The R27 is not the longest route from start to finish, but it certainly is worthwhile to make it so, with several very interesting farm stall stops along the way. No two are alike – each has something different to offer.
Hitting the road has never been such fun!
Compiled by Ami Smuts and Delani de Waal
The R27 or West Coast road, which starts on the outskirts of Cape Town harbour, just off the N1, runs through Milnerton, Table View and past Melkbos, takes you straight up the coast past turnoffs to Yzerfontein and Darling, Langebaan, Vredenburg and Saldanha and, eventually, brings you right into the centre of Velddrif.
This route has a number of surprises. Besides scenic views of the Atlantic ocean, the fynbos and seasonal wild flowers, a few innovative entrepreneurs, with a passion for the West Coast and its traditions, have opened some pretty descent farm stalls along the way.
VYGEVALLEI FARM STALL
The first farm stall en route to the north is Vygevallei. Established in March 1993 by Thor and Helen Halvorsen and their daughter, Ami Smuts, on their cattle farm, it is the second oldest and situated approximately 40 km from Melkbos and 60 km from the Cape Town city centre.
“Vyge” is the Dutch name for fig, and the name was derived from the many species of wild fig plants in the area, such as Carpobrotus edulis which is used to make sour fig preserves, a local delicacy. The first building is typical of the West Coast style, with a high pitched roof and white walls. During the 13 years that the Halvorsen family had the farm, a wine shop and petrol station were added.
Vyge Valley was a favourite venue for the filming of advertisements and music videos , such as for the well-known 90s pop duo, Modern Talking.
The current owners of Vygevallei Farm Stall, Marietha and Juan Lauw, have carried on the tradition of everything good and home made, with a good bit of farm life thrown in.
Jams, preserves, gifts and freshly-baked bread hot out of the oven are a delight. Vygevallei is a favourite of travellers on business trips, as their coffee shop sells delicious fresh and traditional meals.
For a quick stop, grab a home-made pie, biltong and a fresh farm bread to take home, after a long day in Cape Town. Open 7 days a week, with a lovely garden where you can enjoy a meal with a bottle of the Louw’s own Nuweland wines, while the kids run freely on the huge lawns.
BEULAH FARM DELI AND EIGHTEEN94 CURESMITHS
The latest addition to the R27 is Beulah Farm Deli, situated 500 m south of the Darling/Yzerfontein crossing. This is a uniquely different kind of farm stall, more along the lines of a French Provenc;;al style and in keeping with the vision Karen Linde, the proprietor, had for this specialty shop.
The whole ambiance at Beulah’s is meant to give you a feeling of home from home. Karen is extremely selective about the products and produce that is available at Beulah’s. Her philosophy is quite simple – if she will not have it in her own home, then it is not good enough for her clientele.
Beulah’s also prides itself on serving, arguably , the best coffee on the R27, and when Karen’s son is the barista for the day, expect some very interesting and exciting foam art on your cappuccino! Beulah only serves an Italian roasted coffee , Lavazza – there is NO compromise.
On the shelves you will also find a selection of great products ranging from organic beef, venison biltong and boerewors, right through to GMO-free bread and cake flour, a selection of hand made cookies and sweets and Karen’s own selection of antique crockery and cutlery.
Beulah Farm Deli serves breakfasts , cakes and light lunches. The carefully selected produce provides the visitor the very best quality.
Recently, craft charcutier, Eighteen94 CureSmiths, moved onto the premises, offering their range of cured meats, salamis and preserves, thus making Beulah’s a really interesting and innovative respite for the West Coast traveller.
Pop in and enjoy Beulah’s home-from-home hospitality when you are next coasting along the R27.
WEST COAST FARM STALL
West Coast Farm Stall, on the Darling – Yzerfontein crossing, was the third farm stall to open its doors along the R27. This lovely thatched building has expanded over the last 18 years. It became well known for its indigenous nursery and buffet breakfasts, Sunday lunches and other treats for the hungry, with traditional dishes like tripe, oxtail and eisbein included on the menu.
Situated half-way between Cape Town and Velddrif, it offers plenty of room for children to stretch their legs, view parrots at close quarters in the massive aviary or run around on the playground, which also has a walk-on chess board and “kettie” shooting range.
Run by Esme, Bodo Gent and Dawie Joubert, this stop is perfect if you need to shop for a gift along the way. They stock a variety of gifts, amazing carvings, wool, yarn, jams, preserves, condiments and so much more.
The hub of the West Coast Biosphere Reserve, the West Coast tourism information office, is conveniently situated adjacent to the farm stall.
This is the oldest and arguably the most famous farm stall on the R27. Established as far back as April 1992, Weskus Spens was built and opened by Annemarie and Julian Thom. A lot of research was done before building took place, so as to depict a typical West Coast style . It is situated 10 km before Vredenburg and 20 km before Velddrif .
“Spens” is the Afrikaans word for pantry, which is more or less what you will find produce not unlike those found in your grandma’s pantry on the farm.
On arrival you will be welcomed by the heavenly smell of freshly baked farm bread. The hand-kneaded bread is baked daily and is such a popular favourite that it has even travelled to New York!
Weskus Spens is very well known for their excellent breakfasts and outstanding pies, so make sure you come hungry! A lovely outside garden area with a jungle gym will ensure the kids entertain themselves while you enjoy your meal or browse the shop.
The shop is a gem of West Coast traditions. Shelves are laden with rustic enamelware and a variety of gifts. Anything home made can be found here, from rusks, biscuits, chutneys, preserves, jams and organic honey and they also stock Simply Bee products and potted plants. Bokkoms (sun-dried fish, a famous West Coast tradition) are always available!
This farm stall provides a genuine West Coast experience: visit them once and you are sure to become a regular.