And so the Adventure continued but rather than climbing higher and higher we now started descending, steeper and steeper with sheer cliffs falling away to our right from what seemed just inches from the wheels of the 4x4. One can only wonder what happens when a vehicle approaches from the opposite direction for there certainly isn’t space for two vehicles to pass each other. Another reason why you rather do your first trip with a guide comfortable with the driving conditions unless of course you are one of those 4x4 junkes that would happily challenge the annual DAKAR.
Peering out of the 4x4 we could see fellow travelers vehicles that looked only a little bigger than ants illustrating just how far we still had to go and descend. Again the scenery and the vegetation changed as we descended and at last we reached our lunch destination, Doodsklip campsite.
Doodsklip is a lovely campsite situated just on the edge of the upper reaches of the Kouga dam. When the dam is full the water’s edge must be a few metres away from the campsite but with the dam standing below 50% it was a short walk to water’s edge.
Whilst Shaun set up camp and our lunch spread supplied by Cape St Francis Resort, the German tourists and I wandered off to do a bit of exploring. Considering how high we had climber to reach the lookout point where I nearly burst into “sitting on top of the world looking down on creation”, now standing near the dams water edge it illustrated just how far we had descended. As the crow flies it was a relatively very short distance but as the road wound downhill following the contours on the mountain it was actually miles and miles in actual distance travelled.
Wandering off I found a sparkling little brook of cool water where I sat and soaked aching feet. Had it been deeper I would have taken a dip but it was too shallow for such pleasure so rather I splashed the cool waters all over until I was sopping wet. Again if the dam were a bit closer to capacity it would have been possible to have a swim. No doubt even as low as the dam is, if one is prepared to walk one would reach water’s edge. Alas old age and disease has reduced my walkability to but very short distances but my German touring companions did wander off closer to the water but did not swim. Thoughtfully the resort provided towels had any of us chosen to take a dip.
Returning to camp, Shaun had set up our delicious lunch in the shade of a huge wild fig. And what a spread he presented us with complete with a beer for each of us, not the driver, to quench that thirst of what had been a long and at times, a somewhat nailbiting experience.
Lunch over it was time to wind our way back up the pass which proved as much an experience ans the descent. Buffalo sightings and even a pair of blue crane sightings awaited us …
More next week but some interesting comment s and one in particular from the daughter of the farmer who built the cable car, Correcting my comment of it being a ‘zip line’ Sharon Osborne daughter of Winston le Roux who built the cable car had this to add.
Sharon wrote …
“The ‘zip line’ you refer to was actually a fully functional cable car. As a child I crossed the gorge in it !
The cableway was built by my father, Winston Le Roux in 1967 between his farms Enkeldoorn and Good Hope (now Bergplaas). He used two 32mm carrier cables. The system had a 5 ton carrying capacity, and spans 410m over a 387m gorge.
He used the cableway for many years to transport potatoes and sheep en route to the PE market, cutting out the treacherous 24 km passes.
Andries Blignaut a mechanical engineer & friend of his from PE, assisted in the planning and design.
Winston lives in PE, is 86 years old and in good health. Details are in his book Beautiful Baviaanskloof.
There must be so many other locals who have stories to tell and so please feel free to add you comments and keep this conversation going
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