It was raining as we left Boschendal. The weather continued to worsen as we approached the N1, where visibility was only 50 yards. We decided to pay the fee and then take the motorway that goes via the Huguenot tunnel, which is three miles long. It’s a better alternative to the 11 miles that wind that run through the old pass. Money worth it for a day like this! There would’ve been views breathtaking but we weren’t able to see them. Once we got through the tunnel, the rain slowed down somewhat, and we could clearly see that we were taking what could be a beautiful route in clear days.
We attempted to visit Worcester to check out an open-air museum however, Google Maps had other ideas that took us through two industrial estates that were in decreasing circles. We decided to move on towards our destination of Swellendam. We stayed in the guest house at Schoone Oordt with a stunning 19th century building. The Century-old house with an intricate iron balcony. We sipped a cup of tea and a freshly baked Scone as we waited for the room to get set to be ready, fighting off a hungry cat.
A few of the original Swellendam buildings. The oldest date goes back to 1818. The century, when the Dutch came to settle. In the 17th century, Drostdy was the residence and office of the magistrates appointed by the VOC as well as you are also able to go to the old jail, with a prison cell in total darkness, which was exclusively for females who had suffered the curse from their spouses. It was very cold and cold, but it was a joy to have a clear, sunny day.
We had planned to visit Bontebok National Park. Google Maps failed us once again, guiding us through a township, and then suggesting a dirt road with no signs to any place. This was obviously wrong, and we returned to the hotel, where the manager confirmed that this was not the right way.
He provided us with directions for the reception, and we were able to get to the correct place in just half the time. We took a stunning nature trail with wildflowers and Fynbos plants that we have previously visited The botanical garden. The mixture of plants and flowers was very different to what you’d find in Europe and it was incredibly vibrant. However, you must be cautious not to be stung by spikes.
The drive through the park was not easy, considering that it was dirt with a speed limit of 40km/hour which we never expected to overtake. Our delight was when we came across four bontebok which is an antelope that is the reason why the park was named. The bontebok were in danger of disappearing, with only 17 left when the park was established for them. Today, there are 200 animals in the park, and 30,000 across the world an incredible success story.
We were planning to eat dinner at the restaurant that is just 10 minutes across the road, however someone from the hotel asked us how we would return to the restaurant and get there. We told her, which shocked her all the time, but she mentioned that power would go off between 8.00 until 10.00pm and there wouldn’t be street lighting. This was not thought of by us. We’d enjoyed a delicious meal at the hotel that night and decided to have a meal at home.