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Circling Lesotho


On Friday, 26 May 2017, we headed out from our home in False Bay in the Cape. Our planned journey would take us all the way through the Western Cape, across the Eastern Cape, and up the KZN south coast (we were chasing the warm weather), from where we would turn inland to circle around Lesotho via the Free State, before heading home again.


We headed out early, and stopped for breakfast just on the other side of Sir Lowry’s Pass in Grabouw.

We like to take the back roads, so from Grabouw we turned onto the R321 through the ravines and on to Vyeboom and Villiersdorp. It’s dry in the Cape, and the Theewaterskloof Dam looks like Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert.

We were making our way to the R60 (which, after Montagu, becomes the R62) on the other side of Worcester, but first we stopped at the Aan de Doorns wine cellar to stock up with some Muscadel.

The R62 is one of our favourite roads because the view is beautiful along the mountains, and the Klein Karoo is just as spectacular. But we hadn’t reckoned on all the roadworks. From just past Ashton, and all the way to the main road in Montagu, it’s just one big construction site. It’s probably going to take a year or more before that road is driveable again.

In Barrydale, there were cars parked in front of every restaurant and coffee shop; and further on at Ronnie’s Sex Shop, a couple of guys were already wetting their beaks. The beautiful Victorian houses in Ladismith have always fascinated me, so we took a drive through town before heading onward. Then in Calitzdorp, the shop porches were packed with customers, and other visitors and residents were wandering through the streets. It was a Friday, and everyone was out stocking up for the weekend.

The Huisrivier Pass, just past Calitzdorp, is probably one of the most beautiful mountain passes in the Klein Karoo, and it brought back special memories for me. The first time I went over the pass, I was a young boy sitting in the back seat of my father’s 1951 Ford Consul. The pass was basically a two-track dirt road with big cliffs at some points; the Consul kicked up rocks as my dad navigated it up the steep inclines in first gear, while my mom gasped, a little panicky. We had slept next to a river in the Seweweekspoort the previous night – my brother and I in the Consul, my mom and dad on a mattress next to the fire.

Our first night on this trip would be at Kleinplasie Caravan Park in Oudtshoorn. The resort boasts stunning, and clean, ablutions. At dusk, we took a stroll through the town to admire all the beautiful old houses. There is something about a Karoo house that you do not find anywhere else.


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