Sunday, 10 April 2011

A day in Uniondale

Driving down the N9, many people shoot past Uniondale on their way to Knysna and Plet from Jhb. Who would believe that the tiny town of Uniondale has so much to offer? Lets stop in for the day.

Driving into Uniondale over the Kammanassie River, one of the first establishments one comes to on the right hand side of the road is Bon Accord. This B&B has an en-suite gallery / cafe with delicious muffins and coffee. These can be enjoyed while perusing the paintings, sculptures and local confectionay produced by the people of Uniondale. The garden is a show of creativity – plants in watering cans and wheelbarrows. For a more substantial breakfast, try Lyon's Lantern, which forms part of the Information building opposite.

From Bon Accord, wonder further down the main street, past the historical FNB building. Then head up the road towards the church steeple of the town's largest church, a Karoo classic. 

One more block down the road and we can turn left up the road to Avontuur. Just past the town's tiny hospital a dusty, unmarked road leads up a hill to the Boer War fort. Uniondale was a strategic stronghold during the scurmishes between Boer and British, the ghosts of which may still haunt these hill tops. At the very least, the fort offers one of the best views of the town.

By now it must be time for lunch. If one is into hamburgers, then the gourmet hamburger at the Uniondale Lodge is a must. The Uniondale Lodge is a smart venue, dramatically furnished with a range of antiques and sculptures. Alternatively, there is the Little Theatre Cafe. This is hidden away behind a small church, just off the main road. Walking into this cafe is like opening a door into a bejewelled wonder land. The Little Theatre Cafe is owned by they flambouyant Rico Claasen and he just loves bead work. The cafe is awash with colourful chandeliers and an array of wire art-work. A tramezzini and iced coffee is a feast for the stomach that matches the feast for the eyes.

The afternoon can be filled with a quick trip into Anton's toy car collection. Then drive up the Uniondale Poort to observe the colourful quartzites and barking baboons. For more things to do try Zeru Guest house, owned by Paul and Carol. Paul will also give you a few hints on how to navigate the Uniondale golf course. Carol also does historical tours of the town, and will be able to point out where legendary South African author Dalene Mathee spent some time in Uniondale. In addition, Carol can arrange horse-riding outings.

Evening time – time for a meal at the Watermill (Watermeul). Another Uniondale historical building, this was purchased as a derelict old mill by Adele and Robert. 

In the evening, perhaps take a drive to see if you can find the Uniondale Ghost. The story begins nearly 40 years ago, when during the stormy Easter weekend of 1968 a young couple were involved in a car accident some 20 kilometres from town. The woman, with long dark hair and clothed in a dark blouse and long pants, was sleeping on the rear seat when her fiancé lost control of the car in the bad weather. She was killed in the accident. The first recorded sighting of the ghost was during the Easter weekend of 1976. The description of the ghost matched that of the unfortunate woman. Since then many sightings have been reported. According to witnesses sightings are characterised by a female hitchhiker who receives a lift, car doors that open and close seemingly at random, sometimes a shrill laugh, a chilliness in the car and the total disappearance of the ghost.

For something more cheerful, try the Zee Zee Pub on the Poort road.

We hope you enjoy your stay! Please come again!

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