Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Our second attempt at camping!

Thank you all my blogger friends for the kind wishes for 2011. Thanks for your comments on my post about our failed attempt at camping for New Year. Many of you guessed correctly. We headed out again on Saturday morning with fairer weather conditions than the day before. The adventure farm where we spent Saturday night is set against the Korannaberg mountains about 30kms from our hometown, Marquard. You can read about the accommodation and 4x4 and hiking trails here. When the present owner of the farm, Gert Conradie.  bought the land in 2000, he realised its potential  for tourism in the area and promptly refurbished the existing buildings. There are many technical off-road trials where the city people come to test their 4x4 vehicles and pit their driving skills against nature. There are various hiking trails and of course, we enjoyed the birdlife.

On Saturday morning, we set out on our second attempt at camping in the mountains which are visible in the distance

By arrangement, the landlord had had a four-man tent erected for us. Within fifteen minutes, we'd unloaded our other camping gear and were all set for a night in the bushcamp
After a cup of tea, we took a walk in the bush. The sun was out and we were optimistic about sleeping outdoors that night  
 Our camp was situated in a beautiful spot and we will return sometime in the sunny future! Even though the clouds look ominous in this photo, we still had a light lunch while enjoying the many birds and beautiful surroundings (more photos of these in a later post)

After lunch, the sun came out in full force.  I had plenty of reading material and relaxed in the tent and Grant had a cat-nap on the mattress next to me. One minute we were enjoyinga lazy afternoon and the next,  the heavens opened once again! Hearing the roaring sound of water nearby, I peered out of the tent (with my camera, of course) and saw that the mountain sttream behind us, had was a raging torrent!

For a few minutes between showers, the sun made a brief appearance again. (The sun gets full marks for effort this weekend!) Grant roused himself from his slumbers and went outside to glare at the weather. As if that would help, LOL! (My dh is quite a fair-weather person!) 

This downpour had no intention of letting up! I took this photo from the interior of the tent

Seeing the quagmire around the tent and more black clouds gathering overhead, Grant and I called an emergency meeting (ha!) We decided to pack up and head for home. We weren't sure whether the river crossing on the farm boundary would be passable, so I phoned the landlady and provisionally booked accommodation.

When we arrived at the river crossing, we realised that it would be sheer folly to try and risk driving through the raging waters. We waited around for about thirty minutes which gave me ample photo opportunities.

 Arriving at the river crossing at about 5.30pm, we realised that we were not going to get home that night

We turned around and headed to the accommodation about a kilometer behind us. There we found a silo unlocked and ready for us.

Suspecting that we may not be able to cross the river after the days unrelenting downpour,  I'd asked the landlady to keep a silo for us. Don't these buildings remind you of something from Grimm's fairy tales?

In years gone by, we'd often driven past these silos on our way to hike in the Korannaberg mountains. Turning them into accommodation (each one sleeps six) was a novel idea and we enjoyed our stay tremendously.

Ah, the comfort of warm and dry accommodation

For groups or for something different, you can book a bunkbed in a stable!

The front of the Van Zoelens guest house. Here you can book en suite, self-catering accommodation or be spoilt with Bed and Breakfast  with other meals on order if required

Visitors from the guest house checking on the river on Sunday morning

You cannot believe that this is the same river which was impassable the night before. On Sunday it had subsided and we crossed it with ease

Driving along the farm roads on the way home, we spotted many birds and animals. Here we slowed down for a group of cows and their calves who decided to sleep in the middle of the road
A pair of zebra watched warily as I clicked away trying to get a clear photo.  (As you can see, I didn't succeed!)

This rabbit sat dead still while I took many photos of it from the vehicle. Poor thing probably feared for it's life

Of course, we had a braai (BBQ) in the garden on Sunday!

We arrived home at mid-morning on Sunday. We'd been camping, as I wanted to (well, sort of, lol!) and I had two hundred photos of our trip.

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  1. Quite the shakedown cruise for the new truck, Jo.
    An unsuccessful trip often provides more photo ops than a successful one!
    I love the Grimms fairy-tale silos, and am happy to see you arrived home safely. Your garden looks so nice.
    Luv, K

  2. Those silos look very cozy. The adventure farm sounds like a great idea. At least you got a little bit of tent camping in before the deluge! It's amazing how much water is pouring over the road! That's how it gets in the area where we live sometimes.

    I love the wildlife shots. I can't imagine seeing zebras roaming free...I've only seen them in a zoo.

    (((Hugs))) from Pat

    P.S. We'll be out of town for 2+ weeks starting this Friday. We're first going on a 7-day cruise along the Mexican Riviera, then staying with one of our sons a few nights, and then spending 7 days in Oceanside (just north of San Diego) at a condo for another 7 days. So I'll be incommunicado from Jan. 8th- 15th.

  3. I'm with Grant, camping is for nice sunny weather. But the alternative silo is very cool. Sounds like a compromise to camping. I'd not wanted to drive through that roaring river.

  4. You MUST be getting the rain from Australia... Mercy ME!!!! Sorry you couldn't enjoy your tent camping --but i loved that little silo... What a neat little place.... Sounds like you had a good time regardless of the weather. Glad though that you could get across the 'water crossing' the next day...

    Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

  5. Hi Jo,
    What an adventure! I love the little Silos, they remind me of Hobbit houses, LOL!
    Glad you made it home safe and sound :)
    ☼ Sunny

  6. I have so enjoyed this post, Jo. I recall the heavy Free State rains as a child driving down to the Cape, for holidays, from Zimbabwe (still Southern Rhodesia in those days, of course!) and, on occasions, when passing through the flats of the Free State, we'd have to pull over to the side of the road during a particularly heavy, torrential downpour. I remember not being able to see a thing beyond the car windows when it was at its heaviest!

    So glad you got to enjoy a night out after all, even if it wasn't in your tented accomodation! The silos looedk like a great alternative, though.

    Lovely to see some wildlife, too! Oh, I do love Southern Africa!

  7. Lekker!!!

    What a beautiful area - I'm sure the rain only added to ambiance once you were settled in the silos.

    Great picture set Jo - thanks for taking us with you.

  8. Hi Jo,it was not another 'wasted' journey you got some terrific photos.The silo houses look so cute and you would never probably stayed in one so close to home if you had been able to cross the river.I hope the rain lets up soon so you can get around but it is surely good for the garden?!

  9. Despite that rain, I love hearing about your many adventures! Thanks for sharing your great shots always. Take care sister Jo and God bless.

  10. Wonderful post, Jo! Our journeys don’t always go as planned. But when you love to take pictures it is never boring. That is a mighty big puddle, indeed. It is amazing how it disappeared over time. It pays to have patience. Silos converted into homes is brilliant … they look like hobbit houses. We love our travels but in the end it seems there is no place like home. :)

  11. What an adventure. I enjoyed reading about it and seeing the pictures. The silos sure are cute.


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