Trip Report for Competition - Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn, Die Hel, Nieu-Bethesda, Valley of Desolation

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Rebel 4x4
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Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:50 pm

Looks like I placed it in the wrong spot.... I had to do it in 3 posts.....

OK, updated it properly this time......
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Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:36 pm

Trip Report – 23 December 2017 to 1 January 2018
With a limited budget for our 2017 holiday, we cut it short to only 8 days. But, even the 8 days was enough to store some memorable moments.
We left the Jimny at home and decided to take the Grand Vitara out for a spin this year. We travelled comfortable without a trailer and a 12 000 BTU portable aircon in the back, as we were heading for places that felt like the sun was even shining at night.
Our first stop was on 23 December, Karoowater Gasteplaas. It is situated between Oudtshoorn and Calitzdorp. Off on our road trip!
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Our accommodation for a few days
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Some friendly Springbok outside our chalet.
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The nice part of this trip was our roundtrip to The Hell and back. First step was to use the Swartberg Pass on your way to Prins Albert and then a left turn to The Hell.
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The Hell was very dry. The one sort of river crossing was not even ankle deep. Very little wild life made their appearance. I only recalled two gray doves and two Rib bokkies.
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We entered the reserve and saw a lot of history. This was also my first time in The Hell.
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The graveyard of the family members. Apparently only one lady is still left of the original ‘clan’
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There are also beautiful accommodation in The Hell. Bookings can be made at Cape Nature http://www.capenature.co.za/reserves/sw ... e-reserve/ and we will be coming back at the end of April to spend some time down here.
One of the houses to stay.
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There is also a small little museum that highlights the history of this area.
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A very old tractor on the grass just outside the museum. I think it is a Ford as I have noticed actual oil leaking from the engine. Thjey must have just parked it there and left it like it is.
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The parking area outside the Museum. It is also a nice spot to light a fire with basic braai facilities.
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Our next stop is the World renowned wine cellars of Calitzdorp. We stopped at 3, namely Die Krans, Boplaas and Calitzdorp Wine Cellar.
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Who visits wine cellars and don’t buy wine? Well, we bought a couple of boxes to keep the mouth wet and remind us of our stay.
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On the way to Cango Caves, there is a road that will take you to Cango Bergoord. If you carry on a gravel road, it will take you to a beautiful place called Rust en Vrede. A short walk (well, it felt very long for me) takes you to a beautiful waterfall.
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Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:37 pm

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What is a trip without visiting the Cango Wildlife Ranch when you are in Oudtshoorn? We popped in and spent a good half a day there with lunch, temperatures were well in the 30’s.
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This bugger was quite big in his lifetime.
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So we headed a bit north for our last stretch of our holiday to a very small place called Nieu Bethesda. This is also my first time spending time in this area. The casual nature of the people and the good Karoo Lamb chops will make me come back again for a visit.
This 8-bed house was our resting spot.
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We popped in at the Kitching Fossil Centre, where fossils are still collected at the riverbed close buy.
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This gentleman explains to us how they distinguish what is bone and what is rock by pouring water on this object. He then chisels out the rock around the bone with a dentist tool (the drill).
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Fossils in the riverbed
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Very popular is this small town is Helen Martin’s Owl house. Listening to the story of Helen is actually sad. Some amazing pieces of art is still at her house, which is also now a Museum. She was very fascinated by the East, this is why the majority of her art is looking in that direction. It was well worth to pop in.
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We also found Helen Martin’s grave, it was quite obvious. She sadly passed away in 1978 (somewhere there) by suicide.
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There are also small other shops to visit. I was fascinated by the ‘honesty shop’ In the cities, this idea won’t fly. You take what you want and put the cash in a tea pot…..
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The places where food is served is always my favourite places. The oldest restaurant in Nieu Bethesda is called ‘The Village In’. The breakfast and coffee is well worth it!
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Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:38 pm

This was just a quick snack at The Ibis Lounge.
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As I said, food is my life and this place called ‘The Tower Café’ is not shy with the portions.
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We also stopped for Craft Beer at a place called ‘two goats and a deli’
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One evening at around 8pm we decided to take a stroll in the town. This is when I realised why this cactus is called “Queen of the Night” This is a very special kind of Orchid Cactus. The flowers all of a sudden opened when we came back, about 30min later. This is how it looks during the day.
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A little bit Rusted
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The Church of Neiu Bethesda
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Another restaurant called ‘Die Waenhuis’
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With Graaf Reinett around the corner, we decided to take a short drive to visit the Valley of Desolation. It is really a beautiful part of the World.
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Panoramic View
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This is basically Graaff-Reinett
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Over 350 photos were taken (on my phone) and it was really difficult to choose the pictures for this trip report. It was a lot to filter through, so I might have not chosen the best for this report.
It was an amazing time and enjoyed the time with my wife and my daughter.
Last edited by Rebel 4x4 on Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:01 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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PaulSA
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Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:44 pm

Another Trip Report that makes a person jealous.
Really need to go away more often.
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Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:06 pm

nice trip
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Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:17 pm

Hi Thomas,"lekker places you have been at. Die Hell is on my wish list and I like that place with fossils. When I am in that area, I defnitive will visit that place.
Ecc 1:9 Wat gewees het, dit sal daar weer wees; en wat gebeur het, dit sal weer gebeur, en daar is glad niks nuuts onder die son nie.
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Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:05 pm

Nice trip report Thomas and thanks for sharing.I also visited Die Hell in July last year but was unable to complete the top part of the Swartberg Pass as the pass was closed after the turn off to Die Hell due to rockfalls.Will try again later this year as the Karoo is really a great area to explore.
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Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:23 pm

Nice Trip report Thomas. The hell is still on my list and that waterfall brings back memories of 2006 in my SFA.
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Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:46 pm

Great trip report Thomas, and your little daughter certainly has her Mom's good looks! ;-)


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Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:33 pm

Thanks everyone!


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Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:53 am

This trip brings back a lot of memories to me as well. Grew up as a kid in Jansenville. Small town - Very small... If you fall of your bed, you'd have to hitchhike back home. There is a Museum after the late uncle Sid Fourie. Just before you cross the Sondags River direction South. I used to sit and talk to him a lot in 1978/1979. My dad was the Station Commander at Jansenville SAPS and even locked me up for one night in the cells when i did some "kattekwaad". :twisted:
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Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:34 pm

Great trip wat julle gedoen het !! Laat my sommer verlang na al die mooi plekke! Die Hel is een van ons gunsteling oorblyplekke - omtrent elke trip wat ons doen begin ons of eindig daar met n paar dae se oorslaap - nerens anders kry mens soveel rustigheid en stilte en plek vir jou siel om jou liggaam weer in te haal nie!

En Nieu Bethesda se bierbrouer maak DIE lekkerste bier en platters !!
Groete uit Danabaai!
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Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:47 am

Nice !

Wens ek het die Oos kaap bietjie meer verken toe ek nog in PE gebly het...Graaf Reinett was ook maar net altyd 'n vinnige pp stop oppad Jhb toe as ons familie toe gegaan het., en daar is eintlik heelwat plekke om te sien in die omgewing
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Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:35 am

Stef wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:47 am
Nice !

Wens ek het die Oos kaap bietjie meer verken toe ek nog in PE gebly het...Graaf Reinett was ook maar net altyd 'n vinnige pp stop oppad Jhb toe as ons familie toe gegaan het., en daar is eintlik heelwat plekke om te sien in die omgewing
WOW! So you lived here, glad to hear that I am not the only one from PE!
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Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:12 pm

Nice trip report! Wou nog altyd daai kant toe gaan vir 'n trippie.
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Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:51 pm

Nice report and good phodie's. Our trip starts 1st March-25th March with Swartberg pass included in the plan. Our aim is to try and explore as much mountain passes as possible.
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Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:23 am

Very nice Thomas.
I have been to most places you visited except Nieu Bethesda. Must make a plan.

We went to Namibia last year and hired a Grand Vitara. Went up to Kaokoland right up to Epupa Falls and down even to Puros. Bad bad roads. I was VERY impressed with the Suzuki. Not even one flat tyre. My BIL with the Pajero had 5. Think it might be the weight.
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Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:51 am

Agteros wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:23 am
Very nice Thomas.
I have been to most places you visited except Nieu Bethesda. Must make a plan.

We went to Namibia last year and hired a Grand Vitara. Went up to Kaokoland right up to Epupa Falls and down even to Puros. Bad bad roads. I was VERY impressed with the Suzuki. Not even one flat tyre. My BIL with the Pajero had 5. Think it might be the weight.
Namibia is on our list for 2019. Will read a few reports on this forum before doing so.

The Grand Vitara is very light compare to other SUV’s, clocking at 1680kg if I can recall.
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Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:02 am

Rebel 4x4 wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:35 am


WOW! So you lived here, glad to hear that I am not the only one from PE!
LOL! From 2000 to 2009 yes, worked at the Boardwalk from opening, took a promotion back to Pretoria...but the lifestyle was demoted :( Die Baai is mos baie rustiger
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Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:10 am

Stef wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:02 am
Rebel 4x4 wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:35 am


WOW! So you lived here, glad to hear that I am not the only one from PE!
LOL! From 2000 to 2009 yes, worked at the Boardwalk from opening, took a promotion back to Pretoria...but the lifestyle was demoted :( Die Baai is mos baie rustiger
Ja dit is nogal heel rustig. Ons beoog om Duitsland toe te trek, maar dink die SA leefstyl sal ons mis soos met 4x4 ry, braai ens.
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Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:35 pm

We want to do a fishing trip up that side next April . Need to find out restrictions are where to go as it wil all be very new territory for me and the family .
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Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:21 pm

Glad that you have had a great trip. I for one need to go to " Die vallei van verlatenheid". I was born in Graaff-Reinette , and other than the night in hospital , I have never been back there.
As enige van julle weer na Die Hel gaan , kan julle die moeite doen om Seweweekspoort ook in te werk. Dan ry jy sommer by Bosluiskloof ook in tot by Gamkadam. Pragtig om te sien hoe die Wildepeer bome aan die kranse vasklou. Wonder of Fox nog die waterfiskaal is , maar ons kon nog altyd daar kamp.
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