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KAKAMAS – POOR PASTURES – NO WAY!

In Khoi Kakamas means “poor pastures”. I think that they got it wrong!  Make an effort to visit the region surrounding the Orange River and you will appreciate the fact that the river brings life to the surrounding area where temperatures soar in summer and experience freezing desert temperatures during winter. The town came about between 1800 and 1900 when there were a war and a worldwide depression.  People of the area were bitterly poor due to rinderpest and drought and came to the church for help to survive.  In exchange for care the local people, under supervision of Japie Lutz, dug and built a canal system by hand.  This system is still in operation even today.  The system includes two tunnels of 97m and 175m respectively, turning the area to a greenery. Augrabies Falls surely is the  most visited place in Kakamas, but there are some other interesting features… Read more >

THE ROAD TO RIETBRON

My first visit to Rietbron was on 31 December 2013. Yip, we spent the last day of 2013 in the settlement in the Karoo between somewhere and nowhere.  To be exact – 85 kilometres from Beaufort West (Western Cape) and about 64 kilometres from Willowmore (Eastern Cape). Recently Amore Bekker from RSG asked who knows where Rietbron is.  I could reply with an answer that I have twice been to this populated area (population approximately 1 184 in 2011).  I think with our revisit eight years later in 2021 the population even declined further as it was noticeable that also the only guesthouse closed down since then. With an early start from our base in George we crossed the Outeniqua mountains into the Klein Karoo.  First we made a quick stop at Karoo Lusern Slaghuis, one of the best kept secrets in the Klein Karoo, to stock up on some… Read more >

BOGGED DOWN

As things in our lives changed our travel patterns also changed.  We went from travel as a family to travel as mom and daughter or maybe it is daughter and mom.  Anyways, we are dong women only trips these days. For the moment we are making “safe” solo trips to discover the smaller towns of out beautiful country.  Some of these trips took us on some backroads to Rietbron in the Eastern Cape and Sutherland in the Northern Cape and Van Wykdsorp in the Western Cape.  All did not go without glitch though.  On a leisurely round trip to Van Wyksdorp the little Zook’s battery decided to die on us when we stopped for the umpteenth time to snap something in the hope to get THAT perfect picture.  Now the roads to Van Wyksdorp are all gravel travel and big stretches are without cell phone reception that is not a… Read more >

YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE TRANSKEI : THE KEI BRIDGE

For most of us this bridge confirms that you are officially crossing over from the Eastern Cape into the former Transkei. Running parallel with the new bridge over the N2 you will notice the old stone bridge to your left when driving eastwards.  Find the road to the old bridge and have a look at it.  I was quite impressed at the engineering skills considering the period in which it was built and the machinery available to create these types of structures. The steel bridge built by Westwood Bailie Engineering Works from London and completed in 1879 so nearing its 150th year soon.  Although the bridge’s length will not make the Guinness Book of Records, as it is only 0.46 kilometres long, it is still used by local farmers and pedestrians in the vicinity.  Attempts to build a bridge over the Kei River started in 1877 when materials were shipped… Read more >

SOCIAL DISTANCING AND TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS MAKE LOCAL FAMILY TRAVEL POPULAR AGAIN

With all the new rules and regulations and do’s and don’ts that influence our lives during the Corona virus pandemic I am pretty sure that our behaviour while travelling will change.  COVID-19 has changed the tourism scene dramatically  –  accommodation is running on LOW capacity BUT the same amenities are still available with certain changes that need to be adhered to. Airlines reduced their capacity to adhere to safety regulations (and tickets more expensive) and all of a sudden crowded beaches and touristy spots do not sound as appealing anymore.  So, what will be appealing now?  I think that solo journeys to more isolated places and camping in isolated spot away from your neighbour will become more popular in the future than ever before.  It is as if camping and overlanding was invented for this COVID-19 pandemic.  With the necessary precautions (mask and sanitizer at the ready of course) you… Read more >

RIVERSDALE – ALL ABOUT MOUNTAIN PASSES AND FYNBOS

Riversdale (Afrikaans Riversdal)  is an agricultural town on the N2 beneath the imposing Langeberg mountains to the North and rolling farm lands to the South.    What is the claim to fame for Riversdale and why do we write about Riversdale?  For us it is one of those towns that you just pass by very carefully as their traffic police is very active and we never really take time to explore.  So, recently we made a day trip to  Riversdale and to see what there is to do. The town is surrounded with fynbos, ericas and buchu is growing wild.  Fynbos  is also one of the main export products of the area.  Buchu is that  very distinctive smell that you get when you approach Riversdale on the N2.  The  natural beauty of the area is also  very popular with hikers and boasts several hiking trails at Boosmansbos and Grootvaderbosch. To the… Read more >

A BLESFONTEIN EXPERIENCE

A last-minute decision for a weekend break to Sutherland over the Easter Weekend and the hunt was on to find available accommodation that suited our trip and type of experience we wanted to have.  As it was Easter, we had limited choices in town and we were fortunate enough to find our happy place at Blesfontein. Blesfontein is a working guest farm about 28 km south west of Sutherland on the Bo-Visrivier road.  It is more or less a 40-minute drive from Sutherland to the farm and with the little Jimny it even took us a bit longer as we spotted some game and flowers along the road.  You do not need a 4×4 to reach the farm, but we will recommend a vehicle with a good ground clearance as it is gravel all to the way. At Blesfontein you experience the Karoo lifestyle and rhythm.  This is the ideal… Read more >

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