Oh to Travel on Gravel in the Klein Karoo

Road tripping is definitely part of what an adventure travel blogger does. Give me the gravel to travel on and I’m there!

Once again I had to head to the mountain scapes
of the Klein Karoo and we started out our adventure journey just outside the outskirts of Mosselbay.

It’s here you’ll find the sign Herbetsdale, turn right and head towards the small hamlet placed in the folds of the foothills before you wind your way through Cloetes pass. The next stretch of red road follows the Langeberg mountains and guides you gentle towards the great Gourtiz River.

We dance with dust devils, watch the ostriches parade their feathers and hear the “croo croo” of the Blue Cranes while they clump together and feed on what ever the veld has to offer. I take in a deep breath of the dry air, look admirably over the semi arid landscape, it definitely bares its own beauty, this solace playground of earthly tones.

The cross over the Gouritz River is dry, and river bed is packed with thristy stones that hasn’t seen a drop of water for a long while, it reaches out into the stone abyss on both sides and I mesmerizingly stare out and imagine it in flood, it must be quite a magnificent sight. In the meantime it lies and waits patiently for the moisture to arrive.

The next climb is into the mountain section, the reds of Rooiberg. The slatety gravel roads wind towards the small town of Van Wyks Dorp, we skip past it and head to our Olive farm homestead that is laid out on the rocky slopes of this hilly destination and our accommodation for tonight. Later that evening we soaked in the quiet surroundings, lit a fire and cracked open a bottle of wine. This is always soul food, this is escapism at its best.

The new day arrives, Autum delivers another crisp clear morning and the warm light filters its way into every corner of the small stone cottage. Lazily we gather our backpacks and head to the kloof for a morning of exploration between the cliff faces. We follow the trickle of mountain water trailing among the rocks and discover lush green spots hidden far from the rest of the world. Later that morning as we stumbled out of the kloof, hot, sweaty and happy, breathing in the herb filled air of this sun baked land it made us appreciate the magnitude this jagged landscape that has been carved out in time.

A quick shower and a little freshing up is next, our curious wanderlust has not been depleted and it was time to ramble into town…

We headed back to the small “dorpie” of Van Wyks dorp. With the likes of the “Van Wyks dorp mall” and many of the other quirky stops. Indulging in the quaint little shops, sites and galleries the town has to offer, before finding ourselves in a charming little pub called Spekboom with friendly folk and excellent country side hospitality. It was just on the beer o’clock hour and time to quench our thirsts.

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The afternoon cools down as the day light dissipates into another soft sunset over the valley. Tomorrow we will be heading over the mountains and explore new passes, with this in mind, we light another fire, crack open a bottle of wine and soak up the natural beauty of the Karoo boime.

Next day….

Dawn, its time to pack up and go. With the promise of the new days discovery ahead of us we enthusiastically pack, slam a road trip breakfast together and head out. The dust track works its way up the mountain range of the Rooiberg and slowly we climb towards the lookout point of these majestic earth formations. Its alluring curves pleasing the senses of our minds, how awesome.

Eventually we leave the mountain range behind and the flat landscape opens up as we point the nose of our vehicle in the direction of Calitzdorp for a much needed cup of java and a stretch. Next up, the Groenfontein road that edges its way along the Nels River. The scenic route has a lot to offer the day traveller and our stops included a look over the very empty Calitzdorp Dam, a make shift drive inn, Peter Bayly’s wine farm and a taste of the local nectar he produces, the karoo gallery of Robert Young where he captures the emotions of people in his very visual storytelling photos. The meander ended with a journey past the Redstone Hills so elegantly placed among the foothills of Swartberg Mountians in arid Klein Karoo.

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It’s time to get back to the tar road and head home. Exhausted and happy we wind our way back to the cool coastal stretch of the Garden Route. The sun sinks into the west of land and the earth cools down gently.

I’ll be back for more adventures, for there is always a new a discovery to be made on the other side the Outeniqua Mountains and it’s Klein Karoo

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