Dirt and Trail September 2019

RobRidefast

SA's adventure magazine

“At this point any feelings

that this place was ‘Hel’

were waylaid. This is an

unspoilt natural place

of reassuring silence,

broken only by the sound

of the wind, bird song

and the occasional

baboon’s bark.”

to get into and out of”. It is also surmised that the

valley and its potential was discovered 200 years

ago by nomadic stock farmers while tracking stray

animals, Khoi and San people are however believed

to have lived here long before this to live secluded

lives, escape British rule and the tax collectors

they decided to settle there. They cultivated the

necessary sustenance of milk, cheese, mutton,

beef, wheat, vegetables, figs and muscadel grapes

for wine and raisins. They also traded some for the

few necessities they could not produce themselves.

This trade was carried out via a steep footpath until

the present road was built in 1962. Once this road

was built, many of the younger inhabitants left for

the outside world.

Upon arrival in Gamkaskloof and the Boplaas

Cottages we wasted no time in removing our kit and

getting comfortable on the stoep next to the boma.

At this point any feelings that this place was ‘Hel’

were waylaid. This is an unspoilt natural place of

reassuring silence, broken only by the sound of the

wind, bird song and the occasional baboon’s bark.

Charl took the braai master duties while I made a

potato salad. When everything was ready, we sat

around the old dinner table in the small dining

and living room. Thanks was given to the Lord for

abundant provision and faithful protection, as well

as the privilege of being able to experience such an

amazing adventure. After the darkness had set in

a blanket of brilliant stars covered the sky. We lay

on the lawn in front of the ‘Oom Hannes’ cottage to

soak it all in. It was one of the most beautiful and

cleanest night skies I have ever had the privilege to

appreciate. Over a period of 30 minutes we managed

to spot about 4 shooting stars – more than I have

seen in as many years.

Day 3 – Die Hel to Knysna via Swartberg pass,

Oudtshoorn, Montagu pass, George and Seven

Passes Road

5:30 in Gamkaskloof was pitch black, but being awake

and having a longer day of riding I fumbled around

in the dark for the hanging light switch. Dad was also

stirring so I made some fresh moka pot coffee on the

gas stove. In between packing, eating leftover braai

meat and feeding the resident roosters with left over

bread we heard the threatening bark of a dominant

baboon. I rode slowly after Charl and Dad with

Serenity in the saddle behind me. Subconsciously, I

think, I did not really wish to leave. Up and out of the

Kloof we stopped for some pictures, again lingering

for as long as possible. Reluctance though soon gave

way to the enjoyment of the ride, as we splashed

through rivers and accelerated aggressively (sort

34 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019

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