Flower Power - Camping Around Namaqualand
TOP OF PIEKENIERSKLOOF - KARDOESIE CAMPSITE AND ON TO CLANWILLIAM
My best memories of childhood holidays were waking up reluctantly at 4h00 on the morning of our departure. Then we could get away with travelling the first bit in our PJ’s and being squashed up against my brothers, who complained incessantly about one of us "breathing" on him. Being very impatient and our own boss now, I can frequently persuade Butch to leave the afternoon before our intended departure. One sleepie less at home and one sleepie more on holiday! Win-win.
Shortly after a light lunch we set off on our Namaqualand expedition with the promise that we would stop at the Rietdakkie Farm Stall on the R43 en-route to Wolseley. Our first pitstop to fill our mugs with a Latté and, this time, a tube of rainbow Macarons. They were textbook. The Meringue was smooth, crispy, and with the exact gooeyness. The filling, sandwiched with flavour.
Spring, blue skies and fluffy cotton-ball clouds made our journey all the more pleasant. On either side of the road, we had rolling fields of buttery lemon. Kilometres of Canola has come into bloom. We rolled on drenched in green and gold.
Kardoesie Campsite, at the top of Piekenierskloof was our intended destination. The miles were swallowed up by our narrator Hugh Bonneville reading the intriguing novel Absolute Proof by Peter James. (Remember he was the Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham in the TV historical drama series Downton Abbey.)
“Absolute Proof is a thriller that grips from the outset, but it’s also incredibly thought-provoking, asking some of life’s biggest questions about science and faith, setting big pharma and high church on a collision course that could change the world. I was thrilled when Peter asked me to provide the narration for his latest, most compelling book.”– Hugh Bonneville.
Early campfires were already alight when we stopped at reception to enquire about a camping spot for the night. We were able to park the Honey Badger just two spots on from our previous visit. Close to the aqblution facilities.
Once again, we were impressed by the pristine conditions of the campsites, the cleanliness of the ablutions. We didn’t receive the customary wood bushel this time, but the owner, who remembered us, heartily welcomed us!
The sun was still sitting pretty, and I decided to take a walk and enjoy the last rays, the fynbos and the wheat fields brushing up to the foothills. Butch unpacked our table and chairs, mixed our sundowners and lit the fire.
We highly recommend the Kardoesie Campsite. Ideally situated for a one nighter en-route to Namibia or like us, to Namaqualand to enjoy the flowers.
Unfortunately, I did not have an opportunity to visit Kardoesie Farm Stall, a favourite stop on many of our road trips. The farm is very well known for it's launch pad for hang gliders. On a perfect day gliders can use the thermals for hours and have an unparalled bird's eye view all the way to Table Mountain.
We were in no rush to set off and were able to enjoy a leisurely early morning coffee before heading off to Clanwilliam, where we stopped for brunch. The Clanwilliam Velskoendraai Farmer's Market and Restaurant, was pumping with visitors who had similar ideas to us. We enjoyed a delicious scrambled egg on Croissant. Last minute shopping can be done, especially if you need some fresh produce, dried fruit, biltong, something for the sweet tooth or just a sticker for your vehicle.
Clanwilliam is a destination in itself. The Main Road is festooned with hanging baskets of fynbos, the Dutch Reformed Church has it's annual flower festival and the Ramskop botanical garden is a feast for the eyes. There's enough to please and give one hope that Spring has sprung.
Although there was still a chilly nip in the air, our thermometer in the Honey Badger was edging up to 18°C. The blossoms were opening up, and we had to get moving. We pulled over and were able to photograph our first flowers. It would be a good day.
As we’re all aware, the last 18 months have been particularly stressful for all business owners in the tourism industry. Therefore it gives us great pleasure to be in a position to recommend these establishments. Not only were the owners put to the test, but their staff also had to show their mettle, which they did. I salute you all.
Would you please stop and support these small businesses too? We’re in this together. Hope springs eternal in the human breast - we see it all around us.
Rietdakkie Padstal & Plaaskombuis -
I encourage you to click on their webiste, it's comprehensive and speaks of the owner's commitment, passion and enthusiasm.
Padstal and Restaurant
082 525 2247
071 416 3820
066 245 3033
086 652 5733
Veldskoendraai Farmer’s Market & Restaurant
Where On the R364, 1km from Clanwilliam, Cederberg, Western Cape.
When Monday to Friday from 08h00 to 17h00.
Saturdays from 08h00 to 14h00.
Closed on Sundays.
Telephone +27 (0)78 364-8785