MG Car Club Cape Centres Gathering Oudtshoorn
The Cape Town MG Car Club organises delightful trips to scenic regions of the Cape. In October 2007 the destination was Oudtshoorn. We took the N1 over the mountains to Worcester and turned off to Montague.
The R62 from Montague is a quiet back road to Oudtshoorn. The Klein Karoo scenery is different from the busy N2 along the coast. We arrived at Calitzdorp later than the other cars because we had to have a drink at Ronnie’s Sex Shop. We met Ronnie and heard that this shop on his 200 hectare farm is more profitable than farming.
After a comfortable night at the Dorpshuis we planned to cycle around the neighbourhood. Very soon the plan became a walk because of a puncture. While walking past a beautiful Victorian home I saw 40 huge old tortoises and lots of little ones. Since Jon has a big 50 year old tortoise we opened the gate and went to introduce ourselves to the owners. Elise and Gerhard were delighted at our interest in tortoises and were soon showing us the chickens, ducks and geese. Their house is filled with fine antiques. They invited us to drink tea with them. When Elise heard that Jon had the correct licence to house tortoises she gave him a mate for his tortoise. He was delighted. As we were going to the MG meet we arranged to collect on Sunday.
We arrived at Kleinplaas in the mid afternoon. Our self catering unit had a carport which sheltered the car from the hot sun. At dinner we met the other members and received our instructions for the next day.
These instructions include a list of questions about landmarks and geographical features on the route. We enjoyed answering the questions while travelling to Prince Albert via the Meiringspoort. Meiringspoort was wonderful again. Some cars returned over the Swartberg Pass which is a very steep dirt road. It was built in 1888. I decided against it as I have trouble with the first gear in the MG. We were disappointed to miss the views.
In the evening we enjoyed the well-organised braai with ostrich steaks. Ostrich is the main product of this region.
The next day was free to enjoy the sights of Oudsthoorn. There is too much to see in a day. We chose the Cango Caves. They are magnificent but it was no different from seeing them 30 years ago. I was hoping to see the huge new cave but it was not open to the public.
At about 3.30 the day was cooling and we decided to cycle up the Swartberg Pass. It was very, very steep and I had to walk some of the way. Jon cycled all the way. The views are fantastic. It was worth the effort. We were late for the Feathers Dinner Dance. So our attention to our feathers was limited but the dinner was great. Later we watched the Springbok rugby team beat France in Paris. I was excited to know that my son, Keith, was in the audience, but despite peering at the screen I could not see him!
On Sunday we returned to Calitzdorp where we collected the tortoise which travelled in a box on top of our suitcase in the MG. The MG was very full. We decided to overnight at a B&B where we could watch the car. We did not tell our host that we had a tortoise. So after settling in we took our box to a field to let her have a walk and food.
The next day we arrive home happy after 5 delightful days. The male tortoise was overjoyed to have company again: he rushed around showing her the garden for a week before life slowed to normal again.