• Jo-Anne Richards and Jo-Anne Hitchens running the Art of the Memoir workshops at the Karoo Art Hotel Barrydale
    The Hotel Blog

Reflecting on Harleydale

Posted on Tue May 23, 2023.

Amazing things happen when kindness is mixed with Jack Daniel's and Coke and the first ride out to Barrydale was no exception.

This article was adapted from a News62 article which was published shortly after the first Harleydale.

Cape Town's Marshmallow Soft Harley Riders

Don’t be fooled by their untamed beards, leather jackets and pirate-like driving habits, because beneath the hard exterior and thundering sound of the beasts they us  to navigate this desolate country, Harley-Davidson riders are actually a bunch of softies.

Traveling in a pack of more than 200 they embarked on a journey to Barrydale that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the so-called hard-core hooligans and hell raisers are actually all about love, peace, respect and making a difference.

The before mentioned is very significant when you consider that we live in a country with an economy that is one the proverbial highway to hell.

They visited Barrydale town for a one-night-stand at the Karoo Art Hotel and while most one-night-stands are followed by a walk of shame the following morning, these hard-ass Harley addicts rose with pride (and a few hangovers) to do a victory lap through the streets of our informal settlement, Smitsville.


They did not drive all the way from Cape Town just to visit Ronnie at his famous Sex Shop. Neither was this just an excuse to travel on the bikers' dream that is Route 62.

No. They rode into Barrydale to make a difference and within less than an hour, they had raised close to R35 000 in aid of local charities.

During their victory lap the cash was handed over to Net vir Pret (a charity that takes care of our children, Barrydale Hospice (an organisation that serves frail individuals who are in the winter of their lives) as well as Ebenhaezer Elderly Society who, apart from having the best cheerleaders this side of the Huisriver, play a vital role in uplifting the lives of the elderly.

Perhaps more important was the economic boost my town experienced that night.

There was not a single bed to spare and all the restaurants and local shops were buzzing with guests who opened their hearts (and wallets) during a period when time usually stands still in the Klein Karoo.

Yes, every restaurant on the main strip was packed to the brim and on that night as Barrydale showcased its ability to be a world class destination.


“I’ve lived here all my life and never before have we had an event of this magnitude during winter. This place is usually a ghost town,” said lifelong Barrydaler, Kyle Berry of Mez Karoo Kitchen.

"It was a huge plus for all businesses and we can just hope that they do it again,” Kyle added while we watched the Radio Kalahari Orkes do their thing in the Belanti Hall.

For one night Barrydale became Harleydale and the good news is that an even bigger contingent of marshmallow soft bikers will return this year for The Sequel.