Road tripping with Rove SA and Suzuki

by Justin

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Be like no other. Map your life and follow your own road with a vehicle that reflects who you are.

Roving along Route 62 with Suzuki’s IGNIS, gave us an opportunity to drive with absolute confidence while road tripping for days on gravel and dust roads to one of South Africa’s largest privately-owned reserves, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve.

It was an absolute pleasure to embrace our originality with a vehicle which has a powerful road presence and is distinctive as we are.

Our first stop was at Graham Beck in the picturesque Robertson Wine Valley, which is world famous for their award-winning sparkling wines’ unique style and unmistakable identity.  The estate is beautifully set amidst the tranquility and splendour of Mother Nature, and blends in effortlessly with the surrounding veld with its distinctive and eye-catching architecture. It’s here where the taste for our journey started.

In the heart of Robertson, a town with a big-hearted community, we were welcomed by Renate from Robertson Tourism who has been taking us through the valley and made every step of the way an unforgettable one. The Roberston Wine Valley certainly does not disappoint. The beautiful landscapes along the Breede River are astounding and capture memories for life. Our stop at Robertson Winery made me realised once again that when people have passion and a zest for good taste in life, you will succeed.

Believe it or not, Robertson’s stone church, built by the community, was no longer used by 1941, which made it the perfect place to establish Robertson Winery. The church was converted for winemaking and cellaring operations. We were welcomed at the historical winery with warm handshakes and taken on an educational tour through the winery and its underground cellars. And we were able to see the beauty of the valley when we climbed on top of the wine tanks.

Further on we made a stop at Sheilam Cactus and Succulent Nursery which is located near Robertson, boasting nearly 2 000 species of plants. For the plant enthusiasts, here you can discover a variety of plants such as The Old Man of Peru, Mother-in-Law’s-Chair, Horses’ Teeth, Elephant Feet, Klipplante (stone plants), Bushman’s Grape and lots more! Sheilam Cactus and Succulent Nursery has also recognised as one of the finest collections of specimen plants.

On our way out we stopped at Marbrin Olive Growers which is a family-run farm producing award-winning boutique olive products. Quirky owners Clive and Briony are infectious with their bubbly and friendly personalities, which made us feel at home from the moment we walked into the tasting room. Clive is a chef by profession and can also cater for large groups of people on request who would like to enjoy a delicious lunch out of the hustle and bustle of the town or city. The views are gorgeous, the atmosphere is friendly, and you can enjoy the best of their olive product tastings served with passion and gratitude by the owners themselves.

Time caught up with us and we had to hit the road to our next destination, which was the beautiful and historic wine farm, Viljoensdrift, nestled south of the Elandsberg Mountains on the banks of the Breede River. Once again we received a warm welcome before we embarked on a boat cruise with a picnic basket full of delectable food and spices from Funky Ouma, while ‘Skoert Vlieg’ kept the flies away. Here you can enjoy some of their lovely wines outside on the deck or pack a picnic basket from their deli and take it with on the boat cruise or have a picnic on the lawn on the banks of the river. This is a wonderfully romantic breakaway for day visitors. Personally, I have to recommend their Muskapino which is a sweet sparkling Rose wine as the perfect picnic companion.

Our next stop was at Van Loveren which is known for its award-winning wines. Its innovation and service are definitely the things that will bring you back time and again. The wine tastings are phenomenal and well presented. The establishment itself is inviting and offers a variety of wines, gin, craft beers and much more.

Our final stop in the valley was at Excelsior Wine Estate which is very popular for its blending experiences. The wooden tasting room is situated right at the farm dam with breathtakingly panoramic views of the vineyards and the Langeberg Mountains. Excelsior Wine Estate offer award-winning wines that are dependable, reliable and true, also crafting the biggest selling South African Cabernet in the USA. Discover your inner winemaker and come and create your own blend and label at Excelsior.

After a long day of indulging the picture-perfect Robertson valley, it was time to hit the R62 in our faithful IGNIS – holding position on the road firmly, it was time to show our true colours with conviction.

The stretch between Robertson and the main gate at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is approximately one hour’s drive. Situated between the towns of Montague and Barrydale on the Route 62, the longest wine route in the world, this beautiful Little Karoo landscape is tucked away at the foot of the Warmwaterberg. The reserve stretches across 58 000 hectares of rich protected ecosystems within two biodiversity hotspots. The reserve has made history in the Western Cape with its registration as a non-profit organisation, following its rezoning from agricultural to conservational use. This is a milestone for conservation, particularly for the protection of threatened ecosystems, the reintroduction of wildlife and restoration of degraded habitats of rare species.

On arrival at the reception lounge, which is approximately 12km from the main gate, we were welcomed by our friendly private game ranger who we followed through to Dwyka Tented Lodge for another 27km. On arrival we were once again welcomed by a team of friendly staff who took us to our beautiful, tented rooms which are right underneath the most beautiful mountains inhabited with baboons and other small wildlife species. It was an impressive moment when we entered our rooms which have top notch furnishings, a private deck and jacuzzi overlooking nature at its best.

After a few hours of relaxing and unwinding, we had a fantastic buffet dinner with the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, proudly sponsored by De Wetshof, in the boma under the African night skies, breathing fresh air and touching base with nature.

The following day we were taken on two game drives where we experienced close-up encounters with wildlife and were well educated about birds and the various plant species in the vicinity of the reserve.

A wake-up call early on our last morning saw us on another game drive, during which we were surprised with a world-class bush buffet breakfast. This was exceptionally well executed and served.

Our dedicated game ranger made sure we experienced the best of the reserve. We also explored the quartz vygieveld, the wilderness area, renosterveld, fynbos, rock formations and rock art by a clan of San who inhabited the area 3 500 years ago.

Some of the typical daily activities you can expect at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve include game drives, nature walks, bird watching, star gazing, rock art viewing, boat excursions, and relaxation retreats (due to COVID-19 no relaxation treatments are offered at the moment). I would highly recommend Sanbona Wildlife Reserve to both local and international travellers. It is a phenomenal experience.

Headed out of the reserve, on our way back to the Cape Town, we took a turn off the R60 and made our final stop at Jan Harmsgat Country House where we enjoyed a delicious homecooked Sunday lunch under the pecan nut trees. Jan Harmsgat Country House is about a two- hour drive from Cape Town off the N2 on the R60 as you head into the Garden Route. It boasts a beautiful farm style restaurant and lovely accommodation.

After spending much needed time at Jan Harmsgat Country House we headed back to Cape Town with our IGNIS, which we have baptized ‘Faithful’.

The bold character of the Suzuki Ignis combines distinctive headlights with a strong grille line. The roof flows into a round cabin supported by prominent fenders to provide extra headroom without spoiling the sleek design. This compact SUV is a hatchback that enables you to take on both urban and outdoor adventures. The Ignis helps you show your true colours.


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