Tankwa Karoo Road Trip: 9-13 Aug’17

We previously toured Cedarberg Wilderness Area as well as the lower part of Tankwa Karoo.  With the road trip we did in Aug '17 we combined these two trips but this time travelled dirt roads which we previously did not.

 

 

The highlight of the road trip will be Day 3 when we leave Calvina for Holhoed Gasteplaas driving through 3 passes along the P2279.  First pass is Keiskie se Poort followed by Kareehoutrivierpoort then on to Perseshoogte.

 
The Tankwas Karoo roads are synonymous with flat tyres and I quote:

" Note that the R355 and some other gravel roads in the Tankwa Karoo have something of a reputation for destroying tyres. This is caused by sharp shards being thrown from the RF (right front) wheel towards the LR wheel caused by road camber – the  LR tyre is the one where the majority of tyre failures occur. The solution is to drive in the middle of the road where there is negative camber. This hot tip was originally given to us by Johan Viljoen, owner of 1st Alignment Centre in the Western Cape. We follow this advice in the Tankwa and have never experienced tyre failure there. It works! "

Wish I knew that last year.

 

Here is our itinerary:

 

Day 1 (9th Aug '17) – left early for Mount Cedar Lodge and enjoy brekkie at Beans about Coffee in Riebeeck Kasteel. With today being a holidayiday the place filled up in like 5 nanno seconds.

We booked Kliphuis at Mount Ceder because it features a fireplace in the main bedroom – ideal warmer for winter nights in the Cederberg.

 

Unfortunately the staff member at Reception lacked friendliness which made us feel as if we have just met Darth Vader – we did not feel welcome at all so we decided not to have breakfast there the next morning but rather push on and visit Cederberg Oasis.

We did however discover some very nice camping spots at Mount Cedar which we will definately visit in the near future.  It is miles from anybody and even your camping neighbour is some 200m away.

 

Day 2 (10th Aug '17) – saw us leave early after Ann made a humongous breakfast for me – just to help clear the head of the night before.  We headed out for Cederberg Oasis for some excellent perculated coffee priced at only R10 per cup.  From there we took the back road to Wupperthal over Eselbank Pass and then towards Calvinia.

Eselbank Pass to Wupperthal was most enjoyable (for me that is) and next time I'll drive from Wupperthal to Eselbank (the opposite direction) as that could be challenging.  Destruction due to the massive fire of December last year is still very evident so the landcsape did not have much to offer.

Our overnight stop in Calvina is Tarantula Guest House – hopefully with no reference to the infamous spider so I took some Doom with just in case….  What a pleasant surpise.  Frans was the best host we have ever met.  Calm and collected – dankie vir alles Frans, ons is bitter spyt ons kon nie langer by julle bly nie want ek het nou regtig lekker op die stoep gesit en chill.

 

Day 3 – 4.  The trek from Calvina to Holhoed Guest Farm via the P2279 and driving through 4 passes wass the highlight of this trip.  The first pass is Keiskie se Poort, then Kareehoutrivier Poort followed by Perseshoogte and finally Oupoort Pass on the R354.  Big was the dissappointment as Keiskie se Poort was the only real pass – we passed through the other two without realising it.  Road signs are non-existent and even the navigation instruments got confused with the Garmin saying turn left at the intersection whilst the Jeep's SatNav said turn left.  Eenie-meenie-miney-mo and I banged left becasue that is what the gutfeel said – and the Mrs.

I never thought that with today's technology a person would be able to get lost but believe me in the Tankwa you can and most probably will.  Roads criss-cross without any signs and they all look like farm roads.

 

 

Day 5 – Our route back home was down over Ouberg Pass, then on to the R355 to Ceres.  But wait, Ouberg Pass was so nice to drive that at the bottom we made a U-turn and went back up to the top again – just for a change of scenery and adventure.

 

Summary.  We definately enjoyed the road trip (like we always do) but I think I have experienced as much as what the Tankwa Karoo can offer.  Most of the roads are corrugated and shaking my teeth loose in the car for hours on end is not my preferred way of enjoying a road trip.  Crossing Lesotho from Sani Pass to Fouriesburg via Mokhotlong was more than enough for me thank you.  But I lost my sanity on the road from Sendelingsdrif to Lekkersing via Kudoes.  Man that was sheer Hell.

 

Our next weekend trip is clockwise from Balie's Gat – Clanwilliam – Wuppperthal Eselbank Pass – Balie's Gat.

 

And for early next year in May/June I am planning on doing a road trip from PE to Cape Town visiting 5 SAN Parks on the way – Addo,  Mountain Zebra, Camdeboo, Karoo and maybe Bontebok.