Pilgrim's Rest to Cape Town (heading home from Kruger Park)

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Heading home from Kruger Park in September (It was the free entry to South Africans week - delighted to see crocodiles of wide eyed tiny kids and their hobbling grannies). Idle and Wild in Hazyview was a spacious delight. A lush green subtropical garden on a macadamia farm. Welcomed with a vase of pink azaleas from the garden. The only place to supply real fresh milk in the fridge (tea with non-dairy creamer or long life 'milk' tastes awful)

Idle and Wild guesthouse in Hazyview
Idle and Wild guesthouse in Hazyview 

Pilgrim's Rest. Stitch in time remembering miners from Cornwall and Wales looking for their fortune in gold. We arrived early, before the coaches.

Pilgrim's Rest
Pilgrim's Rest

Imagine cooking over a coal stove in blistering summers. The Celtic cross for a miner from Truro reminding me of my mother learning French at high school there.

Life and death at Pilgrim's Rest
Life and death at Pilgrim's Rest

Three marble angels in the cemetery. In the doctor's house one of those quaint Victorian photos posing a dead child, with the catchlight and lace details painted in by an artist. My father and his sister were skilled photographers and aunt Nerina did that adding colour to black and white photos, but with a delicate touch. I am haunted by that still child.

Child's grave at Pilgrim's Rest
Child's grave at Pilgrim's Rest

At the Shangaan village in Hazyview. A bit theme park with skilled actors. Grain was stored above the kitchen, where there is always smoke from the fire to keep wildlife away from the food in the roof.

Shangaan village grain storage
Shangaan village grain storage

Traditional healer or sangoma with her herbal remedies. Roots and bulbs, dried herbs powdered and stored in a gourd. Solanum used in careful doses.

Traditional healer or sangoma at Shangaan village
Traditional healer or sangoma at Shangaan village

The young woman weaving her reed mat. She lays one reed one top, then flips alternate bobbins back and forth to lock in that reed. I have a wooden bobbin from Swiss lace makers, but plastic twine (with the same sliding knot) around a stone works just the same. That twine would originally have been sisal.

Weaving a reed mat at Shangaan village
Weaving a reed mat at Shangaan village

Our last night before the return train journey was Arum Place in Melville. Happy sigh. We sat on the terrace, sipping tea, watching the sun set over Johannesburg's urban forest. And a pair of loeries canoodling in the nearest tree. We had to leave very early to load the car on the train, and much appreciated a breakfast of muesli with fresh fruit for me, and freshly baked croissants for my Swiss husband.

Arum Place guesthouse in Melville
Arum Place guesthouse in Melville

Longyuan Mulilo wind farm at De Aar providing electricity and employment to the Northern Cape.
The Karoo landscape much enjoyed as we clickety-clicked along.

Karoo blockhouse and wind farm from the train
Karoo blockhouse and wind farm from the train

My father was involved in planning the train route through the Hex River Valley - glorious iconic Cape scenery of mountains and vineyards (- Hex was named for Eliza who died of a broken heart).

Dawn in De Aar Hex River Valley vineyards and mountains
Dawn in De Aar
Hex River Valley vineyards and mountains

The return journey was again delayed by a locomotive which needed to be replaced mid-journey. Dawn at De Aar. Sadly we arrived in Cape Town after dark and missed that famous view of Table Mountain.


I invite you to join us at Elephant's Eye on False Bay. Please subscribe as you prefer
via Feedly,
or Bloglovin,
or Facebook 

Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

Teal blue text is my links.
To read comments if you are in email or a Reader,

Thanks for comments that add value. Maybe start a new thread of discussion? BTW your comment won't appear until I've read it. No Google account? Just use Anonymous, but do leave a link to your own blog. I would return the visit, if I could...

I welcome comments on posts from the last 2 months.

Comments

  1. What an amazing journey, the photos and stories are beautiful, I enjoyed this post so much I was sad to see it end, I always wish for more, lol, greedy I am, thank you so much for bringing us this wonderful post today, I’m sorry your train was delayed causing you to miss seeing table mountain,

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a glorious land is SA. Thank you for sharing it with someone far far away.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Once again, you packed a lot into your journey. Although I always enjoy seeing the wide and varied flowers and plants that pepper your posts, this one with its historical and cultural content is interesting too. Poor foolish Eliza!

    ReplyDelete
  4. How fascinating that your father helped plan the train route. He must have had some stories! The history you share about your journey and the people there--also fascinating. Weaving was (and still is) such an important part of so many cultures. So wonderful to watch people as they weave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to sort thru his letters to my mother.

      Delete
  5. Hi Diana, I hope I am commenting correctly through Google this time!
    I very much enjoyed your story of travelling back down to Cape Town. You must be very proud of your father, contributing to the train route. What an amazing feat to build that railway. A few years ago we travelled through the Little Karoo, and the Hex River Valley. The scenery was breathtaking, this was one of my favourite parts of our travels through South Africa, and not very well known.
    After the Second World War my mother came back to Cape Town, (from the UK) and as the ship got closer to Cape Town, she stayed up all night to see Table Mountain at dawn, as the ship sailed into harbour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reminds me of travelling by ship from Cardiff via St Helena. An English woman (adopted from the island) meeting her brother for the first time. And then standing on the bridge of the ship with her, seeing Table Mountain for the first time 'thru her eyes'

      Delete
  6. I never realized before how large South Africa is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We used to have a tourism tagline - a world in one country ;~)

      Delete
  7. - a Pilgrim's Rest comment via email -

    A similar coal/wood stove cooked our meals, heated water for bathing and kept us warm when needed. I baked my first cake in such a stove, no thermometer so had to ask my Mom how many pieces of wood to put into the stove to get the correct temperature.

    ReplyDelete
  8. My parents emigrated to South Africa in 1969. We actually arrived into Table Bay (Pendenis Castle) on New Year's day. I was 7 years old but I remember vividly the site of Table Mountain rising from the see in the dawn light. I enjoyed reading your travel blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And mine - my father from New Zealand met my mother in London. During the Depression and the job he was going to was filled while they were on the ship. So he became a railway engineer instead.

      Delete
  9. I wish I could do this journey myself, you saw amazing places. What a pity with the train breaking down.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts