Gatsrivier weekend trip

15 – 17 October 2021

Andy and I started the weekend early and had a leisurely travel to Gatsrivier on Thursday morning.  The weather was cool in Cape Town when we left but we soon went through a blustery downpour driving past Paarl.

We managed to finally leave the rain behind and were hoping that this was the last that we would see on our weekend trip.

Turning off onto the gravel road to Gatsrivier, we eventually had to let some air out of the tyres on the car and caravan due to the bumpy state of the road – it was cold and windy when we stopped and we were glad to get back into the warmth of the cab. Of interest on the road to Gatsrivier is the Perdekraal wind farm, of which all of the blades on the wind turbines were turning (no surprise there!).

Shortly after we had arrived at Gatsrivier, chosen our campsite out of the many available options for our group and set up camp, Pieter and Marelize, who manage the farm, came to welcome us. They are a super couple who really make one feel very at ease on the farm.

With evening and a beautiful sunset drawing on, we soon had to start prep for our gourmet dinner of roast beef and roast potatoes in the potjie, Yorkshire pudding in our camp oven, carrots and peas in the steamer plus homemade gravy – gosh, we ate like a king and queen that night! It was all so delicious and decadent! Luckily, the wind died down and we had a peaceful evening with full bellies listening to the night sounds around the campsite.

On Friday morning, we finally got our A’s into G and took a walk up to the mast above the campsite, stopping often to admire the gorgeous flowers along the track. Despite the uphill gravel road, it was not a hard walk, and we took a bit of a break at the top, looking down over the campsite from a good height. Strangely enough, the walk up to the mast took about 1 hour 25 minutes (with a bit of a break on the way up), but the walk down took about 1 hour 10 minutes (without any breaks) – it sure felt like we were walking faster on the way down but clearly, it was a figment of our imaginations!

On our return to camp, a cold wind had picked up so we were busy putting up the windbreak when Trevor and Ronel Huber arrived.  After greeting each other and spending some time catching up after Trevor and Ronel had pitched camp, the rest of the group, with Jurie and Sanette and their sexy new caravan leading the convoy, started arriving.  It was lovely to see everyone, some of whom we haven’t seen for quite a few months.

Eventually, everyone had chosen a spot to pitch camp close to each other, and not in the designated campsites, as these were too far apart to work practically for our group. Next, we started the fire in the firepit near our campsite as it was nicely protected from the wind.  The evening flew by with members braaing, catching up and telling stories of what they had been up to over the past few months.

Saturday morning dawned bright and breezy (emphasis here!) and some energetic souls decided to take a walk to the Fontein picnic spot to stretch the legs.  The rest of the group chilled out at camp, catching a ray or two of sunshine when the clouds parted ways. 

After baking a huge loaf of bread in our Coleman camp oven while kuiering with the group around our camp, the remainder of the afternoon was spent with a grand tour and oohms and aaahs of Jurie and Sanette’s new caravan, which they are madly in love with!  Jurie and Sanette could have charged admission with the interest the caravan was generating! My crystal ball shows many exciting trips in that beauty in the future!

Another super “gesellige” evening with a biggish fire (as big as Andy was allowed to make it with the trees hanging over the firepit!) was enjoyed with the group noticeably more relaxed than the night before. Lying in a nice warm bed that night, the sound of the froggy conversation in the bubbling stream next to the campsite once again lulled one to sleep, better than any sleeping tablet ever could!

Sunday morning arrived much too quickly – the weekend was unfortunately, practically over, with various members of the group packing up early and leaving bit by bit to tackle another week in the city. Jurie and Sanette took advantage of the windless weather to do some mountain biking and then a well deserved afternoon kip.

Andy and I and Jurie and Sanette were fortunate to be able to stay on another night, and we spent this catching up and chatting around a warm fire.

The next day, Andy and I packed up leisurely in the warm sunshine – it looked like it was going to be a glorious day at Gatsrivier! How bloomin’ typical on a Monday! We said our goodbyes to Jurie and Sanette, who were going to do some more mountain biking before it got too hot. A lovely sight on our trip home was a Cape Cobra stopping to challenge our vehicle before sliding off across the gravel road into the bush.

Despite the cold and windy weekend weather, the warmth of the fireside conversation more than made up for it!

A huge word of thanks to Jurie and Sanette for arranging the weekend and I am sure that everyone will be more than keen enough to join in on a (hopefully!) future trip to Gatsrivier!

Written by Colleen McMahon.

Trip participants (8 vehicles):

  • Jurie Schuurman & Sanette Theunissen + friends John & Sue Fursman
  • Andy & Colleen McMahon
  • Trevor & Ronel Huber
  • Ken & Shona Sturgeon + daughter Robyn, son-in-law Frank & grandchildren Jamie & Luka
  • Eric & Cathy Kretzmann
  • Ivan Napoleon & Anita Barnes