Ben Oostdam's


JOURNAL : November 18 to December 5

Part 10: November 29, 2008 - OLIFANTSRUS to UPINGTON

much abbreviated and expurgated - especially where original was illegible

I had a nice 07:00 swim in the pond in front of Anya and Johan's house, then enjoyed a dainty breakfast and attempted to speak French again. Anya asked me to stay for another day, mentioning a seven hour hike to a Malthese Cross rockformation - but to my regret I had to go on (7 minutes hikes are more my cup of tea nowadays), so I promised to come back sometime and she wrote a dedication in my journal.
I left at 10:30 (odometer 323.0 19394) and first drove to Citrusdal where I tanked at Sabelo Caltex at 11:00, spending R 361 + tip to fill the tank at R 8.86 per liter. I walked through the crowded supermarket and noted that I met few "aantrekkelijke mensen" and plenty BO. I only bought some fruitdrinks. Because it was Saturday morning, the roads were full of pedestrians, rather colorful, including a mass of people performing a burial in the old disheveled cemetery.
I passed Brakfontein and lots of citrus plantations and at noon the "Hexriver Primer School" on R 7, where I also crossed the Olifants River of which I had explored the mouth in 1964, I decided for kicks to drive to "Algeria" which was an interesting sidetrip, with pine plantations and a tourist camp. The guard told me it would take another 40 kms to get to Koi (Bushman) paintings, and dissuaded me from following the route I told him I planned to take. Therefore, I went back the same way to the amusement of a solitary lonely lady roadbypasssafetyguard and her son.
Back on Rt 7 I had another 28 kms to drive to Clan William. I stopped at a table with scenic view and a modern Koi drawing (left, please click on image to enlarge:

I also noticed some thorough fencing, consisting of 1m high posts with 9 strings of barbed wire equally spaced! Before a large reservoir and the spot where I bypassed Clanwilliam I stopped at the SPAR and bought a cool bottle of full cream milk (I am recording this in April, 2009 at which time most US groceries have done away with such "luxuries" and hardly serve 2%...) but I guess the label "best before 15/10/2009" was a printing error?

(bottom:) Citrusdal to Clanwilliam
Clanwilliam to Vanrhynsdorp)
please click to enlarge

I passed Zandberg, of shimmering white sand and many irrigationworks nearby, then Trawal with a "petrol station" and a cliff, crossed again the Olifants River, reaching Klawer at 14:45 and Vanrhynsdorp at 16:00 (odometer 083 6309611) Here I tried to get a room at the efficiently looking guesthouse named "aan 't Dorpseind" but no-one answered the gate ringer. I waited a bit and when a lady got out of a car to visit the neighbors, I followed her and asked the collected guest for advice. One of them made a quick cell phone call (remember, I do not own one) and literally within minutes the lady hostess appeared and showed me her rooms. She may have noticed some lack of enthusiasm, so she referred me to a friend of hers in the center of town who ran an Inn and needed the money more than she did, somewhere on Church Street. That's how I came to a fascinating Inn and met bald-headed Janni Kruger, a true character. ("Mensch") The place was a mix of museum, art shop and junk yard, and included a bakery spreading a delicious aroma of fresh-baked bread. There was a voliere, and there were numerous dis-plays/cards of various crosses, farmers' tools, pots and pans, entire window panes hanging from a laundry line, a small pond with a large emperor's crown, leather valises, hang lamps, milk cans, blikjes en trommeltjes, menorahs. spring mattresses and more. The white washed walls both in the courtyard and on the porch were filled with texts, proverbs and admonishments both in Afrikaans and English. My small but comfortable room featured etchings, prints and as dominant theme the Rape of Leda by Zeus the Swan ... [to my regret, I took more photographs than notes, but I lost all photos and now only have my scanty notes and faint recollections; I just now decided to send Janni an Email and thank him again for his great hospitality, including a free dinner with wine and brilliant conversation with Janni and two other guests, a Brigadier Advocate and his wife who was into leather art. After dinner, I walked around and visited a Chinese shop which I automatically assumed to sell Chinese food, but to my surprise he sold clothes. After that, I went to bed and was surprised to sleep like a log - not even aware of being haunted or enchanted. All in all, another very enjoyable day !!.

Vanrhynspass - Heila Brandflowers

Crassula clavata

Van Rhynsdorp

MAP of center of Vanrhynsdorp

"Knersvlakte"=Quartz Gravel Plain north of Vanrhynsdorp

NOTE: all photographs taken by others and copied from www with thanks and credit to unknown sources

BLO fecit 20090429_0503 - Contents of SA 2008-2 Journey