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Pieter Cruythoff Memorial Stone

Another thing to do in the day is the the History Route. Download the details on www.riebeekvalley.info. It starts just outside Riebeek Kasteel in the direction of Hermon. We popped into Hermon thinking it would be as quaint as Riebeek Kasteel. It’s not. There’s a bottle store, a general dealer and an agricultural supply outlet. That’s it. The drive is not well marked but we managed to find most of the places or points of historical interest. We had to drive back and forth a few times before we spotted the Pieter Cruythoff Memorial stone. The museum at De Oude Kerk has genuine Boer (Dutch settler or farmer) day to day living items as well prehistoric tools. They have a touch screen information board where you can read as much or as little as you want.

Birthplace of Field Marshall J C Smuts

I loved the Jan Smuts museum at the PPC Cement factory. PPC is a bit of a blot on the outskirts of this pretty area but kudos to them, they have restored Smuts birthplace and turned it into a museum. You can see old newspaper cuttings and photos of Smuts. I worry that they have not been copied and the originals kept in a safe place but I consider myself lucky to have seen what they had on show.

Local designs at a boutique in town

Don’t fancy driving? Well you could stroll around the central area taking in art galleries, boutiques, craft shops and eateries. We found art, ceramics, wrought iron work, clothing, home-made skin care products as well as jams and chutneys. That is by no means all there is to view or buy. RK has some rather out there decor in the eating places. Eve’s Eatery has a “chandelier” made from a bicycle wheel and various stuffed characters dotted around. They do a 3 bean burger which was good. We LOVED Mama Cucina. They do the very best thin based vegan pizza ever. It’s not on the menu but apparently they make it often so just ask.

The town square

Once the sun sets behind the mountain and the ambient temperatures drop, it remains light until the sun actually sets. Local residents come out in the cooler air and get fit walking, running, cycling or leisurely take their dogs for a sniff around. Kids come out to play or people head out for sun downers or a meal. We made sure we went walkabout with the dogs every day once it was cool and got to see as much of Riebeek Kasteel as we could. I loved the Beware of the Snakes signs. Not a common sight. We also got to see the tractors and trailers filled with grapes as farmer were furiously harvesting.

Local eatery

Since Riebeek Kasteel is a teeny tiny village, it doesn’t generate the same amount of light as a big city. Which means the stars shine brightly. The full moon is so bright it’s as if a light has been switched on outside. Even during full moon we could see Sirius, Orion’s Belt, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Castor and Pollux and The Southern Cross. How do I know this? My other half is a not so ancient mariner who still knows how to plot a course with a sextant. (He can tell the weather and time of day looking at the sky. The rest of us can download an app or map to do some star gazing. New moon is a perfect time.

Memorabilia at the Museum at Het Oude Kerk

After a whole week of time out we reluctantly made our way back home to face a never ending To-Do list. We were so lucky to have this break and should we come again, we know there’s lots to do. Having said that, doing nothing can also be fun.

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