all started early on Good Friday morning. Off to the airport to
pick up two friends from Gauteng, back to Wellington and into the
Syncro all ready packed and waiting and we were off to The Hell
or Gamkaskloof as it is supposed to be called.
the N2 we stopped to look at the graveyard of the Logan’s
and other Matjiesfontein residents in their quaint little cemetery.
There was a freezing wind blowing, so we didn’t stay long,
but I am sure they didn’t mind.
stop was Matjiesfontein itself where we were going to show the Vaalies
the museum in the station, but we realized that time was running
out so we showed them the Hotel’s bar instead. Much more interesting.
there we headed off to Prince Albert past Outta Jan Lap’s
deserted abode. I wonder what has happened to him? We stopped in
town for a few things and then entered the Swartberg Pass. The most
amazing pass in the country.
friends of ours were at the KKNK at Oudtshoorn and we had been in
phone contact during the trip and had arranged to meet at the turn-off
to The Hell. When we got there they were already waiting and off
we went on the “road to hell” with Chris Rhea on vocals,
his brother Diahorrea on drums and his cousin Gonorrhea on bass.
first forty odd kilometers is quite normal by Swartberg standards
and we went past Kevin’s Corner, a spot that he found with
rock pools and just enough space for a braai drum on a bend where
a stream comes down from the mountain. We met him and a few friends
there in December on our way to Mossel Bay.
then the fun started!!! After those forty odd kilometers the scene
changed and we were in heaven. That’s what this place should
be called Heaven, not Hell. The view, the vistas, the scenery and
the most amazing road, down into heaven. What a sight.
crawled down the pass like mountain goats, stopping every few meters
to take yet another photo because it just kept getting better and
better every inch of the way. The sun was setting and the views
were awesome. Eventually we got down into the valley and drove along
until we came to the river. I had phoned the previous Monday to
confirm our booking and was told that the Gamka River was in flood
and they were cut off from the rest of the valley and the bedding
etc. was being ferried across by canoe. The woman I spoke to was
sure that it would subside by Friday, but that I should phone on
Thursday to make sure. I phoned on Thursday and Zanie van der Walt
said it was about knee high. When we got to the river it was virtually
dark and luckily Zanie was already there loading the contents of
two cars onto his Land Cruiser bakkie to get the stuff to the other
side. He offered to tow me through, but it was about 600mm deep
so I drove through behind him and Philip followed in his Colt double