Namaqua West Coast Day #2: Take Me to the Water

Namaqualand is made for early morning missions. Die son gooi oranje en rooi van vroegdag af, en die lig vir fotografie skop gat terwyl daai #magichour hou. Ek en Peter Kirk is dus reeds vroeg voor sonop by Maskam Guest Farm na #gifberg toe op soek na nog foto’s wat die natuur prag van Namaqua West Coast kan vasvang.

From the crevacces and crags of these rugged mountains, we set course for #Papendorp – via an emergency caffeine stop at Thi Art Coffee in Vredendal – to meet up with Oubaas. Hier’s nou vir jou ‘n properse #NamakwaKarakter! One of a handful remaining traditional fishermen, Oubaas and his crew set off on most mornings to net harders on the Olifants River estuary.

Dis waar bokkoms – een van die #Weskus se mees tradisionele kossoorte – vandaan kom, and you can see bundles of these little dried fish hanging outside most of the dwellings in the tiny coastal dorps dotting the Atlantic shoreline. Daar word groot stories vertel op die vis bakkies, onder andere oor die robbe wat so groot probleem is om Papendorp.

We send up the drones to grab a few SUP shots, and then mission off to what must surely be one of the most unique wineries, not only on the West Coast, but anywhere in South Africa. Fryers Cove Winery is set inside the old traditional fishing harbour at #DoringBaai, and you enjoy their exceptional sauvignons and pinot noirs on the old pier jutting into the tempestuous bay. The wines are paired with curried fish, calamari, olives, cheese and other delectable seafood dishes, en een ding is verseker, dit is sommer donners lekker.

Terwyl ons wyn drink, raak die branders rof. Surfing photos were still on the cards, though, so I headed into a few 8ft #Wekus rollers off the rocky #Bamboesbaai shore line. This proved pretty rough going, and #DieOom got seriously pretzelled, maar nou ja. We pitched tents for a few more shots, the kids explored the rock pools, en toe kom daar nog wyn uit … soos ek reeds genoem het; die Namakwalanders en mense soos Monika De Jager het nie einde nie!

Huge thanks to Maskam Guest Farm Fryers Cove WineryStrandfontein Community en al die ander Weskus legendes 

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NAMAQUA WEST COAST DAY #1: The Magic of Maskam

I’m back in Cape Town, but moer, I’m missing those headspace plains of the #Knersvlakte, not to mention the back roads and lekker dorpies of the amazing Namaqua West Coastregion. Die enigste probleem is dat daar te veel wyn en heeltemal te min tyd is, maar nou ja … sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.

Die ander ding is: Namakwalanders het nie ‘n off-switch nie. Wyntyd is enige tyd van brekfis tot middernag verby – dit geld ook vir #Zamalek by spots soos #BagdadCafe – and where there’s wine there’s food, and hospitality, and back-slap cameraderie, en ‘n hele spul kakpraat. In fact, I’m surprised Pistol Peter Kirk and I got any work done in between all the bonhomie and properse #NamaquaGees that characterises the people of this rough-and-always-ready-to-jol region.

Have I mentioned it is fokken mooi here in the #NamaquaWeskus? We spent our first night tucking into some quality steaks and a few Maskam Brewing Company lagers at the Letsatsi Lodge NC Famous, and it is rightly ‘famous’. Great food, top class hospitality and unparrallelled service means you HAVE to stop there the next time you’re cruising to #Kgalagadi … kyk uit vir #Letsatsi net oos van die N7, regoor Vanrhynsdorp, Western Cape, South Africa

We met up with Chief Cheerleader Monika De Jager before dawn, and set course into the formidable #Knersvlakte. Daar’s maar min dinge mooier as die son wat opkom oor #Gifberg en #Maskamberg, and we got stuck into a solid slice of #magichour light before continuing on our road trip up to the Bitterfontein Boerewinkel for coffee and the best flippen #roosterkoek you’ll find north of the #DouseTheGlim Line. Great to also meet owner Stefan Gerber, and hear about their plans to finally place SA’s merino wool on the world map.

Cue #BagdadCafe, ‘n bedonnerde padstal op die #Nieuwoudtville pad wat ooswaarts ‘n lyn sny na die binnelandse platorand toe. Wees versigtig, want as die eienaar Owen jou raakdrink, is jy sommer kniediep in die kak, ou maat. Met ‘n paar take-away Zamaleks (lees 12x van hulle) is ons daar weg die #Kobee in, op soek na grondpad passe wat nog net ‘n handjievol mense ondervind het. One of these passes is the #Tierberg ascent; with incline angles of up to 31%, it rates as one of the TOP 10 steepest passes in South Africa.

Bikes were ridden. Drones were flown. Beers were consumed. Kak was spoken. At length. EN daai aand het dinge lekker geraak by #BagdadCafe … net jammer ons het die sunset gemis.

Ja nee, I can confirm that the fun will find you here in the #Namaqua West Coast. There are superb adventures lurking around literally every corner, up every gravel road, in all those little #Matzikamma dorps, and in every little hide-away bay dotting the icy Atlantic shoreline. En jy gaan moer baie wyn drink, maar dis oraait, want dis very blerry lekker wyn, ou pjêl!

Huge thanks to Maskam Guest Farm Bagdad Cafe Letsatsi Lodge NC Famous Bitterfontein Boerewinkel and of course the irrepressibly stoutgat Monika De Jager Julle Namakwalanders is legends!

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Dodo Trail 2018

Squirreling away on the #Xperia, so will keep this short. The first 3hrs of #DodoTrail ramped up to #LevelEpic, with bucketing rain, dense fog, swampy trails and roiling rivers. This testbed the whole field until the start of the ascent up #latourelle (that rugged, steep bugger of a volcanic outcrop known as ‘Little Tower’ lurking with intent as you wage #trail war en route to the finish.

Christiaan Greyling ran strong and hard to bag a 2nd place on the podium (behind Simon Desvaux de Marginy) , while @Jamie Marais and Karyn Marais kicked butt in the 25km #Trooper. The sunshine and rainbow on that final peak … just bloody breathtaking

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