We’ve left early morning on the 22nd of August from Langebaan (our hometown) to travel 146km to Ceres.

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Early morning on our way from Langebaan to Ceres

In Ceres we could leave our car in a safe place for the next 10 days, while someone from the Tankwa Camino supporting team met us with a shuttle and transported us and our luggage to Calvinia where the Tankwa Camino will start. Some hikers prefer to drive to Calvinia and then leave their cars there … the Tankwa Camino team is very accommodating to assist the hikers where ever possible.

We were a couple of hikers that preferred to travel from Ceres and two shuttles were needed to transport everybody. It’s about 369km from Ceres to Calvinia via the N7 and we’ve arrived late afternoon in Calvinia.

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Time to refuel in Vanrhynsdorp (now only another 119km to Calvinia – our starting point)

Once in Calvinia, our luggage were dropped off at the local church hall from where we will depart tomorrow.

We’ve booked into a guesthouse for the night before our hike starts tomorrow. Calvinia is quite a small town (the population is around 10,000), but today the town is swamped with hikers and their families.

All the hikers met later that evening in the church hall for a “meet and greet” with a lovely dinner. Already we can see that the organisers are going out of their way to make us feel welcome and there is an anticipation in the air for what is about to happen during the next 10 days.

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All the hikers were treated with a warm welcome and dinner

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

Each hiker also received a red flag on a pole that must be stuck into your backpack every day. This way, you will always be visible to the (occasional) traffic on the road … the red flag on the Tankwa Camino is equal to the scallop shell on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Me and Berto already met a couple of people that will eventually become great friends … that’s the magic about any Camino – the chance of meeting new people!

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Me and Berto having a great dinner with our new Tankwa Camino friends (on the Camino in Spain, this could be called a “communal meal”)

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

And what would a Camino be without the company of one of our four-legged friends? Zeva is the beloved dog of Anri (one of the hikers). She got my attention immediately and me and Zeva would form a great bond later in the Tankwa Camino …

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Zeva, our four-legged hiking friend, brought by her owner Anri to join us on the Tankwa Camino

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

We were introduced to the team that will accompany us on the Tankwa Camino:

  • The Tankwa Camino is the brain child of Danie Pieterse and together with his wife Rhina, they form a formidable team. Rhina knows everything (and more) about aches and pains and blisters! And she can cook up a storm with her team!
  • Then there is Johan (Danie’s brother) and his wife Diana. Johan drives one of the lorries that transport our luggage. He is also the guy that helps to set up the camp every day, help dishing up the food in the evenings to tired hikers … basically he is an all-rounder. His wife, Diana was the official photographer of the Tankwa Camino – you will see some of her stunning photo’s on our blog. She also became the “cheerleader” to get all the hikers to the end of each day’s camp site!
  • “Dominee” Edward (that is like a reverend or minister) was the person that were needed to motivate us … he provides food for our hearts and souls! He always had some wisdom (and humor) to share every evening around the fire. Oh yes, and he also drives the other lorry … he could be called the other all-rounder!
  • Truia and “Ouma” Lisa (meaning grandmother), is a mother and daughter team who made the most amazing food on our 10-day hiking trip! They are the most caring people I know and always made sure the hikers had more than enough to eat.
  • There were another 8 or so men that assisted in setting up of the camp sites and getting all of our luggage off and on the lorries each day. Some of them would also set up the water points and mobile toilets during the day along the route … they were in the background, but always made sure everything went smoothly.
  • There are other people, like Louwna, assisting with communication via e-mail and other social media platforms – a huge thanks must go to her as well.

Together, these people are a hugely successful team!

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Danie welcoming all the hikers. Ds Edward is sitting behind him and on the right is Rhina (Danie’s wife) and the “matron” of the Tankwa Camino

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

Back at our guesthouse, I saw this quote against the fridge:

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What a great saying!

We (and 60 other hikers) are ready for the Tankwa Camino – starting tomorrow!!


4 thoughts on “TANKWA CAMINO – Arrival (Calvinia)

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