Witrenoster was on the blocks with a minced motor and although I was not happy with the state of affairs, there was obviously nothing I could do about it. We had to make the best of it and took my Jetta 4 Tdi, which at least, was a very comfy car to drive in. SWAMBO once again was great, and managed to pack light enough so that we did not need a trailer
I opened my Mapsource and sort of figured out a general direction in which we would go and for a first night, we booked in on a guest farm called Taaiboschfontein, near Three-Sisters. The idea was once again to miss the main roads as far as possible and we left Bloemfontein the morning heading out to Jaggersfontein to see if we could get some breakfast there. Jaggersfontein is kept alive by an old Diamond mine and many of the worlds best diamonds, came from here. I was there as a small child once and had no recollection of it.
The road to Jaggersfontein is tar and in good shape, but it carries little traffic and was well suited for what we had in mind. Not knowing what to expect, we entered the dorpie and soon found that it was in a sorry enough state so that the least risky place to buy something for breakfast, would be the liqueur store. It was well supported by the locals. We are not the typical “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” type and carried on. I was puzzled that the speed limit did not increase significantly once we were out of the town and even more surprised when we entered Fauresmith only 10 km later. This must be the two closest towns in the country and I wonder what was the history behind the two being so close together. Perhaps it is because Fauresmith is a neat little town compared to Jaggersfontein – sort of uptown and downtown.
In the middle of Fauresmith, is and old steam locomotive on blocks and around this plain are a few shops. We stopped at one offering breakfast and had toasted sandwiches with some chat with the owners, as a sauce.
The Tdi of course, was still a long way in need for any liquid refreshments and stood patiently under the tree, ready for service. What made us decide to go via Orania, I have no clue and we turned left on an excellent gravel road short after Faurestmith and passed through Luckhoff. I simply cannot comprehend how the Cafe in a place like this have a hard time to survive, but there are three small Liquor stores in the main road making a living. Thinking back to my student days, perhaps I should review my reservations about alcohol. Apparently there are many who find it nutritious.
For me, Orania was like another planet and I do find it intriguing that there are actually enough people who went to this ideological Mars and make a living on it. I have a good (conservative) friend who have a pecan nut farm there. Look, Orania is indeed a great spot on the banks of the river and if you listen to the interviews with Mr. Verwoerd who made this happen, he lacks no intelligence and vision.
Orania is a neat little place. Perhaps I am biased, but the attitude of the people I saw in the front yards of their homes, are so tangibly conservative that I had no need to get out to shake hands and confirm it.
We thought that we would at least be able to stop over for a coffee at some place, but we could find nothing but a general dealer and at the distance, it was not worth the stop. That said, Orania was worth the visit just for the sake that we were there and found nothing apart from the surroundings, attractive.
Memories 2012: I started travelling the Northern Cape extensively from 2011 due to work. I passed Orania a couple of times and over the years the place still interested me since I do find the concept of a self sustaining community appealing. Isn't it great how travelling help to shape your ideas?
Taaibosch Guest Farm
SWAMBO found it after some Googling and it was the personification of Karoo hospitality. The large farm house was converted to accommodate guests and being in the middle of nowhere, the owner had to revert to renewable energy sources like solar panels and a wind turbine, to drive the lights and the fridges. Since this is a particular passion of mine, I found the setup interesting.
We had a good rest and the breakfast was good enough to take us through to Cape Town, where we stayed with Sister in Law for the first couple of days.
Being a large city, Cape Town is not my idea for a holiday destination and I go there simply because the family is there and we want to see them. Neither me, nor SWAMBO fancy shopping malls and it does not help much that the kids too get long faces if we have to go there. Our standard entertainment is a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium and Science Centre in Canal walk, which is closed since 2010.
To break the pattern, I went to the Franschoek Motor Museum and for any lover of wheels this is a place to die for. The Ruperts have over 400 cars in the collection with over 100 cars at any one time on display in the four big barns. The cars are rotated regularly which means that you can go every year and see different vehicles.
For me, the most wonderful car of the day, was the Cord.
The Cape Town visit was followed by a few days in Mossel Bay to visit my beloved Mother in Law.
How we got to Mossel Bay, I cannot remember any more, which means that it was either via Worcester, or via Sir Louwries Pass. That is why it is so essential that a journey should include the roads less traveled Those are the ones that can be remembered.
Jsut some nice pics from Glentana
The addition of the Swartberg Pass in this holiday, is a blatant lie. We did it six months later in June 2009 also with the Jetta and I decided to include it here for a few reasons. First of all, that is how I remembered it but my photos shows it was not the case. Next, I want to soften the thought that I did not travel the smaller roads as I should have done. And it is to forget about the speeding ticket from a camera somewhere between Hanover and Richmond.
I did the one half of the Swartberg Pass in 1995, the very first year that Dad got his Land Rover Defender. Back then, we stayed over in “Die Hel” for a night and it is till one of the all time favorite routes I have ever traveled. It is high on my list for a revisit with SWAMBO and the kids.
Swartberg Pass, is probably the most famous of all those built by Sir Thomas Bain Jnr, and it is worth mentioning that the road is of a such quality, that it NEVER required major renovations in the more than 100 years of it's existence. Make no bones, this pass is majestic in every possible way and should be on the bucket list of every serious local traveler.
This time, we would not turn off to “Die Hel”, but it would be my first time to do both the sides. Batting for the team Platkarre this time, I did take disappointed notice that the people who stopped at the lookouts were all Platkarre, while the oaks who made the dust, were all 4x4's.
On the Other side of Swartberg Pass, is Price Albert. It is a picturesque little place with plenty of good restaurants and home to a couple of artists and art galleries. Although we did not had time to stop over, it was on our list for a next time visit and we did just that in January 2012.
From there, we took a gravel road to Leeuw Gamka and then it was all the way tar back home.