Now if you want one of the best get-away holidays in South Africa you should try cycling through the back roads of the Little (or Klein) Karoo – inspiring, awesome, rejuvenating!
On my first day cycling through these wide open spaces, I looked up at the sky and it stretched from horizon to horizon in all directions. One’s soul can only expand in the magnificence of these wide open spaces.
Dry Arid Land Peppered with Ostriches
As we cycled along, the majestic mountains on the distant horizon lent a blue haze to the landscape. During our tea and lunch breaks we picnicked among towering cliffs or gazed over clear streams running through beautiful valleys lined with crops. The dry arid land is peppered with ostriches which take up the race and for some reason, known only to them, run full speed alongside our cycling group – thankfully on the other side of the fence. Apparently the ostriches only react this way to cyclists and are totally unmoved by vehicles. Strange, strange feathered birds.
Dave and Cheryl Griffiths from Outeniqua Adventure Tours organised the trip for us. Thank you Dave and Cheryl for being such wonderful, warm and caring hosts.
Our first overnight stop was at the country guest house called De Denne. De Denne offers a unique experience of staying on a working ostrich farm. The home cooked evening meal came along with the warm and welcoming “boere” style hospitality for which the B & B’s in the Little Karoo are renowned.
One of the Gems of the Little Karoo
One of the gems of in the Little Karoo is Oulap Country House where we spent our second night. Jans and Almeri Rautenbach built this home with their own hands over forty years ago and it has a collection of fine art and Africana books that is unequalled to any place that I have stayed in South Africa. Jans was instrumental in establishing the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival at Oudtshoorn.
After a tour of the school which Jans and Almeri have taken on as a project (and I will leave that for another blog post as it needs to stand on its own) we set off on our bikes once again. It was strange to by cycling in the rain. The two previous occasions that we have cycled through the Little Karoo the skies have been clear with cold nights and skies full of stars.
Four Days of Cycling on Sticky Roads
Our third night we stayed at Eagle Falls. Spectacular!
With legs strained by four days of cycling on sticky roads in the rain we spent our last night in Herold at a guest house called Over-the -Mountain, then down through the magnificent Montagu Pass and back into George where we had met up with Dave and Cheryl at the start of our tour.
Back to the Business of Life
As I get back to the business of life one again, memories linger – of tired bodies climbing into hot baths at the end of the day, evening drinks with banter and laughter recalling the day’s events, wonderful warm hospitality and good food and especially open skies and endless plains framed by the ever present dramatic and magnificent Outeniqua or Swartberg Mountains.
As far as holidays goes, this is one of the best!