Top Attractions

1. The Karoo Art Hotel

Formally known as the Barrydale Hotel under its previous ownership, the Karoo Art Hotel captures the spirit of Barrydale inside its beautifully decorated and curated walls. Each room has been uniquely designed as its own work of art. The bar, restaurant and Bioscope Theater also make the hotel a meeting point for great food, fine art and entertainment, even for visitors who are not staying in one of the pristine rooms. On some weekends a small stage is set up in the bar, treating guests to live music by of South Africa’s finest artists, with previous lineups including Dave Ferguson, Valiant Swart and blues-rock singer Sannie Fox. Expect to find a diverse mix of young and old, Afrikaans and English, local and international in the audience. Hotels in Barrydale


2. Barrydale Walking Tours

Author and Barrydale resident Leslie Howard offers visitors unique insights into the history and inhabitants of the village, pointing out charming nuggets of information on her tours that would otherwise remain unknown to the visitor. Barrydale takes on a completely new dimension once you discover all its nooks and crannies and learn about the people and events that have shaped the village into what it is today. This tour is a must for anyone who enjoys a bit of history and culture or anyone who just wants to hear a few good stories about ghosts and sea captains, rebel leaders and rough-and-tumble ostrich feather merchants. Bookings can be made it the Karoo Art Hotel reception. Things To Do in Barrydale


3. Ronnie's Sex Shop

Before gaining national fame as Ronnie’s Sex Shop, this little space was named Ronnie’s Shop. A general store with a plain name, the shop eventually closed down. One day a friend of Ronnie’s played a prank on him by writing the word ‘SEX’ on the wall between the original words. The change of name eventually led him to reopen as a pub with business skyrocketing, marking its status as one of the top attractions for visitors along Route 62. The pub, which is a 15-minute drive from the center of Barrydale, is proof of the old saying that sex does in fact sell.  Inside you will find Ronnie with his white, plaited ponytail, countless bras and panties hanging from the ceiling and the antidotes of visitors scribbled across the walls. Pubs in Barrydale


4. The Tradouw Pass

Known as ‘the man with the theodolite eye’ (the instrument used to measure horizontal and vertical angles), Thomas Bain’s Tradouw Pass is a masterpiece of civil engineering.  The 17-kilometer pass takes its name from the Khoisan language to mean ‘Women’s Path,’ bending and weaving at an altitude range of 219 meters through some of the most beautiful and rugged scenery in the Langeberg Mountains.  From Barrydale, the Pass leads to Suurbraak, an old Khoisan missionary village and a gem of a village that is definitely worth seeing. The pass has a rich history dating back to 1840 and was built by Bain and 300 convict workers before officially opening in October 1873. History of Barrydale


5. Warmwaterberg Hot Springs

Lying 30 kilometers away from Barrydale and along the same scenic route that takes you to Ronnie’s Sex shop, the Warmwaterberg Spa is a collection of mineral springs surrounded by five Klein Karoo mountain ranges.  The pools are fed directly from the mountain and offer visitors the chance to bath in temperatures of either 42°, 37° or 25°. Entrance into the Spa is R30 for the day. Here’s a little travellers secret: the water is replaced every Tuesday, making Tuesday evening an especially good time to visit!

Images courtesy of

6. Barrydale Hand Weavers

Carol Morris met Mozambican expat and weaving expert Tivane Mavume in Swaziland. Carol and her new business partner moved the weavers to an old house in Barrydale, along the Route 62. Barrydale Hand Weavers is now a successful business which has created jobs for many women in the community. Visitors should feel confident to go inside and talk to the weavers and watch them working on the wooden looms that belong to a bygone era. Next door to the workshop you can find the finished products made from 100% cotton; anything from towels and scarfs to rugs, garments and pillowcases. The products are extremely beautiful with simple designs that accentuate their handcrafted quality. Non-Profits in Barrydale


7. Diesel and Creme

Diesel and Crème is a relatively new addition to the western side of the village and already won the hearts of visitors and locals who ensure the place is always packed.  It is themed as a vintage American diner, serving up delicious burgers, fries and outstanding shakes that come in Console jars and a piece of plastic tubing as a straw. For breakfasts try the Morning Glory with a shot of Espresso and the Lady in Red with bits of red velvet cake for a sweet ending to lunch. The quirky décor along with an authentic atmosphere and menu make it experiential dining at its best. The diner is decorated with vintage and neon signage, life size dolls, old petrol pump stations and other curious collectables. For the full experience, the Karoo Moon Motel follows the same aesthetic next door. Restaurants in Barrydale


8. House of Books

Situated on van Riebeeck Street, House of Books is a bibliophiles dream.  A constant influx of second-hand books comes into the store before each one is painstakingly catalogued and organised into specific rooms based on genre. Don’t be surprised to find an entire room dedicated to Africana, South African literature, the esoteric or the world wars, to name just a few. Book-lovers can spend hours getting lost in one of the many rooms, browsing the shelves stacked with information. The bookstore is a real gem for collectors and those who are looking for just a holiday read.  The store has also opened up a DVD section for those who prefer to watch rather than read. Have a look inside the book cover for prices and ask the friendly owner Anton for help when you’re looking for something specific.


9. Net vir Pret

Net vir Pret, meaning ‘just for fun’ in Afrikaans, is a wonderful community lead non-profit that organizes extra-curricular activities for young people from the community of Smitsville. The area of Smitsville was formed under the group areas act of apartheid, where the non-white population was placed ‘hidden behind the koppie’ and outside of public view. Talk to Oom Pieter about some of the work they do and for a tour of the center. Expect to run into boys jamming on the guitar and drums or preparations underway for building larger than life puppets for their annual parade. It’s a truly enlightening, inspiring and lively experience, and recommended for visitors who are interested in gaining a full perspective of Barrydale. They also work with Magpie, a shop on the main road that specializes in beautiful up-cycled art and has enjoyed high-profile clients like Michelle Obama! Non-Profits in Barrydale


10. The South African Peace Pagoda

In 1941, it became the dream of a famous Burmese monk to erect a pagoda of peace and good wishes in each of the world’s continents. This vision was finally realized in 2000 when Africa received its first pagoda built just 15 km outside of Barrydale. The seven-meter tall gold pagoda is crowned with a crystal and copper umbrella. It can be found at Magic Mountains Retreat, a short drive along the R62 from Barrydale. For many peace-seekers, the pagoda is seen as a tool used for spiritual reflection and universal harmony. Visitors can also choose to walk the peace labyrinth while they are there and entrance is donation-based. About Barrydale