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Posts tagged with “Ashton bridge; Malgas; Malagas; Infanta; Witsand; Breede River Trading Post; Swellendam; Tradici”

A Short Southern Cape Tour

Sunday, 27 September, 2020

Have leave, will travel.

Thirty-two years ago on our honeymoon, we chanced upon the road to Malgas. Well, actually we were then heading to Witsand, but getting there required us to take the road to the Pont across the Breë river at Malgas.

With lockdown levels down to the extent that local tourism has become possible again, and given our upcoming anniversary, we thought to check Malgas out again.

Malagas

On the maps you will find the village identified as Malgas.

[Source:  Map data @2020 AfrGIS (Pty) Ltd]

When the village had its origin in the mid 1800’s it was called Malagas, after a local chief. However, as international mail tended to end up in Malaga in Spain, instead of in Malagas in the Southern Cape, the name was changed to Malgas.  So says the instruction manual of the Malagas hotel.

Now just let me run this past you again slowly.  International mail getting diverted to Malaga in Spain in the 1800’s?

Wikipedia offers a different take on the name.  It references the word Malgas as the Afrikaans word for a Gannet.  Also, if you split the Afrikaans word in two, namely ‘mal gas’, it means ‘mad guest’.  And this is, according to Wiki, the reason why the hotel opted for the name Malagas instead. But I think I’ll go with the hotel’s explanation.

Getting started

But let me start at the very beginning, to quote madame Julie Andrews, who is reputed as considering the beginning a very good place to start.

We set out from our home at the outskirts of Cape Town for a leisurely 280 km drive for the day.

Having had time on hand we took the scenic Du Toitskloof pass instead of the Huguenot Tunnel.  At the lookout point just before you start descending, we did the been there dunnit pic.

We did a coffee pitstop at the petrol stop outside Worcester.

I had a philosophic moment about how Covid has changed our lives.

Outside, I marvelled at two very cool Cape Sparrows. They figured out there is no need to go hunting anymore. You just check out the vehicles as they pull in, pick one with a bunch of dead insects on the grill and have an eat-out.  (Yes, I do have a picture of it, but it came out so useless that I’m not even going to insert it here.)

For desert they just hopped (literally) into the shop and collected the crumbs of a croissant here and there, and dinner is done and dusted.

Normally a pitstop is quite a business like affair, then one hops back into your car and continue with the journey.  However, as we had the whole day time, we took our time.  I even had time to pay more than just the cursory glance to the industrial sculpture in front of the building.

Through Worcester, Robertson, Ashton we went. In Ashton we stumbled across the 9th wonder of the Langeberge: the bridge that has been under construction for the past 24 years, was now passable.  OK, I might be exaggerating maybe with 20 years or so, but the bridge has been years in the making.  The local tourism website now lists it as a tourist attraction. It is impressive, I have to admit, but by now nobody really believed that it will ever reach the point where vehicles would actually be able to travel across it.  Well, you never know.

I wanted to post a picture of what the bridge looked like over the past many years (as found on Google maps), but did not want to risk falling foul of copyright principles.   So you will have to settle for screenshots from a hastily taken video taken as we too late realised that the bridge is already open.

Swellendam

From Ashton we travelled to Swellendam. Could there possibly be another town in South Africa with this concentration …