Day 20: Vioolsdrif - Klawer
Klawer Travel Blog› entry 27 of 34 › view all entries
When I woke up the next morning the camp looked as if a hurricane had raged here. None of us had bothered setting up tents since Etosha and we'd been sleeping outside for the past three or four days. However, whereas normally the mattresses would have been laid out neatly in a row, this morning there were just people, clothes, sleeping bags and empty beer cans everywhere. Most of us looked a bit pale-faced and red-eyed as well. Must have been something wrong with the water, I'm sure.
It was a relatively short drive to the town of Klawer, in the middle of the South African wine region. We stopped quite a few times along the way and Riaan and Juliana bought a dog. A what? Yes, a dog! And as casual as I make this sound is pretty much how it went. We stopped at a petrol station where they had a litter of Jack Russell puppies, and right there and then on the spot Juliana decided she wanted another dog and they bought one of the puppies.
Naturally the puppy got nurtured and cuddled by the many girls in our group, and I figured there are worse places for a dog to end up.
The puppy was christened Jaeger, because this is both the last name of Rudy and Fiddler's Creek bar last night had been adorned with many Jägermeister bottles, the consumption of which undoubtedly had influenced the very decision to buy the puppy. Jägermeister? Did anyone say Jägermeister? I definitely can't remember any Jägermeister last night.
For the last night of our tour we camped at the Highlanders winery. Quite fitting of course, since the Cape region of South Africa is world famous for its wines. The winery is run by Spikey, an amiable South African with Scottish roots who gave us a nice little course in wine tasting.
We got to taste 7 different wines; 2 reds, 2 whites, a rosé, a sparkling rosé and a vermouth. Unlike any wine tasting I have experienced before we got to pour our own glasses. Sparky clearly didn't want anyone complaining about the small amount that is usually given for tasting, nor did he expect anyone to be using the spit bucket (he was right).
I quite like South African wines, but none of the seven wines we tasted is likely to ever end up in my cellar. Each of them had a very characteristic and outspoken taste, but most of them were too heavy to be sipping in the afternoon sun. I'd have liked a big juicy steak or something similar to go with it rather than cheese and crackers.
The vermouth which was served last is very special as it is only available in this region and is not exported to other countries (or even other parts of South Africa).
For our last dinner together Riaan and Juliana had prepared yet another feast: Black Snoek. The snoek is an endemic fish of South Africa and utterly delicious. Once again Afrikaans name is thoroughly confusing, as 'snoek' is also a Dutch fish, which translates as 'pike' in English and which is in no way related to the African snoek. They don't even look the same.
It was a genuine farewell dinner with several local dishes. With the snoek came some delicious local organic vegetables and a desert which I have forgotten the name of but which was so great I went back for second er, third helpings.
There was another Acacia truck staying at the camp-site.
We figured we had to give them some sort of trial by fire, so while they were having dinner at the bar area, we went over to their camp-site and reshuffled their tents. You know, nothing serious, just turning tents around, swapping them so that people would have trouble finding their place to sleep in the dark, that kind of innocent stuff. Oh, and we put one on top of their truck...
We were all sleeping outside, so there were no tents on our camp-site that they could have their revenge on.
Well, the sleeping outside part wasn't the best of ideas perhaps. The last few nights camping under the stars had been great, but here in Klawer it cooled down considerably at night, and as a result the grassy camp-site became very damp.
And with moist come mosquitoes... Having survived the Malarial areas in northern Botswana and Namibia and hardly been bitten once throughout the trip, both Robbel and I literally became a banquet here in South Africa.