How a rainbow of colour and the occasional horsefly restores energy levels

We leave the Tankwa National Park energised and we only start to turn our phones on as we pull up to the Tankwa Padstal in the Karoo. This is really somewhere between nothing and nowhere. It’s a hot day in the middle of a dust bowl.

The Tankwa Padstal sells anything and everything much like what you would find at your local corner cafe, with a twist, a fully licensed bar. You can enjoy a drink and some snacks and sit inside – or outside under a cover that provides just enough shade from the blazing sun. The décor would seem weird to you and me, but the longer you’re in the Karoo it becomes somewhat of a norm.

The Tankwa sits on the longest stretch of gravel road in South Africa and there is no petrol station or Wimpy on the route, it’s you and the Tankwa, that’s it!

Inside the shop, we buy homemade ginger beer and some light snacks to keep us going for the next stretch. On our way out, a small book stand caught my eye serving as a tiny library of Afrikaans light romances and children’s books. Not a bad idea when your so far away from the busy cities.

We’re back out in the glare of the sun and on our way again. After a couple of phone calls, we realise that the flower season is just about over, the unpredictable rainfall of this winter has had a very bad effect on the flower display. We’ve been told that there are still flowers in the Postberg section of the West Coast National Park. After a small debate, we decided that we are going to push through and not stop in Ceres or indulge in the fine restaurants of Riebeeck Kasteel.

We stumble on the Duinepos chalets while searching for accommodation, lucky for us we manage to get a late booking.  Late that afternoon we arrive at the West Coast National Park and the Duinepos chalets, they are about 15 km from the town of Langebaan and we soon realise that the chalets are situated perfectly for us to explore.

The Duinepos chalets are painted in upbeat ochre tones from reddish-brown to mustard yellow. Inside they’re lovely, with a bright open-plan lounge-dining-kitchen area and two bedrooms. The kitchen is well equipped with stove, oven and microwave as well as all utensils, even an ice bucket and coffee press. Outside on a small stoep is a picnic table made from recycled plastic, a portable braai and a bird bath where Cape bunting, Bokmakierie and Cape Robin occasionally came to visit.

There are 11 chalets, with a central communal braai area sheltered from the coastal winds and a swimming pool. The first night we go to bed really early after a very long and interesting day.

6:30am and we’re up. After a quick breakfast of rusks and coffee we take on the West Coast National Park, the views are spectacular, the kind that takes your breath away, but the flowers are truly a sight to behold. There are flowers everywhere! We crawl along the roads taking it all in and keep on stopping to take pictures. “Can you believe this?”, is all that seems to be said between the two of us.

As we pass through the gates of Postberg, I gasp with pure happiness. It is an ocean of colour – fields covered in a sea of purple, yellow, orange, blue and white. We thought that an hour would be more than enough time to spend in Postberg but three hours later we leave happy with full memory cards.

The only downside to this amazing experience was the bugs, as swarms of insects came to pay tribute to natures extravagance. We were bitten by the occasional horsefly and also found a tick or two.  We definitely advise you take insect repellent as a precaution. We made a stop at Kraalbaai, dipped our toes in the water and sat down on the end of jetty. In the heat I was almost tempted to jump in, but the thought a trip in the car with damp clothes quickly changed my mind. Houseboats bobbed gently on the lagoon and we can feel our energy levels being restored as we took in the magnificent scene.

It was time for lunch and we found ourselves at a huge Cape Dutch farmhouse that houses the Geelbek restaurant alongside the lagoon in the park, we soak in the atmosphere of a bygone age. Curries and bobotie are their specialties. Without hesitation, I order the curry and my partner settles for the bobotie. Soon huge plates of food arrive the Bobotie with pumpkin pie and a lot more.

After a lengthy and very intriguing discussion with the manager, we find out that we are in walking range of two bird hides. If you get there at the right time of day you can view huge flocks of flamingoes in their natural habitat.

Over coffee, we discuss where to next? back to Cape Town and then Johannesburg or do we try and sneak in a trip up the West coast to Paternoster? Find out next week where we end up 🙂


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