If you’re a landscape photographer, astral photographer, 4×4 enthusiast, or just someone who wants to chill out, relax and listen to your microbes singing in the clear Roggeveld air, then the campsite under the canopy of poplar trees at Skurweberg Guest Farm is the right place.
Owned by Witjan and Elsa van der Merwe, Skurweberg Guest Farm is situated in a long valley some 45 kilometres from the town of Sutherland, with the campsite right on the banks of the upper Fish River.
Activities: 4×4, hiking, horse rides, night rides, mountain biking
Skurweberg is simple, but well maintained, with a central electrical point and a neat ablution block with tons of hot water. There are also lapa and braai facilities.
I loved being on a working Roggeveld Karoo farm. To be able to sleep with the caravan door wide open, and with the whisper of the wind in the tall poplars lulling me to sleep at night.
The night sky is so clear and undisturbed by extraneous light, and it seems so close, that you feel sure you can reach up and touch it.
Then, in the morning, the smell of freshly-mowed lucern wafted over the campsite as I took a walk around the farmstead with the three farm dogs, Stoffel, Vlekkie and Tess.
And I joined Dirk Pitte who has worked on the farm for years, as he went across to check on the farm’s herd of goats.
Skurweberg Guest Farm is a lekker place to base yourself for a couple of days while you go out and explore the surrounding area. Firstly, a trip to nearby Sutherland and the nearby South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO for short) is a must.
Then visit Paulsen’s Butchery, which has some of the best Karoo mutton I have eaten. The small local grocer, I think it’s an OK Mini Market, will blow you away with its selection of goods that would normally only be found in the city. And the old dressed-sandstone buildings will keep your cameras busy for days.
Another interesting day trip is to head out to the small town of Middelpos, owned entirely by the Van der Westhuizen family. The dorp consists of a small shop, a petrol station, a post office, some cottages, and the Middelpos Hotel. The Van der Westhuizens also farm with milk goats, so try some of their goat milk cheese − you won’t regret it.
If you decide to stay over at the hotel or the small campsite in Middelpos, you can head down the Gannaga Pass to the Tankwa Karoo National Park.
But, let’s get back to Skurweberg Guest Farm. Close to the farm is another magnificent mountain pass, the Ouberg Pass. It really is steep, and it’s perhaps not a good idea to tow a caravan along it unless you are an experienced driver. In fact, if you are adventurous, you could go down the Ouberg Pass and head off to explore the Tankwa Karoo.
Skurweberg really is a lovely place to camp. I fully recommend it.
By Richard van Ryneveld
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