Avid reader, former international cricketer, passionate golfer, poor guitarist, husband, Dad; Grandfather, Passionate about Wildlife, Camper and a RE/MAX property Franchise owner on the KZN South Coast!
The exhilaration of leaving to go somewhere out of your normal everyday space somehow seems to excite us all. For some it’s a regular happening but for many it’s a feeling that comes around far too seldom.
Nowadays so much pressure exists to keep the wheels of survival in motion. The daily grind of work and home and then catching up on weekends with chores means life itself loses that feeling of great excitement. Whether you work for a boss or you own your own business, society has quickened its pace. Time seems to fly by and Christmas times roll around before you look.
Many of us tend to dream about days of just doing very little. I don’t fit in that space. For me it’s about doing what I feel like doing. This seems to fit me in a more appropriate way. For example, I can fish all day. And fishing all day can be hard work. Sitting at a waterhole somewhere deep in the bush for five hours can also be hard work. But if it’s what you want and feel like doing, it becomes a pleasure.
We live at the beach. A pitching wedge away in fact. Yet, getting onto the beach regularly seems a chore. It’s right there in front of us. We see it every morning and night. It has become just another place. However, once we make the effort after a day in the office to get there, somehow, we remember that it is a special place and one we should visit more often. I guess many who live far away from the ocean get the same feeling when they do the annual trek to the coast or perhaps a weekend break over a long weekend. The drive through traffic and the constant dodging of trucks and potholes can be a mental block. But, once there, it all seems so worth it.
Our annual trip to the magnificent Kgalagadi is the same. Almost 17 hours drive and a whole heap of stops along the way can make it an easy decision to go elsewhere. Somewhere closer and with less hassle. But once we arrive there it always seems as if we have conquered the negativity and settle in very quickly. There is a way to deal with this negative mindset and that is to see the start of the trip to your destination as the beginning of the adventure and not just a journey to get there. Have fun along the way. Stop in at interesting places, take time at the various stops to fill up and research the areas as you go through them. It makes the holiday so much longer. In our case, four days of travel to the Kgalagadi has actually become a great time to see and buy things we never get the opportunity to do. Biltong always seems right on top of the list. Also, it’s supports local and that’s something we treasure in our own business.
Always keep your camera in the car and close by…the raptors that sit on telephone poles provide a great opportunity if you are able to maximise them.
Another day of travel and loads of biltong along the way was the order of the day.
Our route out of Kimberley was via Douglas, Groblershoop, Upington, Ashkam and then into the Kgalagadi.
A mandatory stop to buy some Northern Cape biltong ensured we guzzled drinks all day to quench a continuous thirst!
A quick toilet stop in Upington and then onto Ashkam. This little one-road town has a damn fine quaint shop that sells all kinds of touristy-type foods and goods. Lovely home-made rusks were first on the list. I couldn’t help but buy an old-fashioned coffee mug. The enamel type. Ideal for coffee in the bush.
The windy road onto the Kgalagadi saw us falling in love with the beautiful social weaver nests on the telephone poles and the stunning red soil caused by the high oxide content in the soil. This is proper Kalahari country. Flat and boring yet interesting in another way. Farming here requires special reserves. Mentally it must be tough. Far from the hum-drum of a town and its offerings. Imagine the days when no Television existed! No wonder they had huge families in these parts.
Our arrival at Kgalagadi was none to soon. An airconditioned unit was just perfect. As was the little camp restaurant where we could eat together with sister Caren and Pete as well as niece Nicole and Ruan.
Estelle jumped all over the oxtail and naturally I toiled my way through a cold Castle.
The little villa is perfect, the bed will be even better tonight after the trek of 17 hours of driving to get here.
Tomorrow will see us head out early as the dawn breaks. The full moon tonight as always reminds me of home. Nothing beats seeing it rising up over the Indian ocean.
After setting off as early as the kettle would boil and the hairdryer finished its work, the thrill of the car fully-packed and cruising down the road towards Durban to only return in some two weeks’ time was a special feeling.
The chatter in the car was all about being so excited to be able to do this together but how sad it felt to leave our little fur-kids at home. That was soon forgotten when the usual “did you pack that…” comment was bandied about. We decided to leave it right there and enjoy the ride…
Our first stop was Kimberley. Just a gentle 8 hour ride. That turned out to be almost 11 hours! Why you may wonder. Well stopping 7 times on the way doesn’t speed up the journey. Especially when I am not the best picture-taker on a Samsung.
Stop one was at the Steers just outside Pietermaritzburg. Who can resist a Steers burger and chips when on holiday? Not us!
Stop two was to capture the beautiful sunflowers in blossom close to Harrismith. Then it went downhill from there. Three stops to take pics of the Cosmos in full bloom. Of course some of the pics never quite came out as Estelle would have liked so the second and third stops were non-negotiable.
The next stop (number 6) was to top up with fuel and to drop in at a Game store to buy a bean bag for using as a pillow for a camera in Kgalagadi. Of course they wouldn’t have one but we tried at least. (I should say Estelle did whilst I played car guard). Being in our branded RE/MAX vehicle, a lovely Lady pulled up and said, “my dogter werk vir RE/MAX in Centurion…ek Like julle” and off she drove. How nice.
Oh my word… I have just remembered another stop we had in between the ones above. It was to buy biltong. Peach jam and ice cold drinks were added too. Lifesavers after the chilli biltong I might add!
The next stop was good ol’ Kimberley town. My home town and one that whose appearance has gone backwards dramatically. Straight to The Half was the order and no sparing the horses I think was what Estelle was thinking.
Arriving there and checking in was a breeze and thanks to a dear friend Brian Doherty the Spiced Gold and coke had loads of ice and was just perfect. How nice to catch up on the town “skinner”. Nothing seems to change in the place. Except of course the magnificent new wing that has been added to The Half. It really is a place to see and experience. What a beautiful pool setting around the rooms.
Karoo Lamb chops for two were ordered and the taste of “proper meat” was so good.
A long first day behind us and the prospect of another awaits us… its goodnight from Kimberley town.
After weeks of planning a trip to the distant place far from the greenery of Kwa-Zulu Natal, the morning has finally arrived.
The last minute rush to get the meat frozen, the food bought and packed into containers, water, wine and of course juice for Estelle has demanded that we are organised to the enth degree.
Leaving our office for 2 full weeks seems a huge thing to do. Estelle suddenly had a flurry of buyers calling her over the last few days and getting them sorted created an immense amount of stress for her. Coupled to that is making sure all things are in place at home. Our Happininess has cash, our furkids have food and keys are left with friends are just a few of the important issues to remember.
I packed the car last evening and was so grateful when the borrowed mobile freezer kicked in and immediately dropped to a minus degree. The amount of meat we are taking with seems enough to feed an army. Braai’s will be had morning and evening I reckon.
Our route is to Kimberley tonight where will overnight and then up towards Upington tomorrow and into the deep Kalahari and the beautiful Kgalagadi Park. We then meet up with 4 other family members to have an absolute relaxing time.
The coffee flask is ready, the Sante Fe is packed to the hilt and we’re ready to roll…