We set off early on a Thursday morning – destination the Eastern Cape and Nieu Bethesda. The sun was rising and the Go Pro was mounted to the Hilux. Four of us were on a trip to explore and try out some new camera equipment. Hopefully, we would get some decent pictures. After stopping for fuel (both Diesel and Breakfast) and using the opportunity to stretch our legs we once again jumped into our Hilux and headed off to Bloemfontein. Here we stopped off for coffee at a well-known roastery and then set off to get groceries for supper that night. After packing the groceries in the freezer we set off towards Colesburg, here we repeated the Kroonstad stop and afterwards set off towards Noupoort, Middelburg and Nieu Bethesda.
On arrival, we checked in to two small guest houses, unpacked and headed off to the local farm stall where we bought a variety of jams and ginger beer and took a few photographs.
The evening passed quickly and we all slept early being tired from the trip. The next morning saw us up bright and early walking around town, taking photos and just getting our bearings before heading off to Graaff Reinet for the day, our Go Pros were recording the trip as well as the Cross Country drone which gave us some great footage and some interesting moments , after visiting a few worthwhile spots we headed back towards Nieu Bethesda via the Valley of Desolation.
Saturday was rather festive as the village was celebrating the 140th anniversary of the imposing NG Kerk which stands in the middle of the town. We watched runners, walkers and mountain bikers head off on various routes and after a quick breakfast shot some more drone footage before visiting the Owl House and Helen Martins museum. All in all, we really tried to do as much as we could but the heat forced us indoors where some had a nap whilst I read a book – one essential for a road trip is a good book. Mine was almost 900 pages long so I had no chance of finishing it even though I read each night before falling asleep, our little cottages ( Aandster and Outsiders) were well appointed and comfortable with Aandster being fully kitted out for any form of catering, we enjoyed not having to dress up for dinner and ate at the house twice. After a quick visit to the local bookshop which I must say had an excellent stock of books of all sorts as well as numerous 1st editions.
After the bookshop, we popped into the James Kitching Fossil museum which was followed by a tour of the river bed where the guide took us to see a variety of fossils in the rock bed. His enthusiasm and knowledge made for an interesting half hour. After dinner, we made our way to the local tennis club to watch the rugby, not much to say about that.
The next morning we left a bit later as we did not intend to do any long stopovers and headed back to the big smoke that is Jozi. It was a happy but tired group that unpacked the pickup and went our separate ways. More details on some of the specific sights will follow.