It was a bit of a shock to this Kaartman to realise the other day that his very first map of the Garden Route hit the streets in 1973 ... that’s more than 40 years ago, omg. He remembers personally flogging the map up and down the N2 from Mossel Bay to Storms River, to a variety of caravan parks and resorts, most of which don’t exist any more. The map retailed for 85 cents I kid you not, from which we scooped a grand 50c per copy. Ah, those were the days, I hear you sigh, when bread was 9c a loaf and petrol 8c a litre. Don’t get too excited. Qualified teachers earned R125 per month and top prize in the lottery was a huge R50 000. A US$ was 70c and a UK£ was R1.40 and I could go on and on but that would get boring.
Forty years on we have decided to enlarge and expand the seventh edition [due next year] and with that in mind Mrs K and I loaded up the Kaartcart and set off for Albertinia. We aimed to research the nearer Garden Route first (the GR technically starts at Heidelberg); next trip will be to the Far East of Cape St Francis et al.
Apart from the stunning natural beauty the first thing that struck us as we meandered around the Heidelberg hills was the startling number of cows. They came in waves; Jerseys, Frieslands, Herefords, Nguni, often blocking the roads and rolling their large limpid eyes at us. The second thing that struck us was the astonishing variety of wildlife. The instant you get off that awful N2 all kinds of birdies and beasties appear between the hedgerows, running across the fields, or sitting on telephone poles.
|Clockwise from top left: |
Camel, baby ostrich, Cape terrapin, giraffe, finch, pugnacious ant
|Statement gates ...|
Almost worse are the landowners who have somehow contrived to erect giant gates across public roads – we found several of these. The signs say ‘private’ but the gates are not locked, and we wish more people would assert their right to use these roads. Those routes, too, will all be on the map.
But there is whimsy too. We giggled at the smallholding called ‘Dumbie Dykes’ [or maybe we boggled]; we loved the farm that has been renamed from ‘Vergenoeg’ to ‘The Far Side’. Lots of signs made us chuckle, and many small bright gardens made us smile.
|Clockwise from top left: |
Vermaaklikheid shop sign; Office Inqueries [Glory be!]; camouflaged dikdiks;
a pretty garden all in rows; Pinnochio in the hardeduine; seagulls behaving badly
We stayed at four different places on our trip, all of them very pleasant surprises, and all of them highly recommendable.
We started at Honeywood, just outside the Grootvadersbosch reserve [CapeNature don’t take bookings for Sunday nights]. It’s a bit of paradise, with the forest on your doorstep and views of the Langeberg marching away in both directions that cannot be beat. John Moodie will also sell you a bottle of his gorgeous home grown, ratel-friendly honey.
|Honeywood: http://www.honeywoodfarm.co.za/ – phone +27 83 270 4035|
|Wild Olive: http://www.wildoliveguestfarm.co.za/ – phone +27 28 754 2719|
|Helsewinde: http://www.lekkeslaap.co.za/akkommodasie/helsewinde |
– phone +27 83 225 4473
|Zoutpan Struishuis: http://www.zoutpan.com/ – phone +27 28 735 1119|
Next time it’s beyond the Tzitzikamma ...
Kaartman, Nov 2014