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Cross Country Drive

The Rooibos Tea House

Photo Credit: © Jacqui Ikin

A recent adventure route took us past the village of Clanwilliam. The area in general is known for rooibos production, but I had heard that the “Only Rooibos Tea House in the World” was located there and was determined not to miss it.

When on a journey, the real magic is often in the spaces in between, in the pause before the destination. You miss out on so much if you are simply determined to do the miles… 

The N7 is a well maintained road, with great views. The R364 to Clanwilliam is clearly marked (and you would have seen the beautiful expanse of water where the Olifants River is dammed just prior to reaching the turnoff).  One of the ten oldest towns in South Africa, Clanwilliam is also known as the “Rooibos Capital of the World”.

The Rooibos Tea House is enchanting, and we spent a pleasant hour doing a tea tasting. The British believe that drinking tea when it’s really hot cools you down. Well, the temperatures were well over 40 °C, but the jury is still out on whether drinking tea cooled us down!! 

Photo Credit: © Jacqui Ikin

We learnt so many fascinating facts during our short time there… 1kg of seed produces about 120 000 seedlings, but collecting seeds is not easy in sandy soil – collectors need to sieve the sand under the bushes (or look in ant nests – certain ants collect and store the seeds in their nest, where you can gather up to 200g of seeds)!! 10 000 seedlings cover a hectare of ground, and farmers harvest around 450kg of dry tea per hectare per year. Around 400 cups of tea can be made from 1kg of dry Rooibos tea… and many more!

Photo Credit: © Jacqui Ikin

Since our visit, the Tea House has moved to the Velskoendraai Farmers’ Market – which is one of the first buildings on your left as you come off the N7 (just before the town actually starts). It is now run by Louise Nortje, and all her details are in the block below…

Jacqui Ikin & the Cross Country Team

The Rooibos Tea House
Louise Nortje
Mobile: 083 460 3773
E-mail: info@velskoendraai.co.za

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