DAY 2


BOSKLOOF – VOELFONTEIN

24 AUGUST

24.7km

The arrangement is that hikers should not start walking before 07:00 in the morning – to give the men enough time to set up the toilets and water points for the day.

So, just after 07:00 we were one of the first hikers ready to hit the road … although the sun just started to peek over the hills, it was still cold.

24:08 - 1(C)

The start of Day 2 with a walk in the shadows – quite chilly

We’ve walked most of the first hour in the shade of a little mountain pass. On top of the pass, we had the opportunity to see the dirt road disappearing in the distance – the road we will follow today … it was almost unthinkable that we will have to walk this road. This hike is not for the faint-hearted …

24:08 - 2(C)

The road disappearing in the distance … that’s where we’re going (and beyond)

We have started the day walking with another couple, Wayne and Rentia. They are super fit and sometimes it almost looks as if they are jogging! We have enjoyed their company and they also became our “neighbours” for the next 10 days when we were setting up our tents.

24:08 - 3(C)

Rentia and Wayne walking in front of Berto – they became great friends of us

24:08 - 4(DP)

We are still dressed in our warm clothes (but just until we get in the sun)

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

I have made friends with Zeva last night (Anri’s dog that is walking the Tankwa Camino with us). We love dogs and our two cocker spaniels were part of our lives for 14 years until we had to put them down. We miss them tremendously and it was almost as if Zeva knew about this sad feeling I had in my heart – she instantly accepted me as her friend … we would get to know each other much better in the coming days …

24:08 - 5(DP)

Zeva standing next to her owner, Anri and two other hikers

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

Once we were back on the flat (and straight) road, we were in the sun. We were still seeing farm houses close to the road with some greenery … this would later disappear (meaning the greenery).

24:08 - 6(B)

A farm house with some small green trees next to the road

It was not long into today’s stage, that I felt my first hot spot on my feet. Fortunately, we were close to one of a few trees next to the road where we could sit down in the shadow. And as expected, not one, but a few, blisters were forming … I know this just too well! Berto had to drain the blisters and inject some Merthiolate.

Judy and Allison joined us. Allison has also walked the Camino Frances in Spain and we had a lot in common and many stories to share. So together, under the tree, we were sitting, eating some oranges and ponder about life. I was devastated that blisters already appeared on the second day … but also thankful to sit here, under this tree, and have such meaningful conversations with fellow hikers.

24:08 - 7(DP)

Berto busy taking care of my blisters, while Judy and Allison joined us

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

From here it was just difficult to walk … normally on long hikes, one or two blisters will appear on day 2 or 3. But now I had numerous blisters which made walking on the uneven dirt surface almost impossible. I have not really trained for this walk – we have literally booked our place on the Tankwa Camino two weeks before – and I’m now paying the price!

But I could still admire the nature around us … the different colors of blue mountains and brown fields were spectacular.

24:08 - 8(B)

The Karoo might be dry, but there’s always the picturesque mountains and brown & green bushes

About three hours into every day’s walk, we would hear the noise of the Tankwa Camino lorries. They would then slowly drive past all the hikers (to not cause too much dust) and hoot and wave as they drive on to the night’s camping site.

24:08 - 9(DP)

Heleen, another new friend with a kind heart, walking solo with sight of the two Tankwa Camino lorries in the background

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

Except for the occasional flowers on the ground, you will see plenty of different succulent plants. These plants are well-known to grow in dry areas and store water (even from a little bit of dew) in their roots, stems or leaves. We have seen so many different succulents in the Karoo – some green ones with thick leaves and even a couple with small flowers. On the Tankwa Camino you see the most beautiful things when you force yourself to stop and take a good look around you.

24:08 - 10(B)

You will see many different succulent plants on the Tankwa Camino

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

Though we have walked past a couple of farms today, we have not seen any animals. Therefore, when we got to a donkey standing in the field and looked bemused at us, we had to stop and take a photo.

24:08 - 11(B)

This donkey reminded me of another donkey we’ve seen while walking the Camino Frances in Spain in 2017

24:08 - 12(DP)

When you see a big tree like this one, you almost want to go and sit in the shade just because you don’t know how far the next tree is 😄

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

It was really starting to get hot and my blistered feet complaint with every step. I was counting down the 5km at every water point with eagerness, because that were an indication of us nearing the overnight spot!

At some point we’ve crossed a bridge with the date of 1958 on the barrier and I was wondering how many times in the past 61 years this bridge had seen some water flowing under him!

A bridge appears out of nowhere … it must be an awesome sight when there is actually a river!

And then … our first real spectator! A young boy was standing next to his bicycle and watching us walking past. Berto walked over to have a chat with him and handed him some of our trail mix (sweets & nuts), for which he thanked us politely. I’ve asked him why he was not in school and he said “but it’s Saturday” … shows you how one can lose track of time when you are walking, unaware of which day it is!

24:08 - 15(C)

This little boy was our first spectator – he must have been very happy, because most of the hikers shared some of their snacks with him!

We were now within 5km from Voelfontein, our overnight camping site. I was just wishing for a bed (in the shade) and to lay down with my feet up … as that thought crossed my mind, I saw a small bush with some shadow next to a fence … perfect for me to lay down in the shade and put my feet up the fence!

24:08 - 16(B)

Pure bliss!! Maybe not the softest mattress, but in the “shadow” with my feet up!

It was an exciting moment to see our national flag next to the road that indicated our stop for the day – although it was another kilometer to the site itself!

24:08 - 17(DP)

That flag means we have reached the end of today’s stage

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

It was a real struggle to help Berto to pitch our tent – I could hardly stand on my feet! Rhina noticed my discomfort and asked to see my feet … I had at least 4 to 5 blisters on each foot! She just shooked her head and said “no walking for you tomorrow” … I knew it was coming.

24:08 - 18(DP)

Our Tankwa Camino tented camp was in a ditch, shielded from the fierce Karoo wind

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

Ouma Lisa and Truia was busy preparing chicken “potjie” over the fire. In South Africa, “potjiekos” (literally translated “small-pot food”), is a dish prepared outdoors. It is traditionally cooked in a round, cast iron, three-legged pot. This is real comfort food!

24:08 - 19(DP)

Ouma Lisa and Truia was hard at work, preparing food for all the tired pilgrims – look at that massive wooden spoon!

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

When the sun sets in the Karoo, you can dress yourself in warm clothes – then it’s cold! It’s amazing to think that a couple of hours ago, we were sweating in the hot sun and now everyone was huddling around the food fires to try and get warm!

24:08 - 21(DP)

The very best of each day … standing around the fire to get warm and watching our food getting ready!

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

The sunsets in the Karoo is just breathtaking! It was a spectacle to see the sun set every evening … a picture we will always remember and cherish.

24:08 - 20(DP)

Beautiful! The sun sets over the 2nd day of our Tankwa Camino

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

Tomorrow, I will be a “passenger” on the Tankwa Camino – I will take a lift with one of the Tankwa Camino lorries … how will my Camino turns out?

Categories: South African Break Aways, Tankwa Camino - South African (Aug/Sept 2019)

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