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Friday, October 12, 2012

Old world charm in the Karoo

We went on a road trip to the Karoo for our honeymoon in September and came across the most creative people with a fresh approach to design that inspired us to no end.
 
The people in the Karoo lives quiet and meaningful lives at a very admirable slow pace. Don't plan on finding anything open between one and two in the afternoon on a week day as this time is spent with family having lunch and sneaking in an afternoon nap.
 
Ever heard of a place called Herelogement? We found this little speck on the map that indicated caves so we had to go and find it. The road was very bad and sandy so be warned. This is not a town but a settlement of a few houses and farms. Simon Van Der Stel camped out here with his party back in the day and it's rumoured that Olof Bergh (the brandy guy) wrote his name down in the cave.

Herenlogenment cave - West Coast South Africa
 
What we did find very interesting is the way hand writing (or cave engraving so to speak) have changed over the years. The inscriptions that dated back to 1921 was so neat an almost Roman type face like while the modern ones was quite messy and not as well rounded (could this be due to our computerized age where we don’t put pen to paper anymore?).
 
 
Herenlogenment cave - West Coast South Africa
 

Herenlogenment old rock wall - Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 
Our first night we spent in Doringbaai and were truly moved by the ruff and wild force of the sea and the textures it leaves on buildings and the original jetty. You truly get the sense that nature's in charge here and it gives you new appreciation for our beautiful shoreline.
 
 
Doringbaai - West Coast South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.com/

At Die Anker http://www.doringbaai.co.za/ we met up with a local painter and bought our first painting together as Mr & Mrs Tait. Very exciting and grown-up stuff. The water colour we chose is a beautiful monotone scene of the harbour that just grabbed us. Visit Reynel’s website to view her work http://reynelkruger.com/

 
Doringbaai - West Coast South Africa
Credit: Reynel Kruger http://reynelkruger.com/
 The next destination was crossing the border to enter the Northern Cape and what a spectacular wonder of nature this is. Van Rhyns pass climbs very steeply and when you look down you look upon 'kners vlakte'. Once you get to the top the ground stays level and you realise this is what they mean when they say 'above sea level!'.
 
We passed the Nieuwoudtsville waterfall that is a short walk from the main road and saw water gushing from the mountains and creating the most spectacular rock formations and shapes.

 
Niewoudtsville - Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.com/
 
The quiver tree forest was one of my favourite stop overs on this leg as it looked like old heads of state dotting the side of the mountain.
 
 

Niewoudtsville - Quiver tree forest - Karoo South Africa
Niewoudtsville - Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.com/
 
We have been waxing lyrical about this little town called Loeriesfontein and would pack up and move there in a heartbeat. No other place we have ever been have we found such warm hearted people leading lives that make sense and is based around old school values. 
We met just about everyone in town on the first night and was shown around the area by our new bff Adre Husselmann while staying over and partying the night away at the Boesmanland pub & grill
Adre took us to his farm 10km outside of Loeriesfontein as he is looking for ideas to develop the area where his childhood home is into a profitable venture.


Loeriesfontein - Adre Husselmann's farm Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.com/
 
 
 Loeriesfontein - Adre Husselmann's farm Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.com/
 
While walking in the veld we picked up quartz crystals that shines just like diamonds and christened them ‘Karoo diamante’. It would be great to link up with a local jewellery designer to really develop a unique product to the market.


Loeriesfontein - Karoo diamonds South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.com/
 
We were introduced to a couple that mines ‘lei klip’ on their farm and cuts it into shapes. The wonderful thing about this natural product as it can be used as a hot plate by heating it in the oven before serving the food directly on it. We will be adding this awesome line to our range soon.

 
Loeriesfontein - Slate tiles Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.com/

 
Calvinia is the heart of red meat country so Derick was super excited to stay over for two nights. We stayed at the Hatam Hotel www.hantamhotel.co.za which is a retro old school hotel with a very friendly atmosphere. The big tourist attraction? A giant red post box in the middle of town.


In the museum we came across a room with four of everything – baby cribs, school cases, christening dresses – belonging to the famous Lombaard identical ‘vierling’. The state sponsored their milk and the youngest was named after the doctor because they ran out of family names. The Karoo folk say if you’ve seen one of them – you’ve seen them all!



Calvinia museum - Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.com

 
We were so lucky to be invited back to Loeries to attend ‘nagmaak naweek’. This is when the NG kerk does their ‘kerk bazaar’ and 46 ‘lammers’ gets hauled over the coals and the award winning ‘Riel dansers’ showed us their stuff. It is quite a spectacular event. It looked more like a music festival than the bazaars I’ve been too – one thing always stays the same – the colourful instant bazaar pudding.
 
At the bazaar we met die eldest of the ‘vierling’, Oom Klaas. A lovely eccentric man with a loud voice and great sense of humour. He said that he was dragged out by his feet and born first and his other brothers came crawling out behind him like mice – that’s why he’s got such big feet.


Oom Klaas Lombard - Loeriesfontein Karoo South Africa
Credit: Adre Husselmann
 
 
We later found a JIK add in the Loeriesfontein museum … Die Lombard vierling gebruik JIK!

Loeriesfontein museum - Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 
This time round we stayed with the Husselmann family in their beautiful home with solid wooden floors and double volume ceilings. Kuiered around the open fire in the kitchen and really experienced life in Loeries.
 
We met up with a couple that got married three months prior that invited us to stay on their guest farm out in Nieuwoudtsville. Tiekels & Willouw Nel from Driefontein. Adre insisted that their wooden cottage on the dam is the perfect way to end off our honeymoon … and it was!

 
 Driefontein farm - Niewoudtsville Karoo South Africa

Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 
The wooden guest cottage overlooking the picture perfect dam
 
Driefontein farm - Niewoudtsville Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
  
We did not expect to see such a vast expanse of water in the Karoo with a magical Poplar forest that looks like a scene from Robin Hood. They also took us to go see the canyon and the sight and size took our breath away.
I would highly recommend you pack your family and give these guys a visit! The rates are more than affordable and the experience – priceless!
http://www.nieuwoudtville.com/driefontein-guest-house/


The poplar and pear tree forest looks like a scene from Robin Hood
Driefontein farm - Niewoudtsville Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.

Other gems found in town was Die Blik Bazaar where we got a complementary glass of wine on their stoep to toast to a long and happy marriage. This little coffee and gift shop is filled with all things made of tin. Tin plates transformed into small mirrors and dishes used as light shades just blew my mind.
http://www.nieuwoudtville.com/blikbazaar/

'Blik skottel' lamp shades on wire
Blik Bazaar - Niewoudtsville Karoo South Africa

Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.

 
'Blik borde' mirrors
Blik Bazaar - Niewoudtsville Karoo South Africa

Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 


LOVE these bucket chairs
Blik Bazaar - Niewoudtsville Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 
 Calvinia pharmacy - The pharmasist's private camera collection -  Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 
 
Calvinia pharmacy - The pharmasist's private camera collection - Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.

Calvinia pharmacy - The pharmasist's private camera collection - Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 
Calvinia museum- Ceiling detail - Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 
Calvinia museum- Stunning brookie lace detail- Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 
 
Calvinia museum- based in an old Jewish sinagog - Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 
 
Calvinia NG kerk architecture- Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 
 
Niewoudtsville farm - Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 
 
Niewoudtsville farm - Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 
 
Niewoudtsville farm - Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 
 
Niewoudtsville farm - Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.
 
 
Loeriesfontein windpomp museum - Karoo South Africa
Credit: Margaux Tait http://dmmadewithlove.wix.

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