A big thanks to my hubby for his adventurous spirit on our most recent trip from the 08 – 13 July 2021. Here we are again on another motorhome road trip. This time we hired a Mercedes Benz 2 berth motorhome from Maui, which was smaller than the 4 berth we used on our last trip, but still very comfy. Being a smaller vehicle also meant that driving it was a bit easier because we didn’t have to consider the extra height and width of our previous camper. It was a manual, six speed diesel, which offers a lot of power and easy handling.
Our first stop after leaving Cape Town was for the famous Houw Hoek Pass where they make a mean cuppa. After a few roadworks stop and go delays, we pulled into the Gansbaai Overstrand camp site. Being winter, only a few other brave hearts dared the weather. Storms were predicted and just after we settled in and connected to power, the heavens opened. The sea was like a cooking pot and was filled with dancing white horses and made us feel blessed and happy to be alive. Our van was well equipped, so making a lovely hot cup of tea and enjoying shortbread cookies was the order of the day.
The storm continued right through the night and it pulled and pushed us around. Thank goodness we were in a solid abode, and not in tents like our neighbours! Morning broke into the most glorious day, with everything looking clean and fresh. We then left Gansbaai and headed on to Mossel Bay. It took four hours of driving through beautiful yellow landscapes, as the Canola fields were in full bloom. The campervan sailed over the rolling hills and felt like a normal car. Mossel Bay Point Caravan Park was only half full when we arrived. We parked in the front seaside stands where the waves were breaking, and it almost felt as if the sea-spray could be felt on our faces.
Perfect weather allowed us to go on long walks along the boardwalk but due to Covid and the latest lockdown regulations, all the coffee shops and restaurants were only offering take always. Rows and rows of cars parked facing the sea while the occupants enjoyed either a coffee or an ice cream. Life was good! As the sun dipped behind the Big Cave mountain, braai fires were started and it felt like a true holiday. Surfers were waiting for the right wave to come along and people chatted among themselves in the campsite. Sunrise was at 07:35am, as a perfect golden orb rose over the ocean, which we took in from the interior of the cabin.Our next day’s adventure started and we head off to Victoria Bay. The camping site is high up on the mountain, where you are rewarded with the most spectacular views. Sadly, we decided not to stay overnight, as their prices have shot up to R710.00 per night. We decided that it was really too steep, no matter how good the view.
We then ventured off to Harold’s Bay, where the camp master offered us a lovely spot for only R144.00 which had lush green vegetation with the most beautiful honey birds and other bird life. The ablutions were clean, neat and very comfy. Nightfall came and we sat under the crisp clean sky full of stars. City life is wonderful, but never can one see such a wonder of a pitch-black sky, scattered with millions of stars in the cityscape.
Early the next morning, we left for Prince Albert, travelling through Blanco near George, climbing the Outeniqua Pass with its many vantage points to admire the mountains. It reminded us again how blessed we are to live in beautiful South Africa. In Oudtshoorn, we took the turn off to De Rust, a sleepy, quiet little town on a Sunday morning. Still, the village was well preserved and a pleasure to see. Next was the most famous Meiringspoort which has majestic rock formations. We crossed the 22 little water bridges and passed many well-kept rest places. All these rest stops are well cared for, some even containing succulent gardens to admire. We walked around but the temperature dropped to minus 3 degrees and we were soon on our way to Klaarstroom.
My husband called it a ‘cowboy town’ because one gets the feeling a few cowboys and crooks could storm in at any time. It would be an excellent town to shoot a movie. A few kilometres on, and we arrived in Prince Albert. Words cannot describe the beauty of this town at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. There was still a working water mill and water in the canals runs through the village. It is called a “lei water” system and provides the residents with water for their gardens and orchards. A big white Dutch Reform Church, build in 1865 stands tall in the main road. A bit of interesting info, the pews inside looks like the Groote Kerk in Cape Town, every one has a door to close off, after a family took their seats. Also, the pulpit was built exactly on the plan of the Groote Kerk. I also noticed the clock was right on time. I have often found that these big church clocks either stand still or are completely out of time.
Prince Albert is also famous for its many restored gabled houses. The gables are known as the Prince Albert Gables and some of these houses date from the 1760’s. The famous Swartberg Hotel dates back to 1864. It has had many owners and is known to have a few ghosts floating around! It is very well kept and a great attraction in the village, but again, sadly, with Covid restrictions, Sunday lunch was only offered on a takeaway basis, which caused a traffic jam in front of the Hotel. Friendly young girls brought out the orders like the olden days at the Road Houses.
We booked into the Olienhof camping site, but unfortunately, the town’s electricity was off, so with our Camper van’s gas stove, boeretroos and beskuit was a welcome filler. The evening dawned cold and crisp, but oh my goodness, the universe burst open with the most beautiful star show above. I am a Karoo-born girl, but I cannot remember ever seeing such a spectacular star show. The Milky Way looked like a real road and the Three Kings shone like LED lights. Crickets, frogs and other creatures gave us a symphony of nature as night temperatures dropped to minus 1 and with no electricity, we snuggled in early under thick warm woollies. The following morning was bright and clear. We just closed all cupboards (as that was all that you need to do in a campervan) and set off via Prince Albert Road, the railway station, on the N1 to Cape Town.
Matjiesfontein was our next stop, and the Old Lord Milner Hotel with all the well-preserved buildings and surroundings, inviting us in for a warm welcome with aromatic coffee and delicious tartlets. A woodburning stove warmed up in the little coffee shop. We continue to Touwsriver and about 20 minutes later, we turned off to Montague on the Koo Valley road. A good, tarred road took us to the top where we could look down into the beautiful valley below where they produce the best peaches.
Legend has it, that a few boys were playing in the orchard and ate a few peaches and used the pips as bullets in their ‘ketties’. The pips germinated and good healthy peach trees grew which produce the most succulent and tasty peaches today. This was the beginning of the world renowned Koo canned fruit. We arrived in Montague in pouring rain and very low temperatures. The campsite is in the middle of town and is very well laid out. Paved sites with electricity and well-maintained ablution blocks are the order of the day. There are two swimming pools, but in the cold weather, only the ducks are brave enough to go swimming. There are lovely hikes into the mountains that start just outside the main gates.
We left at 9am the next morning and the temperature was only 5 degrees. It was a smooth ride onto Worcester where we saw the most amazing view of the snow covered Matroosberg Mountains. It looked like the Alps in Europe, and every now and then the clouds would lift a bit to show us the wonder beneath. It was simply indescribable the beauty of white crevasses and peaks.
Next we moved on to the Du Toitskloof Pass which also had large amounts of snow everywhere. This ended another adventure with the campervan. Until next time, happy travels.
The Two Grey Nomads.