In the midst of a dark 4.30am coffee call, papa bear and i decided to just load a sleeping bear in the car and get our road trip started.
We had packed the night before and miraculously managed to get everything in …who knew packing with a baby and a mom with FOLSB (FEAR OF LEAVING SOMETHING BEHIND) would mean packing in everything short of the kitchen sink,
Grabbing the last few bags and cooler bag of snacks , we put out the dirt and locked up.
Sleeping baby in the back , 80’s music on and coffee flasks ready we were on our way …..
We left Cape Town with the moon high and the north star guiding us over the dark highway, trucks of all proportions our only companions until we reached the tunnel when a few cars shared the winding roads through the mountains.
The Sun awoke and showered her brilliant hues of orange and red flames across the sky just before we got to Beaufordwest.
A calm bear slept , snug and warm until then and as he began to niggle awake I climbed into the back seat to give him his morning bottle. He awoke to this mamma bear singing away , the Sun dancing her sunrise before him and papa bears familiar greetings. A happy bear smiled and took his bottle , but not before he flashed me a dirty look for being in his back seat.
I love the Karoo and have many wonderful memories of my years living there , so my heart tugged as i saw the familiar landscape of brown open spaces, windmills and aloe scattered along our drive with the odd sheep making an appearance.
Our first stop was in Beaufortwest for petrol and bathrooms. We all stretched our legs and climbed back into the car. Bear nibbled on his breakfast biscuits and sang along to the music. At one point he discovered the sky roof and was laughing at the clouds. His favourite scrat kept him companion and I turned to see the rhythm of the car had put him to sleep.
We wound our way towards the town of Aberdeen, where I used to live many years ago. The road between Beaufordwest and Aberdeen is barren and never seems to end . A lone farm house breaks the monotonous view of open fields.
As we entered Aberdeen , the sense of home calls and I was reminded how much I love small towns. Their old , antique architecture with its typical Cape Dutch gables and the huge modest churches. As I directed papa to the municipality where I worked for a short period , I noted how nothing changes. The shops are still in the same place and the same people work there, they just older.
I got to catch with old work colleagues as bear smiled at these friendly people and we headed back on our way towards Graaf Reniet. I always stay alert on the road between Aberdeen and Graaf Reniet, as years ago a kudu jumped in front of us, almost causing an accident. We were also looking for the bed on one of the farms.
Stories go that during the groot trek a young farmers wife died in childbirth and he buried his wife and baby in this spot, placing the large metal bed over their grave to stop the leopards eating them.
The large Karoo mountain range is one of my favourites and we entered Graaf Reniet with a giggling bear now snacking on his wafers after a yoghurt treat.
We left the old town roads towards Craddock, winding up the mountains. Wild monkeys and baboons greeted us along our way and we saw a heard of buck grazing in the nature reserve.
We stopped for lunch in Craddock and bear enjoyed a nice crawling stretch on the grassy patch outside the local Spur. Papa and I hurriedly ate our burgers and as i watched him drown his fries that looked 10 days old and refried, in sauces I pushed mine to the side …The last thing I felt like was food posioning.
I climbed into the back and we headed back on the road. I’m not sure how the road to Queenstown was as i fell asleep with bear, awaking to find us leaving Queenstown in our wake on the way to Umtata.
The rural, ragged road to Umtata is scattered with the most gorgeous natural scenery , bright clay traditional houses and farm animals wondering Everywhere. Taxis race back and forth and only the huge speed bumps stop them.
14 hours later we reached our destination .
Bear finally got to meet our friend Lita, a braai on and smiles all round.
Bear did very well for his first road trip and not once did he niggle …. I think we creating a travel junkie 😂😂😂😂