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Published: October 1st 2015
What do you do when your mother-in-law wants to take you and your wife to a sex shop?? I was driving with Lindsey and Sharon down a road in the middle of a desert region. There were no settlements for miles and even the scattered farmhouses had petered out. Then I saw a sign on the road for Ronnie's Sex Shop. I thought it was a strange place for such an enterprise but thought little more of it. Then Sharon insisted that we pay a visit.
We had started the morning in a rush trying to get everything packed up but we were finally sitting in the car ready to leave. I joked with Gandalf about driving his car at 120kmph through the veld. Then I started the car and it rolled back. I was struggling to get it into a gear it didn't want to go into and at the same time frantically pressing the brakes but it wasn't slowing. I finally managed to get it to stop mere inches from Alison's car. I didn't manage to avoid hitting a tree with the wing mirror though. I shrank into my seat, nervous about Gandalf's reaction. Fortunately a Land Rover
is built of pretty tough stuff and the mirror just snapped back into place. Gandalf moved Alison's car and we were on our way.
We took the N1 into the beautiful winelands and headed towards Worcester. We emerged from the Huguenots Tunnel into even prettier scenery. At Worcester we turned onto the R60 towards Montagu which is a lovely fruit growing area. We passed fields of just blossoming cherry trees as the valley opened up into a lush green paradise. At Montagu we changed onto the R62 which is sign-posted as a tourist route. This was the start of the Klein Karoo which I thought was a spectacular area.
For the first half I don't think there was a flat section - as far as the eye could see there were hills of every conceivable shape or size. At first they were covered in trees and bushes but these gave way to bushes studded in the rich red sand. Surprisingly to me, the area had a lot of water. The dams were frequent and full. The water obviously helped with the vegetation as the whole area was covered in flowers. I thought they were at least as impressive
as the West Coast flowers and they had the advantage of being able to get near them and being free to see. In places the veld was carpeted with purple, orange, yellow and red. There were some mountainsides which were literally purple as the flowers were so densely packed.
About half way down the R62 we were getting hungry and that was when we spotted Ronnie's Sex Shop. It turned out it was a quirky name for a bar and café. Apparently as a joke Ronnie's friends had painted the sign one evening and the name stuck. The place was as quirky as it's name - inside the dark bar was decorated with hanging bras and knickers, each signed by their former occupant. All of the walls were covered in either graffiti or old fading business cards. It was still strange to be there with my mother-in-law but not as scary as I'd expected.
After a burger and coffee each we got back onto the road. The landscape continued to slowly change until it was flat, the rocks were a deeper shade of red and the vegetation had changed to scattered cacti. As we approached Oudtshoorn, we started
to see wild ostriches roaming by the sides of the road and then came across huge lamb and ostrich farms. Oudtshoorn is a pretty town which we are hoping to visit over the coming weeks. Beyond Oudtshoorn the vegetation became greener and more densely packed. We crested a steep hill and far below us we caught our first glimpse of the sea, it wasn't much further to Sedgefield to my relief as I was very tired.
The route through the Klein Karoo was significantly longer than the alternative highway but I'm glad we took it. I really loved the whole area with its rolling hills, constantly changing natural beauty and sometimes harsh extremes. I have never travelled through an area like it and just wanted to see much more of it.
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