TRAVELBUCKET

Author Archive: TravelBucket

SCHREINER: KAROO WRITERS FESTIVAL

by Inge Triegaardt Earlier this month we were invited to a festival that would normally be frowned upon in our household. Why? Well, I honestly do not have an answer for you. Maybe because we don’t see ourselves as being on a high enough level (whatever level that is) or we simply would not want to attend, because reading books for a couple of days and listening to people reading books is straight out boring! Oh how wrong could we be! This is the perfect place to be in the middle of winter, all snuggled up in an old Victorian Hotel in the middle of the Karoo, with winter woolies and fires crackling in the background. Yes, we braved the cold and headed to the Karoo town of Cradock for the weekend of 17-21 June to attend the Schreiner: Karoo Writers Festival. Upon arrival we soon bumped into the likes… Read more >

LAINGSBURG

If you have travelled along the N1 from Cape Town to Johannesburg you probably passed through the Karoo town of Laingsburg, previously known as Nassau. Normally all are in hurry and do not spend a lot of time intown apart from filling up on fuel, visit the loo and get something cold for the road.  With the sharp hike in the fuel prices, we started to explore closer to home.  The road took as to Laingsburg and Matjiesfontein.The most famous happening that put the town on the map and earned a place in history was probably the disastrous flood on 25 January 1981. With an annual rainfall of only 175 mm per year a flood was for sure not on the minds of this Karoo town when it started raining on 24 January 1981.  The Buffalo River burst its bank and with the confluence of the Wilgehout, Baviaans and Buffalo… Read more >

DAY TRIP FROM GEORGE: COAST TO KAROO

Ready to experience something different for a day?  It is time to escape to the slow life of the Karoo! Starting from George take the N12 towards Oudtshoorn.  As you drive up the Outeniqua Pass enjoy the soft green folds of the mountains, because soon you will leave it behind  you.  Once you have reached the top of the pass and descend on the other side into the Waboomskraal valley the Klein Karoo slowly unfolds all its secrets.  Take the Oudtshoorn turn-off as soon as you exit the Waboomskraal valley. As you approach Oudtshoorn you will notice the blue haze of the Swartberg mountains on the horizon.  In winter it will be dusted with some snow and in summer the fynbos will be in full bloom.  There are several things to do in and around the town of Oudtshoorn, but we will be heading to Prince Albert via the Swartberg… Read more >

PRINCE ALBERT: A GEM BETWEEN HARD ROCKS

by Inge Triegaardt The Great Karoo with its vast openness and many tumbleweeds, offers beautiful gems in between the hard rocks and dry veld.  Prince Albert is certainly one of these diamonds in the making.  Prince Albert was established in 1842 with town layout on the De Queekvaleij farm.  The farm was granted to Zacharias de Beer as a loan farm and the town was initially called Albertsbrug. It was renamed in 1845 to its current name of prince Albert, after the husband of Queen Victoria. Spending a weekend in the town at the foot of the Heritage Site, which is the Swartberg Mountains, recharges the soul.  The many accommodation options, such as Skrywerskop, offer a country feel stay and the opportunity to stroll through the town from wherever you lay your head down at night.  Nothing is too far from the main road in this little town.  Referring to… Read more >

ZIP IT IN A (ZIBI) BLIK

Who of you still remember the Zip it in a Zibi drive way back when we were all still young? On our recent visit to Prince Albert we noticed these beautiful bins dotted all over town and we wanted to find out the story about it, because this is not just ordinary bins; it is designer bins with a message.  We tracked the master behind it down in the name of local artist Kevin de Klerk who hand paint it with care and precision. Kevin tells us that there are a total of 33 bins in the village and some of them has the most interesting stories behind it.  There is the cat sterilization awareness bin with, of course, a beautiful cat on its side.  We all know that cat numbers can multiply astonishingly quickly if you do not keep a finger on it.  So, this one goes towards cat… Read more >

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 >

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