Today is a long stage – just over 27km. And the road surface is rough, corrugated and full of small little stones … this will be a challenge for the hikers today. Maybe a good idea to be a passenger on the Tankwa Camino lorry … at least with feet full of blisters!

25:08 - 2(DP)

Hikers trying to find their way between the loose gravel on the road

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

25:08 - 1(DP)

Zeva is showing the way 😊

With me not walking today, I get to experience another side of the Tankwa Camino. After all the hikers left the camp site, the support team of the Tankwa Camino start to pack up the camp with a precise routine …

  • All the hikers’ boxes with camping equipment, etc. needs to be loaded on the lorries – this taking some time to make sure everything fits perfectly
  • The toilets are cleaned and taken down
  • The big black food “potjies” getting cleaned and loaded
  • The kitchen tent got to be taken down, folded and loaded on the lorry
  • They ensure all fires are extinguished
  • And lastly, they make sure that the site is left as it was founded the day before. They walk around to collect any loose papers or garbage – sometimes they even found “lost hikers’ items” which they then pack separately for the hikers to collect at the end of each day

Their target is to leave the camp site at around 10:00 in order to drive to the next overnight site and set up camp, before the first hikers arrive.

I came to the realisation that this is a massive operation to organise a perfectly smooth run Tankwa Camino – the hikers don’t see this side of the Tankwa Camino – and I’m now even more impressed with how the Camino is run by this team!

25:08 - 3(DP)

Berto and Judy are walking together and they seemed to be in good spirit when they’ve past some green fields

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

I’ve also noticed at how supportive the farming community are towards the Tankwa Camino. Water is scarce along the route and, as the lorries can’t carry 10 days’ water, they stop at farms on the route to fill up their water tanks. So, today we’ve stopped at one of the farms where the farmer allowed the Camino team to fill up on their water supply.

25:08 - 4(DP)

The Tankwa Camino lorries stops at a farm to fill their water tanks

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

While we were busy re-fuelling on water, Berto and Judy walked past. They said the road surface is very difficult to walk on today. The wind has also started to pick up – maybe a blessing in disguise, as the sun was quite hot.

25:08 - 5(B)

The farmers’ sheep in their camp

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A little lamb drinking from his mother

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

I am a passenger in Ds Edward’s Tankwa Camino lorry and it’s great to listen to all his stories about the Karoo and its wonderful people. I am definitely experiencing the Tankwa Camino on another level now.

We have also picked up another “passenger” … Zeva walked halfway today and joined me on the truck. She took her place at the back of our seat and immediately fell asleep. When we pass some hikers and hoot at them, she will get up to see what is going on and then go back to sleep again – what a wonderful companion I have found in Zeva on my “non-walking day” on the Tankwa Camino!

25:08 - 7(DP)

A big green tree with lots of shade … but unfortunately on the other side of the fence

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

We were not driving fast … well, we actually could not really … the lorry was loaded to its full capacity and the corrugated road made it even more difficult to go at full throttle! I was wondering how the hikers were experiencing this road today …

25:08 - 8(DP)

Annatjie has now joined Berto and Judy and together they’ve braced the rough road and fierce Karoo sun

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

Our overnight spot was next to an old farm house. During the afternoon, colorful tents will be pitched up next to the house.

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What a great overnight site … a big house (shelter against the wind) and a big tree for much needed shade

Me and Zeva sat against the wall of the house, while the Tankwa Camino team was offloading the trucks and getting the camp site ready for the day.

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All the hikers’ boxes are offloaded every day and neatly packed in rows for hikers to easily find them and pitch their tents

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

25:08 - 12(DP)

Every day, the team set up 4 or 5 toilets close to the camp site (which will be taken down again the next morning after everybody left)

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

25:08 - 10(B)

The hikers will definitely be glad to see this sign at the end of a long and grueling day

Although every hiker is responsible to pitch their own tent, there are some women that walks solo and find it difficult to put their tents up all by themselves. Sometimes other hikers would help or the supporting Tankwa Camino team will jump in and assist where necessary.

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This cart was great in “transporting” luggage to the preferred camping spot of the hikers. Although it was not required from them, the supporting team assisted daily when a hiker needed help

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

The last hikers came in late this afternoon – blown away by the wind and burned by the sun. It was a long day!

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After a long day, the last couple of hikers arrived at the overnight site

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

When in town, it’s easy to go the shop and buy fresh bread … but here on the Tankwa Camino, fresh bread will have to be baked. And that is exactly what Ouma Lisa and Truia has done … they made a hole in the ground, fill it with hot coals, place the black pots with the bread dough on the coals and then cover it. After a couple of hours, they took out the most amazing bread … I’m sure there were nothing left after dinner!

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Ouma Lisa and Truia – proudly next to their own home baked bread – you won’t go hungry here!

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

Most of the hikers have done some washing today. It takes careful negotiation between having enough water for a shower as well as for washing of your clothes!

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The washing line was such a luxury today and we made fully use of this!

Rhina had another look at my feet. She drained all my blisters with a needle and threat through each one (painful exercise). She also suggested that I will probably have to take antibiotics to stop any infection … which I didn’t have. But, as we’ve learned before: The Camino provides! Allison came to my rescue with a pack of antibiotics she brought and gave the whole course of antibiotics to me … the Camino never seems to disappoint!

Tonight, we will have another “braai” (meat on the coals) and we could smell the wonderful aromas late afternoon … that’s normally when the hikers will start taking their chairs from their tents to the fire … it’s dinner time!

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Johan, Ds Edward and a guy from the supporting team are getting the meat ready, while Danie is keeping a watchful eye on everything

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

Rhina asked Berto whether he would share some of our experiences on the overseas Camino’s we’ve done and how it compares with the local Tankwa Camino. Around the fire tonight, Berto shared some thoughts … the silver threat that binds the Tankwa Camino and the Camino de Santiago together, must be the fact that you get the opportunity to make new friends and be there for your fellowman when help is needed – and what better opportunity as here, on the Tankwa Camino!

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Berto sharing thoughts with the hikers about the similarities between the Tankwa Camino and the Camino de Santiago in Spain

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

Once again, we had the most spectacular sunset … the 3rd day was a challenge, but we’ve felt blessed to watch this with our fellow hikers (who now already became good friends).

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The sun is setting in the west … what a day!

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)


5 thoughts on “TANKWA CAMINO – Day 3

  1. What a shame you were not able to walk but at least you got to see the logistics of the whole operation which look very impressive. I love the idea of the cooks baking bread in a proper “camp oven”, it is years since I used one of those and I never attempted bread in one. I’ll bet it was gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, yes I agree what an operation to organize and also what a gift to others… That people can experience it. I am sorry about your blisters but it does sound like you gained a positive perspective from traveling in the lorry. Zeva sounds adorable…. My mouth is watering just looking at the bread😋😋🍞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That bread … I cannot begin to tell you how much we’ve enjoyed those fresh slices in the “veld”!
      I’ve realised that every Camino (or every journey for that matter) is different and sometimes you don’t always get the same results in the end. This Camino was not necessarily to walk the whole route, but to spent quality time with other people (than hikers) and enjoy the companionship from a lovely dog 🐶.

      Liked by 1 person

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