Posts tagged with “Gouritsmond”

HOLIDAY SEASON 2014 – part 1

Wednesday, 7 January, 2015

Getting the wheels ready

Last year my holiday ended with my whole rig and my family being delivered at our house by a tow truck.

Travelling in style

The thing with these little discomforts is that it normally makes for good reading. Afterwards.

After our rather peculiar mode of arriving home, I was under pressure to have the family transport upgraded to something that the family would perceive as more reliable. My seventeen year old vehicle with 290 000km’s on the clock just did not do it for the family any more. I was not yet convinced that a replacement was called for.

But I was overtaken by events. Our second set of wheels (also older than a decade) suddenly needed acute repairs that simply did not seem worth its while. So I had to replace those wheels. And thus, I still have my trusted bakkie.

But in a bit of de ja vu I started experiencing mechanical problems on my bakkie just in the month before departure. With three weeks to go and all moving parts in the starter circuit already replaced with new ones, I still had a problem getting the bakkie to start when hot. My auto electrician then performed an experimental repair that he believed would solved what turned out to be a voltage drop.

Problem is, I would only finally know whether it worked when the bakkie travelled a bit. Which would mean that only on the first leg of my holiday travel would I know. So just to be sure we decided that the second set of wheels has to travel along as a back-up vehicle. It did remind me of the mechanic to whom I spoke shortly after I acquired my bakkie many years ago. He said of course I can go do heavy offroading in Kaokoland with said bakkie, as long as the tow truck went along.

The departure is the now well known drill, ie getting the caravan out without taking bits of gutters, gates, walls and bougainvilla along. After doing this for ten years, we now seem to have got the hang of it.  We now get it right without the shouting and the cursing that the neighbours used to complain about. There is just no replacement for experience.

After the pit stop at Worcester it was with trepidation that I started my bakkie again. And walaa! It started! It seems like my autolec actually got the problem fixed! I am happy to report that, in the end, the bakkie gave sterling service.

Off to sea

At Gouritsmond’s annual library book sale I buy two books for the quiet moments of the holiday. Robert Ludlum’s Matarese Circle, and Geoffrey Archer’s Eagle Trap. I’m not sure either of these gentlemen would be happy to know that their works of art are being sold for the equivalent of the princely sum of some 17 British cents (R3) each. But then again, with the strength of the Pound Sterling one never knows. I certainly got a lot of value for my money.

Holidaying at the sea, of course, makes it mandatory to go to the beach.

On day one I accompany my 12-year old just to check on him. When his older boet was that age the two of us got swept away by a strong backwash that came close to turning out tragically. So I prefer to keep an eye on the chap.

Gourits strand

For the occasion I don my brand new garish red trunks. It seems to hit a nerve on the beach. I cannot help but notice the people taking cognisance of me. Some even openly point at my larnie swimming trunks. Although I profess to be a humble man I have to confess that I do have an ego. Which ego took kindly to the attention of especially the girls on the beach. So I put a bit of a swagger in my step and pull in my tummy. Until my son asks me why I am so blue in the face. I then quietly let out my breath again.

This was not a bad start to the holiday at all, I thought.

Back at the caravan I notice that the price tag is still sitting on the outside of my trunks. Given the good response I had on the beach I considered keeping the tag, but decided against it. One should probably not overdo things, nuh?…

Easter weekend at Gouritsmond – getting there [1]

Saturday, 4 May, 2013

Part 1 of 3

By PG Jonker

Easter weekend, 22 May 2011


It feels pretty stress free to depart for Gouritsmond without towing the caravan – as we do over December holidays.  This time we rented a house, so no reason to take the mobile house along.  The incidental benefit thereof is that there is no rush to get there to start making camp. A leisurely drive is sufficient.

The teenagers depart some time before us.  A convoy of three cars full of teenagers will meet each other at the Wynland Engen outgoing, to travel together.

The rest of my outfit follows some half an hour later.  Doors locked, windows closed, alarm set, Neighbourhood Watch and neighbours alerted. And off we go.

We travel via Montagu where we need to drop off our second hand bulldog with relatives.  Bully is very happy to go along.  Once she gets wind of some packing going on, she plants herself underneath the vehicle and refuse to move – until she notices her bed being packed in the back of the bakkie.  Even then it takes some planning to catch her.  For some odd reason she does not respond like other dogs when se gets called.  It never ceases to amaze me that so much stupidity can be concentrated in one dog.

There is a festive atmosphere at the Wynland Engen about 10km’s from home where we need to fill up.  Bikers, a convoy of caravanners, taxi’s, you name is.

It is the first of the colder wintry days.  In Robertson a restaurant sports the banner:   “Dros Welcomes all bikers.” Mmm…. Good thinking, nuh?

As you leave Robertson there is a traffic sign indicating that you may not hitch hike.  True to South African nature, this has become the preferred hitch hiking spot.

When we reach Ashton we run into a wild wind.

At Montagu’s Seven-Eleven a lady is merrily licking on her ice cream in freezing wheather.

On the farm the Boerboel and the Jack Russel is very happy to see our bulldog.  Especially the Jack Russel.  If he was a human, he would have been locked up long ago for being a serial rapist.


New roads

After a good breadfast on the farm we hit the road.  Time to try a new road.

Gourits via Brandrivier


From Montagu we travel on the R62 through Barrydale.  Some 16 km’s past Barrydale we turn right on the Brandrivier road.

Brandrivier se afdraai

The gravel road is very good.  The next notice board makes us feel safe.


Over the next 35 km’s we encounter two other vehicles.

Die omgewing

Reaching the tar road again, we turned right, and travel through the Garcia pass into Riversdale.

Garcia pas

In Riversdale I get lost in my endeavours to find the N2 (no, really).

Now we hit the heavy traffic.  We manage 100km/h, but with a string of vehicles as far as you can see.  Fortunately the guys with the caravans were rather accommodating, making way with their rigs for the rest of us to pass.

And then, by 13h10, we arrive at Gouritsmond.

Welkom in Gourits

And the really wonderful thing is, I do not have to pitch a campsite for the next five hours!  The house is there.  The kitchen needs no unpacking.  Admittedly, it felt a bit like cheating to drive past the caravan park and not turn in there.

Ag, it feels good.

Part 2 to follow…

Easter Weekend at Gouritsmond – the town [2]

Saturday, 4 May, 2013

By PG Jonker

Part 2 of 3

Saturday morning my wife and I go for a walk.  It’s cold.

“Quiet, nuh?” I reckon.  My wife does not bother to comment.  However, the next moment the silence is crudely broken by a lady’s voice on a pa system with speakers on a car driving through the town and inviting all and sunder to the church basaar.  There must be very few small town churches attempting to have a basaar on an Easter weekend.

Hond Gourits

In the foreground the grave of the dog Gourits.  No, the town is not called after the dog.  The dog was called Gourits after the river, and the name of the town.

The shops at Gouritsmond (there are two) remain the core of any commercial activities.

winkelSome of the houses sport rather interesting names.

“Beautiful havens”

Mooi Hawens Milky way:

Mooi hawensSome names are indicative of wisdom learnt from experience.

“Domestic troubles”

Hys moles


Part 3 to follow…

Easter weekend at Gouritsmond – more of the town [3]

Saturday, 4 May, 2013

By PG Jonker

Part 3 of 3

Church on Easter Sunday.

KerkGouritsmond is a quiet place.  The kind of place where one can move to for the final stretch.  OK, except maybe for one more move.

Nis muurIt is a cold weekend, with very few people on the beach.

Gourits strandBut, of course, nothing comes in the way of a true fisherman.

vissermanneThere are clear notice boards, even for those who cannot read.

waarskuwingsbordjiesThe mouth of the Gourits river looks wild.

Die mondA few vasbyters braved the cold in the caravan park.  I must say, it was really unpleasantly cold, and could not have been nice in a tent or caravan.


And then, it becomes time to go home.

Maak volFill her up, mate.


Doing the Canca Fynbos 4×4 Eco trail – well, almost…

Friday, 27 January, 2012

By PG Jonker

Having previously done the Vleesbaai 4×4 route (and in the process causing substantial damage to his vehicle), brother Johnie decided this year’s visit to Gouritsmond calls for a different 4×4 route.

Kaap na Gouritsmond

[Source:   Map data ©2014 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google]

After consulting publications on the issue it turned out that the Canca Fynbos Echo 4×4 route is just around the corner from Gouritsmond Caravan Park.

After checking availability we arrived at Kippie Horn’s farm at around 11h00 the morning.  We were the only people visiting, and had the route for ourselves.  Kippie took us to the starting point of the route, gave us a route map and some directions, and off we went with the 3.2 liter petrol Landrover Freelander2 automatic.

Fynbos mecca

The route sports vast fynbos,


and also reeds (the stuff used for thatched roofs).

The reeds often grow close to roof height of the Freelander.  Some of these were found in the middelmannetjie, causing the driver not to be able to see anything but the one spoor in front of him.

Mind the puff

A short distance into the route we found a rather challenging bit of rock climb that required a bit of scouting around to decide which track is best.  We also saw it fit to re-organize some of the rocks in the road.

For the sake of a good picture I took up position a bit up the road to get a good shot.  At that stage I was not sure whether I should thank or curse Kippie for his parting words:  “just mind the puff adders.”

I don’t do snakes.  So I treaded very carefully stomping my feet just to alert any lazy bum snake that I am on my way – hoping he or she would perform the ultimate maneuver of self defense and run away.  It seemed to work, as I did not spot any snakes.  Well, not there.

Driving through eye high reeds we had a visit from a funny little gogga that looks just like the reed where he was probably knocked off from.

After taking a picture of him, Johnie gently put him back on a reed.

Where’s my mom?

However, only a few yards on, another one appeared.  This one was a bit smaller.  Maybe he came looking for his mom.  He was also duly and gently disposed of and put back on a reed.

The route map supplied by Kippie gave the route, and numbered markers at the various turn off points.  We successfully negotiated the route and turn offs at markers 2 and 3.  I suspect, however, that Kippie’s last visitor might have taken his numbered markers as souvenirs, as we did not see any further markers.

Getting lost

Travelling at 20km/h always makes it difficult to judge distance.  However, as we progressed we started to suspect that we missed some markers.  We did end up at dams and some wind pumps.  Although the map do indicate a wind pump, we by that time suspected that we were not on Kippie’s farm anymore.  We reached a point where it appeared that the farmer’s main crop was wind pumps.  Not all of them in working condition.

We were rather excited to see three Secretary birds on two different occasions.

The one was trotting in the road in front of us, a bit in the style of an ostrich.  We tried to inch closer for a better picture, but then the bird apparently perceived us to be too near for comfort he took off – markedly unlike an ostrich.

Our suspicions that we were not on the 4×4 route anymore appeared to be well founded when, instead of circling back to Kippie’s house, we ended up 17km’s to the West of the farm at the gravel road that connects Albertinia with the Stilbaai – Gouritsmond road.  By now we were probably a few farms away from where we started!

Now I was thinking:  if we can deviate 14 odd km’s over a 3 km stretch of tracks, can you imagine where we may end up if we do an African crossing!

On the road again

We decided not to head back.  For the last probably 14 km’s we did not know where we were, and going back the same road would probably not serve any purpose in making things clearer as to our whereabouts.

Heading out on the gravel road we saw a snake passing across the road in front of us.  I was sitting in the car, obviously.  It just goes to show that the stomping of the feet actually worked back on Kippie’s farm.  I handed my camera to Johnie and suggested he get out to take a nice picture of the snake.  He declined, citing the fact that he was driving the car as a reason for not wanting to get out.  He suggested that I do it.  It was, of course, a stupid suggestion.  I told him that I’m not really that into snakes and told the snake to hiss off, which it then duly did.

So we took the road and headed for the main gravel road between Stilbaai and Gourits.  We turned left again, now heading for Gourits.

However, shortly after we got on this main road, the GPS indicated a road to Gouritsmond that would take us along the sea.  So we duly turned right there, and followed the GPS’s instructions.

Getting lost – again

Eventually the road disappeared.  Sommer just like that.  Unfazed, the GPS indicated that we should not despair and simply proceed on the way as indicated.  But there was not road, zilts, nothing!  We decided against following the instructions of the GPS.  Our experience of navigating on Kippie’s farm did not exactly instill confidence in us for our navigational skills.  So instead, we took the next discernable track heading more or less in the direction of the sea.  This road eventually got us to a private residence, in the middle of nowhere.  Rather embarrassed we had no choice but to enter the erf where the house stood to make a u-turn – it was clear that this road also reached its end.

As a courtesy I got out to explain to the owner why we were trespassing on what was clearly private property.  …