Sometimes, a man must leave the city’s hustle and bustle behind, gather a few mates and head out on an adventure. Henry Jonker and a few good friends – calling themselves the Kamp Kommando – try to fit a boys’ weekend into their busy schedules whenever possible.
When the end of the year approaches, it’s always a treat to get away with a few good friends… to rest up before we go on vacation with our families because then us men do nothing but work, work, work! After all, having to braai every night requires a great deal of effort! Accutely aware of the fact that I am now tempting fate with my jokes, let me rather stick to telling you about our recent boys’ weekend exploring the beautiful Overberg district. And since it was just us men, it gave us a golden opportunity to keep things simple and minimalistic. Even the tents were left at home!
Our first weekend stop was at the 1854 Restaurant in the popular weekend destination of Greyton. After an ice-cold beer, we hit the road to our next stop, Fish and More in Struisbaai, where Jacques picked up some beautiful yellowtail for a braai later that evening. After our successful ‘catch’, we headed to one of our favourite playgrounds – the Brandfontein dunes. Sliding through the sand and dunes is always such a treat and something I don’t get to do often enough! After an afternoon of thrills and fun, Jacques led us to a reasonably sheltered hole between the dunes, where we set up camp. Before long, a nice camel thorn fire was burning, and with a ‘dirty Coke’ in hand, we chatted until late into the night. The evening was windless, and after a delicious meal, the guys pulled up the stretchers next to the vehicles and slept under the starry skies… What an incredible privilege!
The following day, we got up fairly early, and before heading to our next stop at De Mond Nature Reserve, we popped in at Fish and More again for a cup of Joe and a hearty breakfast. Arriving at De Mond, swimming trunks were donned and armed with a towel or two, we set off along the Heuningsnes River to the ocean, where we lazily cooled off in one of the many pools. From there, we headed to Arniston to explore the Waenhuiskrans Cave. Typical of our fearless tour leader, Jacques, we had to take one of his ‘infamous’ shortcuts to the cave… However, the tide got in the way of that plan, and we had to follow the right path, which is very well marked with clear signs.
The cave is definitely worth a visit, and I am already planning an adventure to this district with my sons later this year. The massive limestone cave has captured the imagination of residents and visitors for centuries, as it is constantly changed and formed by the relentless Indian Ocean. Originally called Holkrantz, the name changed to Waenhuiskrans (translating into wagon house cliff), sprouting from the legend that the cave is big enough to turn an ox wagon with a full team of oxen around inside. Arniston is still often referred to as Waenhuiskrans. We spent the second night of our adventure on the farm of one of Jacques’ friends, and since it is located next to the Breë River, we were hoping to catch a fish or three. En route, we were able to purchase a few last things at the Brede River Trading Post, located just before Malgas. About 2km further, we stopped on the banks of the Breë River, and waited for our turn to be taken across the river with the new ferry. Finally arriving on the farm, we followed the dirt track until we found a spot on the banks of the river. And before you could say ‘fish’, most of the rods were in the water! We were again blessed with a windless evening, and after a delicious meal prepared by Frans, we stretched out under the stars. The following day, unfortunately, heralded the end of our boys’ weekend. Since no one was in a rush to get back home to Wellington, we stopped to enjoy a scrumptious boere brekkie at the Stasie Restaurant in Witsand, with a beautiful river view.
At Stormsvlei, we turned right and passed Bonnievale on our way to Robertson. Since we still had quite a lot of meat left in the fridges, we decided to find a place where we could braai one last time. I gave another mate of mine a ring to find out if we could stop at their family swimming hole for a final braai. His brother-in-law owns a farm just a few kilometres outside Worcester, on our way back home. They joined us for our impromptu braai to end this lekker boys’ weekend on a high note. That evening, as I unpacked my camping gear and prepared to head back to the salt mines, I realised again how important it is to seize every single adventure and make it count. After all, we only live once!
Many things happened in 1854… Sherlock Holmes was born, Abraham Lincoln gave his very first political speech in Illinois, and the construction of the lighthouse on Alcatraz commenced. Closer to home, the Orange Free State was declared independent, and a small town in the Western Cape, Greyton, was founded after an English nobleman named Herbert Vigne bought a farm at the foot of the Sonderendberg range and named it after the governor of the time, Sir George Grey. Now, almost 170 years later, the 1854 Restaurant is a must-stop in the area.
CONTACT: +27 82 929 0938 | https://1854.salive.co.za/
Fish and More
A fish shop with much more to it than meets the eye, Fish and More offers some of the freshest fish in the Struisbaai area, delicious takeaways and various fishing-related products and services. They will also clean your fish for you.
CONTACT: +27 28 435 7096 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.fishandmore.co.za
De Mond Nature Reserve
A beautiful nature reserve near the Heuningnes estuary (about 26km from Bredasdorp between Struisbaai and Arniston), this 954ha reserve offers a variety of activities, including fishing, hiking, swimming, bird watching and whale watching. This World Heritage Site is a refuge for various seabirds, and milkwood tree forests and swamps dominate the flora. Accommodation varies from campsites to self-catering chalets.
CONTACT: +27 87 87 9262 | email@example.com | www.capenature.co.za
Follow Henry Jonker’s travels and adventures on www.jonkeradventures.com or find him on social media: @jonkeradventures