Nestled within the folds of the ancient Langeberg Mountains, Barrydale is situated in the fertile Tradouw Valley where the northern exit of Tradouw’s Pass meets the R62 from Worcester, Robertson and Montagu. Barrydale lies on the border of the Overberg and the Klein Karoo and is one of the 7 small towns that form the Republic of Swellendam. Barrydale has often associated with the ancient history and landscape of the succulent Klein Karoo, although this is geographically inaccurate as this special piece of land supports unique features of its own.
Given Barrydale’s location between two contrasting landscapes, one can certainly imagine the staggering natural diversity that surrounds the village. It forms part of the Klein Karoo Wine Route, the longest wine route in the world. It is also located on the popular Route 62 that was modeled after the iconic Route 66 in the USA and made famous in popular culture by the late Nat King Cole with a song by the same name.
The accessible little village of Barrydale is a 2.5-hour drive from Cape Town and can be reached by both the N1 and N2 highways. Some travellers prefer taking the N1 and Route 62 for its more scenic landscapes and slightly shorter distance. It has become an especially popular alternative to the N2 for those travelling to and from Port Elizabeth or the Garden Route.
Those travelling from Cape Town Airport will be taken along the N2, before passing through Caledon and then Swellendam until you reach Suurbraak, a tranquil and historic missionary town with bright little buildings dotted along the roadside. After Suurbraak, you will begin climbing the momentous Tradouw Pass.
The 17-kilometer road winds over breathtaking mountain terrain, narrow gorges and jagged sandstone formations. Expect vistas filled with giant oak trees and the Tradouw River that runs beneath a fynbos-covered ravine. There are a couple of places to pullover along the road, to admire the magnificent views and contemplate the genius of Bain’s creation that managed to carve through such rugged terrain without the aid of modern technology. Look out for the old Tollgate that is still visible a few kilometers before you reach Barrydale. Travel time from the Cape Town Airport to Barrydale is approximately 3 hours.
With such close proximity to nature and the endearing quirkiness that characterizes Route 62, Barrydale is a perfect base from which to explore the majesty of the Klein Karoo. Barrydale is a tiny town with a huge heart and an offbeat spirit that captivates the traveller to stay longer.