Genial Andrew Jaeger, new owner of the historic farm Oudekloof, has recently instituted tractor-drawn rides which can take 25 people in relative comfort up the mountain using the Telkom servitude road - infinitely more civilised and much quicker than by ox waggon! There are even four seats right in front of the tractor, offering unimpeded views of the journey…
Oudekloof is the original pass through the mountans into the Tulbagh valley, first called Roodezandt after the sandstone cliffs on the northwestern face. It was later superseded by the Nuwekloof , made by the pioneer farmers seeking a shorter route to market, through which there is now road and rail access. Although the pass has long fallen into disuse, ox waggon tracks are still visible in the rocks and on a promontory above is one of the original canon – part of a system used to alert farmers in the interior when ships were spotted approaching the Cape of Good Hope. Andrew stops half-way up, so that his passengers can walk 70m down to the mountain spring and taste the heavenly fresh water, and again on the way down to view the commemorative monument in the nek of the pass.
The two-hour trip continues all the way to the top of the mountain, where one disembarks for a delightful al fresco picnic (lovingly made by Andrew’s wife, Christine – home-made lemonade and the most scrummy munchies!) The views of the Valley of Abundance are simply superlative, prompting many oohs and aahs from the passengers – especially as one crests the mountain. From that high vantage point one can see not only the whole of the magnificent Tulbagh valley but also sweeping vistas of the Swartland, looking down over Voelvlei dam. On a clear day one can see as far as Table Mountain in the distance and all the way to the West Coast – it is truly breathtaking!
Andrew generously shares knowledge of the ecology, geology and history of the area, making for a rich and fascinating experience; he is also something of a philosopher, with some innovative ideas on making the world a better place. Possibly best of all is returning to the historic farmstead to find the lovely Christine on hand yet again with her wonderful fresh home-bakes and preserves. Being a man of many parts, Andrew is moreover a garagiste winemaker – you may also get to taste the four Oudekloof wines and a port produced under the amusing label of “Serious wine by not so serious people”…
Do yourself a favour and make this amazingly authentic and family friendly tractor trip part of your own #DiscoverTulbagh experience!