The Fragrance Route & Fest
The Fragrance Route
This circular tar/gravel road of about 40 km can be reached from Great Brak River, Little Brak River, Reebok/Tergniet (follow Sorgfontein Road past Leani Kwekery) and Leeukloof, and is very popular amongst local cyclists. The scenic back roads with vistas of fynbos covered countryside and majestic mountains make this area ideal for mountain biking, off road bike enthusiasts and birding.
Here you will find several “hidden gems” – sparkling examples of true local flavour, authentic and unique. During the year day visits are possible at some of the venues on the Route by appointment only but there are a number of tours and experiences that can be booked in advance. To fully enjoy this charming part of the Garden Route a number of farm stays are available in cottages dotted along the way, or at the Botlierskop Village Lodge launched in December 2017.
The Fragrance Fest
Experience a Fest like no other! On the second Saturday of March the Fragrance Fest – a bite-size version of the original PROE Fest – puts the spotlight on the picturesque Fragrance Route halfway between Mossel Bay and George. This is the one day every year when all participating venues on the Route open their doors to the public. In 2020 the Fragrance Fest will be celebrated on Saturday 14 March – click here for the 2019 programme and click here for the 2019 Fest map.
Food and the Good Life
The history of Europeans at the tip of Africa started in Mossel Bay, South Africa’s oldest foodie town. On 3 February 1488 Portuguese sailor Bartolomeu Dias landed at Santos Beach where a vital fresh-water spring (Aguada de São Brás) and the Post Office Tree ensured that this stopover would become part of the lucrative Spice Route. It was only in 1652, more than 160 years later, that Dutchman Jan van Riebeeck arrived at the Cape of Good Hope to set up a refreshment station for VOC ships on their way to the spice-rich Far East. But the association with food goes back much further – research at Mossel Bay’s Pinnacle Point Caves (www.humanorigin.co.za) includes the earliest evidence for systematic harvesting of the sea approximately 164 000 years ago! It is therefore fitting that this “boutique bite” of what the Mossel Bay district has to offer should include a variety of local flavours.
The Fragrance Route area is well-known for its pleasant climate (Mossel Bay Weather Report) so be sure to make the most of the good weather when you visit. There are a number of golf courses (www.scgu.co.za) within half an hour’s drive, various cycle routes to choose from, and numerous outdoor activities available. The closest beach is at Great Brak River where Route founder Heleen Coertze is also co-organizer/founder of this arty town’s annual Muse Fest (not held since 2015).