Philipstown Coffee Shop, Northern Cape

Philipstown is known for its Draadkar Grand Prix Festival – an annual wire-car race that will be held on 2 September this year. Besides that, however, it’s not known for much else. The town is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, plonked down in the Karoo between the Vanderkloof Dam and the N1. Hennie Fourie and her husband Phillip have been residents of Philipstown for the past three years. “With my name, it was either Philipstown or Philippolis,”Phillip says with a smile. The couple practise subsistence farming just outside town.

“We can breathe easily here,” says Hennie. “We wanted a debt-free life.” Hennie also runs the Philipstown coffee shop in a large room that was once part of the filling station next door. A remnant of the room’s former life can be seen near the shelves of second-hand books: an NSU Prinz car built in West Germany decades ago. In the corner, there’s also a horse-drawn hearse, on which the trophies for the annual Draadkar Grand Prix are exhibited.

Dutch Reformed Church

Dutch Reformed Church

The coffee shop has a laid-back atmosphere and is often frequented by local farmers and residents. The meals on offer are good value for money: A ham burger will set you back only R30, bacon and eggs R40, or tuck into scones with cream and jam for a mere R25.

“If someone arrives hungry, we prepare something to match their hunger,” says Hennie. The shop also sells home-made goods like rusks (R45 per pack), various biscuits (R10- R15 per pack), jams (R25-R50) and Karoo honey (R55), plus knitted products like baby beanies (R60), enamel mugs, teacups and coffee pots, some decorated with the town’s famous draadkarretjies.

Where? From the main road, turn into the side street between the Dutch Reformed church and Quest Merino Motors.

Opening times: Monday to Friday from 7.30 am to 5 pm. Closed on weekends.

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