Friday 25 February 2022
On Friday morning we awoke to a little bit of rain but it did not last long. We went for an early morning swim in both the hot and cold pools and then enjoyed an “Early Breakfast”. I am indeed lucky to have a man who loves to cook. He particularly enjoys using our nifty little Snappy Chef cooker and Smart Space pan.
After breakfast, we spent some more time in the pools. The hot waters of the spring are very relaxing and certainly help to ease any aches and pains you may have. The mineral-rich water once cooled is also very healthy to drink. Perhaps it even has some healing powers?
After swimming the Earl took a short nap while I sat in the shade of the canopy and read my book. All of a sudden I became aware of something moving near my feet. I looked down and got quite a fright at the giant that I saw. Was he aiming to chew my toes?
At midday, we decided to take a drive to Barrydale where we stopped in at Diesel and Creme for a Very Berry Smoothy. It sounds healthy but is actually quite decadent!
Diesel and Creme is a fascinating place to stop if just to stare at the interesting ancient memorabilia on display. It is deliberately shabby with very little chic. You can look back on my previous Warmwaterberg posts for more photos if you wish.
Perhaps the bikers like the place because many of them are ancient hippies themselves.
You can stay over in this hotel which was built in 1896 but has now been converted into two self-catering units. We have never had the pleasure of staying there but you can check it out here.
Later that afternoon our friends Carl and Yolandi arrived. Originally they were going to bring their tent but we were surprised and delighted to see they had borrowed a friend’s trailer. It didn’t take long to get perfectly set up.
It was Carl’s birthday last week so this evening we went to the restaurant for a celebratory dinner. We have always found Warmwaterberg’s restaurant to be awesome, not only because of the wonderful view but also for their excellent food.
The Earl, Yolandi and I ordered Bobotie and Carl had Schnitzel – well he is of German descent so it was to be expected!
We thoroughly enjoyed our evening and after the relaxing warm waters, beautiful surroundings, good company and fantastic food we all slept beautifully.
Saturday 26 February 2022
What awesome weather we woke up to this morning. The sun was shining, the skies were clear and it was hot! I emerged from the Gecko at 07:15 and found Carl and Yolandi in the process of rising too. Before long we were all in the pool and found that many of the other guests had the same idea of getting in early.
When we returned to camp we found a kill in progress!
The Earl then cooked us one of his famous breakfasts and then we all piled into our car with Carl in the driver’s seat. Our mission – to visit Calitzdorp, 100km away. The Earl just didn’t feel like driving but was happy to be a passenger with his pal who calls him “Uncle” taking the wheel.
The mountain passes on Route 62 are legendary. The one we are featuring here today runs between Ladismith and Calizdorp and is just as picturesque as Tradouw Pass which I wrote about in the previous post.
The Huisrivier pass runs between Ladismith and Calizdorp and is 13.4 km long. It is quite a twisty drive and you need to be alert while negotiating the bends. However, the scenery is just stunning. There are three river crossings during the course of the pass. As the geology of this pass is unstable, several pioneering engineering techniques were applied during its construction to ensure it would survive all weathers safely. The steepest gradient is 1:12. Rockfalls can occur but the catch walls are taking care of most of them.
Calitzdorp is a small town on the western side of The Little Karoo. It is built on the site of the farm Buffelsvallei. This farm was granted to Jacobus Johannes and Matthys Christiaan Calitz in 1831. In 1853 they donated some of their land to The Dutch Reformed Church so that a church could be built. The church then, in 1858 began to sell plots to members of their congregation.
In 1924 a railway line was opened and in 1937 electricity came to the town. A new cement road linking Calitzdorp to Oudschoorn was also built.
Calitzdorp experiences extreme weather from very hot in the summer months to very cold during winter. Often the mountaintops are covered in snow. The town is also susceptible to droughts and floods.
We went to do some gin and wine tasting at Boplaas Tasting Rooms. You can read about their history here.
Before we went in we noticed some standing rocks arranged in a circle and went to investigate.
After tasting a bit of this and a bit of that we each bought a bottle of citrus flavoured gin and Carl and Yolandi also got a bottle of red wine
By this time we were all getting a bit peckish so at the recommendation of one of the Boplaas staff we went to Cafe @ The Rose. What a good choice. Their cheesecake was delicious as were the iced coffees and the Americano which I chose. There were many delicious things on display and I ended up buying olive tapenade, olive and sundried tomato tapenade and two bags of Maria’s Camdeboo coffee. On the package, you can read Maria’s story which I quote here below.
“When I imagine the perfect cup of coffee, I think back to sitting our stoep with my dad enjoying a fresh cup lovingly prepared by my late mother, Maria. This treasured memory inspired ‘Maria’s’, a place where my family’s passion for coffee has been realised.”
Maria’s is a coffee shop in Graaff-Reinett, where we have been and had the most amazing meals as well as wonderful coffee. This little restaurant, Cafe @ The Rose, only serves Maria’s Coffee.
Back at camp, we enjoyed the pools then took a nap. When we woke up we took to the waters again after which The Earl started the braai.
On Sunday after swimming, we packed up and made our way to Diesl and Creme where we met up with Yolandi’s cousin. Desmond is working in Tulbach for a few months and rode up on his motorbike especially to see Yolandi.