Dec 2016 Varschfontein Tanqwa Karoo 4 days

4 Day Pre-Xmas & Lin birthday get-away to our favourite local hideout.

Leaving early in the morning before anyone else is around we hit the road for a slow round the houses trip – Agter Paar, Wellington, Ceres, and then the dirt roads via Sutherland to Middlepos and then down the magnificent Gannaka Pass were we met no one to Lins great enjoyment – she lives in dread of meeting other cars on steep passes 🙂

At the bottom we find an abandoned car in the middle of the road – turns out they broke down the day before and had to walk all the way to the Park Offices in the boiling sun to get help. Day later still waiting for a mechanic – what joy that must have been. Being on your own in the middle of nowhere can indeed have its drawbacks.

So we clock in at the office – very nice and helpful as usual. Yes, the key to the cottage – some 35 Kms away – will be in the radio box. Yes, there is sufficient wood there for three days for the hot water donkey. OK just checking ! Off we go……get to the cottage no Keys, very little wood and emergency Radio non functional. Wonderful.

Satellite phone to the rescue. 40 degrees. So I manage to gain access into the cottage through a window so that at least we can unpack the car and the fridges and make ourselves comfortable and cool whilst we wait for the keys.

SanParks needs a Rev. Apart from this we later discover that the water from the dam is not going down to the waterhole and thus the animals are having to come up, rather nervously, to the house to drink from the dam over-spill. Not good.

Keys and more wood eventually arrive and so we settle down. There are four owls in the palm trees with some noisy young which alas we cannot see. The Owls are much in evidence and spend a great amount of time doing what owls do 🙂 Nice to see.

Late afternoon the bokkies come plus some Gemsboks and Zebra and Red Hartebeest but the waterhole as previously stated is dry.

The wind is howling and the windmill is doing overtime. It is far too strong to braai outside so I build one in the kitchen range. It is like this for the whole period that we are there. Come nightfall of course the wind drops and the heat inside the cottage rises. We don’t care we are just glad to be back here and do not see a soul or another car for the whole period. Total bliss.

La Nuit Tombe – Nightfall – Finally I manage to take some so so night photos –

Morning comes and it’s walk about time

A few clouds but the strong wind soon chases them away and it all comes to nothing. We just enjoy sitting there quietly, reading and the odd wander off into the veld. We take a short drive to keep the fridge batteries up to check out the access to the R 355 in advance, for when we have to leave, only to find that they have closed it off with a locked gate. In fact they have virtually enclosed the whole enlarged park now – there are only so many access points. I can see why but it is a shame nevertheless.

Nearby abandoned building

We love this place – it is so simple – simply wonderful………….

Birthday Girl 🙂

Very friendly “wildlife”

Klein Tafelberg in the distance, out of the park

Ancient Rock-art ? – I think not maybe………..

The Owls are very vocal all day and night

Our time is drawing to a close. I know I have taken these shots before but this is like a magnet to me and now all these photos have been taken in Manual mode – progress has been made 🙂

So with a heavy heart we pack up and make for home to be with the family for Xmas day. The trip back has to be via the Parks Office as the exit to the R355 is closed; this actually makes for a 100Km detour 🙁 but then on the way….

The journey is wonderful. When we finally get back to the R355 we can’t work out which side of the Tanqwa Karoo Rest-stop shop we are but all is not lost; we soon come upon it and are able to fill up with homemade ginger beer and fruit preserves and olives.

The roads are not too busy and we arrive safely home mid-afternoon after a truly wonderful and restful 4 days away.

Highly recommended but SanParks need to jack themselves up – maintenance is not being done effectively and things have disappeared from the cottage and not replaced.