Day 2 – 22 July – Langebaan to Niewoudtsville

What a lazy day! yawn… we only left Langebaan at 10am, not because we slept late, nope not at all, we were on Two’er time. Our daughter Erica is just 2 and a half, she’s such a little thing to be on such a big road trip, but this is not her first although I don’t think she remembers hearing those Ellies in Addo rumbling in 2010.

The berg river, is flowing impressively, we stopped to check out that wine estate, its just before Picketberg on the left, and it runs along the river, but sadly it was closed, it is Sunday. Anyway so glad we tried to go there because we spotted the old roads bridge.

Erica and I munched nut bars and went for a walk, at one point stepping over a 5cm gap in the bridge and seeing the river below, the bridge is closed, a little scary but why not. Lunch was a sensible stop at Picketberg’s Spur, much to Erica’s delight we now have a purple balloon on our road trip.

We zooted on past Picketberg, and up the next pass, but had to race down the other side due to a maniac truck driver with his hazards on, clearly some brake issues… i should have let him pass as he was on my tail for km’s, nowhere to pull over, sandwiched behind another truck no fun at all.

The van rhynspass is spectacular, built in 1881, by the Bain family. What a view, like looking at an aerial photograph. At the top is a beautiful escarpment and a sweet little town called Niewoudtsville, we quickly found our accommodation for the night, on a farm called Willemsrivier. We’re staying in an old farmhouse, 3 bedrooms, sleeps 4, so quaint. This farm was an integral part of the Boer war in the early 1900’s, Smuts himself used this farm as his base and referred to it as an Oasis during the Boer War, because the farm owners went out of there way to make the General’s feel welcome.

We visited a 100m waterfall on the Doring River, about 15km down the road, wow, Capital W. Amazing. Erica and I posed for a daring photo for Phil, on a rock about a 1m from the edge of the “small” waterfall, but believe me it felt scary. You can feel and hear the water thundering down, really grounding. I picked up some pretty stones, something red, a white quartz and pink quartz as well. The waterfall is most spectacular from June to October in a “good rain year”. I could easily have sat on a rock in the sun like one of those little black lizard’s and just breathed the quiet.

Our next stop for today and final attraction was a private farm with a quiver tree forest. Amazing, car parked in the middle of nowhere, and up the mountain side Erica and I go into the forest. We were being extremely careful of the teeny tiny succulents growing in the loose dry shale. I hugged a quiver tree that was probably 300 years old. These tree’s that look like tall aloes grow in the most unlikely places, the earth is so barren and dry its hard to believe that anything can grow, but the evidence is everywhere from the huge trees to small petite little plants with tiny flowers. What a view from half way up, just Mesa’s and Butte’s everywhere. This place feels special, perhaps the ancient trees standing guard over such a forbidden landscape have something to do with it.

Phil says he feels safe, its to freaking cold for anyone to be lurking around outside. The weather website says 4 degrees tonight, but it feels like zero. At least our home for tonight has an electric blanket on the bed and a gas heater so we are snug inside, but we feel very sorry for a young boxer, typical farm doggy who has made his bed for the night on the mat outside the door.