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From One Hole To Another - Part 2

(For those of you who haven’t read the previous article, here is a link to Part 1.) After a long day of travel and taking photos, we had dinner at the resort’s restaurant, then headed back to the room and set our alarm for 05:00 the next morning. Our aim was to set out at 05:30 for sunrise photos at the same spot: Hole in the Wall. The double bed in the backpackers was extremely comfortable, and the duvet – which seemed a little too thin at first and caused us to bring along our sleeping bags from the car – was like Goldilocks’ porridge: Not too cold; not too hot; just warm enough. We slept like babies. At 04:20 both of us awoke. There was nothing disturbing our sleep, yet we were both wide awake. A quick glance at the cellphone revealed the time, and we decided to sleep until the alarm woke us. What a mistake that was. When we eventually left our room at 05:30 as planned, we arrived at a closed beach gate, and had to return to the main gate to find someone who would unlock the gate for us. That added to the time we had lost. By the time we were walking around the hill towards the beach, some of the most beautiful colours were already staining the sky, and by the time we were ready to take photos, those colours were gone. We both learned an important lesson that morning: When you wake up early for no apparent reason, you better get up and go see what the day has to offer. All was not lost, of course, and we got some beautiful shots after all.

With the sun all risen, we decided to set off to the room. As we passed through the forest for the last time and took a last glance at the water-bound rock, we realised that it was uninhabited. Maybe some small animals or birds call it home, but humans don’t. What a thought.

On the way, we decided to climb the hill – from the most difficult side possible, of course, in order to test our skills for the planned Annapurna trip – which left me on all fours like a baboon, scrambling upwards as fast as a snail through a puddle of honey. That-Man constantly offered his help, but what was he going to do? Could he loan me his legs for a few minutes? i didn’t have a hand available to take his offered hand, as every limb i have was holding onto the side of the hill. In the end my Achilles tendons almost snapped right off my heels, but just before that happened, the hill ended and That-Man said: “Let’s get on with it.” He was not completely unsympathetic. Rather, he realises that sometimes he has to encourage, push and prod just a little to keep me moving. His joyful saunter was enough to get me going again, and we were off.

This little adventure was vindicated very soon, as we reached the spot we were aiming for originally. We were on top of the hill overlooking both the Hole-in-the-Wall and the Queen. This was another important lesson to learn: Sometimes we have to adjust our perspective in order to see the whole picture. From the hill we could see more detail on the top of the Hole in the Wall. We could also see the nearby beaches, from where the locals harvest fish and crayfish. Eventually we decided it was really time to get moving. We had to set off towards the interior of the Eastern Cape.

Driving back through the Transkei was as pleasant as the previous day. We arrived at the Kei River Ultra City just before hunger overcame us, and enjoyed the most amazing Steers burger ever to be made in the history of mankind. (Hunger will do that to any food.) Then we set off towards Graaff-Reinet. We had to leave the N2 almost immediately after crossing the Kei River. Just before the turn, a road sign indicated that King Williams Town was 120km away. About 6km after we had turned onto the R63, the distance had shrunk to a mere 78km on another road sign. Apparently, we were travelling in another dimension, which was another first for both of us on this trip. If we had a bucket list, we could tick that off.

But the fun was not over yet. Today we tried our best not to learn that barrier lines were not meant to be obeyed. To some drivers, those are merely decorative elements meant to cheer up the somber dark grey colour tones of the tar roads which connect our towns and cities. On the way towards King Williams Town, we were passed on a hill by a police vehicle from the East London Metro Police. This was of course not the only misbehaving driver on the route, but we have always had this weird thought that police members don’t endanger the lives of the citizens they serve.

As it was the last day of the longest long weekend in the year, the roads were extremely busy, but after Alice the traffic decreased significantly, and we started enjoying the drive much more.

Soon we experienced another first, and the non-existent bucket list could be checked again. Between Adelaide and Cookhouse we saw the sun setting four times and rising three times in one afternoon. The hills are the cause of this phenomenon, of course. Each time the sun sets behind a hill, we follow the road around its corner, only to glimpse a sunrise. As we creep towards the next hill, the sun sets again, only to rise around the next bend. Time-space warp? No, just another quirky corner of Creation.

Sometime during the day That-man started a conversation which has not yet been resolved. He asked me this question: “Which town is the capital of the Karoo?” To me, this is an impossible question, and even though we tried to gather opinions from our friends on social media, the matter is in no way settled.

Just before Graaff-Reinet, we turned onto the R75, and arrived at our home for the night, Jesa Accommodation and Caravan Park, in Adendorp. What a pleasant experience. We had expected an en-suite room, but received a whole apartment. What luxury. The proprietors were friendly, even though we’d booked at the last minute, and were a great source of recommendations for things to do in and around town.

We left for Graaff-Reinet to take some night pictures of the church, had some dependable two-for-one-Monday-burgers at the Spur, and went to bed. Another busy and blessed day had passed.

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