About 20 km outside the small country town of Barrydale lies Ronnies Sex Shop, an oasis in the Klein Karoo that has seen many a weary traveller over the years.
As you cruise inland up Route 62, be sure to look out for the intriguing dive bar on the right. Blink and you’ll probably miss it. The letters on the building are prominent and beckon curiosity – but don’t be fooled by the name, it’s nothing about sex or sex paraphernalia.
It does have a naughty streak though, proof being the impressive collection of bras and undies hanging over the bar that have been signed and donated by many of Ronnie’s female visitors over the years.
Before the pit stop came to be what it is now, Ronnie (a charismatic man with a wicked sense of humour) planned to open a fresh fruit and vegetable stall on the side of the road where the pub now stands. While renovating the dilapidated building his friends, possessing a wicked sense of humour like Ronnie himself, played a prank on him by painting the words ‘RONNIE’S SEX SHOP’ on the side of it. Soon the fruit and veg idea was canned and a pub emerged. That was many moons ago and the iconic pub has now seen visitors the world over, making it something of an institution.
Having a title as the oddest pub in South Africa is not the easiest reputation to live up to, but this Karoo treasure really does earn it. A popular watering hole for motorcyclists, day trippers, internationals and the odd thirsty local, you will meet people from all walks of life here.
Not only can you slake a Karoo-sized thirst with an ice cold brewski at the bar, but you might also want to tuck into a hearty pub lunch at the Roadkill Café, which is part of Ronnies Sex Shop. The outside deck provides views of the Karoo landscape and you can expect anything from Rodriguez’ ‘Sugar Man’ to Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’ coming from the speakers fitted outside.
Accommodation is available too should you have one too many. Arrive thirsty.
Photography Justin Williams and Beverley Klein