Oops! Another trip which was not recorded and had to be reconstructed from memory 2 years later. This one was simply a visit to the beach because we did not had the funds to plan a trip. But that did not prevent us from getting their and back at leisure pace and on some thin roads.

Nieu Bethesda

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Our previous visit to Nieu Bethesda in December 2004 was not very nice. We went down in my then Toyota Camry 300 SEI which suffered from overheating problems after a major service done by the dealer. We reached our guest house very late that night from me having to nurse the car and putting in water all the time, which means the next day we could not really spend the time we wanted in town.

This time, we took a gravel road just after Colesberg since it is by now a habit and because there were long road works en route Noupoort. We booked again for one night only. The road to there was pretty and we were in a relaxed mood.

We entered town and immediately tacked down to walking pace and went to the contact where I booked a place in the Caravan Park, to get the key. Little did I know that the Landy had a mortal wound and was bleeding terribly for the past few hundred metres. I got back in and just before we reached the gate, the ever faithful Madman peeped "Low Oil Pressure". I was stunned, but switched off immediately and got out, just to see that there was a long black line of oil and a dam of it under the belly. I followed it and realised that the engine had to be close to dry, but the Madman eliminated any damage. The problem was that a nut for the oil cooler cracked loose on the high pressure side of the oil filter. This was indeed a strange thing to happen but I got the spanners and tightened the nut (and I never had to do it again after that day). Somehow, I did not put in a full can of oil, but I had about 3 litres in the trailer and emptied the bottle. This motor takes 7 litres and the oil did not even touch the dipstick...

With that problem sorted, we pitched camp, made dinner and I found it intriguing that we were surrounded by mostly dusty sedans! There were very few 4x4 vehicles in town and it warmed my heart to see that if people wants to experience our beautiful country, they will do it regardless of what they drive.

After a good rest, we broke camp and went to look for a place to have breakfast. It wasn't easy as the town is interesting as far as you go. We ended up at a premises with a small art gallery, a guest house with room one in top of a tower and a little restaurant. The tower suite is lovely and my two Rapunzels dropped their hair to pull me up.

The breakfast was as good. Everything was hand made and fresh. The small art gallery took another half an hour of our time and we could have spend more, but there was still the Fossil Exploration Centre to visit. This was a huge surprise. Somewhere in early the 1970's the river came down in flood and exposed one of the biggest finds of fossils in the history of the world. We should have stayed over at least another day.

Our next stop was the owl house and this is another place one cannot afford to miss. We drowned in the aura of the place with the strange creatures and took plenty of photos.

Yet, we had to get going and the Madman was a huge comfort when I had to nurse the Landy to Graaff-Reinet with half a sump of oil. The oil was enough to safely keep the pressure at normal and I found another can of Delo-400 at the spares shop. The Landy took another 3 litres and I once again appreciated the rugged design of these vehicles. It is still running perfect today.

Montagu Pass

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Montagu Pass became on of our regular turn offs to and from Mossel Bay since it cuts the tar road by almost 30 km and therefore does not take much longer to complete. It is a very relaxed drive and can easily be completed with 4x4 and trailer. There is plenty of single lane stretches where one needs to look for oncoming traffic and pull off soon and the place goes from Karoo to Forest in short distance.

There is one thing that still mystifies me though. Why on earth do so many people who travel these small roads, have the urge to scratch their names all over rocks, trees and bridges and dump their trash along the way?

Swartbergpas

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If there is one place that we still want to explore, it is the Swartberg Pass. I was last in "Die Hel" in 1995 and wish to see it again, but I want to stay over for a few nights. Apparently there is a fabulous rock pool somewhere up in the mountains and from the other info I have, there is a hiking trail too. It seems like one can easily spend a week or more in that area.

The pass itself, is and engineering master peace and on my bucket list is to complete all the passes built by Sir Thomas Bain Jr. We have done quite a few of them but not all of it.

We booked a space in Prins Albert at a private Caravan Park and were delighted to find that there are some great Restaurants here. This is another town where one should spend at least a full day if time allows it.

Rietbron

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We found Rietbron on our way from Prins Albert to Kareebos. This little town is in the middle of nowhere and was a big surprise. It had a small Post Office and neat little houses, suggesting that the people here somehow makes a reasonable living.

Kareebos

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