KAROO TRIP (6) – Final


DRIVE OUT OF ‘THE HELL’

April & May 2021

Three glorious days in ‘The Hell’ … we knew, at some point, it had to come to an end and we would have to go back into the world with its TV’s and newspapers (with mostly bad news) and city noises … urgh!  

A final look at our lovely cottage, the ‘Stalletjie’

DAY 6:

Today we are driving back home – a drive that will take us approximately 8 hours (3 hours just to get out of ‘The Hell’) and then 5 more hours on tarred roads to reach our house.

We will not ‘bore’ you with another video of our upward journey of Elands Pass … but I can guarantee you, it was just as thrilling as the descent a few days earlier!

Once we’ve reached the top, we’ve stopped at a widen area to take some pictures and have a quick breakfast.

Looking back from where we came …
Breakfast was a hard-boiled egg (to calm down the nerves after the ride up Elands Pass)

We’ve enjoyed half an hour of just walking around, taking pictures and enjoying the spectacular scenery that surrounded us. There was absolutely quietness – almost unreal – and we’ve sat down for 5 minutes just to enjoy this moment.

As we were driving through the valleys of the mountains … up and down, up and down … we were now more aware of our environment than when we came down this road a couple of days before.

And to our delight, we saw two ‘klipspringers’ next to the road. The name ‘klipspringer’ is a compound of the Afrikaans words klip (‘rock’) and springer (‘leaper’) – it’s a small rock-dwelling antelope, native to Southern Africa.

I could almost touch the little ‘klipspringer’ when we drove past

For the next hour we’ve just enjoyed the drive. The high mountains, deep cliffs and beautiful scenery was enough reason just to be thankful for the wonderful trip we had!

Early morning drive through the mountains
The mountains, although rock-hard, looks like soft scoops of ice-cream
We could see the road disappearing around a corner, only to somehow continue again

And then we got to ‘Oom Koos se klip’ (translated ‘Uncle Koos’ rock’). This rock was the first real obstruction Koos van Zyl encountered when building the road and so became known by his name.

Towards the end of this route, we’ve once again drive through the sweet smelling ‘fynbos’ which are on both sides of the road … this is a truly South African smell that I still have not encountered anywhere else on our travels.

The wonderful smell of ‘fynbos’ next to the road

If I had any illusions of a smooth road ahead after we’ve left ‘The Hell’, I surely had to think twice! Although we were out of ‘The Hell’, we were still on top of the Swartberg Pass!

We need to get down this mountain …
And it’s a gravel road all the way down, with more zigzags and sudden switch backs than you can imagine

No surprises here … there are no pictures of the descent as I was clinging onto my seat! But once we’ve got to the bottom, I was blown away by the high rock mountains on both sides of the road.

At the bottom of the Swartberg Pass and into the valley

Once we’ve reached the little town of Prince Albert at the foot of the Swartberg Pass, it was back on the highway and another 440km (273 miles) back home.

But wait … there’s one thing, we love to do when we’re on a road trip … and that’s to buy probably the most unhealthy, but also delicious ‘garage pie’. It’s called a ‘garage pie’ simply because it’s sold at various petrol stations across South Africa. We don’t do this often, but oh boy, it’s great to eat one of these on the road … and later worry about heartburn (we knew would come knocking on our door 😉).

We’ve stopped in Laingsburg and had to stand in a queue for our ‘garage pie’ … it sure is famous under the South African road travelers.

The famous ‘garage pie’

As we’ve got to Ceres, we’ve had to cover our last mountain pass. The Michells’ Pass is a beautiful tarred (yeah!) pass and especially beautiful to drive during winter when there are many waterfalls to be seen. This pass was damaged in 1969 by an earthquake, but soon afterwards rebuilt with superior engineering methods. It has some steep curves, but offers beautiful views of the mountains and river below.

Going down the Michells Pass

And then … just like that … we’ve arrived at the very same spot where we’ve taken our 2nd photo days ago … somewhere on farm roads close to home. We just felt it fitting, to take our last picture of our memorable trip here again.

We’ve started our journey here on this bridge 6 days ago

We’ve felt really blessed to be able to have done this trip – celebrating our 25th anniversary. But actually, this was more than just a celebratory trip – it was the opportunity to experience parts of South Africa we have not seen before, meeting wonderful people and spending quality time with each other. We had such good laughs and wonderful conversations … and will definitely cherish this trip in our hearts.

Thank you for following our Karoo Trip … we look forward to share the next road trip with all of you again here on Wet and Dusty Roads!

Memorabilia from our trip – postcards from ‘The Hell’ and a feather of the guinea fowls that visited us on our last day
Categories: South African Break Aways

38 comments

  1. The stark landscape is really beautiful and I love your photos of the klipspringer. It was really cool to see so many different antelope species while in South Africa and Namibia. I’ll never forget the springboks—amazing leapers too. You got me curious about garage pie. What’s in it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, there are really so many different antelope species here (and of course in beautiful Namibia) … the springbok is my true favourite, so gracious when they leap into the air (but the little klipspringer was just so cute 😊).
      A garage pie … sometimes you don’t even dare asking what’s in it … 😜 … but it’s usually some sort of meat (lamb/chicken/mince) and if you’re lucky, maybe a carrot! No, it’s probably not that bad … some of those pies are really great (this one specific, was a burger pie – like a hamburger, just in a pie) … it’s just the intense heartburn afterwards that’s the problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The garage pie also makes my mouth water! Sometimes you have just got to…
    Happy Anniversary – it looks like you have had a wonderful and memorable time. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What beautiful animals – i’ve never heard of them before. It looks like you had an amazing trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, they are beautiful – the klipspringer (a well-known antelope in South Africa), is such a wonderful animal to see running (and leaping into the air), especially down or up a mountain. Thank you, the trip was really great!

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  4. The end of a truly wonderful trip Corna. The mountainous scenery looks beautiful and it was marvellous that you were able to see the klipspringer / antelopes. I would have enjoyed that garage pie , we have to allow ourselves these unhealthy treats now and again – was it meat and potato? Best wishes, Marion

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was so excited to see that klipspringer – when we’re driving in the mountains, we’re always on the lookout for one. It was the first time we saw one within such a short distance. The garage pie was literally a hamburger – filled with a patty and tomato slices (like a hamburger wrapped in pie filling 👀). Thank you so much Marion for reading and all your lovely comments on our Karoo trip posts 💌.

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  5. More amazing landscapes and what a shot of the klipspringer, looking right into the lens! I was going to ask what Garage Pie is, but then I’ve just seen the comment thread clears that up. Glad you are back home now, enjoy some rest!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes Leighton, I was so excited about that little klipspringer – I could’ve almost touched his little black nose 😊. That garage pie was great (as expected), but I think we will wait some time before we buy another one! Thank you so much for following our Karoo trip to the end – much appreciated.

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  6. What an awesome trip you had! Now more than ever I can not wait for our Karoo trip at the end of July! We will be going on the Swartberg pass and to Prince Albert too! Thank you for sharing! Die klipspringer is so pragtig!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love the pictures of the icecream scoop mountains and the gorge below and of course I love the klipspringer!! So cute! Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, those mountains were just out of this world … we were trying to make pictures out of them, that’s how we’ve ended up with ‘ice-cream mountains’ 😉. I agree, the klipspringer was probably the cutest animal on this trip! Thank you Maggie for following our Karoo trip and all your comments – much appreciated.

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  8. Love your photos of the trip back out from The Hell. The ones of the Swartberg Pass look like they could be in Australia and so could that lovely looking pie! Cheers, Mark

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful – what a lovely break 🙂 It’s always awful coming back to reality. I’m off on holiday next week and already dreading coming back!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it was a really great time! The best thing to do, when one gets back from a holiday, is to start planning the next one 😄. And the best thing about any holiday, is looking forward to it (where you’re right now!)

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  10. What an amazing way to celebrate your 25th!!!! Congratulations!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve just learned about a new animal, klipspringer, great photo! I will be going backwards through your trip. Gotta find out about the Hell.

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  12. Wow, very remote and beautiful. I would want to stay there forever 😂. I can see I would also need a little snack to calm the nerves 😅😅 I enjoyed reading your post. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s always tough to say goodbye and head back home after having such a wonderful time. The drive back looks gorgeous, but very rugged. I’m taking next week off and am counting down the days!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A rugged drive indeed … you can watch a video of the descent into The Hell in our Karoo Trip (4) post … nerve wrecking to say the least! Oh wonderful, you must enjoy next week … hopefully there will be more hiking trails to explore (and to share on your blog!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll have to check it out. I’m very intrigued! And thanks. The weather forecast is calling for a lot of rain over the weekend and into next week, but hopefully it’ll clear.

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      • I really hope for your sake the rain is clearing towards next week … but sometimes, to camp (or hike) in rain, also ensure memorable trips 😉 … but let’s keep our fingers crossed for dry and sunny weather!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’ll be a great test to see whether our camping gear still holds up after all these years! It’ll also be a great test to see whether our relationship holds up after all these years as well!! Like you said, either way, it’ll make for some great memories!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nothing like camping during a rainy weekend away (or hiking in the rain) for a serious test of any relationship … hiking the Portuguese Camino (2018) in rainy and muddy conditions, was a great test for us … and we’ve survived to tell our story 😉!

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