Montagu Weekend

 5 to 7 December 2014

Friday 5 December 2014: Again, the anticipation of that long waited date finally arrived and we are all set and ready to go on our relaxing, fun-filled weekend away into the valley and mountain ranges  along the infamous R62 road, until the final destination, Montagu. We did, however, make a few pit-stops along the way, one at the “Pampoenstalletjie” to view the selection of and array of an assortment of pumpkins, all weird and wonderful and the other stop to buy some real homemade, freshly baked farm-style bread – simply delicious!

We have finally reached Montagu, following all the instructions, oh dear, we missed the turn-off but never mind, U-turn and off we go and continued driving for a further 15kms until we saw the sign to turn off to Goedemoed Farm, the weekend hide-away. Arrived, did a quick walk through, chose our room, unpacked and waited for the others to arrive.  BTW, a private swimming pool was included in this deal.

It was time for a walk, to get that sitting stiffness out of our travelling butts so a good enough reason to explore our new surroundings, only 6 of us, Marius decided that this was a relaxing weekend, and relaxing he was going to do, so a few of us to the left and two of us, Tania and myself to the top of the hill, quite convinced that we would meet the rest of us walkers, namely Iain, Elke, Marilyn and Hilary, on the top of the hill. We, Tania and myself, trudged through bush, thorns, rocks and tumbling stones, and Tania was not even in walking shoes! Since having walked in sandals before, who says it cannot be done again (and probably again)? Approaching the top of the hill it was pretty evident that the rest of the walkers had decided to head off in a completely different direction and certainly missed out on 360° of absolute wonder! One just has to see the photos to appreciate the vision we saw. Venturing downhill was also a tackle with the veld but we succumbed and just do it meeting up with the other walkers on solid flat ground.

Braai time with our braai-master, Gary doing his thing, and watching the rise of the almost- full moon, which in itself was just spectacular, if not more so than the actual full moon rising – a true wonder of nature, watching a moon rise, and then filling up those hungry stomachs before heading off to sleep.

Saturday 6 December 2014: Well, before we knew it, Tania opened the curtains, at sunrise informing us that it was time to get up since the time was 06:15, well so she thought – it was only 05:15! However, we did oblige. Breakfast, coffee, etc, etc was had, so time for another stroll around the farm, before it really did far too hot to actually be outdoors. We all just followed Iain, eventually heading down along a river bed, which was adventurous! Made our way back to the homestead, for a dip in the pool, lunch and then make our way to Protea Farm for the tractor trip of a life time, winding our way along Burgers Pass on the R318, paid our dues, finding our seats at the front with our intrepid, skilled tractor driver at the helm. These trips are legendary to this farm, and have been in operation since 1985, so definitely worth it even if you are afraid of heights, the experience of this trip will ease that fear since the wonders of nature will be your focal point and everything will gently be forgotten! For more information go to www.proteafarm.co.za as there is so much more to be done here, and the proteas are in abundance, as are the birds. But the tractor ride is a must-do because it opens up your eyes and has panoramic views which are, undoubtedly, the best that you will see of the mountains ranges stretching across the horizon and the valleys below relative to this particular region. However, always remember to pack in something warm as the gradual climb up the mountain, does get chilly.

You will also taste the sweet lip-smacking spring water on the top and there is a pit-stop at the Arangieskop hut (we have unanimously concurred, that this will be one of our weekend hikes in 2015), as well as the muscadel that is served on arrival at the hut to calm those nerves, so you see, your fears are forgotten – just drink them away and enjoy the views! The whole excursion is a good 3-hours long and passes by so quickly but can guarantee that you will have wished for so much more time to explore this area, it was the highlight of the weekend!

So we meandered back towards the homestead, back along the Burgers Pass, for a swim, preparing for the meal ahead, a vegetable potjiekos, a foot massage by Hilary, an interview with Rolene (nerve shattering!) and the rising of the full moon at about 19:30, quite sometime later than the previous evening’s rising. Gary doing his usual task and before we knew it “grubs up”, enough to serve an entire army let alone just 11 of us! Inge makes the best veggie potjie ever! It wasn’t long afterwards before calling it a night, time really does fly by when out in nature and enjoying life, does it not!?

Sunday – 7 December 2014Another early start to the day for a push-off at 07:00 to explore, yet again, the area of Montagu itself, from the centre of Montagu, making a quick stop first at the bird sanctuary filled with more sacred ibis than any other bird species and the racket, no further comment, not too sure how the residents have got accustomed to both the noise and the smell but would imagine that ‘they’ would just have to do so.

We parked the vehicles and found our way through the gates of “Lover’s Lane” and continued along the path until we left behind the homesteads and into the quietness of this little gentle stroll along the stream and the long tall reeds along the pathway. The stillness and the colour contrast of these rocky outcrops and mountains just so amazing! Not a drop of wind rustled through the reeds, the reflections of the mountain, rocks, reeds and the clear blue sky in the puddles and small water catchment areas, were, quite frankly, amazing. We scouted the area for any signs of otters whom are apparently roaming in this area, but, sadly, no sightings at all!

We ended our little stroll with a good cup of coffee, headed back to the homestead, had something to eat, packed our bags and hit the road back home and back to reality. ~ Written by Loraine Nielson / Photo’s by me.