Honeymoon South Africa road trip

Tell us about your recent trip. Please add some photographs.
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LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:57 am

My wife Toyah and I married on 25 August, the wedding was at a lovely venue called The Bend in the Nottingham Road, having grown up in Durban we chose the midlands as the halfway point between Durban and our adopted home of Johannesburg.
The wedding itself was great and there were no hiccups on the evening-I can recommend this venue to anyone interested in the country wedding.
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We have spent a few years overseas and a did a 2 week stint cruising around the Caribbean, so we decided that we didn’t want to do the tropical island thing again, we figured South Africa has so many tourists flocking here every year to see our country, why don’t we do the same. It doesn’t hurt that for the same amount of money spent on 1 week in Zanzibar we could do 2 weeks at home!
Our plan was to travel from the midlands, head up the Drakensberg, around the Eastern Freestate, into the Western Cape to the West Coast and then head along the coast all the way to Jeffrey’s Bay and then head back to Gauteng from there-all within 2 weeks. Total mileage I estimated, round trip from JHB to JHb at 5500km’s. Driving my Hilux V6, fuel was going to be one of the biggest costs!
August 26. We left The Bend at about 1pm after many goodbyes to family and friends, en route to Mahai. As we didn’t have much driving to do, we took our time and arrived at Mahai at about 4pm. This was going to be the only place that we camp, so we packed our “weekend tent”. We camp about 7 or 8 times a year and never stay in B&B’s or hotels so this holiday was going to be a new experience for us. After we’d set up our camp we took the opportunity to unpack and repack the car-we had a few wedding gifts that we had to haul along for the next 2 weeks. We had a quick braai and hit the sack!

August 27. The next morning I awoke to the sound of a Ground scraper Thrush “chooning” his own reflection in my side mirror, after breakfast we packed up and headed to the dam for a few photo’s. I usually don’t miss an opportunity to fly fish here but time was limited so not today. Another Thrush also had a field time in my mirror again. I think it was maybe down to breeding season territorial fights or it was the same guy that followed us down to the dam?
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LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:06 am

Today we had to get to Colesberg, we wanted to see some of the lower eastern freestate which I havent been to in years and planned to travel all the way around hugging the Maluti’s until we got to Hendrik Verwoed dam and then onto Colesberg from there. We headed up Oliviershoek pass, passed the beautiful Sterkfontein Dam. Rant on: This used to be the most beautiful drive apart from the odd pothole, then 2 years ago “they” decided to cut the one lane up and throw gravel across it and leave the other lane open for stop and go traffic. This is how it remained until a few months ago when the stop and go staff were also removed from site and now the remaining lane has been absolutely destroyed, cars are now driving on the gravel. Its absolute chaos! Ironically there is still a Maluti Meander sign left as a remnant. Seriously the local government need to do something about this! Rant off.
We passed through the spectacular Golden Gate Nature Reserve, saw an eland, some beautiful vistas and then after a quick lunch in Clarens headed south. Unfortunately by Ladybrand we realised that we were running out of time and our original intentions of visiting Hendrik Verwoerd wouldn’t be possible.
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LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:13 am

We hooked a right and headed off along the road less travelled (read gravel) to Dewetsdorp, Reddersburg and Edenburg to connect to the N1. Little towns like these fascinate me, they seem so neglected but I’m sure the lifestyle must be much more relaxed than living in Fourways!
Once we hit the N1 we could travel a little quicker and made Colesberg just after dark. It’s a beautiful part of the country at sunset. We stayed at a little B&B outside of town called van Zylsvlei. Nice chow, nice beds, nice price, but bluksem it was cold that night!
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August 28. We had a lot of driving ahead of us so we left at 4 am, we were heading to a place called Ou Werf in the Red Cederberg. Just after Touws River we headed right along the R46 towards Ceres. Now I don’t own a GPS, nor had I done much planning ahead of the honeymoon as I was snowed under with work and wedding preparations so at certain stages in the honeymoon I completely misjudged distances. Today was one of those days. The plan was to doing some shopping in Ceres, and then head to Ou Werf-I expected this would be about 90 mins away from Ceres. It was not!
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LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:22 am

We bought a few odds and ends in Ceres, I considered buying a braai grille but decided against it as I was sure Ou Werf would have one-they didn’t. We left Ceres, headed up the pass and then turned right after Die Dorp Op Die Berg (yes that’s what it’s called).
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The scenery was absolutely spectacular. Every mountain top was covered in snow and the orchards were full of cherry blossoms. Slowly the rocks became more craggy and took on unusual forms. Proteas and Cape thatching grass were everywhere. We were in the Cederberg!
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The deeper we drove the more spectacular the view became, the road traveled along a valley with the most amazing rock formations flanking the mountains on either side. Where the sandstone has eroded over time large beaches of white sand have formed. The fynbos had that lovely herby smell in the air and whenever we’d stop for a photo or two there were no sounds other than the birds.
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Due to my miscalculations I expected Ou Werf to appear around every bend, but it never, we drove and drove for hours and only reached the gate at about 17:00, to be fair I didn’t really mind that much, I could’ve driven for days through surroundings like this. We collected our key from the housekeeper at the gate of a farm called Die Onderhuis, Keurbosfontein and drove, yes you guessed it, even further.
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LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:30 am

Ou Werf is situated in the Matjiesriver Nature Reserve, it’s a very rustic cluster of 4 stone huts with 2 toilets blocks, gravity fed by a jojo tank and with gas donkey boiler, there are also 2 lapa’s with a concrete braai block minus a braai grille. There’s no electricity and if a party books one chalet,, management will not book out any other chalet, this meant we had complete exclusivity. The isolation is intense due to the distance travelled and its location between the high rock cliffs on both sides. This place is absolutely amazing! And it only costs R180 pppn! We finally arrived at about 17.30, the sun was already setting and it was getting cold.
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We disturbed a troop of baboons who beat a hasty retreat to a nearby cliff, surprisingly wary of people, quite obviously not often exposed to humans often.

LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:33 am

The wife’s duty was to unpack and set up the bed-mine was to make a fire and braai. This is when I realized we had no braai grille. I took a walk through the veld and found bits of old barbed wire and rusty metal and fashioned together a very rusty rickety grid-I was most pleased at the result, it worked quite well.
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After supper we chilled under the full moon, and after we had chilled proper we hit the sack!
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:34 am

Thanks for the trip report. Look like you guys had a lot of fun
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:40 am

:thumbup: :thumbup:

Keep it comoing!! Thanks for sharing :thumbup:

Cedarberg is right up there on my favourites list, leaving for Sanddrift on the 21st!!!!
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:00 am

:clap: :clap: y :clap: our pics :clap: tells a story :clap: you guys really had a ball :clap:

5500km almost what myself & Donkey will cover from the 15 travelling to Nam.
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LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:10 am

August 29. It was overcast when we woke up. As the clouds lifted it warmed up a little. Throughout the day wispy clouds continued to snow on the higher peaks around us.
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We wanted to to go to the wolfberg arch but I was counting on using my cell phone for information on how to find it but there was no reception so we decided to drive until we saw a sign or someone that could direct us.
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The trail wasn’t particularly challenging (unfortunately) but the scenery was absolutely fantastic, we were told by a local to head towards Wupperthal and we’d see the hiking trail.
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After about an hour we still hadn’t seen anything and it was now lunch time, so we opted to head back to the huts and hike around there. After I got back to Gauteng, I realized with the help of google that the arch was down this valley.
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LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:22 am

Oh well, it just means we’ll have to return again hike to the arch!
There is a road that runs past Ou Werf and heads north, on google earth it appears to just disappear. With more time available it would be really nice to explore it further.
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We walked to the ridge above the huts that evening, the view over the valley north was indescribable. To the left there is a massive crack in the earth-this runs up towards Wupperthal. The silence and isolation from humans is really special.
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With the snow and the clear skies that night the temperature plummeted.

August 30. The next morning the truck was covered in a thick layer of ice and the puddles in the road were also frozen solid.
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LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:50 am

We had spotted dung around and I was hoping it belonged to Cape Mountain Zebra (later research revealed they don’t occur here). We had our eyes peeled hoping to see them. On our way out from Ou Werf we found the culprits; 3 wild donkeys! Damn!
Our plan was to head out of the Cederberg and head west to the coast to Lamberts Bay and then head South. 2 days really is not long enough for the Cederberg and we will have to return soon for a longer stay.
The drive west through to Algeria was just as spectacular and we started to see more tourists, clearly this is the more popular part of the area. The pass above Algeria is incredible, building it must have been really tough.
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As we got closer to the coast we started seeing the flowers, beautiful we thought but the best was yet to come.
At Lamberts Bay we planned to first visit the gannet colony then head for lunch at Muisbosskerm. I was hoping the gannet colony wouldn’t smell like Cape Cross seal colony-not pleasant before lunch! Our timing was perfect though as the gannets had only arrived a few days before and hadn’t been there long enough to make a stink. Lamberts bay is a lovely dorp, it was more pretty than I expected. The island is recommended too. We watched the gannets come and go and greet each other for several hours-till we got hungry!
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LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:55 am

Muisbosskerm charges R195 pp and its eat as much as you like. I was really looking forward to some wine and crayfish but unfortunately kreef wasn’t available today. Their braai-ed snoek more than made up for that though.
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After we’d eating our weight in sea food we headed south along the toll route that hugs the coast line to Paternoster where we had booked 2 nights at Klein Gelukkie.
The toll route took us passed a small estuary with flamingoes and came out at Elands Bay, it was cheap too and well worth the extra rands.
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LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:42 pm

We arrived at Paternoster at 5pm, picked the keys up from the local tourist office and drove back out of town to Klein Gelukkie.
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KG is a self catering cottage that has been built and the owners Ruth and Andrew. Andrew is a fitter and turner and has made all the furnishings by hand and honestly he has done a brilliant job, Ruth makes all the decorations and the place looks like a million bucks. This is a lekker place to get out of the city for a break, it doesn’t have a sea view but it’s nice and quiet.
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August 31. A storm blew in and the weather was miserable. We slept in late then went into “town” to find some crayfish. After a nice lunch we spent the afternoon next to a fire drinking wine and reading. Good honeymoon weather :celebrate: !
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September 1. Our next leg was a 2 day stay in Cape Town with my brother, we wanted to swing through Saldanha Bay and Langebaan en route there and leave via the West Coast National Park-the flowers were in full bloom.
Again, 2 days in Paternoster wasn’t enough, it dawned on us that we were trying to squash too many destinations into 2 weeks and weren’t able to really experience each place to the max.

LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:55 pm

We drove through Saldanha Bay to Langebaan and then to the WCNP, where it seems everyone else stops and takes photos from hill into the park, to avoid paying the entry fees no doubt. The fees though are well worth it at this time of year. The view from the top with the flowers is awesome. From there we nosied around Yzerfontein and Darling and then onto Milnerton, where we had a pissup with friends and family that night.
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LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:01 pm

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LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:08 pm

September 2. We did the typical tourist thing. Drove from Camps Bay, Hout Bay via Chapmans around the peninsula to Kalk Bay, had lunch at the brass bell which was absolutely packed as usual and then headed back home for a quiet evening to recuperate after the night before.
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LiamG
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:09 pm

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Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:28 pm

Some beautiful pics there. Liam. :thumbup: Trips like that will remain etched in your memories forever. Great stuff! ;-)
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:51 pm

Jis... ek is darem nou vir jou vreeslik jaloers soos ek hier sit en kyk na daai stunning prentjies
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Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:10 pm

Awesome dit is iets wat julle nooit sal vergeet nie. :thumbup:

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Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:57 pm

Liam,. I cannot think of a better way to spend your Honeymoon with your beautiful wife! Lovely trip, lovely report - many thanks for sharing.


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LiamG
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Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:58 am

Thank you guys for the lovely comments

Ill start the trip report of the second half of our holiday later today

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Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:37 pm

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us & some beautiful pics there. Liam
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Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:01 pm

Thanks Liam for sharing and congrads to you both. :thumbup:
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Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:31 pm

Nice pics, those memories will last way beyond your first real fight!
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