Sutherland lies just 350km from Cape Town – it is the coldest town in the Western Cape and when you travel the N1 out of the city, apprehension is catching, and discussion about what you have brought with to ward off the cold is on everyone’s lips! We all seemed to have beanies / scarves / fleecy tops and some even had thermal vests.
However, in May temperatures are not as extreme as June and July. We arrived on a cloudy afternoon with predicted maximum temperatures of 10 degrees and minimum of -4 !
En route our group had a delicious lunch at Die Veldskoen Padstal just outside De Doorns. Fabulous, efficient and a place to go to time-and-again! We then headed straight to Sutherland arriving at about 15h30. Everyone was booked into Kambrokind on Piet Retief Street. Juanita greeted us all in the Sutherland way – making everyone feel welcome!
At 17h30 we all headed to Die Ou Meul (not very hungry at all) for an early dinner – Chrisna Rossouw and her husband Kobus have opened this restaurant which used to be an old mill in town. Delicious lamb shanks (could not fault her in any way) – served piping hot with fresh vegetables. This was followed by a Pot Pudding which was made with vanilla and cinnamon and served with custard – equally delicious.
After this we headed to Sterland just out of Sutherland for star gazing – the air was crisp and many of the ladies in our group felt it was ‘not really that cold’ – that is, until we had been out in the open air for nearly 2 hours – then it was a different story! My goodness the cold seems to bite-at-you! By just after 21h00 we were all back in town and ready to settle into our warm beds.
Sunday morning dawned and the usual breakfast served at KambroKind was enjoyed. We went to Sterland and met with Rita who (with Jurg’s help) showed us slides of all the veld flowers (as they usually are in Spring) – then we drove out to their farm – 4km out of town on the opposite side and did our veld walk. The actual viewing of the veld flowers was very minimal but Rita informed us of very many aspects of this farm which she is so passionate about. Then those who could manage the walk headed off with Rita along “Lovers Lane” where she has put very apt “Blue” signs for men and “Pink” signs for the ladies, all with romantic sayings. We were shown their little cottage – a one bedroom little house which is very comfortable, and it is to where they escape whenever they have a few days off to regenerate. What a soul satisfying place especially the area under the “Pear Trees” which bear fruit and is a very popular with their family!
Lunchtime was at the Blue Moon Guest House which proved to be a big disappointment – Carol had negotiated with Jannie the owner (chef) to do a traditional Sunday Roast lunch. However, when Jannie got into his kitchen in the morning, he decided to rather cook oxtail (without checking with Carol whether everyone in the group ate this dish!) Fortunately, the ladies were forgiving and ate in silence! One lady had a lamb shank which was terribly bland and tasteless – this was returned to the kitchen! The next day Carol did receive an email apology – but in today’s economy, it was a huge disappointment & something like this takes a long time to ‘work through’ and to actually trust the restaurant again!
At 15h00 we met Trienie in the beautiful Dutch Reformed church and Tannie Marie played 3 pieces on their fabulous organ! This was a beautiful way to spend an hour in the church.
After our church visit we all had – Time to have a little “ME” time, after which we all met at 18h30 and crossed the main road with “Nere-a-car-in-sight” – to the Whitehouse Inn where they had a lovely big fire burning and we could relax and enjoy another meal together! Whitehouse Inn serves delicious food – coupled with a new drink which many of the ladies enjoyed – A Melktertie – a shooter glass with vodka / condensed milk / evaporated milk – served with cinnamon on top! After this we all reported the next morning that sleep came easily!
Monday morning and we all headed to The Mall in Sutherland – after all a gal has to shop! Not many purchases later (apart from Sutherland branded clothing not much else we don’t have in Cape Town) and we headed the 18km to SAAO (The South African Astronomical Observatory) for their 10h30 tour. Before our tour we all had FUN in their photo booth – taking individual photos and then a group photo which gets emailed to you! After a short film, they do a lecture (which has plenty of room for improvement – how about telling people more about the actual Observatory?) instead of all the statistical information!!
A drive up to the oldest observatory (this is a good improvement in the tour!) followed by a visit to the SALT telescope and the tour was over. Must admit we did get answers to our questions at the end of the tour which is a worthwhile tour!
We had pre-arranged a light lunch back at Whitehouse after which at 13h30 we headed off on our meander back to Cape Town. We first stopped at the Verlatenkloof Pass where Tjol and Jacqui Herbst live in harmony on this pass which must have freezing temperatures in mid-winter. We met Tjol in his bush bar and many stories were shared along with 2 men who come from Bredaskloof and were on their way to Sutherland to purchase lamb! This brief stop with Tjol is always a treat and I believe a must-stop near Sutherland – the true characters of our country make for interesting travelling!
By 15h30 we had only reached Matjiesfontein and Coffee/ and Apple Almond cake were enjoyed by most of our group. After all, how often do we actually have coffee and cake with such pleasant ladies in a Traditional old Coffee shop? (Do we ladies have to have an excuse to enjoy coffee and cake – NO, don’t think so!)
Traveling along the N1 back into Cape Town with all the huge trucks delayed our time of arrival in the city to only 18h30 and the last drop off would probably only have been near 20h30!
“Life is Good and Exciting Shared with Like-Minded Ladies”
“Such a jolly and happy time – never had so many laughs along the way”
“Laughter is the best medicine coupled with the peace and quiet of Sutherland – made for contented hearts and minds back to Cape Town”