton, about 180km inland from Cape Town.
Prior to the opening of the N2 freeway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in 1959, the main route between the two cities was via Route 62. The N2 along the stretch of coastline is called the Garden Route, while the R62, running through the Little Karoo between the coastal mountain ranges of the Langeberg, Swartberg and Outeniqua Mountains and the Little Swartberg is also sometimes referred to as the Mountain Route.
Much less travelled by those in a hurry, this road wanders through the small towns of Ashton, Montagu, Barrydale, Ladismith and Calitzdorp to Oudtshoorn. Oudtshoorn was our destination in August this year. It’s a town I have very strong ties with, even though I spent a relatively short part of my life there, first at school in the 7th and 8th Grades, then later as a soldier doing a Permanent Force (regular army) course at the Infantry School on the outskirts of the town. My sister lived there for many years, so I visited her and her family there every few years as well.
What makes Route 62 so special is the landscape through which it meanders. The Little Karoo is a mostly semi-arid region of intense beauty, with towering blue mountains, vast plains between them, a deep silence and that soul-revitalising serenity one only finds in places like this. No visit to South Africa can ever be complete without a road trip along the R62, so please join me as we travel from Ashton to Oudtshoorn.
I also wish to take this opportunity to thank all my followers and visitors for their kindness, and to wish every one of you a wonderfully happy, healthy, safe and prosperous 2015.