Hebron Estate: Happily stranded in Piketberg

In April we did something very few people do, we actually returned and paid full price on accommodation we previously visited on heavily discounted coupon.

Hebron Estate Manor House

(Top) The Plus One took over the daybed when I went for a quick refill. (Bottom left) Earth hour

Hebron Estate does autumn very well with crackling fires and a lawn carpeted with multi-coloured acorn tree leaves. Its summer, at least the version we experienced early April, was marked with warm evenings, lounging by the dam pool and a lawn that is now plush and bouncy.

The Saturday we were almost stranded when the keys broke off in the ignition after the boys went for a mild 4×4 excursion around the farm. But in the spirit of the weekend everything worked out, the Plus One put a dusty engineering degree to good use and fixed the problem that had the potential of running into triple digits, all with a miniature screw driver set bought in Piketberg for a measly R12.

While the boys were out breaking keys and taking selfies with sheep I settled in on the wraparound porch’s day bed overlooking the mountains with a book. I only planned on reading a chapter before hitting up some trashy reality tv starring an assortment of Kardashians. I didn’t move for hours, and then only because there was food and bubbly down at the dam pool.

Hebron Estate Pool

(Top) The Teenager got lost in translation in a panoramic shot (Bottom left) The deck braai (Bottom right) Getting every drop out of a bottle of Graham Beck Bliss

Proprietor Elmien Uys coined the term dam pool as the pool is fashioned out of an cattle trough. I came to love the deck-chairs under the acorn trees with the same intensity I had last time for the fireplace. The small drum braai on the deck might look silly next to the other 2 braai options in the big house, but we ended up using it the most as it keeps the whole family together even when everyone does their own thing around the pool.

Hebron Estate 4x4

(Top left) The R12 fix (Left) The real dam (Bottom left) First driving lesson

The manor house was largely unchanged in the 2 years, with the notable exception of a sturdy wooden table proudly baring Hebron’s label in the place of a glass table, much better for family board gaming.

As they had no one checking in the next day we were encouraged to book out anytime on the Sunday. We shamelessly abused their kindness and only hit the road at 17:00.

Hebron Estate
Tel: 022 914 5353
Cell: 083 226 8878

Other great places to visit in the Swartland:

More on Piketberg:


AfrikaBurn Decompression: Tankwa NP and the ghost town with cell signal

AfrikaBurn DecompressionOne of the lasting effects AfrikaBurn had on my life is a love for the nothingness splendour that is the Tankwa Karoo. On our honeymoon road trip last October, one of our most amazing stops was 2 days at Elandsberg in the Tankwa National Park, a few kilometres from the AfrikaBurn site.

A night at Elandsberg after the Burn seemed like the ideal way to miss the worst of the crowds on the great Sunday exodus back to Cape Town. As it turned out, we weren’t up for AfrikaBurn on Sunday in any form. The Saturday morning the trance music finally got the better of us and within 15 minutes of getting up we were driving the opposite direction, deeper into Tankwa.

Despite it being a long weekend we thankfully found moderately priced accommodation at the Tanqua Karoo Guesthouse. For the evening we took over the exceptionally large family unit of four bedrooms and one very random pullout bed cupboard.

Tanqua Guesthouse

With a four hour layover before Elandsberg’s book-in time on Sunday, we tackled a common Karoo conundrum; not enough fuel to drive south back to Cape Town in a few days time but enough to make a 100km roundtrip in the wrong direction to fuel up. The wrong direction was Middelpos, on the other side of a narrow mountain pass.

A horse traffic sign is the first sign into Middlepos, but before I could make a (frankly uninspired) quip about it being a one horse town, I spotted 2 horses (and went on to see at least another 8). The one “something” of this town is way too bizarre to be a stereotype.Middlepos

At the freestanding fuel pumps a friendly fuel attendant confirmed our fears that they only accepted cash. With most of our cash firmly stashed in his pocket he happily locked open the general store for firewood. Inside 2 mannequins wearing vintage (since they were new 20 odd years ago I bet) watched over the ragtag collection of goods and groceries.

On request our store fuel attendant/store-clerk directed us to the hotel for lunch, where he himself took our order 2 minutes later. At this point we had to pool our resources dumping all our coins and small notes on the bar lounge’s table. Without missing a beat our fuel attendant/store-clerk/waiter/barman scooped up all our silver in return for 2 ice cold Hunters and fresh tomato and cheese toasted sandwiches.

As we had never been served by 1 person in 3 different settings within the span of 30 minutes another unique Karoo conundrum faced us, do we tip the “waiter” again when The Plus One already tipped the “petrol attendant”? Of course yes and hopefully the crumpled note showed our appreciation for the greater Tankwa’s triple threat.Elandsberg

The Tankwa National Park’s Elandsberg cottages are a special blend minimalist luxury and privacy. With the 5 cottages spaced far apart, neighbours are tiny specks never to be heard. If it was possible I would buy a timeshare.

I don’t feel the same excitement that I had after ArikaBurn 2015, maybe some distance and a whole lot of fomo and good memories might have me refreshing the computer screen to buy a ticket in 2 years or so. The rest of the Tankwa however, will see me a little sooner. And with a bit of luck there will be bit be more silver in my purse.

* Click here for pictures from our AfrikaBurn adventure.

AfrikaBurn 2015: The Rowdy Gift

AfrikaBurn 2015 Watch me Burn Over the past year this blog received an extraordinary amount of traffic from people looking for AfrikaBurn happy snaps, better known as naked photos in the default world*. From the simple “AfrikaBurn girl naked” to the long tail searches: “girl walking nude at afrika burn”. On the return of my second Burn there’s one AfrikaBurn myth that I can dispel with some confidence: the reality is less “free the nipple” and a whole lot more free hanging balls. Generally guys are just less photogenic in the buff. A notable exception to this was The Peacock we spotted a few times proudly prancing about, always with his water bottle on hand.



In 2014 I grew fairly attached to the Subterrafuge structures that towered over the flat plane and was thrilled when weather conditions caused the postponement of its burn to this year. The burn on the Friday night was bittersweet but dignified; the way the one tower fell into itself like a demolished skyscraper was pure artistry. In terms of sheer size the only art that came close to Subterrafuge this year was a piece of performance art involving stilt walkers that had a large devoted crowd following a large balloon that initially looked like a giant sperm cell. Any resemblance to sperm was forgotten as the balloon rose into the air shedding the material attached to reveal a regal trapeze artist. What followed was a performance that worked so perfectly with the elements and on a scale so spectacular, I can’t imagine it working anywhere else but right there, in that moment.   AfrikaBurn 2015 Overall my AfrikaBurn experience was not quite as renewing as last year; trance music pumping at full blast across the dessert way past 8:00 each morning got me down towards the end. There’s a lot more to AfrikaBurn than just a party in the desert, this distracts from that. In the WTF Guide handed out at Die Hek (the gate) there’s one sentence that really struck me: “You look even better than last year**.” I did my best to convince a few in the camp that this sentence was especially written for them. In a culture built on collectiveness, an individual can still shine in a crowd of 10,000. AfrikaBurn: clothing optional, contribution mandatory.AfrikaBurn 2015 * AfrikaBurn is the real word, outside its gates is the default world ** Paraphrasing, my WTF Guide was swallowed up by a black hole in our vehicle Scroll through for amazing images by my Plus One. AfrikaBurn 2015P1380830AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015

This photo was taken by Hennie Niemand with our crappy camera

This photo was taken by Hennie Niemand with our crappy camera

AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015Jana Egg 4 (1 of 1)AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015P1380818AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015 Sunset I know you want more, click through for other perspectives and more pics of AfrikaBurn 2015:
Hennie Niemand – AfrikaBurn 2015
AfrikaBurn – a journey into the interior

Our AfrikaBurn adventure didn’t end when we left, a few days of decompression in the Karoo pushed the experience over the edge —> AfrikaBurn Decompression: Tankwa NP and the ghost town with cell signal

My post of 2014: AfrikaBurn.