The sexiest (man-made) landmark: Ronnies sex Shop

Sex, what can be said about it. Well other than the fact it’s a completely natural part of the human experience its also, generally speaking, a rather popular taboo. That is more often than not regulated to being nothing more than a “no go area”. Would it then, in some shape or form, be fitting to say that Ronnies sex Shop has in some way benefited from this belief system? Or on the other hand could it be nothing more than a case of stopping at a roadside bar for a beer? Either way works but nonetheless Ronnies sex Shop is an unequaled addition to our Landmark series.

Now it would seem, if you’ve read our previous landmark posts, that most of South Africa’s landmarks are a good few hundred kilometres away. This is not the case, but during the nomination process the ones that were picked just so happened to be considerably far away from our home base of Cape Town. And at the same time were a rather well conceived excuse to take a long day trip into the heart of our country. More on that later…

Approximately 262 km from Cape Town and 20 km outside of Barrydale (the closest town) lies a stretch of highway aptly named Route 62. It’s an exquisite piece of modern engineering connecting Cape Town to the Klein Karoo that is not unlike the Australian outback or the American south –west. Often frequented by lonely nomads, lost tourists and of course leather-backed bikers. It’s a journey into the heart of an untamed frontier no traveller should overlook. And just when the monotony of the landscape starts to set in. A tiny roadside bar with its name in bright red embezzled on a stark white wall comes into view: Ronnies sex Shop.

But before we even gingerly waltzed into the saloon like atmosphere of the bar, I had to know why the mere sight of the word sex is such a distraction but at the same time an attraction. Ronnies sex Shop being prime suspect number one and no exception to the rule. But in order to understand the inner workings of this philosophy I did deduce that an audience with the man himself: Ronnie, would be the only way. It must’ve then been pure luck or coincidence, but who do you think we walked into upon entering the bar? None other than the man himself: Ronnie.

Now Ronnie is a humble man, with a big beard and a demeanour so imposing it would be enough to wake the dead possibly buried in the surrounding tundra. But don’t be fooled by this he is first and foremost a gentleman of the highest regard and is not too big on talking about sex unless its with a pretty traveller of the opposite sex.

It did however beg the question about sex more specifically the underlined piece of text on the wall of his roadside bar that had made Ronnies so popular. I mean its the first thing you see when you drive past. And you could, like I did, do a little bit of research on why this is so, but nothing beats asking the old boy himself. And so tucked away under a wall of knickers and underpants hanging above the bar, Ronnie told us of the day that started it all. A long time ago, Ronnie an intrepid farmer of sorts decided it wasn’t for him and so turned his attention to opening a fruit & veg padstalletjie (road stand). Complete with a stoep (porch) and possibly a cold beer to enjoy with a potential customer. But one night while putting the final touches of paint to the initial signage, a friend of Ronnies possibly heavily intoxicated at the time, thought it would be quite amusing to paint the word “sex” in-between his name and the word shop.

So Ronnie, not one to stand in the way of a friend’s artistic expression, decided to leave it be. And so the name stuck and would go down forever in roadside tripping oddities. Sprouting along the way quite a sizeable following of die-hard supporters. Who always make a point of stopping over whenever they’re in the neighbourhood. This has in turn naturally spawned an array of branded goodies sporting Ronnies name, especially when it comes to women’s underwear. We could only speculate as to why this particular item is such a best-seller.

Downing the last of my beer I had to admit it was a great story, told by a great guy, who in some shape or form reminded us a little bit of Jeff Bridges classic character “the dude” in the film the Big Lebowski. His casual air while he greeted every visitor to his bar dressed in what could be his pyjamas seemingly oblivious to all the hype was to say the least amusing. Especially when he suspiciously eyed every new customer as if they had just pissed on his rug. It was in a way what made the experience and not so much the bar. Even if the novel customer artwork in every room did somewhat aid in enhancing the overall effect. Not forgetting his barman, a most deservedly mention as well. He was a piece of work, a little apprehensive but tended to grow on you after awhile. Especially when you’re doing what people in the country do best and that is “to kuir (chill) and talk kak”, (crap).

All in all Ronnies shoddily put together business is a cultural landmark in its own right. And although it’s no UNESCO world heritage site its up there with the best. As it lives up to the motto of the advertising industry that “sex sells”. Ronnies sex Shop is a living testament of this even if sex is the last thing you’ll find when stopping by his bar. But then again after a few of beers you might just find yourself chatting up a lonely pretty traveller and you know….

An oasis of sorts -

An oasis of sorts –

Fun Factoids:

  • Ronnies sex Shop has been nominated for numerous awards with the best I’ve heard so far being “the oddest bar in South Africa”. It is by a long stretch the most fitting. Ronnies has our vote.
  • Mentioned in the piece Ronnies also has a restaurant lovingly called the Road Kill café. The food is surprisingly good, considering the name, and their alcoholic milkshakes are the stuff of legend.
  • The outside deck boasts some amazing panoramic vistas of the Klein Karoo. So take a load off, have a beer under the shade of the deck and just you know take it in while the sounds of Easy rider and Hotel California permeate the air.
  • Ronnies also sports overnight quarters just in case you find yourself a little too inebriated to drive. Alternatively you could also just want to crash in a place literally in the middle of nowhere; online reviews suggest it’s not all too shabby.

By Slippery Joe Lyzard © (Writer for Nomadic Existence)

Photography: Nomadic Bug © 

Nomadic Existence 2015 ©

 Explore. Conserve. Discover.


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