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Travel down memory lane – a peek at some Wolseley History

Posted by Ayanda Khuzwayo on 13 September 2018 4:05 PM CAT
Ayanda Khuzwayo photo

Discover Wolseley history along the Forgotten Highway between Wolseley and Ceres.

Travelling and sleeping in ox-wagons may be a thing of the past, but when you visit the Witzenberg Valley you can now sleep and eat in comfort while considering just some of the challenges that our pioneers must have experienced. When you discover Wolseley, there are some highly recommended stops to include on your way. 

Today three restaurants and the Winterberg Mountain Inn, owned by former newspaper editors and journalists Reint & Karien Grobler proudly line a beautiful stretch of road with its rich road-building heritage between Wolseley and Ceres. Here you can sleep & eat following the footsteps of our South African pioneers, nestled in the shadow of the Mostershoek Mountain, sample traditional meals and if you are lucky, meet a friendly ghost.

Reint & Karien Grobler, renowned for their country hospitality, are also a great source of local history and knowledge. Their website offers some great history snippets of the area.

The Witzenberg Mountains were a big challenge for those headed to the interior and further north. Testimony to the incredible engineering and road building skills required to get through these imposing mountains are still visible in the passes required when you visit or discover the Wolseley Valley. The Du Toitskloof, Bainskloof, Nuwekloof and Michells Pass are well worth travelling slowly to appreciate the scenery, challenges and incredible achievements of the pioneers.

The road from Wolseley to Ceres through the Michell’s pass became the main route to the north when diamonds were discovered in Kimberley in the late 1800’s. Diamond magnate Barney Barnato frequented the town regularly en route to the diamond fields up north.

Also knows as the ‘Forgotten Highway’ the route is fast developing as a popular tourist attraction. The old toll house and parts of Bain’s original stone retaining walls were preserved for posterity so that future generations can acknowledge Bain’s engineering genius. Make sure you stop over at the Tolhuis Bistro & Farm Stall, without doubt, the cosiest place with the best roosterkoeke & mountain views in this corner of the Boland.

Winterberg Mountain Inn with its Harvest Table Bistro (between Ceres and Wolseley at the start of Michell’s Pass), stands proudly on the original foundation of a wheat mill known as the Ceres Mill. The Winterberg Mountain Inn offers traditional dining, affordable garden weddings, a cosy fireplace for winter fireside dining.

So whether you are day tripping or planning a country getaway, love roosterkoek, local food or pizza – be sure to plan your visit and route to include a stopover at one (or all) of their great venues.

Original Article can be accessed at Wolseley 

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