DUSTY GRAVEL ROADS, WATER & WILD ANIMALS

Western- & Southern Cape (Malgas, Witsand & Gourikwa Nature Reserve)

While we are preparing for our next adventure commencing soon, we would love to take you to more of the beautiful places in and around Cape Town … trips we’ve enjoyed in the past.

Why don’t you join us for a quick road trip on some of the back roads in South Africa? In September 2019 we were invited to a friend’s birthday celebration weekend in Gouritzmond, a small coastal town in the Western Cape province, approximately 370km (230 miles) from Cape Town.

We spent the night in Bredasdorp, a lovely town in the Southern Overberg region and from here it was great to follow the dusty dirt roads (and not the main road, namely the busy N2) to reach Gouritzmond.

On a dusty road early morning, after leaving Bredasdorp

Malgas Pont:

I was specifically looking forward to our next destination, namely Malgas. It’s a very small village with a pontoon (often shortened to “pont”) that will take our car over the Breede River.

The pont at Malgas will take our car over the Breede River

The pont can take a maximum of three cars (or 10ton cargo) over the Breede River. It is very unique in the sense that it’s the last hand drawn pont in South Africa, which is operated/pulled by men with shoulder harnesses and chains since 1860.

Fortunately, we were only 3 cars waiting to go over the river … and our Suzuki Jimny fitted perfectly between two (bigger) vehicles

Keep in mind that the pont are only operating during daylight hours – from sunrise till sunset. To get the cars over with the pont, takes only a couple of minutes. But it’s such a delightful experience (and I loved the chatting going on between the pont staff and two young men that were also crossing the river with us … they actually jumped in and assisted the guys with the crossing).

The Breede River as seen from the pont

After a bit of investigation, we understand the pont was motorised in December 2020 … so, it’s evident that technology has found its way to this remote little place as well.

Traffic on farm roads:

We were now on our way to Witsand, situated at the mouth of the Breede River. To get there, we travelled on gravel roads snaking through the heartland of the Overberg farming community.

It was such a peaceful drive … worlds apart from the busy streets of city life … that was until we saw oncoming traffic – a farmer with his herd of sheep!

Traffic on quiet farm roads!

We thought it best to pull off to the side of the road and patiently waited for the sheep to pass us.

It was definitely a day to see animals (you will see more towards the end of this post). Before we entered Witsand, we saw a couple of zebras grazing in the fields next to the road.

Zebras next to the road

Witsand:

Around lunch time, we drove into Witsand. This is a small coastal town and situated at the mouth of the Breede River, also known as a good fishing area.

We stopped at the Barry Memorial Church, which was built by the Barry family in 1849. It’s an intimate rectangular whitewashed building with a sandstone façade, complete with a gable and thatched roof. This church is now a national monument and still in use for services and weddings.

The Barry Memorial Church in Witsand

There are (true) fishermen stories that some of the largest bull sharks were caught in the Breede River at Witsand … although no shark attacks on people have been recorded to date.

There is a 4km stretch of incredible white sand here at Witsand (hence the name – ‘White sand’)

We stopped at a small café on our way out of Witsand where we bought a pie and coffee. The perfect place to enjoy these, were at a lookout point from where we could see the Breede River flowing into the ocean.

The Breede River flowing into the ocean

A place called Vermaaklikheid:

It’s not very easy to explain the name ‘Vermaaklikheid’ in English (‘vermaak’ would translate to ‘entertain’ … it could therefore be said that in English it’s called “Entertainment” … who wouldn’t want to live in a place with such a name)?

A sleepy little hamlet called Vermaaklikheid

You can only reach Vermaaklikheid via gravel roads which means that not much has changed over the last 50 years for its residents. The area is a fynbos shrubland that has a temperate climate and more than 100 species of birds live here.

Gourikwa Nature Reserve:

Close to Gouritzmond, our final destination, the road took us pass the Gourikwa Nature Reserve. This nature reserve was actually once four farms before it became a nature reserve. Although we did not enter the reserve (another time hopefully), we were fortunate to see some wild animals close to the fence.

Here are just a few photo’s of our (unexpected) game drive:

Big antelopes at the Gourikwa Nature Reserve
We even spotted some springboks

The fynbos shrubs next to the road was in such vibrant colours, that we stopped a couple of times to take some photo’s (and to smell them)!

Fynbos shrubs next to the road

As we were nearing Gouritzmond, our destination, rain clouds started to gather. We were happy that we could see a part of our country we’ve not been to before in sunny weather!

We were happy to miss the rain on the dusty roads, because from here it was only a couple of minutes to Gouritzmond

We enjoyed a great weekend with our friends at Gouritzmond … and were happy that we took the dusty roads to get there.

The end of our weekend (but we’re leaving with wonderful memories)

39 comments

  1. What an adorable pic of you two! This sounds like so much fun. I think you and Berto must have fun regardless of where you go or what you do. What a joyful way to live! I love the colorful bushes and all of the animals. And I’ve never seen a river crossing like that! Thanks for sharing views of your world, Corna! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, thank you Lisa! You’re spot on my friend … we love to explore new places together (it’s so much more fun to do this with someone you love, isn’t it)? I’m glad you enjoyed the road trip – we certainly did! Thanks for reading and your lovely comments (as always), take care 🌸.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Marion, this was a great day trip on back roads we have not seen before. Yes, we loved the “traffic” on this road … so much better than hundreds of cars, isn’t it?
      Oh, I loved your ferry trip in Finland – to take the rowing boat to collect the ferry, that sounds like so much fun!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Maggie, the small places are always such a surprise to visit … we love to explore these hamlets (you know, the road less travelled) 😉. Thank you for your concern – my heart goes out to the tourists who had to leave our beautiful country in such a rush. We will see how things are panning out … we had a trip planned for next week (locally), but now we’ll have to wait on our government’s instructions 😔.

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  2. Enjoyed this trip down Memory Lane. Such lovely landscapes and the animal life feels really exotic. Can’t say I’ve ever been on a hike where zebras are milling around. Like others I’m also charmed by the pont and love the contrast in colours between the dusty road and the deep red of the Fynbos Shrubs. Take care over there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are always excited to see wild animals somewhere on our travels here in SA (even more so when it’s unexpected and we’re not really on a game drive 😉). Yes, the pont was such a unique experience … I have actually just been informed that this pont is now motorised already for a couple of months – oh well, it was probably inevitable. Thank you for reading Leighton and enjoy your Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ek sou nooit swartwitpense in daardie wereld verwag het nie! My gunsteling boksoort.

    Ek dreig nou al lank dat as ons weer in die overberg is ons bietjie Witsand en De Hoop toe moet uitry. Jou wonderlike blog het my net verder oortuig. Baie dankie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Daardie swartwitpense is mooi, ne! Ja, die Overberg area is ideaal vir ‘n ‘road trip’ – pragtige landskap (ons kom hopeloos te min daar). Ek het ook nou uitgevind die pont by Malgas is al sedert Desember 2020 gemotoriseerd … so daardie unieke (ou wereldse) ervaring is nou met tegnologie vervang. Dankie dat jy kom inloer het op ons blog, geniet julle Sondag.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love to see springboks (or any wild animals for that matter) in nature … and when it’s so unexpected, it’s even better! And yes, the vibrant colours of the fynbos shrubs are always a spectacle. Thank you for your visit on our blog and lovely comment. Take care, Corna 🌸.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, what a fun adventure and I have to say that you live in such a beautiful country! There’s nothing better than going on a road trip where you can see heaps of wild animals in their natural habitat. Thanks for sharing and have a nice day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • This was definitely a fun day on the less travelled roads Aiva! I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures of the wild animals (we love spotting them on our road trips)! Thanks for reading and your lovely comments. Take care and enjoy your week, Corna 🌸.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve got it spot on … the ‘dusty roads’ are from all of our hiking journeys and 4×4 adventures on these type of roads (and soon we’ll show more of the ‘wet roads’) 😉. To see those zebras so close to road, was such a surprise! Thank you for visiting, take care. Corna 🌸.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ek is so ver agter met blogs lees! Ons was die naweek weg na Elandsbaai en ek is seker dat ek kommentaar op die pos gelewer het, maar kan dit nie vond nie! Lyk na ‘n interessante plek en die proteas is stunning. Die diere is nogal volop in daardie geweste!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Corna, I am very happy about the adorable photo of you and your husband! You are a beautiful couple. It is wonderful to experience so many exciting adventures together and to plan new trips around the world over and over again. I enjoyed reading this entertaining report again. Thanks also for the beautiful photos that show me an area that I’ve never visited.
    Corna, have a nice weekend! ☺️
    Rosie from Germany

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