The roads of Nieu-Bethesda

The village of Nieu-Bethesda is located about 30 minutes north of Graaff-Reinet and literally feels like another world. It is so different from most small rural towns as there is very little development around which makes the place feel sleepy and peaceful. The road to about 4km from the outskirts of the village was tarred a couple of years ago which makes getting to it a little easier, but town itself has no tar roads, no street lights, no petrol station or ATM, only really one little supermarket and barely two hands full of houses in the town itself.

This is the main road into the village and peak hour traffic means a car has to stop for a couple of horses, goats or geese to cross the road.

One or two of the roads still have wagon stones on the corners. These were put up to stop turning ox wagons to bump into the buildings. Not that there are any ox wagons around anymore. Only a donkey cart or three.

The old Dutch Reformed Church in town was consecrated in 1905 and stands out among the surrounding buildings.

One of the main intersections in town. Dead quiet on the busiest of times.

The road in front of the Nieu Karoo Country Restaurant was pretty busy as we walked past to the river bed on our fossil tour. Found out a little later that there was live music by a fairly well-known band on.

The main road through Nieu-Bethesda. Before crossing you look left, look right, look left again, stop in the middle to take a photo, walk back to get another angle, then across to where you are going and when you come back a little later perhaps one car would have come past.

Not really much use for cars in town…

Nieu-Bethesda and its roads are best explored on foot

The road out of town past the Tot Hier Toe Padstal.

Oh I wish I had a 4×4

Oh how I wish I had a 4×4. A proper bakkie (or SUV, I’m not picky) to explore the backroads with. I love my Polo, don’t get me wrong, but I feel for her every time I hit a dirt road. But a bigger vehicle would allow me to discover places I’ve been avoiding. Crossing the Zuurberg Pass, taking the Elands River road, have a proper Wild Coast trip, do the Baviaanskloof from end to end for the first time, head to the mountains of the North-Eastern Cape to tackle some of those beautiful passes and get lost on the dirt roads of the Karoo Heartland. And that’s just all things in the Eastern Cape. I sometimes wonder how people can afford to drive big 4×4’s when I can barely afford my second hand sedan. Maybe it’s because we’re comprehensively insured, medical aided, long-term policied and retirement annuitied that I don’t have the finances for a luxury like that. My bosses see my posts so I’m not going to say perhaps I don’t earn enough. Maybe I should do something on the side to earn more. Who knows?

In my dreams a car company will one day call me and say something like, “Hey Jonker. We see you and everything you do. How you promote the Eastern Cape and South Africa not just for work but because you have such a passion for it, showcase everything there is to see and do, your online presence and promotion, you passion and your value. We would like to sponsor you a 4×4 to use and put your branding on along with ours and in return you make sure you showcase the vehicle as much as possible, include it on your destination photos and always mention it in your posts.”

Oh well, a guy can dream, can’t he. Maybe one day when I’m big.

Marine Drive on the Wildside

Marine Drive along the Port Elizabeth beachfront and the Wildside all the way out to Schoenmakerskop probably has some of the best scenery in PE. Sea views, a rugged coastline, gullies to enjoy with kids, fishing spots, coastal fynbos, shipwrecks, whales and dolphins, hiking trails, nature reserves, picnic spots, camp sites, tons of photo opportunities and so much more.

Tsitsikamma cattle roadblock

We decided to break away to the Tsitsikamma for the day and rather than just driving in and out on the N2, we took the scenic R102. The three biggest industries in the area are forestry, tourism and dairy so everywhere along the way you pass plantations, dairy farms and accommodation and activity establishments. What we didn’t expect to encounter was a roadblock made up of cattle. As we crested a little hill I realised that there was something in the road about a kilometers ahead. And not something like a car or a person, but a lot of somethings. A herd of cows being moved down the road from one farm to another with the herdsman in front leading the way.

Rather than just sitting in the car I pulled over and we all hopped out to experience something that is very unusual for city slickers like us, being surrounded by a herd of cows in transit.

Being an 18 year old teenager, Chaos Boy didn’t really show any interest, but Miggie was a lot more excited and inquisitive about the whole thing.

We barely got going when the next herd appeared in the road. This one was moving a little faster with the two guys in the lead breaking out in a jog every now and then with the cows nipping at their heals.

This is what road trips and exploring on country roads is about. Experiences that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.

Late early still… is tired

I are tired… tired is I.  Probably more like exhausted.  Makes it feel even worse when you go home, got to stop at the shop and join a queue of 30 people to buy electricity (yes I know I’ve got to register to do it from my phone if I can find the time), pick up one of the kids and rush off to drop them back at school for their school concert (which is going to be all week), then back home to eat something before rushing to buy milk before the store close and pick up Drama Princes again.  Somewhere the sun went down way too early and I seem to remember that I snapped a pic to try and sum up my day.  And that was just today.  Did I mention the last few weeks have been something like that between work, family, work, kids, work, family, work and everything and everybody else wanting a piece of me?  Say what? It’s the first of August? Already? Or only? I need to recharge my batteries.

Constance Hair Salon

A couple of years ago the (not so) Grand Hotel in Central started to encourage small businesses to rent space on Whites Road to trade from what I think used to be garages. Not many took them up on the offer. Some of those who did painted the outside of their shops pink to try and attract the clientele. In this case pink doesn’t mean “Pink”. So if you need a hair cut, give Constance a call.