It was a dark and stormy day when we woke up somewhere in the Agter-Pakhuis. The plan was to head west and north, to research the land beyond the Doring River for an extension to the touring map of the Cederberg. It’s harsh country out there – ever been to Loeriesfontein in high summer?
Don’t go there in summer, high or low. We resolved to research the area in spring, in the time of the daisies. There’d be lots of lovelies to look at, in between clocking the miles.
It was a dark and stormy day when we woke up. Our destination was Vanrhynsdorp, but many miles of slippery Brandberg Pass lay between us. We visited our neighbours instead, for a mid-morning rugby match. The recent one that that French ref stuffed up so badly. I made a mental note to forgive my daughters-in-law if they did not name a future grandchild ‘Bismarck’. It was too early for beer, but by the time we left it was still lightly raining.
|Rain near Urionskraal; rain on the Knersvlakte: miles and miles of b all|
‘Koebee’ means the ‘place of fighting’. You can’t argue with that. The roads were dark, wet, slippery. The Koebee Pass is very steep, with a wrong-way camber, a yawning chasm. The road wound ever upwards, disappearing into mist. We turned back, took the Urionskraal road instead.
|Fynbos in the rain; and daisies at last!|
Riverside Palms was quite warm and cosy. Outside the rain dribbled ever onwards. We hit the highway to Nieuwoudtville, up Vanrhyn’s Pass, wondering who he was. The Knersvlakte was bare, no daisies to be clocked at all. We swung off the R27 where the sign said ‘Oorlogskloof’. You can’t argue with that, either.
The sign also said, ‘No Entry Without Permit’. We drove in, looking for a man with permits for us. Eleven kilometres later we turned around at an empty entrance arch. One of those thatchy, bushveld things that mark Nature Reserves. In RSA, if you don’t have thatch on your gate, it’s not a proper reserve. It was freezing cold, mist whipping through the sopping wet bossies, not a daisy in sight. The road was bad beyond reason.
|L to R: Nieuwoudtville waterfall; Elmarie se Plek; Owls on the road|
Photos by Jeanne Ward
‘A car fell off there last month,’ the lady at the info office had said. We found low gear and headed down. The road was steep, but we did not fall off. There were kokerboom. Quiver trees, if you didn’t know. An hour later we bottomed out. Back in the Knersvlakte. It means gnashing flats, as in teeth. Sheep there were, no daisies. A few pendoring trees. More and more pendoring trees – omigod, we oathed, we’re in a river bed. The ruts ahead got deeper. We gnashed the gears, put foot, clocked up to 60 as we sped over the drying mud.
Phew, we said, emerging on solid ground once more. No human beings for forty kays, no water or food in car, could have been tricky there.
|Loeriesfontein: wall to wall flowers and windpompe|
|History in the countryside: a Nieuwoudtville Boer met sy roer, and a railway bus at Loeriesfontein|
|Wash-day at Lokenburg; flowers at Papkuilsfontein|
Confession time follows. There was a farm gate. Under the fence next to the gate was a trap. An iron thing, it had drop-doors at both ends, released by a pressure plate in the middle. If you were a beastie who can’t open gates, it was the only way through the fine-mesh fence. Porcupines clearly can’t, because there were a couple of quills in the trap.
|Animal rights: donkeys waiting for hay; a goat waiting for The Flood|
Our animal rights proclivities satisfied, we headed south in gathering sunshine. Daisies, daisies everywhere; we clocked them all.
|The Wupperthal Band, and the Kokerboom Forest|
Now you know all about how we research a map. A touring map, that is. While clocking the daisies, too.
Kaartman, Oct 7 2013: Happy birthday, Arch!