Our first trip of 2021 was a ladies only trip to explore the village of Matjiesfontein, but first we want to share the beauty of the road that lead to Laingsburg. Beauty of another kind.
We were up early as to be ready to hit the road at 06:00 when the curfew lifts and before the Karoo heat creeps into the day. Our first planned stop was to have a champagne breakfast in Seweweekspoort to welcome some new things that we had worked hard on to get into place. A first stop of many during the day to to capture some moments and moods.
The pass is approximately 17 km long and and crosses the river no fewer than 23 times. Almost all the bridges over the river have been upgraded and completed. Do take care still, because you might encounter the odd roadworks in progress.
First back to a bit of history. The pass was completed in 1862 by Adam de Schmidt, brother-in-law of the renowned pass-builder Thomas Bain. The initial work was done by a team of Italian prisoners. Look out for the ruins of the original toll house on the northern entrance of the poort – that is the Laingsburg side!
From here on the scenery changes around every bend to reveal the vast expanses of the Great Karoo – impressive stone ridges, wide open roads and some dust devils on the horizon. We even spotted a farmer’s creative artwork to mark his farm entrance.
Arriving in Laingsburg the first thing you will notice is the rainbow bridge which was one of the causes of the Laingsburg flood disaster of 25 January 1981. Trees and all sorts of debris brought down by the river got caught on the bridge causing a blockage and a dam wall effect. The water from the three rivers could not pass underneath the bridge fast enough and quickly raised filling the town with water and turning it into a dam. Albeit a sad spot it creates beautiful photo opportunities. The loss of life in Laingsburg was a hundred and four men, women and children. A hundred and eighty five houses, a home for the aged, school hostels, four rondavels and twenty-three business premises were destroyed.
The most important thing for us is to make every road trip memorable, no matter how far or where you are going.
How do we do it? Pack some interesting road food and stop at an unusual spot to enjoy our breakfast or lunch. You may have been to the same spot before, but change something in your routine to get a different experience. Put an effort in to make every road trip different to create a new memory.
What 2020 with all its difficulties taught us , is that life can be unexpected and short. Live your life to the best of your abilities!