Montagu to Graaf Reinet, South Africa

The vineyards in Barden
Montagu to Ladismith

Just in case you were wondering, we haven’t disappeared into darkest Africa; we just haven’t had Internet connection! Anyway… to resume. (Photo on left is Louise, Eric, Kathy and baby Richard)
David, Dave and Barbara returned from their hike in the Cedarberg Mountains and joined us for a sumptuous lunch, prepared for us by Alta, Louise’s mother-in-law, before setting off for Natal. Reluctantly, we said goodbye to all those living at the Knipe’s idyll and left down the dirt road to Montagu before heading for the R 62 towards Ladismith (not to be confused with Ladysmith) where we found Le Roux B&B where there was both camping and self catering chalets. Needless to say, David and I stayed in the chalet while Dave and Barbara camped. The chalet was very comfortable and well equipped and the proprietress quite delightful – website http://www.lerouxbnb.co.za/.

Ladismith to Graaf Reinet

Still on the R 62, we drove through some stunning countryside to Calitzdorp, where we stopped off for scones and cream and a visit to the local winery. Then we took a dirt road to Groenfontain and over the Swartberg pass to the tiny town of Prince Albert. While David and Barbara went to the information office to find suitable accommodation, Dave and I waited in the car. Just across the road from where we sat I spotted a rock, hanging on a triangular frame, (see photo) with a sign in Afrikaans that reads:
Bodo and Gudrun’s weather forecasting apparatus
If the rock is….
Wet, it is raining
Dry, it is not raining
Warm, the sun is shining
Cold, it is cloudy
Moving, it is windy
White, it is snowing
Invisible, it is misty
- and if you are now laughing, may you have a prosperous day.
David and Barbara came up with wonderful accommodation; we stayed in the Swartberg Private Nature Reserve, David and I in a beautiful chalet and Dave and Barbara camping. For anyone travelling to this region, I heartily recommend this camp (there was even an electric blanket!). Look at www.uys.com/bushmanvalley.

After a wonderful night’s sleep. (us – not Dave and Barbara as they had to battle with a wind howling around their tent for most of the night) we breakfasted and then chose to go on a half-hour guided walk with our guide, Joseph. Unfortunately, Joseph had little notion of what constituted either ‘half-an-hour’ or a ‘walk’, as it turned out to be a two-hour hike up the mountain! Dave took great delight in telling me that this ‘walk’ was far more demanding than any they had undertaken in the Cedarbergs! Joseph turned out to have an in-depth knowledge of the bushman tribes who lived in the area many years before; and we were very pleased that we had made the effort to engage him.
Once on the road again, we passed through the amazing Meringspoort with its high canyon walls and then drove for 360 km through the Karoo, mostly in torrential rain – very boring! That night we stayed in the municipal chalets at the Urquart Camping Site just outside Graaf Reinet. Definitely NOT recommended. Ughhh!

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