The town Botrivier is situated off the N2 en route to Hermanus and Caledon on the eastern slopes of the Houw Hoek Mountains. Less than an hour from Cape Town and just off the R43 en route to Hermanus is this hidden valley of trout fishing dams, vineyards, a polo field and peacefully grazing polo ponies. The town derives it’s name from the Khoi-khoi tribes who pastured their cattle here and called the river the ‘Couga’, which can be translated as ‘rich in fat’, or ‘lots of butter’.
Early European settlers at the Cape journeyed here to barter for barrels of butter and they adopted the Khoi name for the river, calling it first the “Botter” (butter), then later the Bot.
The river, which rises south of the Theewaterskloof Dam, flows into a large lagoon, forming a marsh near its mouth, known as the Bot River Lagoon. The Bot River wetlands are home to thousands of waterfowl and you can catch a glimpse of South Africa’s only herd of wild horses that roams a wetland habitat. This little town is blooming, slowly but surely developing into quite the stopover travelers and the town’s locals.
You have the equestrian centre Klein Paradys, where they offer rides, a desert pots manufacturer, deeper into this “dorpie” (small town) on the square, you find the petrol station, the Bot River Hotel (filled with old memorabilia of yesteryear and they serve a great Sunday lunch), a few small shops, bottle store, general supermarket and a farmer’s trading store.
The wine farms as mentioned situated in and around this town and well worth a visit have also helped put Botriver on the map.
Just before driving over the train line, you find a turn off to your left to the old loading shed, which has been turned into a restaurant called The Shuntin’ Shed. (the shunt diverts train on to a side track, especially to clear line for more important traffic). They served delicious wood fired pizzas made from scratch and the best rack of ribs in the Overberg.
They also have local wines on their wine list. On the Botriver Station there is also a little deli shop that sells freshly bakes cakes, tarts and cookies. Just outside of Botriver on the road to Hermanus, there is a farm stall restaurant with a great variety of tasty home baked goodies and lovely meals on their menu.