So what is a “kaaiman”? Roughly it translates to a crocodile, but this is not what our story is about.
Kaaimansgat is the place where the Swart river and the Kaaimans river join and gently flows to meet the sea under the well photographed Kaaimans train bridge. Kaaimansgat also has some historic significance as this was one of the few spots where in early years a river crossing with a wagon was possible. The first recorded crossing was made as early as 1752.
Our story is about an eatery snugged on the Kaaimans River on the way to the iconic Dolphin’s Point near Wilderness. We recently discovered this eatery with excellent food and drink, although it is in existence for quite some time as we have noticed all the buzz in the social media of friends hanging out at this space.
It was time for a visit.
Tucked away under a thick tree canopy it is easy to miss when you drive on the N2 in the direction of Wilderness or even approaching George. This also marks the spot where in early days spans of oxen and carts crossed the river on its journey. An information board with some interesting facts are displayed on the premises of the eatery.
The crowd was a good mix between elderly and young ones, and anything in between as well. The atmosphere is very relaxed and cheerful and must I say the food excellent!
Our choice fell on some pizza for the lazy Sunday morning complimented with some gin. Just for the record – the gin was served with some plastic straws which I happily declined to stick to my new motto for 2019 which is to reduce my plastic footprint. 🙂
On with some more interesting history. The N2 was only built in the late 1940s and the bridge was officially opened in January 1950 by an attorney from George, Mr Raubenheimer. On this day a speech was also made by the late president of South Africa, Mr PW Botha, who was then a member of parliament for George and later after his retirement resided permanently in Wilderness.
For its time the bridge was also a great masterpiece as it was the first bridge in South Africa to vary in three dimensions – it is both curved and cambered and the southern end is lower than the northern. The bridge was, of course, initially designed to accommodate the traffic needs of the 1940s, but some 40 years down the line there was a need to upgrade the road and the four lane N2 was constructed. Sadly the old ox wagon marks up the slope was not considered in the upgrading process and nothing of that is left today.
There is also a kayak station at the site where you can rent a kayak at a cost of R200 per hour to enjoy the tranquil beauty of this spot.
What more can you ask for? I think nothing more. The food is great. The view is great. The drinks selection is great. The service is great.
Need to know: 08:00 – 22:30 every day except on Tuesdays