DAY 6


WITWALLE – GROOTDAM

28 AUGUST

29.1km

Today will be the longest day yet to walk … this will also be (hopefully) my last day as a passenger … there seems to be no infection after I’ve started with the antibiotic course and my blisters are busy drying out … I keep my fingers crossed!

It was seriously cold during the night! Me and Berto had to rearrange our mattresses and bedding in the middle of the night to get some extra heat … last night was the first time that I’ve missed my warm and cozy bed back at home!

28:08 - 1(B)

Beautiful sunrise … but bitterly cold!

As the hikers started with their day’s walk, me and Zeva nestled around the fire. There are more hikers today that will make use of available transport and some will just walk a couple of kilometers before they will be picked up and driven to the next camp site. But, at the end of the day, we will still experience the wonderful fellowship of the Camino.

28:08 - 2(B)

There is this saying that the road is so long and straight, you can see into the future …

28:08 - 3(B)

Windmills became a regular sight on the Tankwa Camino

And for the first time on the Camino, we had a lot of traffic on the road (well, for at least 10 minutes). A couple of vehicles came past followed by tractors of all shapes and colours.

Eventually … traffic on the Tankwa Camino 🤪

Ds Edward told us that there is a festival in Calvinia this weekend (where we’ve started the Tankwa Camino) and the tractors will be part of this. The festival is called the “Hantam Vleisfees” or “Hantam Meatfest” … “Hantam” is the region where Calvinia is situated and they are well-known for some of the best meat in the country!

Friendly farmers on their tractors waving at the hikers

Today’s road will also pass the Tankwa National Park, that is on the list of national parks in South Africa. According to Wikipedia, the true meaning of the word “Tankwa” is unknown, but it is said to be “Turbid water”, “Place of the San” or “Thirst land” – all of which fits this arid yet picturesque park so well. You will find a large variety of birds here, as well as many mammals (such as many different antelopes and leopards).

28:08 - 8(B)

This road will take you to the Tankwa National Park

Middelpos is a very small farming community and Sutherland is well known as the coldest place in South Africa and having the largest telescope in the Southern Hemisphere – beautiful places to go to when you visit the Tankwa National Park

When you drive in your car through this area, you basically only notice the long dirt road and dry area without almost any sign of life … but when you’re walking, you have the time to see what is growing on ground level. There were colourful bushes and flowers next to the road today – but you had to keep your eyes open to find the beauty!

Truly amazing … flowers growing in an area which hardly ever receives any rain

28:08 - 12(B)

Just a hard rock area … but look closely, and you will see beautiful little flowers

I am always amazed at how people do “art” with rocks. I’ve seen this on both the Camino Frances in Spain, as well as the Portuguese Camino in Portugal. And here on the Tankwa Camino, we have also seen the same thing next to the road.

28:08 - 13(DP)

There are more than enough rocks on the Tankwa Camino for hikers to do some “rock art”

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

And once again, shadow was scarce on the road today. When you do find a tree (even one without any leaves), you make use of the opportunity to sit down for a few minutes … and even more so when there is actually a picnic spot at that tree!

28:08 - 14(B)

What more do you want – a picnic spot under a tree!

The hikers were taking it a bit slower today … it turned out to be quite hot and the road surface is once again uneven and scattered with small little stones. As we pass the hikers in the lorries, we could see some of them were taking strain today.

28:08 - 16(DP)

At the 5km water- & toilet stops, most of the hikers were taking time to rest for a while

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

28:08 - 15(DP)

Liesl is taking off her shoes to get rid of the small little stones, while Berto is waiting for her

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

Today is also the 100km mark! Ceres, the town where the Tankwa Camino will end, is now only 4 days of walking away.

28:08 - 17(B)

Berto at the 100km mark

Although I did not walk today’s stage, I could see the hikers found this day quite challenging. Where hikers would pitch their tents far from each other the previous days, they are now setting up much closer to each other … after a long day on the road, nobody wants to walk far to the toilets or the fire when it’s dinner time!

28:08 - 19(B)

Tents are now much closer to each other at the camp site than previous days

28:08 - 18(DP)

Today’s treat is scrumptious doughnuts – yummy

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

Later that afternoon a horse cart drove by. The family stopped when we’ve asked whether we could take some photo’s. They have visited their family on a farm and are now on their way back home … and then we take our cars for granted …

28:08 - 20(C)

A family on a horse cart passing our camp site

I have decided to start walking again tomorrow. My blisters turned out to be well-drained and with no infection, I might be fortunate to walk to the end.

28:08 - 21(B)

I’m getting my feet ready for tomorrow’s walk …

Shower-time on the Tankwa Camino:

  • You get your hot water from the fire and fill it up with cold water until you have your maximum of 5 liters per person.
  • The small little shower tent has a rubber mat inside on which you take place with your bucket of water.
  • The shower head is connected to the one side of the pipe and the other side goes inside your bucket of water.
  • Once you push a button, water will start streaming out and when you lift your finger, the water will stop again.
  • It takes some skill to wet and soap yourself and still have enough water to rinse you off.

This whole shower-fun time, makes you appreciate water so much more!

28:08 - 22(B)

Water boiling on the fire which we can use to shower

Ouma Lisa, Truia and her team were cooking dinner in the big black pots again. We always had more than enough food and can honestly say that we never went hungry to bed!

28:08 - 23(DP)

Ouma Lisa getting dinner ready on the fire

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

After dinner, most of the hikers made coffee and sat next to the fire before they went to bed. We were in a state of serenity – our minds were still and perfectly calm …

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

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