TANKWA KAROO (1)


SKOORSTEENBERG FARM & COTTAGES

August 2021

We were longing for a hike in the mountains … to catch our breaths from this craziness in the world and what better place than in nature!

The closest mountains to our town, is the well-known Cederberg mountains … but we were thinking of taking a few back roads to get there … which brought to mind the vast Tankwa Karoo.

But before we got to the Tankwa Karoo, we drove through areas that thrive on our winter rain. And going towards the end of our winter, the fields were green and luscious. The canola fields with their bright yellow flowers were really spectacular.

Beautiful yellow canola fields in the Boland
When we’re crossing this farm bridge, it always reminds me of an upcoming road trip

Before getting to the Tankwa Karoo, we had to made a stop in the quaint little town of Ceres. Here we’ve bought food and drinks for the next couple of days (and filled up our petrol tank and extra jerry can), because we are going off the grid … which mean there will be no shops, no mobile phone coverage and only the odd car here and there (and few people).

What (and where) is the Tankwa Karoo?

The Tankwa Karoo is about four hours from Cape Town – a vast and arid area. The closest towns are Ceres, Calvinia, Middelpos and Sutherland. Here you will also find the Tankwa Karoo National Park which is home to almost 30 mammals and more than 100 species of birds.

Tankwa Padstal:

But before we’ve arrived at our accommodation for the next few days, we’ve stopped at the popular farm stall, Tankwa Padstal. This is an oasis in the dry Karoo and very popular under 4×4 enthusiasts and bikers.

Tankwa Padstal

We’ve last visited this unique place in 2019 when we’ve walked the South African Tankwa Camino. It was great to be back here again.

Inside Tankwa Padstal – here you can buy anything from sweets, cold drinks, to bicycle tubes and plasters, as well as lovely memorabilia

Since it was now less than an hour’s drive to our accommodation, we’ve ordered a light meal to enjoy while relaxing in this amazing place.

Our “light” meal

We love the décor inside the bar – so many things reminding us of bygone days.

Do you know how to use this phone?
Beautiful wall decoration
Absolutely true!

As the sun was setting, we’ve decided it’s better to get back on the road again. And then, as we’ve left the Tankwa Padstal, we saw … well, it can only be described as a UFO 😳.

A UFO in the Tankwa Karoo …

We’ve found out that the art installation is a community initiative launched by Hein Lange, the owner of the Tankwa Padstal. According to him the farming industry has been hit hard by the lack of rain in recent years in the region and that he thought the “sight of an UFO” might be more appealing to tourists, as a way of earning money.

It’s huge – 10m wide and 7m high

Back on the road, we’ve followed the instruction closely which was sent by Nana, owner of Skoorsteenberg Farm & Cottages. Just a few kilometers from the Tankwa Padstal we’ve turned right, drove for another 18km before turning right again. 

Skoorsteenberg Farm & Cottages:

We’ve booked accommodation at Skoorsteenberg Farm & Cottages (“skoorsteenberg” meaning chimney mountain) – like their brochure states: “This is Africa with a difference”.

Time to turn right towards Skoorsteenberg Farm
On the road towards Skoorsteenberg Farm

I’ve found the signs next to the road quite funny – Nana reminding her guests that this road will eventually take them to a place where they can stay.

After opening (and closing) a few farm gates, we’ve arrived at Skoorsteenberg Farm & Cottages.

We’ve got the code from Nana for the combination lock to enter Skoorsteenberg Farm

I’m not sure what we’ve expected to find after driving a long and hard gravel road … but oh boy, we were truly surprised with our amazing cottage at Skoorsteenberg.

There are only 2 cottages for guests on the farm (with a little hill between the two cottages). It is a working farm with some animals and we’ve also spotted a couple of olive and date groves.

Our BIG room in Olive cottage
A special touch: Blanket, soft towel and hot-water bottle for guests

We were very happy with the front porch – an amazing place to relax while looking over the plains of the Tankwa Karoo.

The sun was just setting when we’ve arrived and we were looking forward to enjoy the spectacular sunset tomorrow.

Our cottage after sunset

It was an amazing day of driving through luscious green fields and then to enter the dry Tankwa Karoo. I’ve got myself a gin and tonic and a brandy and coke for Berto … it was time to sit next to the fire and enjoy the silence while watching bright shining stars.

In our next post, we will show more of the beauty of Skoorsteenberg Farm, its animals and breathtaking views. See you then …

Categories: South African Break Aways

27 comments

  1. Talk about getting away from it all! That looks like heaven and I can feel the silence especially at night. How wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What an amazing find Corna, the cottage was certainly worth the lengthy drive. I liked the reassuring signs indicating that you were on the right track and nearly there. I’d just be like you, sitting with my G & T on the porch or curled up beside the fire. Looking forward to discovering what you got up to the next day. Marion. PS – Hope you have a good weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Marion. Yes, we were really impressed with this cottage … we did not expect to find such a beautiful place in the middle of nowhere 😉. Ah, and I did enjoy a few more G & T’s the rest of the weekend (on that porch)! May you have a great weekend too. Corna 🌸.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like the perfect hideout in the middle of nowhere. Stargazing must be a whole different experience without all the light pollution of the city. The story behind the ‘UFO’ made me chuckle.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Absolutely Leighton … stargazing is one of main reasons why people (like us) travel to the Tankwa Karoo. It’s a magical experience to see all the stars – almost as if the sky is covered with them and you can just reach out and touch a star if you wish! The ‘UFO’ landed (or was planted 😉) literally a day or two before we’ve arrived there … I must admit, we were quite puzzled for a moment … and I certainly believe it will make tourists stop right in their tracks 😁.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yay! We are off on another adventure! And it’s in the middle of bloody nowhere! Love it!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Die huis waar julle gebly het lyk ongelooflik gemaklik! Die pad lyk amper soos die waarop ons ook gery het!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing, it’s beautiful 🌸💕 I can’t wait to read more! Knowing it’s right here and closer to home, visiting seems possible in the very near future 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, this is amazing, Corna! I love the idea of no internet or cell signal, but my significant other would not be able to join me. 😁 The signs to the cottages are so fun. And the general/grocery/hardware store looks like a place I’d love to visit! Looking forward to your next post! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was quite satisfying to be without any internet/reception for a couple of days – your mind literally switches off (and I think that’s sometimes necessary 😊). And yes, the farm stall is definitely a unique place to visit. Thanks Lisa for popping in … see you between the spring flowers and farm animals in our next post.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your idea to take a few back roads to get to your destination. Sometimes it’s all about taking the road less travelled. The canola fields are stunning. I got a good laugh from the UFO art installation.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Those wide open spaces are amazing, and Olive cottage looks perfect. What a way to escape 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love everything about this post! The signs to the cottage, the actual cottage. The idea behind the UFO art installation is actually quite clever!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. How fun and that cottage is wonderful! Loved the UFO. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It seems you are totally off the grid, arriving at a lovely destination truly in the middle of nowhere. The signs are wonderful and fun! I imagine many feel they have taken a wrong turn but the signs coax you along.

    Liked by 1 person

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