Since Rooibos was awarded PDO status interest has grown in leaps and bounds in this uniquely South African product with tourists now looking for more than just the tea. They want to visit rooibos farms, learn about the history, tea culture and heritage of rooibos. This interest has unfolded a new leaf in rooibos tourism and made the rooibos route one of the must-see experiences for any traveler, locals included.
The majority of rooibos commercial production is centered in the Clanwilliam and Citrusdal areas. The rooibos plant is also naturally found, as well as cultivated, in the Nieuwoudtville area of the Northern Cape Province, specifically the Bokkeveld plateau on the border with the Western Cape.
As you take the N7 route into this one-of-a-kind rooibos region you’ll find Carmién Tea, producer, packer and exporter of rooibos, situated just off the N7 on the Piekenierskloof Pass, almost acting as an introduction or gateway to the rooibos region.
A growing attraction is their local Carmién tea shop at the De Tol Farm Deli on the Piekenierskloof Pass ( N7 to Citrusdal), rich in history and a must-stop en-route to Namaqualand, well-known for its annual wildflower attraction. Here visitors are introduced to a host of rooibos teas and products and treated to delicious ‘roosterkoek’ still baked daily at the deli in the original ‘bakoond’. Rooibos experiences include unique tea pairings and tastings including award winning Carmién rooibos distilled gin!
The building originally acted as a supply station and pitstop to many travelers since 1864. Back in the days, the beautiful Piekenierskloof Wines Tasting Room used to be the original winery and the Carmién Tea Shop contained a waterhole for donkeys and horses of travelers which can still be seen under its glass covered tea display.
Further along the route towards Clanwilliam lies organic rooibos and buchu producing Skimmelberg farm where visitors can book an educational tour to see how rooibos is produced, the buchu oil distillery and the wormery providing organic fertiliser.
Visit the Rooibos Route website to find out how to plan your Rooibos tea trip stretching from Citrusdal to Van Rhynsdorp. The route has added great value to the tourist experience giving first hand insight to life on a rooibos farm and answering questions about this uniquely South African herbal tea. They offer a list of activities you can expect to enjoy at the only place in the world where rooibos grows.
Don’t just think tea. There is no limit to what can be produced from this unique plant and products range from rooibos iced tea to skincare, health supplements, shampoo, rooibos gin, tea bag handbags, creams and lotions and more.
Take some time to slow down, sip unique rooibos teas and blends with friends and family and get to know more about the humble rooibos plant and its growth to stardom, one of the greatest treasures of South Africa.