When most inland people plan a trip to the ocean, they book a cottage by the sea. They fill their tank with gas, pack a cooler box with pad kos, and set off down a national freeway in search of the fresh sea breeze.
Well not Elrina and Pierre Cilliers from Daniëlskuil in the Northern Cape though, who decided to explore the back of beyond dirt roads with their family, in a horse drawn carriage.
Travelling approximately 100km per day, this adventure was focused on the only transport method available to those that found them selves living remotely in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in South Africa. Aside from the well known history of the Karretjie Mense of the Karoo, who prior to the recent shifts in agricultural and political landscapes lived nomadically on donkey carts, many old famers were still using the horse drawn carriage well into the 2000’s.
When we arrived at Wolverfontein in 2002,, our neighbour Gert Oosthuizen, still travelled to Ladismith once a week using his donkey cart. After Gert Oosthuizen passed away, his donkeys were released into the veld around our property, and can still be seen from our cottage from time to time.
The Cilliers and their Family spent the night at Wolverfontein Karoo Cottages, and what a delight is was to share in their adventurous holiday.
A big shout out to our neighbours at Ganskop, who were able to accommodate the supporting grooms and 11 horses. Only two horses at a time are required for the carriage, while the rest are transported in truck with food and water constantly available.
Although this journey has used support vehicles as part of the back up, the focus has remained steadily on a historical mode of transport seldom seen these days.