24 – 27 September 2020
We can travel, we can travel with in our country’s borders …
That was probably the next best thing since lifting the ban of purchasing alcohol and cigarettes . . . legally.
What a year, I know … just like you , I was also living in this covid time. A story that will be told generations from now. People will read about this time and think, how did the world stand still?
But 6 months down the line we are alive, we are healthy, wiser, more grateful, we all know ‘’a guy’’ who can get stuff, and the next season of Master Chef will have a lot more entrants.
Many people missed many things, but 1 thing I missed a lot was just getting in a car or on a motorbike and disappearing for a few hours or a few days.
I guess for some of us, the wide-open spaces of dirt, endless blue sky and silence is something that our souls long for. To get to the place where you inhale peace and exhale worry. That probably sounds very dramatic … but until you have stood on a mountain pass overlooking the Karoo, you won’t understand this feeling of fullness and emptiness all at once.
As soon as we were levelled down to get access to exit our street pavements to travel, we decided the time is now.
We put together a quick 4day Karoo road trip, making sure we slept somewhere else every night. This is one of my favourite ways to holiday… you just see so much more, and it has an extra element of adventure in it.
We quickly roped in our parents as well. Being in lockdown has been hard on a lot of people. While our parents should have been making memories, with their children , grandchildren and travels… they lost time.
So the decided trip was mashed together , 2 x vehicles (neither one being 4×4… this has to be stated for the record😊), 6 people, 4 days, 3 nights, 1200kms to cover, and many, many dirt roads.
We left the Thursday morning, headed out over Bainskloof pass, we made Calabash at opening time for a cup of coffee. It wasn’t long and then we were through Ceres, onto Op-die-berg where we grabbed our dinner menu at the Spar. I was quite impressed with the shop considering the location.
Headed towards the gravel, the turnoff reading Tankwa Karoo, came closer like a hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day
Katbakkies Pass stays one of my all-time favourites. It has many good memories for me, and this is where the world switches off…
Down to Tankwa Padstal we stopped for a quick lunch, it is great to see that they are very busy, with some familiar and friendly faces. Finishing up, we headed out for our last stretch for the day.
Just after Padstal there is a turnoff which heads in the direction of Sutherland. It is a lovely road, for people who are weary for the dust and dirt.
Entering Sutherland, I had booked a house for us called, “Jack the Karoo’’
It is a very nice house, modernised on the inside but the old style look and feel still kept on the outside.
We made a fire and did some good old South African cooking on the grid.
The sun rose the next morning, as we went for our morning run in the direction of Fraserberg. The air so clean, I could feel my lungs burning. Not so used to this fresh fresh air.
We packed up and headed out back the way we came, except turning towards Tankwa again, we turned left, towards Merweville
This town is one of my ‘’bucket list’’ towns. Driving through the Moordenaars Karoo was beautiful. I don’t think I have seen a place like this. The only place a I can semi compare it to that I have been to is the Richtersveld in a way.
We stopped on top of Rummelkop pass for breathing and photo oppurtunites. Wow… its stunning.
I was driving with my mom and daughter in the one vehicle and my husband with his parents in the other vehicle. Having walkie talkies to keep the communication alive.
Driving this pass was interesting for my mom. She has never ridden so much dirt before and also never tackled passes like these before. Not to mention her cigarette quota was definitely maxed by the end of Rummelkop pass. But will we do it again? hell yeah!
Getting closer to Merweville, I could see the Church stick out above the town. It always amazes me how these small towns, that are almost forgotten, have the most beautiful churches.
We stopped and had a lunch at the ‘’Boek Klub’’ , apparently a Tv series was filmed here as well, relating to this name.
It is a very cute restaurant. If you are going this way make a point of stopping and supporting this local business.
Pushing on towards Leeugamka for a quick trip down memory lane.
My father-in-law grew up here. After many moons, it was only right to drive by memory lane to see the remains of what once was his childhood home.
That night we slept on a farm called Abrahamskraal, outside of Prince Albert.
It is a beautiful farm, my first ever bike trip as pillion was to this venue. So many ‘’braai stories’’ have come from this place.
The décor and setting has been done in a way that definitely preserves the heritage of the family that owns this farm.
Aunty Hestie, welcomes you with the same warmth as the winter sheets on the beds. We had such a good time here, within minutes you feel that you are home.
After a good nights rest, we went for quick run around to make sure stretched legs for the day in the car again. The air amazes me. Its hard to explain being 1500m above sea level and the effect it has on your breathing when you live so close to the coast.
We had a quick breakfast, leftovers (best road trip food ever!)
Headed into Prince Albert, quick stop at the Spar for reinforcements and then my highlight, Swartberg Pass.
My mother and daughter have never been up here before… so it was something I wanted them to experience. Photo’s don’t do this place justice. We crept up with little Mahindra Mouse (which has proved to be more than capable to handle mountains)
We had faded out the old favourites as the cd’s were packed back into its pouch. There was just the noise of the engine, and aromas of fresh air. My daughter flung half her body out the car window. don’t think she has ever experienced this sense of freedom and peace before. Snapping away, taking pictures, giggling and laughing of how awesome this place is to her
Swartberg Pass is beautiful and you climb about 1000m height in 14kms
If you are afraid of heights and cliff edges, then this might not be your kind of thing. Keep in mind it’s a perfect example of life… the only way to get to the other side is to go through, even if it scares you.
Dropping down on the other side of the pass we twisted and turned until the engines stopped at Kobus se gat. We gathered our thoughts here, had a quick snack and missioned onwards
Just after Kobus se gat we took the gravel option towards Calitzdorp. This is a beautiful road, with even more beautiful views. The ‘’spekbome’’ and aloes grow bountiful here and the look like they pour down the mountain sides. Everything is very green, and we even spotted a family of giraffes peeking at us over the tree-tops
You can see this area has had sufficient water, I could easily live here, but the voice on the walkie talkie from the other car brings my day dream back to earth… ‘’Vrou, ons kan nie in elke dorp wat jy van hou, n huis koop nie!’’
Coming out in Calitzdorp , towards Ladismith we took the turn off for Seweweekspoort. The river here crosses the poort 28 times. (yes , we counted)
The mountains tower above us, as we drive through it. Breath taking. My mom said a very true thing, she said travelling through places like this remind her of how small we really are … it keeps you humble and grateful.
We spent the last night on a farm in Seweweekspoort. Lovely secluded flatlet on the farm.
We gathered the wood for the last nights Karoo Fire! We laughed, a lot.. carefree.. no talks of covid or its side effects. It was just easy to be carefree for the first time in months.
Next morning we went for a hike on the farm, going over the hill we spotted kudu , and the spotted us and quickly disappeared into the surroundings.
Packing up, we knew today we are homeward bound.
Hitting the tar we headed to Diessel and Crème in Barrydale, it was definitely a selling point for the trip to my daughter. Milkshakes all round! Great ending to a fantastic 4day road trip
Getting home, unpacking and there is just no place the dust didn’t get into you almost don’t want to have the car washed… its means the roadtrip is over
On the Monday morning when I woke up, the first thing that crossed my mind is… ‘’okay, where to next?’’
Just for the record, no Mahindra or Hyandai Creta was injured during this journey 😊