pet friendly sign dogs welcomed but pick up the poops

If you’re looking for a pet friendly restaurant along the N3, visit The Little Church Tea Garden in Van Reenen. Not being a fan of fast stereo-type food provided by the busy, often over-crowded food chains, I always stop here for lunch. Service is quick and efficient. This haven is also pet friendly and your furry friend will love the visit as much as you do. Let him explore the garden and huge field in front while you relax with a cup of tea.

Tami was relocating to Johannesburg so I travelled with her and Nixon to see her new home. We planned to lunch at the Little Church Tea Garden because it is pet friendly and the food is delicious. Nixon would be welcomed and he would enjoy a good run before completing our journey.

The first to greet us were two local dogs who gave Nixon the once over, and then promptly wandered off, evidently bored.  The waitress was warm and friendly and immediately showed us the dog water bowls before taking our order. We chose to sit outside so that we could keep an eye on Nixon. Meanwhile he explored the gardens and discovered a large grassy field to run on to his heart content.

Nixon was not the only one to explore. I grabbed by binoculars and joined him. Crunching on the dry grass, avoiding the odd cow patties and breathing fresh crisp air we took a short walk to a nearby dam. Here I scoured for birds while Nixon along with a local dog ran around smelling every bush they could find. On this wintery day all I found was a pair of house sparrows, red-wing starlings and a Fork-tailed Drongo. No doubt summer will be more productive.

The Little Church Tea Garden – A Pet Friendly Half Way Stop

Nixon the Schnauzer at the petfriendly Little Church Tea Garden
Nixon the Schnauzer at the petfriendly Little Church Tea Garden
Local dog at the pet friendly Little Church Tea Garden
Nixon the Schnauzer at the petfriendly Little Church Tea Garden

All too soon Tami called – lunch was served. I had ordered a pot of rooibos tea and Lasagne, Tami a Quiche. Both meals were delicious, old-fashioned home cooked and fresh. Much better than a fast-food hamburger or toasted sarmie. Having chosen to sit outside, we were treated to sprawling country views with the Drakensberg Mountains in the background.

If the weather is not good you can sit inside which is warm and cozy. There is even a fire-place which is no doubt put to good use on icy days.

Lunch of Lasagne with pot of rooibos tea

After chilling for while, we wandered around the little décor/gift shop inside enticing us to buy home made jams, biscuits, and interesting gifts.  I settled for a packet of fudge – absolutely delicious.
Next time you’re on the N3 don’t overlook this little haven. Not only will you enjoy good food and stunning scenery, but being pet friendly, your dog will be most welcomed.

Stunning view from our table overlooking the Drakensberg Mountains
Drakensberg Mountains with snow on the top

The Little Church – A Brief History

Make sure you pop into the Little Church, also known as the Llandaff Oratory , next door. This is the smallest church in the southern hemisphere (perhaps the world). With only four pews, it seats a mere 8 people. I’ve promised myself that my next visit will allow me time to read the history on the walls and include a walk through the old cemetery.

Apparently back in 1925 a retired magistrate, Maynard Mathew built the church in honour and remembrance of his son Llandaff who died in a coalmine accident. Llandaff had managed to save eight miners (same number of seats in the church) before losing his life. In 1960 it was bought by Charles West-Thomas and in 1960 was declared a national monument.

Looking inside the Little Church

How to get there from Durban:

Climb van Reenen Pass, don’t forget to admire the view as you go. When you reach the top, just before the petrol station on the right you will see a little sign ‘Little Church’ to the left. Follow the short un-tarred road until you will see the Little Church and Tea Garden.

View of Little Church from the Tea Garden


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