What a wonderful meander we had visiting remote and not so remote areas of our beautiful country. I packed for any weather type except freezing. And cold it was. At times we were wrapped in jackets, jerseys, scarves and gloves with the heater on blast in the car. We watched sheep and goats gather for warmth and were relieved we weren't out in the veld. We visited the Mountain Zebra park (very lovely, very cold) but did enjoy the craggy scenery.
We drove up the Baviaan's kloof road from Petensie and wondered if our very sturdy car would make it over boulders and through rivers. The Baviaan's kloof 23 hour cycle race from Willowmore to Jeffrey's Bay happened while we were there. The cyclists must be crazy and the winners should be admired (the record this year was 71/2hours). It took us 5 hours by 4x4 and Willowmore is another 2 hour drive from our BnB.
We re-met family in Wilowmore and visited our secret haunts on the family farm Mooredale. Willowmore is a beautiful Karoo town where we meandered through well thought out shops and chatted to the very friendly locals. I met more Moore family(again) and found that one of David's cousins and I could 'kuier' very nicely together. I fell in love with donkeys and had a very happy ride with two mules (look at ear length) who were 'exhausted' as they'd taken 3 other sets of tourists for a jaunt in the morning. On the farm (where David and I met 56 years ago) we spent an hilarious evening chatting to David's cousin's two boys who waxed lyrical about farming, hunting and biltong. Their mother and I re-connected on a new level, understanding the connections between family and friendship. What joy.
We then ambled to Addo where the kudu and elephants enchanted us in their numbers. We stayed at Nyati Lodge with wide open accommodation and a 180 degree view of the mountains. We then moved to Knysna where we reconnected with special friends and had many deep conversations about friendship (yes I know) children and Bridge.
Prince Albert was our next port of call and quite frankly nearly our last. We fell in love with the people, the food and our accommodation. There is an ambience there which completely includes everyone. The locals are friendly and helpful and I don't think it was only because we were visitors. They seemed really interested in us. We had delectable meals in most all the restaurants. We met a ghost in a painting in the hotel. Visited an Olive farm, a dairy and mingled with the locals at the Saturday market. We ate at the hotel where a man tootled on his harmonica while sipped gin cocktails, had dinner in a gallery and captured the full moon above our guesthouse. There is a very creative jeweller in a shop called Cinnamon & Grace and a chef who cooks only for 16 people an evening. The town still 'leis water' and it's very safe to walk around at night. Oh...and a calligraphy friend of mine has a farm nearby. You can see why we nearly ended our journey there. (I'm sure I could find another 3 for bridge too).
We reluctantly left this little haven for the Karoo National park where we had wonderful service in the restaurant from a tiny lady called Gertruida who would give a sergeant major a tip or two on how to treat the guests. It's a stark park but with Karoo beauty. We then drove through the Great Karoo to Mokala where we had beautiful accommodation and had to drag our bags about 100 metres from the vehicle with little help from anyone. I simply laughed myself silly because it was crazy lifting bags, cooler boxes and food and we looked liked pack donkeys. However the work the rangers are doing is remarkable as they build up the roan, tsesebe, sable and more populations.
Of course our journey back to Johannesburg became more hectic as we approached the city. I suppose it's a good way to wrap one's mind around the fact that the holiday is drawing to a close. I often wonder what new comers do as they dodge taxis and buses through to their final destination.
As my father always took the scenic route so do we. We viewed magnificent scenes, took some special photographs and most importantly shared some wonderful moments together. Thank you David. I look forward to our next adventure as we've learnt travel is the most intense form of learning.
Till next time...