14 – 23 October 2022
What a lekker way to get into the 2022 summer swing of things!
5 of the 6 car group met at the Deja Brew coffee shop in Ceres on Friday,14 October at 2pm.The group was led by Jurie and Sannette and accompanied by Andy & Colleen,Walter & Val, Steve & Debbie and our German guests Fips & Dora. Ian & Stephanie went directly to the first camp where we met up with them later. After a delayed departure from Ceres, as Jurie need to have his wheels balanced, we got on the road and headed to our first camp, Nuwerus, in the Cederberg. An easy 2 hour drive through the scenic Koue Bokkeveld took us to our three- night / two-full days camp at this lovely Cederberg destination.
Jurie, Sanette, Ian and Stephanie brought mountain bikes with them and did a marathon half-day cycle on Saturday morning whilst Andy, Colleen, Steve, Debbie,Walter & Val went hiking to a dry water- fall and Fips & Dora went for a drive. After lunch most of us swam and relaxed before our first evening braai. Sunday morning brought about more cycling and hiking whilst the other half the group visited the incredible Truitjieskraal caves and rock formations in the afternoon.
Monday we left Nuwerus and after a steep and windy but not too difficult descent, from Eselbank we headed for the missionary town of Wupperthal.This quaint village had a horrendous fire that destroyed 53 homes, a community hall, clinic, a restaurant and the historic Moravian Mission Station in 2018 and it was good to see that much has been rebuilt, and the building continuing, mostly to the original architectural style. After a leisurely lunch we headed to the Biedouw Vallei Wegbreek Camp.With a full day’s exploring and driving behind us we were happily greeted by the dammed-up swimming spot as we crossed the causeway at the entrance to the camp.
On Tuesday morning most of us hiked to a lovely mountain pool passing deep and impressive potholes that had clear river waters tumbling down into them. A more leisurely afternoon had most of us swimming in the dam, sleeping, catching up on emails (as this was our first wi-fi spot since Friday) and taking a short walk to a deep gorge and waterfall.
Wednesday had us up and on the road out of the Cederberg and crossing from the Western Cape to the Northern Cape on a slow drive into the outskirts of Namaqualand. We stopped along the way to look down from our lofty Bokkerveld plateau at the endless Knersvlakte plains below. From here we headed for Hell’s se Pad, an old dirt road pass that dates back to 1880.The single track pass is a steep decent with sharp turns which necessitated engaging low range, more to slow one down than because of difficult terrain. Once down the pass we threaded our way through multiple possible paths before getting on our road to the immaculately managed Papkuilsfontein Farm, our camp for the next 2 nights.
On Thursday the mountain bikers went exploring the farm and others drove to the viewpoint of the impressive Oorlogskoof canyon and waterfall and rock pool.
Friday morning had us all up early and eager to go to the farm restaurant for a much-anticipated farm breakfast which Steve and Debbie had apprehensively recommended. Fortunately, we were not disappointed – this truly has got to be one of the most scrumptious breakfasts in the world (no exaggeration). After this humongous feast, we all, with very full tummies, lumbered out to our trusty steeds and headed off to Niewoudtsville. Here we stopped at Protea Motors to view the collection of old motor- bikes. It’s a large and interesting collection of bikes, and a few cars, although in a disappointingly and rather shambolic old and very dusty garage.
First stop out of town was to see the Nieuwoudtville Waterfall, and although dry at this time of the year, is still impressive. From here we took a circular detour to the Gannabos quiver tree forest. Although the forest is impressive you can only view it from the road as it is on the fenced-off Gannabos Guest Farm with many onerous signs telling you to stay out unless you are a paid- up guest.We then took a detour to a more friendly private farm where Andy had found a sandy beach along the river and here we stopped for lunch.This was our hottest day so far so most went for a welcome river swim.The sand was rather soft and not all had let their tyres down enough (as this was the only sand) first Steve got stuck, but managed to get out on his own, and then Jurie bogged down badly and had to be towed out by Fips in his Landcruiser. Once out we went back to thank the farmer for letting us go to the river and left a few presents of gratitude with him.
In Loeriesfontein we stopped for fuel and stocked up at the local supermarket and then went in search of a Boet Loubser and wife who build aeroplanes. I kid you not – a husband and wife team build and renovate aeroplanes, all on their own with no extra help, in this tiny dorp – quite amazing.We then headed to the Skurweberg campsite just out of town. At the campsite, we were met by a very enthusiastic Eric, a talkative ex-pilot (what’s with aeroplanes and pilots out here in the middle of nowhere!) who has chosen to escape the rat-race and settle on his little piece of paradise and build this eccentric well-equipped camp on the jagged hills of the Skurweberg.
Saturday morning had us up early as the annual Loeriesfontein Land- bouskou was on the go, and we were not going to miss the chance of experiencing the local Boere carnival! First we said our goodbyes to Walter & Val who needed to get back home and then stopped off at the ‘Windpomp’ museum to see the life-size collection of different, conventional and oddly shaped wind pumps.Then off to the Land- bouskou, woo-hoo! . . . well actually not really – a bit of a letdown except, for some lekker local kos and beautiful horses, but not enough going to keep us there for more than an hour or so.
It was discussed on the trip to spend the last night heading back to- wards Cape Town and the Boegoeberg 4×4 camp about 10 km from Clanwilliam was decided upon.This is a stunning camp, especially when you have the whole place to yourself, as we did, although I would not like to be there when it’s full as it has 50 campsites and a few cottages, which could be overwhelming.
Sunday morning we all packed up leisurely, reluctant to be leaving after nine great days of exploring and in great company.We left the camp individually heading out on a very picturesque pass that took us back to the mainstream N7 and the reality of getting back to our homes at various distances, but non so far as Fips & Dorra having still a long trip back to Germany!
A fantastic trip with a great group of, new and old friends – here’s looking forward to the next 4×4 club outing!
Report by Steve Newbould