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Through The Eyes Of A Local: Montagu, South Africa

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Today, we’re hearing from another local about their hometown; this time about Montagu in South Africa (thanks to Tamlyn). Let’s go!

1. Could you tell us a little about yourself and where you come from?  

I am a content writer by day, travel blogger by night (and qualified Journalism graduate).

I was originally born and briefly raised in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province but when I was six, my family relocated to a small rural farming village called Montagu, in the Western Cape Province. I grew up in Montagu, staying there until I left for university – but I am always drawn back there, and my parents and old friends still call it home.

Rambling Rose

2. What do you love most about your hometown?

Montagu forms part of both the Klein Karoo (Little Karoo in English) and the famous and well-loved Route 62, a tourist travel route which takes you through the most wonderful wine valleys, farming towns and more, with breathtaking mountain passes and Cape charm gently woven in between… Needless to say, I recommend Montagu just for Route 62 road trips alone!

But, having said that, it’s also a homely, welcoming town where everyone is generally friendly and helpful, and there is quite a strong sense of community. It’s a place for sunshine (it gets really hot here in summer!), country vibes and rich Cape history, making it extremely unique and popular among tourists especially.

Also, as a bonus, it’s only about two hours away from Cape Town, so it’s perfect for day or weekend trips, and extended stays too.

3. Is there anything that frustrates or annoys you when tourists visit Montagu or South Africa?

Not so much my town – but I do get very angry when anyone (locals included) undervalues the immense beauty my country, South Africa, has to offer by littering, harming wildlife or nature or disturbing the tranquility, especially in the countryside.

Distant view of Montagu (from a local nature hike)

4. In your opinion, which places should be at the top of any visitor’s wishlist in Montagu?

Visitors definitely have to check out the unique entrance to the town (if travelling from Cape Town) called Cogmanskloof Pass – it’s our very own hole-in-the-wall! On the way there, pop by the Rambling Rose Restaurant for a divine slice of cake and coffee!

Also, be sure to stop by the Avalon Springs Resort, famed for its hot water pools and hotel facilities and check out Long Street with the old Cape Dutch style houses, as well as the main NG Kerk (town church), which are so beautiful to look at.

5. What foods must visitors eat when in South Africa?

Make a plan to try a traditional Milk Tart (or Melk Tert, in Afrikaans) and Malva pudding, as these are very traditional and yummy local South African desserts.

From a Montagu perspective,  I would also recommend getting your hands on some of the delicious dried fruit (sold at various factory shops around Montagu, though I favour Cape Dry) and Muscadel, a sweet dessert wine. These are both things which the town is also hugely famous for – and deservedly so!

Montagu Mountains

6. What’s your favourite word in your local language? Why? What does it mean?

South Africa has eleven official languages – but I like the Afrikaans word ‘tarentaal’, which means Guinea fowl in English. I just like the way it kind of flows off one’s tongue; it’s a fun word!

Also, Guinea fowl are birds unique to the African continent, and they were a big part of my childhood, because we had so many on our first farm outside Montagu, so I secretly dig them.

7. What advice would you give to somebody moving to South Africa from another country?

Learn to accept people and their differences, and always try to show them the kind of respect you wish to be shown in return. (That’s my general feeling on how we should treat other people in general, mind.)

Both South Africa and Montagu are very diverse and special places – and sure, they come with their own challenges, but the country and my hometown are filled with plenty of good, helpful people and so much raw beauty that it’s impossible not to fall in love with them both!

Montagu Mountains

8. If you could describe Montagu in just one sentence, what would you say?

A quaint country town, filled with plenty of character and charm.

9. If tourists were to know one thing about the South African culture, what should that be?

South Africa is a very diverse country, with many different cultures, beliefs, traditions and languages… But do your best to respect them all and show interest in learning more about them where you can.

People respond very kindly and positively to that – and that’s not something that is just restricted to South Africa or Montagu, it’s something that is true the world over, I think.

10. Do you have any interesting traditions that you’d like to tell us about?

Yes, we have a national Heritage Day, celebrated annually on 24 September. Over time, it has become a way to celebrate South Africa’s cultures and how far our country has come by spending time with your friends and loved ones, often as you enjoy a braai*. Because of this, Heritage Day is fondly referred to as National Braai Day… as if South Africans needed any more reasons to indulge in a good braai!

(*A braai is a hugely popular South African tradition… it’s like a barbeque, only so much better! But please never, ever compare a barbeque to a braai in front of a South African… you will deeply offend them!)

Braai Food

Thanks Tamlyn – we’ve loved getting to know you and Montagu better!

If you want to hear more from our South African local, head over to her travel blog: Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust now, or check out her social pages:

And if you loved learning about Montagu, share it around now!

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Justine Jenkins

Justine is one half of the married couple behind the Wanderers of the World travel blog. She lives in Bristol, UK and has travelled extensively within Europe and beyond since 2013. After her trips, she shares detailed travel itineraries, helpful travel guides and inspiring blog posts about the places she's been to. When she's not travelling overseas, you'll find her joining her husband, Scott on various day trips, weekend getaways and walks within the UK, which she also writes about on Wanderers of the World. Aside from travelling and writing, she also loves reading, crafting and learning about nature.

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