Toontjie 4km - 14 October 2017

Toontjie 4km - 14 October 2017
Alfie's first medal

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Our trip to the Gamka River (Matjiesvlei, near Calitzdorp)

Each year, just before the rush of Christmas and a full house for four or five weeks, and also to celebrate our wedding anniversary, we try to get away for a few days to 'chill'.  This year we spent a few days next to the Gamka River at Matjiesvlei - 7.5 kms into a mountain valley.

River running through the Tradouw Pass

On the way there, we passed through the Tradouw Pass, which was beautiful.  It's impossible to capture such stunning scenery on camera.  You just have to be in amongst it to be able to appreciate it properly.

All that stopping to look at the view every few minutes made us very hungry so we stopped at Ronnie's Sex Shop for lunch.  What an amazing place!  Great fun!  Nothing pretentious!  And a great lunch!

Stopping for lunch
Everywhere is covered in 'graffiti'... 
... or various items of clothing!
The story behind it is great - look it up! Or for those who can't be bothered, here's the link:

Anyway, eventually, after driving for ages through the Little Karoo with very little or no cell phone reception, we came to Ladismith, where we did some shopping.  We needed food once we got to the cottage, so we decided to stop there and do it.  Just as well we did, as we found out much later that there isn't even a supermarket in Calitzdorp (our would-be nearest town)!  What an eye-opener!

We reached the cottage late afternoon and what a view!

River Gamka
The cottage appeared to come complete with farm dogs too!  Everywhere we went, they went.  They took it in turns to be our tour guides, and were very good at it too.   They even slept outside our cottage at night.   They knew they weren't allowed inside the cottage but settled down outside as if they had known us all their life!

Jock - knew he wasn't allowed inside.
If we didn't know better, the greyhound could have been Alfie's mum!
Steve had taken his fishing rod as the river is full of fish.  So, he spent a  lot of time down on the river, while I did a lot of reading!  There was a canoe down there, so he went out in that some of the time.

Steve canoeing along the river - birdwatching

 He never caught any fish though, only dogs!

She was never far away!

We did three of the four walks in the area too - one walk a day!  It was hard work!  Spectacular views with all of them.  One walk (the cliff's edge walk) was along the river but getting higher all the time.  Jock came with us on that one.  And very well he did too!  He didn't get us lost once!

Climbing alongside the river.
 It was also very hot work!  I had intended running one of the days - but, it was not to be!  For one, I did not get up early enough!  For another, I was exhausted from the walking.  But - it is still exercise!

The second walk we did was through a kloof several kilometres into the mountains.  The greyhound came with us on that walk.  It would probably have been better if she hadn't as she is getting on a bit and had had a sore leg the previous day.  It was also very, very hot.

Kloof walk.

We took a packed lunch with us and lots of water.  Luckily, Blondie found her own water supply too - and lay down in it to cool down, bless her!  Sensible dog!

Having a rest (and a drink).
I have to admit it was nice to get back from that walk, have a shower and sit down with a drink - waiting for the braai!

We did 15km of walking (more like hiking really!) and ascended about 1500 metres overall (according to my Garmin, which I wore when we did the walks).

HOW long's the braai going to be??

We had a great stay and all too soon it was time to come back.  We packed up and had to leave the dogs sitting side by side at the gate, looking quite sorrowful.  Still, I'm sure there will be more people to entertain very soon!

We drove back the way we had come and started looking for somewhere to stop for lunch just outside of Barrydale.  We passed a blue sign at the side of the road advertising food - The Blue Cow at the waterfront!  Interesting!  There can be no waterfront in the Little Karoo!  To Steve, that sounded like just his thing and he needed to find out about it now, so we followed it all the way into Barrydale.  It turned out to be a lovely, rustic place on a dam full of fish and ducks.  Very pretty with a backdrop of mountains, so we stayed and had a lovely lunch there.

The owner came and talked to us, as people always do here, and she said that she was concerned because the road was closed due to protests.  The farmworkers have been protesting recently, she told us over the small amount of wages they receive.  They want R150 a day.  Currently, they get between R65 and R75 (roughly) a day!  Not much to live on!  They were marching through the town, apparently, and the police were everywhere.  We didn't know that because we hadn't got that far.  However, she very kindly made some phone calls and drove up to the police station to find out where we could get through and carry on our journey.

She came back and gave us some directions, saying 'don't go near the centre of town' so we left sraightaway.  Just as well we did, as they were just coming out of the main road, about 200m away, and on to the road we were driving down.  There was no way we were prepared to hang about there and Steve switched into 'traffic police mode', put his foot down and drove straight through them.  They scattered!  Their placards scattered!  No problem.  Don't know how it turned out though, I must contact the owner of the restaurant and find out.  Hope it didn't disrupt her day anymore as it meant that people couldn't get to her restaurant.

The rest of the journey was fairly uneventful and we got back home safely, unpacked the car, and Steve went to pick up the animals from the kennels, whilst I sorted the bags out.

Now, I really must get back to my running!


First run back out there today.  A week off running and very high winds does not make for a good run!  Oh well...