Gannaga Adventures

Tanqua Karoo National Park Panorama

Trips to the lesser known parts of Southern Africa


Ceres - Northern Cape - North West Province - Gauteng - Kruger National Park  - July 2010

You can download the zipped Garmin gdb file here

Garmin Route: "18 Bergsig Street to 1065 Homestead Avenue"

Day 1

Sutherland - Still snow on top of Verlatekloof Pass

The place was abuzz
The Speedo Ice Swim to take place next day.
6 veterans will swim 1 mile in the local dam.
22 swimmers will swim 600m.
Town clean and attractive - looks like they are trying to make something of the town.

Stayed over at the Jakhalsdans Guest House (053 381 3005 / 082 875 3339 - Linda van der Westhuizen).
They have tame zebras, kudus and donkeys.
Had the whole house to ourselves.
Met up with Liesel Lund from Beaufort West and stayed the weekend.
Jakhalsdans Guest Cottage
Great stay - highly recommended.

Loxton Church
Loxton DR Church

Busy Street in Loxton

Loxton is quaint and clean.
No petrol / diesel after 12h00 on Saturday.
All shops also close 12h00.

We met no cars on the road all the way from Ceres to Loxton.
All roads from Ceres in good to reasonable condition.
Be careful after rains, though.

Day 2

Vosburg via Linger Longer & Pampoenpoort - again no vehicles on the road.
There are some lovely dolerite koppies before Linger Longer (see Garmin File).
Dolerite Koppies
Good gravel all they way.

Destroyed my first tyre on this section. The road did not look too bad.
Stuffed Tyre
Tried to fix with 5 plugs, but there were just too many holes.
Since this was a Sunday we managed to contact Hi-Q Tyres in Prieska (082 823 9950).
They put in a tube, but no gator as I discovered later, when I saw the tube creating a bump in the surface of the tyre.
There was also a small leak in the tube, which I only found out later.
The last 15km section up to Lemoenpoort could be a problem after rains.

The people at Hi-Q told us not to take the gravel road following the northern bank of the Orange River, since punctures would be guaranteed and we decided to use the tar road to Douglas, where we met the first car since leaving Ceres.
Stayed over at Rene's Guest House - also recommended.
There are no places to eat on a Sunday, but Rene let us use her kitchen.
Drove to the confluence of the Vaal and Orange Rivers (see the track and waypoint on the Garmin file).
Douglas is not a very clean place and there are signs of decay.
Bought some nice wine at the local cellar (Landzicht).

Day 3

Schmidtsdrif - road works and shacks - not nice - half on poor gravel road - puncture a distinct possibility.

Popped in at Delportshoop - not a pretty sight - dirty Africa town.

Good tar starts again at Spitskop.

Jan Kempdorp - only claim to fame - the border between the Northern Cape and the North West Province runs right through it.

Schweizer Reneke
The only highlight from Jan Kempdorp was the very deserted D166 gravel road. We met no traffic.
The Wentzel Dam Holiday Resort is completely destroyed - stay away from it.

For some reason I had great hopes for this place whilst planning the trip.
Also to be avoided, although the traffic-less gravel roads to get there are appealing.

The D1141 between Glaudina and Ottosdal is in a bad condition.
Again we had no traffic, but punctures are a distinct possiblity again.
Ottosdal was a bit of a surprise - there were people cleaning up the roads and sidewalks.
We stayed at the excellent Ouplaas Guest House (
They have a house in town and accommodation on the farm Ouplaas, 15km from Ottosdal, where we stayed.
Ouplaas Bedroom
On arrival we were shown to our room by George, who wore white gloves.
Very grand and stylish, all in all. Highly recommended. (see Garmin file for location).

Geluk - there is a church and a shop (closed when we were there)



Magaliesberg (see Waypoints Aa, Ab, Turn South... & Ad)
Without warning, we found ourselves on a very poor wide gravel road going high up into the Magaliesberg. I had to use 4x4 later to get over the top and down the other side.
Magaliesberg 4x4 Road
Do not attempt this road in a sedan or a bakkie without diff-lock.

Melanie's house in Alen's Neck, Johannesburg. This finishes the first part of our trip.
Total distance travelled ±1500km of which ±900km was gravel.

The next section was Johannesburg to the Kruger National Park via national roads.
We stayed at the Oribi Mountain Lodge in Schoemanskloof.
The map which we were supplied with confused us and the GPS co-ordinates we were given confused our 3 GPS's.
In the end we got there (see the relevant Garmin tracks).
The longer route goes through forest area. I do not know whether we travelled this route illegally or not, but it was quite exciting since I wrote off another tyre on this section.
I can really recommend this place. Although close to the N4 (±3km), one does not have direct access to it.
Oribi Mountain Lodge
There is accommodation in a main house (sleeps 6) plus some other wooden buildings. All in all 30 people can stay there.
Put aside 2 or 3 days to take it all in.
The place has to be pre-booked - the owners live in Pretoria.

In Nelspruit I replaced two of my Cooper Discoverer ATR's with 2 BFGoodrich All-Terrain A/T's.
The Coopers have been the worst tyres, as far as punctures are concerned, in the ±1 million km's I have driven over the last 40 years.
This is the first time I have used BFGoodrich's and my next few trips into the Tanqua Karoo will determine whether they are any better.

In the Kruger National Park we stayed at the Maroela, Balule & Malelane Satellite camps.
Maroela & Balule are very nice.
We were lucky too see some of the following during the 800km we travelled in the Park:
Wild Dogs
Great Africa Scene
Saddle Billed Stork

The Malelane camp is too close to the town, although an elephant came right up to our fence.
One can hear traffic along the N4.
Also, there is lots of smoke and noise from the nearby sugar cane factories.

This was our first real introduction to the KNP and we have decided to come back in 2012 for 3 - 4 weeks and do the whole park South to North.
The route to get there will hopefully be "Ceres to Malelane - the long way" - see Garmin route - probably 70% gravel.
South Africa can be proud of the park.
We found the general conditions of facilities good.

We decided to take the quickest way home from Malelane but I did not want to go home via stinking Gauteng and decided to go via the Free State, in particular via the small town of Memel, my son-in-law's birthplace.
The road from Memel to the S67 (see the relevant Garmin track) is probably one of the worst roads in South Africa and the roads in Mozambique came to mind.
Certain stretches are downright dangerous and the road builders seem to be idiots.
I would not want to drive there if it rains.
Funny thing though was that the first 3 vehicles I encountered on this road were Land Cruiser bakkies. Obviously needed for this very sh..ty road.

Lots of road works up to Bethlehem. Wasted probably ±1,5 hours waiting.

At Bethlehem we stayed at The Royal Terrace Lodge (058 303 9335). Great place with 22 rooms.
Had to let down my tyres to get into their garage. Vehicles with roof racks will have problems. Enquire about availability of secure parking before paying.
Had a good meal at Nix B & B & Pub - this place was really humming. Wonderful atmosphere.

Bethlehem to Beaufort West to Ceres - more road works held us up.

Total trip 4520km, of which ±1100km gravel, in 2 weeks.