Here is the newsletter I write for the Prince Albert Tourism Association each month... 

The Olive Branch 

September 2017


Snow, a sprinkling of rain, sunny days… we had the whole range in August and now we step into September and the daisies and fruit blossom are letting us know Spring is on the way…

 Fruit blossom in Prince Albert  Photo Renu-Karoo Nursery

Work is progressing well on the repairs to the road into the Swartberg Pass and an assessment of the re-construction area will soon be carried out to decide whether any kind of access can be allowed. Those responsible for the project understand the impact that the pass closure has had on Prince Albert and are aware of the recreational needs of cyclists and hikers. As soon as we have any news we will let you know!


Cyclists are busy preparing for events all over the country and if you haven’t already seen our video on cycling in the Prince Albert district, click here for a treat… this might convince you Prince Albert is where you want to put in some training.  Visit the Prince Albert Cycle shop for spares, repairs and route advice and remember, our full moon cycle ‘tour’ takes place every month, 6 September this time, details from Arno: 083 3959 038. 

Karoo GravelGrinder event takes place from 7 - 10 September, for details e-mail


Prince Albert Tourism has launched a brand new email marketing campaign to showcase our town and businesses owned by our members.  Keep an eye on your inbox and let us know what you think and what you’d like to see. We’d love to receive your feedback.

 Camilla in action

We said a sad farewell to Chef Jaco Fourie of the African Relish Cookery School last month.  Camilla Commin has now stepped across the garden from her kitchen to that of African Relish to offer cookery courses, you can follow all the action and relish the fun @africanrelish. Camilla’s Kitchen serves dinner in the courtyard, complete with roaring fire and a warm welcome, on Fridays and Saturdays. Booking is essential: 023 5411 381. Take-aways can be ordered before 12 noon.


We welcome Daniel and Ronel Pieterse, who recently bought the Swartberg Hotel. Their Coffee Shop operates daily for breakfast and lunch and the Victoria Room offers  an a la carte menu in the evenings. Phone: 023 5411 332.


While we are talking food, let’s look at our other restaurants and coffee shops


Thinking breakfast? On Wednesday mornings head for Hendry’s Boulangerie. He is up long before dawn to bake buttery croissants and delectable tarts and you can pick up something for lunch or a delicious dessert too. Hendry offers dinner and Sunday lunch at The Olive Branch. Booking is essential: 072 080 3619. 


The Gallery Café @GalleryCafePA is open seven days a week from 6.00pm for dinner. Brent likes to change the menu daily, but keep certain dishes constant i.e. the kudu carpaccio, lamb, chicken and vegetarian cannelloni. Children are welcome. Booking is preferred. Contact Brent: 023 541 1197.


The Karoo Kombuis is an intimate bistro style eatery serving traditional Karoo food – leg of lamb, bobotie, chicken pie… from Monday to Saturday, bookings are essential since they seat only 16 guests. Contact Denise Potter and Theuns Botha  023 5411 110


Simply Saffron fuse fragrant spices and quality local ingredients in delicious dishes on Friday and Saturday evenings, you need to book… Ridwaan and Hermon can be contacted on 023 5411040  


The Real Food Company @realkaroofood is our Karoo Tapas and Wine Bar, as well as a restaurant and delicatessen, usually open Friday and Saturday, other evenings by arrangement. Contact Jeremy: 082 319 7031 or 023 5411 112


@66 at Karoo Lodge is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 7 pm. Advance booking only. Lamb from the Central Karoo is their specialty, click here for their menu & wine list.


The Conservatory at Dennehof offers dinner from time to time - always advertised on the Prince Albert on-line Calendar. Call Michelle with enquiries: 061 9580 794


That’s evening dining, what about breakfast and lunch? Here in town Lah-di-dah, The Sanctuary and the Lazy Lizard serve both and a 5km drive out of town takes you to ‘O for Olive’, where you can see how olive products are made before enjoying a meal on the covered verandah.


Our local farms, Gay’s Dairy and Piet Pampoen’s organic vegetable garden supply many of the ingredients for the delicious meals you can enjoy at all our farm stalls, cafés and restaurants.


For those who wish to self-cater you can stock up on groceries at SPAR, dairy products, meat and freezer meals at Gay’s Dairy, veggies and delicacies at the Saturday Market and The Real Food Company and take-aways at SPAR, the Lazy Lizard, Lah-di-dah, Simply Saffron and Camilla’s Kitchen.


Then there is our wine… but we’ll save that for next month!


September news: 


Please visit the Prince Albert website for dates and details of photography and calligraphy courses during September.


The September line-up at the Showroom Theatre includes Leon Gropp - ROOIDAG - NP van Wyk Louw (9th); Coenie de Villiers (16th); Raoul en Natalie Chapman - SA Blues/Rock Band (23rd) - you can listen to Natalie here and Tonya Koenderman (30th). Visit the Showroom booking site for details and tickets.


The Vastrappers

The Heritage Day weekend starts with the Moonlight Market on Friday 22 September. True Karoo hospitality around the camp fires at the Markie next to the Museum.


The Fransie Pienaar Museum staff have been planning their Heritage Bash festival for months. This exciting new event on 23 & 24 September is an opportunity to revive interest in our diverse cultures and celebrate our heritage which dates back some 1.6 million years. Traditional food, entertainment, including our wonderful Vastrap Rieldansers and fun is on the programme. 


Looking ahead:


The Showroom host their local “The Showroom’s Got Talent” show on 28 October. Closing date for auditions is 15 September 2017.


The Leesfees 2 - 5 November will include some great entertainers: Comedian Nik Rabinowitz and Gaireyah Fredericks and her theatre group. Local authors appear on the programme too: Richard Dean interviewed by Hugh Forsyth, and Louisa Punt-Fouché.  Make your accommodation bookings soon! Visit the FB page here.


Erika van Zyl will hold a Prince Albert Painting Workshop: How To Create Atmosphere In Your Painting from 9 - 11 November 2017 enquiries: 082 415 6867 or


Remember, the Showroom film club meets every Wednesday night, Parkrun takes place every Saturday morning and our Art Galleries host numerous exhibitions…  keep an eye on the on-line calendar, this newsletter and our Facebook page for all our forthcoming events. 


“Prince Albert – Unfiltered Great Karoo”

For more information & accommodation bookings contact Henriëtte

phone: 023 5411 366      fax: 023 5411 788   e-mail:    or visit


The Olive Branch is compiled for distribution by the Prince Albert Tourism Association by Ailsa Tudhope, The Story Weaver



Here's an encouraging response to April's newsletter:

From: Marilyn Scott []
Sent: 01 April 2017 09:01 AM
Subject: Congratulations!


So well done on your super museum being awarded ‘Museum of the Year’.   It is so true that visitors are made very welcome and aren’t in a hurry to leave.   I can’t wait to visit again …

I was surprised to read in the Olive Branch that your Library had also won an award.  Wow – you chaps really work hard – there’s a lot of competition out there.

Living in PA is on my bucket list.   Every month I read the newsletter I become more determined that this is the place that has stolen my heart.   Ailsa does an amazing job writing the Olive Branch – it must go a long way to driving the passions in people who find the goings-on in PA irresistible.

The residents of the town of the Prince must be commended on their co-operation with those who promote its well-being.  Without the working-together of everyone in every corner of the town PA would be just another little Karoo town.   Interesting but not awesome!


Marilyn Scott