For something completely different this year my sister Amy and I decided to embark on a little mini-adventure in December. The plan? A photographic, wine drinking, port tasting, many stopping, camping adventure. The trip? Nature’s Valley to Calitzdorp, Montagu, McGregor, De Hoop Nature Reserve and back to Nature’s Valley for New Year’s Eve. The result? Read on and find out.
Sitting in the air-conditioned car I lick the salty vinegar soaked grease off my fingers. Outside the queue of cars stretches down towards the madness of Hartenbos ATKV and beach. The heat is relentless. It’s only Boxing Day but Christmas feels like ages ago. We count our blessings as we crawl past the cheek-by-jowl campsite.
Leaving the chaos of the Southern Cape coastline behind us we climb up into the grandiose Outeniqua Mountains. Robinson’s Pass twists around the dotted rocky crags and hills, bragging at every turn. The fynbos smiles with colour and we reach the top feeling elated and excited. 860m above sea level provides the mandatory views, so we oblige with a flurry of photographs, each of us capturing our own perceptions.
Over the mountains and the countryside unfolds into a camo-coloured Klein Karoo and Outdshoorn shimmers in front of a serrated mountainous horizon. Turning onto our first back road towards Calitzdorp the thermometer in the car creeps way above the 30°C mark and lucious arable lands line the Olifants River floodplain. We chuckle at a paddock of gangly ostrich chicks and Amy comments on how similar I looked when I was 14. The mood is jovial, the laughter genuine and the wine gums are finished.
There is no respite from the oven that is the Klein Karoo in December as we sit around our baking campsite at The Station in Calitzdorp. The taste of award winning port still lingers on my tongue and the hum of mozzies invade my peace and quiet. I sip languidly on my Calitzdorp Cellars Sauvignon Blanc and ponder a question. Who the hell plans a trip to the Klein Karoo in December?