The endless road to Wupperthal
So we’re leaving the marvellous mountains of the Cederberg and heading east back to the Karoo, and a couple of klicks up the pike I notice my right back bakkie tyre has gone a tad flat.
No worries. I consult a map. Being Old School means no GPS anywhere in the cab. It says we should reach the settlement of Wupperthal in 17 km. That should be no problem, I reckon. A mere 34 km return trip back to this spot where I am. Even with photo stops, we should make it back here in an hour.
Ha. That’s what happens when you look at a line on a map and nothing else. The drive down to Wupperthal village, which straddles the Tra-Tra River (have you ever heard of a sweeter name for a flowing piece of water?) is interesting, to say the least.
My bakkie is a long-time veteran of back roads. It definitely rates the Wupperthal Descent as a major challenge. And when you hear of how they come down here in winter slush and snows, it’s pure white-knuckle stuff.
But we make it down the pass, just taking things slowly. En route, the Universe gifts me for choosing this less-trodden path to the tiny village in the Cederberg with the sight of a handsome Nguni beast in lovely light, craggy mountains in background.
The Nguni patiently waits for me to emerge, yank out a camera from piles of stuff on the back seat and get the focus thingy going. After a dozen frames or so, he seems to wink and me and moves off into the distance.
It’s a public holiday, and the village slumbers. But the white-washed houses look inviting, so I knock on a door and ask about air in the tyres.
“We don’t have that facility in the village,” I am told. “The men around here fix their own tyres.” I sigh and make for the mountain heights, doing the round trip in more than two hours. But I’ll go back one day...
Wupperthal is a Rhenish mission village established in 1830 and subsequently famous for its rooibos farming and its hand-made velskoens – fine leather footwear.
Category: Culture & History