I left Mossel Bay at about 8am heading for Oudtshoorn. As I hit the long road, I became teary eyed again. The open road is so tranquil. Even more so since there was nobody riding with me, so no worrying about matching somebody else’s pace, stopping where or when I or they don’t want to, no egos coming to battle it out subtly for who took a bend more skillfully, no racing or charging to be ahead.
I get a bit irritated when asked if I was afraid to do this alone. Sure, I’m afraid of dying, but generally I am afraid of that no matter where I am. My biggest fear when deciding to go through with this trip were: will I have enough money and where will I leave my stuff. Credit card solves the first worry and the second worry is also worth nought as the people I’ve come across are so welcoming and accommodating. Far more so than I have met in Cape Town. So far, I’ve been able to leave my goody gats at the receptions and even in the car of a car guard whilst I explore what there is to explore. People are very honest, I must stop believing that all South Africans are selfish morons. Its probably only the big city folk. Every South African needs to do something like this to realize that the world is bigger than there ass. Especially the city folk. They could learn a thing or two from the small town folk.
The Cango Caves is 30 km outside Oudtshoorn over the lush green Swartberg pass. Oudshoorn is not what I expected. Its cool, and overcast. This is strange for this time of year. Lush and green! I did expect to see many many cactusses, which I did not!
The Cango Caves is indescribable. I am literally at a loss for words to express how amazing it is. Incredible is a gross understatement. It is one thing to see it on photographs. Seeing it in person, being inside the meandering passages and chambers is like a wonderland or something even more surreal than an alien landscape in a sci-fi movie. A definite MUST see. At the moment entry fee is only 95 rand. It is hard to comprehend that all of it lies deep within a mountain!
High on euphoria I left the Cango Caves heading for Meiringspoort which is in the direction of Beaufort West. Both my cousin and an elderly couple suggested I go there. I wasn’t planning to, but after the elderly couple, at the Cango Caves also suggested it, I thought it must be worth postponing my trip back to the coast for a day.
I sorely misunderstood both my cousin and the elderly couple. I assumed Meiringspoort was a place to frolick about in nature and overnight as well. Turns out its just a scenic rest stop on the meiringspoort mountain pass where you can hike up to see a very high waterfall. No sleeping over. I missed it completely, and so disappointed, I carried on for a further 150 km to Beaufort West. Oh what a mistake. There is FUCK ALL to see there. I love the karoo landscape but there was something about Beaufort West that gave me the cold shivers and made me nauseous. I could not see myself spending the night there. My one option was to go 200 km to Aberdeen and from there a further 200 km or so to Port Elizabeth. It was more than I could fathom with my disappointing mistake haunting me, so I opted to turn around and come back the same way I got there. I will probably never see Beaufort West again – if I can help it. One thing I absolutely must not forget to mention is that the rock formations for the mountains around the Meiringspoort pass is breathtaking. It is part of the Great Swartberg Mountains which appears to be a fold mountain range.
I rode much faster coming back. And got to De Rust, al little town 30 km outside Oudtshoorn. Managed to get a kind of a cross between a backpacker and B&B at 150 rand for the night. Its a peaceful town, very small. I will sleep peacefully here. I might go up to meiringspoort in the morning before heading for the coast.
Life is short …