Dutch Master Vermeer in Britstown

Gorgeous silkscreen wall hangings of portraits by the famous Old Masters. On the left, I know not!, but on the right, Johannes Vermeer’s unmistakeable “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, painted in 1665. These beautiful luminous faces hang in the Transkaroo Country Lodge’s wonderful coffee shop (delicious breakfasts, home-baked cakes, and both buffet and à la carte dinners, as well as décor artefacts and country preserves).

A new year, popping with potential, and of course, the brewing of fresh travel plans. Now, most of you wouldn’t choose to wave your finger over a map and stab it on the dot that says Britstown. However, think the unthinkable for a decrepit dusty dorpie. Aromatic fresh-brewed coffee at a renovated old mill and Tuscan-inspired architecture in a roadside lodge, which keeps on changing the décor in its country café and deli to keep us interested. And if you’re passing through Beaufort West to continue on northward on the N12 towards Kimberley, you can’t help but drive through Britstown.

A while ago I wrote an article about the individuals who were making a difference and creating magic in this small country town withering away in the Karoo, as our once thriving country villages are doing in the current economic torpor. Sadly, it’s still a very, very slow revolution but as South Africa, jerking and twitching, picks itself up whisker by whisker, we hope the efforts of these engaged and caring residents won’t go unnoticed and all the hard work will have been worth it. You can download the story for free here.

The façade of the TransKaroo Country Lodge, owned and run by Adlene Potgieter, sitting right on the N12: Tuscan inspiration in the window shutters, pastel paint colours, and tall pointy cypresses; Art Deco flourishes in the two-angled ‘zigzag’ style windows and decorative bas relief details.

Inspired interior in the coffee shop & restaurant.


Detail of a flower silkscreen.



Above  Knife and fork, modern(ised) for art’s sake. Below  History! The stamp on the original cutlery of the TransKaroo Country Hotel, proving its age which goes back to 1907 (not counting its first iteration as a corrugated-iron Victorian structure built in 1896, to service the Kimberley diamond rush).

And now on to the Old Mill Coffee Shop, just around the corner from the TransKaroo Country Lodge. Remnants of the old mill give the interior a rustic industrial feel and owners Talita and John-Paul Pringle are both trained baristas. The coffee is flavourful, and the sandwiches, homemade gingerbeer and fresh-baked cakes a good reason to step in.