DAY 7


GROOTDAM – BEUKESFONTEIN

29 AUGUST

27.3km

After yesterday’s long day, the camp was quiet this morning. As the hikers got up, they first found their way to the fire where they could warm up … while drinking our steaming hot coffee, we made sure to get the buffs and jackets out for the first stage of this morning’s hike.

29:08 - 2(DP)

The camp in the early morning – hikers slowly getting ready for another day

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

I’m very excited to walk again today! And I choose a great day to get on the road, because we will visit the very famous “Tankwa Padstal” (loosely translated into “Tankwa Roadhouse”)! We’ve visited this “padstal” before on a visit to the Tankwa National Park and had great memories of our time there … I can’t wait to see what’s on their menu!

29:08 - 1(B)

Sunrise … it’s the best time to start walking, but also the coldest!

29:08 - 3(B)

Berto takes a photo of me, Judy, Wayne, Rentia and Heleen while we are still dressed in our warm clothes – it was another cold morning …

Even as the sun came out, it was cold … we were all pondering about that warm cup of coffee at the Tankwa Padstal, which was about 10km from the start.

29:08 - 4(DP)

Me, Berto, Judy and Frederich wave at Diana, our photographer

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

All of a sudden, we got to an area with lots of trees at both sides of the road (an unfamiliar sight on the Tankwa Camino). This was an indication that we were getting closer to the Tankwa Padstal.

29:08 - 5(B)

Lots of trees … we have not seen this for days!

And then, as we’ve got pass the trees, we saw the sign for the Tankwa Padstal … and WiFi!

29:08 - 6(B)

Tankwa Padstal (literally translated, it could be called a “roadhouse”) … and surprisingly, also free WiFi

The Tankwa Padstal is basically a building which consists of a restaurant and a little shop (with everything you could possibly need – canned food, sweets, drinks, toiletries and even plasters). There is also a toilet for visitors. Next to this building is a bar … this is a heavenly spot!

29:08 - 7(B)

You will find the shop and restaurant on the left and the bar on the right

29:08 - 8(B)

There is even some artwork outside the Padstal

One could spend hours walking through the Padstal’s shop and bar … there are so many memorabilia on the walls and the owner, Johan will tell you everything you want to know.

29:08 - 11(B)

The younger generation would probably not know how to make a call with this public telephone 😜

29:08 - 10(B)

The bar owner was ready to serve some drinks – and tell us wonderful stories!

29:08 - 9(B)

Me, Berto and Judy posing under some artwork against the wall in the bar

Although the shop is small, it is literally filled with stuff from the bottom up to the roof! Some hikers bought more plasters and other gifts like homemade jam and sauces … and of course a lot of sweets!

29:08 - 12(DP)

You will probably find some sweets here that won’t be available in a shop in town!

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

And then there is of course the restaurant! They serve traditional South African food here – freshly prepared in their kitchen.

29:08 - 17(DP)

The menu of the Tankwa Padstal … with even a vegetarian option!

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

We’ve placed our orders and went to the outside tables, waiting for our food while enjoying the sunshine.

29:08 - 14(DP)

Me, Berto, Heleen, Frederich and Judy are getting ready to eat an early lunch

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

29:08 - 13(C)

Now this is a hamburger to put a definite spring in your step!

It turned out to be quite a long stop … we’ve all had a great time while sitting here, eating and enjoying each other’s company.

29:08 - 16(C)

As the hikers start to arrive at the Padstal, they are finding a spot to sit and relax – another luxury on the Tankwa Camino!

29:08 - 15(C)

Berto and Ds Edward found a nice spot next to the fire to relax

Rhina told us that if we want to buy something, we could put that in a dedicated spot in the shop, mark it with our names and then they would load and transport it for us to the camp site. Some hikers took the opportunity to buy some beers to have next to the fire tonight – clever thinking!

29:08 - 18(DP)

Gifts from the Tankwa Padstal – this is called a “blikbeker” (translated, it would be a “tin cup”). This is traditionally what South Africans will use to pour their coffee in when they are camping

This must be one of the favourite items that visitors buy at the Tankwa Padstal 😁

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

At the entrance of the shop, is this beautiful piece of artwork. Inside the artwork is a piece of writing that probably caught everyone’s eyes when arriving there. Translated into English, it would probably read as follows:

“I wish for you a rock in the Karoo,

Where you can sit in quietness

And write your dreams with a little stick in the sand”

29:08 - 19(B)

Such beautiful words

It was a great visit to the Tankwa Padstal and we now have new memories that we can take with us.

As we’ve left the Padstal, we saw a couple of horses on the other side of the fence. The hikers used the opportunity to feed them some sweets & apples they’ve just bought.

29:08 - 20(DP)

Some horses are treated with snacks from the hikers

We’ve seen more flowers and succulents next to the road today – it is almost as if nature’s saying “anything is possible, you just need to have the willpower and belief” …

Beautiful petite flowers in the Tankwa Karoo

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

My first day back on the road was not too bad, although I could feel my blisters towards the end. Berto picked up some dry bones from an animal and gave it to me … we’ve made fun of it and decided that in my imagination I could turn into a buffalo! You can conquer many things with humor!

29:08 - 23(B)

I’ve got the strength of a buffalo 😅

We were under the first 10 hikers to arrive in the camp and I was happy to have walked the full stage today without too much difficulty. But I must admit, I’ve missed spending the day with Zeva … she also walked half of the day with Anri. We were excited to see each other again at the camp site!

We were getting the pleasant smell of food over the fire and found Truia busy cooking up a storm! I will miss their comfort food … and their wonderful stories!

29:08 - 24(DP)

Truia at the fire, busy getting dinner ready

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

29:08 - 25(DP)

A healthy meal for hungry hikers

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

From tomorrow, the flat Karoo that became so well-known to us for the past seven days, will change and we will start to see mountains and more greenery. We are now also getting closer to civilization … I’m not sure whether I’m looking forward to that …

It was almost as if the hikers wanted to embrace these final moments where they could sit and enjoy the flat and dry Tankwa Karoo one last time – this place and their people touches your heart in a very unique way.

29:08 - 26(DP)

What a wonderful feeling of sitting somewhere in the Tanka Karoo and enjoy what became dear to us

(Credit: Diana Pieterse)

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

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