(Words and images by Sue Adams)
The R36 is a route I tend to rush along, to get from the fly-fishing mecca of Lydenburg to the bushveld near Hoedspruit…
But it’s worth slowing down and stopping to taste real ‘boerekos’ as well as meet the artists who hide away here.
Trix Koertzen is an artist who has lived in a caravan in Ohrigstad for the last 18 years. She says she was passing through one day looking for a place to stay and never left. Trix paints mostly wildlife and does historical maps on leather as well as being involved in the community, including a leopard research project. Look out for her work at the Engen garage centre near the four-way stop.
As you head north from Ohrigstad, Tiezers Forkenmeat (yes, the spelling is correct) is a must. Jan and Alida Jacobs run a butchery and small tea garden on their farm with the best biltong. If you stop for a meal, then I highly recommend the biltong salad or the hamburgers.
The Shoe Caves is a quirky place with religious carvings in the caves but it’s also renowned for its hamburgers.
A Zimbabwean wood carver, at the Echo Caves turn-off from the R36, is passionate about his work and has some interesting pieces for sale.
On the Abel Erasmus Pass at the village of Tswenyane there is a community project called the Afrikania Gallery. Artist Tom Joubert was fascinated by the ancient patterns used to decorate pots and started this project. The little shop is an oasis of green with some interesting work to be viewed.
If it’s curios you want, then the stalls at both ends of the J G Strijdom Tunnel on the Abel Erasmus Pass are a good place to wander and haggle. They have lovely pots as well as woodwork.
And don’t forget the fruit stalls with citrus and avocados in abundance.
The ubiquitous African chicken is for sale on the Abel Erasmus Pass.