adventuring: Swartberg mountains

I have been up, over, down and through the Swartberg mountain range!  What a treat!  Another memorable experience to jot down in my own little history book (a.k.a. my blog), thanks to my friends Lisa and Willie. Please visit the link to view their beautiful photos.

So why, after all the times that I’ve heard about the Pass before, have I never seen it? Cowardice I tell you, plain and simple. I don’t like driving over mountains.  It usually involves a pass, sometimes more than one. The roads can be narrow and treacherous with many a blind spot and a mighty long drop on the side. Driving those kind of roads makes me tense. I instinctively want to go into my hunchback impersonation mode – huddle, squint and of course choke the life out of the already lifeless steering wheel – while crawling around the bends. Hairpin bends mostly!

I’m pretty sure my car feels the same way about mountain roads.  I mean, why else do we seem to move (if we do) more in reverse than forward and upward a mountain?!  Don’t know from where my car got the heebie-jeebies, but me – I probably watch too many action films with bumped-off-the-mountain stunts.

on the way through Oudtshoorn

On the drive last weekend I was more than happy to take the backseat behind our very competent, designated driver. This meant that I didn’t have to drive and I was further away from any scary long drops, even if the vehicle wasn’t.  Clever, huh?!  I only realized the geniusness behind this move when we reached the Swartberg Pass, but still.

wall on the edge of the road

I was relieved to see the wall on the edge of the road once we started up the pass.  It reminds me a little of the curbs on city or town streets – you’ll notice if you bump into it or drive over it.  Great forethought that!

Like so many times before when I’m “climbing” mountains, my thoughts went back in time, imagining the way our ancestors would have made this journey with their ox-wagons, making road as they went.  I can only imagine how much “fun” that must have been!

By the time they reached this side of the mountain they probably jumped for joy at the sight of little treasures like this small waterfall.  Personally I couldn’t take the picture and get back in the car fast enough.  It was invigoratingly chilly on that side of the mountain with an icy wind almost blowing us off our feet.

small waterfall almost hidden - slightly below road level

I’m not sure if it is because of the recent heavy rain in the area or a mountain stream of sorts that had water seemingly seep from the rocks where we stopped for a quick brekkie.  Let’s let my imagination go wild and say that the mountain was actually sweating in the harsh late morning sun and let’s conveniently forget that the sun in winter isn’t all that hot.

wet rock

wet rock

And down we went on the other side . . .

the zig zag pattern of stone walls are a little difficult to spot

After a quick drive-through of Prince Albert – a town which would make for a good photo walk – we took another scenic route home through Meiringspoort.

click for a close-up

Again I say – what a treat!  Not only did I see amazing scenery, I also had the company of good friends (who just so happen to be great photo-op spotters!), and a live little furnace (a.k.a. sweet miss Rosie) to warm my hands on.

Thanks again guys!

– – – – – – –

I don’t know what you were thinking but this long drop is not what I’m referring to in my post.  Just, you know, in case you were wondering or a little confused by my lacking translation skills.


7 thoughts on “adventuring: Swartberg mountains

  1. It is interesting how the three of us each took very different photos from one another, even though we were at the same place, at the same time.

    Willie has a scheme to visit all the passes in Southern Cape. Not all are as spectacular as the Swartberg Pass though.

    Because you said such nice things about us, you’re welcome to join us on future photo drives! 🙂

    • Ooh, you know I won’t decline that offer! Ain’t I glad now that I told the truth 😉

      I must tell you that I’m in awe of yours and Willie’s ability to drive and photo-op spot. When I’m driving I’m concentrating so hard on the road that I’m easily a kilometre away before the “op” will register and it occurs to me to stop. At least on roads where the speed limit is higher than 20. Hmm. . . maybe I should drive slower?

  2. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip and here you are alive and well to tell us all about it 😉 Great pictures and I wish more Happy Adventuring in the future! I love that house in the first pic…I could easily see myself living in it 🙂

    • Obviously I’ve heard about and seen pictures of the Rockies. Did you take any photos?

      I can definitely get used to being a passenger on mountain roads with an experienced driver at the helm, so to speak. I’m not sure that I’m experienced enough as a driver to be comfortable behind the wheel on them. . . yet.

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