©2013 Edward C. Lunnon
Tuesday 9 April 2013: 6 years 7 months on …
Physical: Advantage Ed / Mental: Advantage ED
On Good Friday, at 6am, we headed off westwards along the N2 – destination the Swartruggens and the Cederberg in the Western Cape.
The original plan was to go from Ladismith through the Seweweekspoort Pass to the N1 at Laingsburg.
But the weather changed the plans (which included a breakfast at Hartenbos with the Engelbrechts, friends from Stellenbosch student days) and eventually we did Swellendam, Bonnievale, Montagu, Koo Valley, N1, Touws River and finally the gravel road to Kagga Kamma (Place of water) Game Reserve – arriving there at 18h00!
Friday night, in our cottage for the next week, became an early night with no hot water!
Saturday morning was an early morning to watch the Kings on TV at the bar – the only TV at the resort. Furthermore, there was no TV, no cell phone reception, no wireless, no Facebook, and even the electricity went off for a while later in the week!
We were here to relax and that we did!
A 4km hike through the bush and over the boulders left me with a swollen, sore, sprained ankle on my good foot! So no more walks for me! You just can’t win!
Pera managed another 8km walk later in the week and not even the heavy rain deterred her. Sean and I got worried and drove out to find her – which we only managed on the second rescue mission attempt.
Other times, armed with the map, we hit the various 4×4 routes and tried to spot the game – little that there was: a few buck, ostriches, zebra, snakes, birds and thousands of rocks in all formations! The Bushmen (San / Khoi) paintings got us talking … from 6000 years to 600 years old! A past long forgotten …
Phillip is training for the rugby season – so what we walked, he ran, and he ran, and he ran again and all of this at the altitude of Table Mountain!
Sean was the chauffeur and clung to the wheel – from here to there and back and every other trip we made.
That included our Easter Monday trip to Ceres and Tulbagh where we met up with my family Sebastian, Michelle and Hannah. Lunch, for me a lovely snoek pie, was eaten at the old Toll house in the Mitchell’s Pass and dessert (chocolate pancakes) at the historic Church Street in Tulbagh. Buildings from our more recent colonial European history just 400 years ago! Not even the 6,9 Richter scale earthquake on the 29th September 1969 at 22h29 which I remember well from my Std 5 schooldays and which had its epicentre in this area could destroy this history of our country. It woke us up and had us running into the street in The Strand, my hometown – here it killed some 9 people.
Our other road trip was north through the Cederberg via Algeria (where I had camped as a high school scholar) to Clanwilliam where I tried the babotie and we tea’d at the Rooibos factory at the centre of our unigue Rooibos industry. Home from there took us through Citrusdal and its citrus farms, over a steep, curved gravel pass back to Oppi-Berg and the Kagga Kamma.
All trips in and out of Kagga Kamma took us over 15km of rough, corrugated, pot-holed, stony gravel road and over the Katbakkies Pass or Skittery Pass – no barriers and sometimes an incline over close to 45 degrees!
Other passes we traversed during the week were Kogmanskloof,Burgers, Rooihoogte, Die Venster, Gydo, Mitchells, Middleberg, Meiringspoort, Ghwarriepoort, Buyspoort, Perdepoort, Swanepoelspoort, and national roads we used were the N2, N1, N7, N12, N9 and numerous other minor tarred and gravel roads.
At the resort, we braaied, ate at the restaurant (a beef strip salad with balsamic vinegar was my favourite), russled up, with Pera’s help, a number of great recipes (and an exploded boiled egg in the microwave!) There was no shop in this wilderness to buy supplies, so Sean invented a recipe for French toast when the egg supply ran low!
It was great family time and so besides the kitchen and cooking duties, we played board games, chess, read, chatted, drank, laughed, discussed, questioned and gazed at and almost touched the stars in a clear black night sky.
All too soon it came to an end, and so last Friday saw us leaving at 10H00. This time we took the inland Karoo route, travelling from Touws River through Laingsburg and Prince Albert (where we lunched – another try of babotie for me!) and then on through the Swartberg through De Rust and Willowmore to Doorndraai in the Aberdeen District, where we spent the weekend with friends Dickie and Colleen Ogilvie and their daughter Megan. (Dickie and I taught together at Grey in the eighties and he was my bestman when Pera and I got married in 1990.)
Both Sean and Phillip learned to drive here on the farm – tractors, “skadonk” and whatever other bakkies were available. We all have good recollections and happy memories of this place.
We worked out that we had not visited the farm since just before I became ill – seven years ago! So we picked up on the news and the “skinder”, drank the beers and the brandy and ate the lamb and the lard and the “pap” and the potatoes (roasted, of course!)
A weekend of friendship fit for Kings – we had followed our rugby team on Twitter and they had drawn with the Brumbies on Friday morning, too, so life was sweet!
All good things come to an end, and so Sunday lunch time indicated that it was time to head back to Port Elizabeth and to home, where we arrived at 17H00.
It was a great trip providing us with good family bonding time and an appreciation of the beauty of our country and of life.
The car was heavier – with many memories, and stones collected in the Tanqua Karoo (the driest area of South Africa) and plants from the Great Karoo and the Camdeboo.
We are truly privileged. Life is good!
There is a sign on the wall at the reception area of Kagga Kamma. It reads:
“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.”