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take a drive to Oudshoorn via Waboomkraal – our hop farming area

North of the Outeniqua Mountains, you will find the Klein Karoo, the “Land of Great Thirst”. The Klein Karoo can be described as a semi-desert and has a very warm climate.  The vegetation and animal life is also very specific to this area.  It is here where you will find the world famous ostrich – a bird too big to fly.

Oudtshoorn can be seen as the capital of the Klein Karoo and is surrounded by farms and mountains.  This historically rich town is known for the ostrich trade in the late 1880′s and early 1900′s.   It is also here that 80% of the Cape’s white honey is produced.   (No wonder the name Outeniqua refers to “the men with honey on their bodies” as the original population of this region gathered wild honey in the caves and hence returned home at the end of the day, covered in the sweet delicacy).This region produces some of the best quality hops in the country, also used by international beer brands.

Oudtshoorn is also home to the world famous Cango Caves.  A natural cave found by a farmer looking for lost sheep.  This cave system is open to the public and hourly tours can be done from the cave entrance. The Klein Karoo and Oudtshoorn are also well known for the yearly arts festival called “Die KKNK” which is “Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees”.  During this festival, tourists from all over South Africa visit  this old town to see all kinds of art, enjoy music and frequent the many sidewalk stalls.

In an area of many varied attractions the Hop farms at Herold provide a truly unique attraction.
This cold hardy plant is indigenous to the northern temperate regions of Europe.    However, one area of South Africa provides the ideal climate for an unusual crop- Blanco near George, Waboomskraal and at Herold. The Mediterranean style climate around George gives this plant the mild temperatures, little frost and a reasonable amount of rain to encourage this fast growing plant. People generally associate hops with beer making and there are some interesting aspects to the cultivation of this crop. Traveling through this area in summer you will notice the flowering hop plants beneath the overhead lights. Farmers use these bright lights at night to encourage the growth of these plants. Once harvested the mature female flower is pressed into pellets and used in the brewing process. These cones contain a substance called Lupulin, which gives the characteristic bitter and aromatic taste in beer.

Hops Valley Farm Stall on N12 between George and Oudshoorn
Opening times: Mon-Sun 8:30am-5:30pm.  Take a break on a hot day and refresh with a glass of non-alcoholic beers made from hops, ginger or granadilla.  Smack in the middle of fertile farm country, this rustic farm stall makes the most of local produce and  products. While waiting for your pizza from the deli inside, peruse the shelves and stock up on genuine homemade flavour from local bounty. Berry and stone fruit jams and preserves, South African-style chutneys, and piquant pickled veggies will perk up meals and make thoughtful gifts.

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