Road trips and roosterkoek

There are two types of people in this world: those who make pit stops on road trips and those who don’t.

But this distinction doesn’t seem to apply to the Nanaga Farm House (the g In Nanaga is pronounced as a guttural g in Arabic), which is located on the N2 in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.

A modest outfit, it is built around a courtyard and has a shop and bakery on the right and a coffee shop on the left.

Its natural produce is one of the reasons for its success, and so Nanaga’s roosterkoek  (balls of dough cooked on coals), biltong  (lean meat salted and dried in strips) and fresh pies have woven their way into the Eastern Cape landscape.

The day we stopped to buy some extra padcos, an amateur band was playing in the corner entertaining travellers with their Afrikaans songs.

The family feel of the place was accentuated by two stained glass windows near the entrance with a strongly pastoral theme.

But the real charm of Nanaga lays in its story of resurrection.

Nanaga is 30 years old but the original stall was gutted in 2004 by a fire which destroyed the restaurant, and the produce and gift shop. No one was hurt, but property damage worth R1 million threatened the survival of the business.

The insurance company paid out after rumours of arson were dispelled, and the farmhouse moved a few kilometres down from its initial location – a less convenient spot since it required motorists to pull off the highway and loop around. But the brand appeal and customer loyalty held strong, and even prompted the business to expand. It now includes a butchery, a deli and a conference facility.

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So if you’re on the N2, heading towards or away from Port Elizabeth, pencil the Nanaga farmhouse into your road trip.

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