Whether you're in Ceres for the cherries at Klondyke, the snow on Matroosberg or in the Koue Bokkeveld, the big-sky beauty of the Tankwa Karoo National Park and the Cederberg or a thrill-seeking day with Ceres Zipslide Adventures, make sure you stop over at Die Tolhuis Restaurant, without doubt the coziest restaurant with the best mountain views in this corner of the Boland.
In winter there is no better place than at our massive fireplace and in summer come enjoy long, lazy lunches with loved-ones under one of our shady wild olive or almond trees. While the kids enjoy themselves in our play area, enjoy a short hike up the mountain, come kloofing downhill and quench your thirst with some ''bergwater'' from the mountain stream that trickles through the property.
The valley of Ceres, the Koue Bokkeveld and the open plains of the Tanqua Karoo were first inhabited by the San and Khoi, thousands of years ago. The San rock Painting sites in the area are some of the best preserved in the country.
The first Europeans crossed the Witzenberg Range from the Tulbagh Valley in 1729 and established stock farms in the Bokkeveld. Michell’s Pass was built between 1846 and 1848 by Andrew Geddes-Bain. The first plots in Ceres were sold a year later. The road through Ceres became the main route to the north when diamonds were discovered in Kimberley in the late 1800’s. Diamond magnate Barney Barnato frequented the town regularly en route to the diamond fields up north. Today the route is known as the ‘Forgotten Highway’ and is fast developing as a popular tourist attraction.
The Old Toll House used to be the pay point for travellers to the diamond fields. The original building was damaged in the devastating earthquake of 1969, but was later restored to its original glory. The earthquake struck Ceres, Tulbagh and Wolseley and most of the historic buildings in these towns were damaged beyond repair.
A ghost of a Victorian lady we lovingly refer to as ‘Neillie’, is said to stand guard over Michell’s Pass and the Toll House. If you are lucky enough, you just might ‘see’ her wander around. To learn more about the early days in Ceres, the people, fauna and flora, the earthquake of 1969 and the town’s rich transport history, do visit the Ceres Transport Riders Museum, just off main street in down town Ceres. (Tel +27 23 312 2045)
The Tolhuis Bistro is owned and managed by former journalists Reint and Karien Grobler. The couple also own Winterberg Mountain Inn (+27 23 231 0860), a Guest House with Bistro 7 km from here, en route to Worcester, as well as Capish!, a new pizza/pasta restaurant in Ceres’ main street (+27 23 007 0065). Winterberg Mountain Inn, formerly known as Mill & Oaks Country Inn, stands proud on the original foundation of a wheat mill known as the Ceres Mill, believed to have been built by the first European settlers in the late 1700’s. The milling stone of this so called “bakkiesmeul” can still be seen in the Inn’s garden and the mill’s cog work has been preserved partially and can be seen inside the bistro.
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