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People, the Karoo & Volkswagen


People, the Karoo & Volkswagen

There is something exciting about road trips even if it’s to a place you have been to 1000 times, the difference is the company that goes with you everytime, this time our partners tagged along. We were headed to Graffies as I call the quaint town of Graff –Reinet, home to struggle stalwart Robert Sobukhwe. The 4th oldest town in the  country, and the oldest in the Eastern Cape. We met in Port Elizabeth at the stylish and modern Bocadillos on 1st, Walmer has this overseas Paris crossed with Monte – Carlo feel lately, it’s just lovely. We had to meet with Gautengers before heading out, I had Durbanites with me as they arrived earlier. The vibe was already LIT!


Transport for the weekend was VW Kombis and the ever diligent Caddies, I had a fully specified Caravelle, yerrr it was a LIT car in all aspects, Power sliding doors, power tailgate, electric seats for front passengers, and a sunroof to boot. The Caravelle carried six of us with ease, I was at the helm from Port Elizabeth to Graaf-Reinet, the 400nm of torque from the 2.0Tdi engine with 4motion served us pretty well .The cabin also features split air-conditioning system which meant the rear occupants could set their own climate in the hot conditions of the Karoo. What was also impressive was how well this Kombi handles with luggage and 6 passengers, the route to the Karoo town is most straight with just a handful of twists, you’d expect some body-roll but it is reasonably minimal, in fact it is surefooted.

By the time we arrived in the Jansenville, which is like the half way mark on our route we had not even used 1//2 the tank of fuel.


The scenery en route to Graaffies always amazes me, the cattle , lots of game , and isolated farms, its dry but somehow nature thrives despite those tough conditions, then there’s the people in the towns , not  care in the world , they seem at peace with it all, and are quite used to the blistering conditions. It makes one wonder about us and then rush in urban areas. As we were getting closer to Graaf-Reinet we thought it would get cooler but it remained hot, we were destined for the charming Drostdy Hotel, I was surprised I could remember the route to the venue, this place has great sentimental value for me. The last time I was here my beautiful daughter was born. We arrived close to sunset however as it is Summer already , the sun sets much later, we checked in and headed to the Valley of Desolation. I can never get over that place, it was great being with uMajola this time, and she loved it too.  We had a History lesson about the land mark, and Camdeboo park while were enjoying G&T sundowners. It is remarkable what happens in what seems to be a silent town.


We headed back to the hotel to freshen up and got ready for dinner, on the way back I noticed the Nqweba dam was lower than last year when we were here for the Gti facelift launch, water shortage had taken its toll. Back at the hotel, the treats kept coming, the room was just pure magnificence, size, comfort and amazing décor, it is not modern but classic yet charming and loveable. The staff were ultra-friendly which is what we have come to expect from this Hotel, with a manager that possess an incredible capacity to please, that oke is champ! The set up for dinner was lovely, on the lawn that leads to the bar area located just outside the restaurant, four types of food on offer which echoed the sentiment and connection the German brand has with all of them, i.e Poland, Germany, Brazil and our South Africa. We tasted various dishes from these countries with the Pork Curry from Germany and Oxtail from SA proving to be our faves. It was the start of what was to be a great weekend!!


Morning came , we rose to 35degrees of heat, the plan was simple , chill by the pool all day with drinks in hand, The team had organized some interesting activities around the town, we chose to have a massage at the in house Spa, that was a very wise and rewarding choice in more ways than one, we both enjoyed the treat, others visited the Owl House and some drove to a freaky house 50kms away. I needed swimming shorts so we hit the town for some minor shopping, what amazed me was the amount of Sotho or Tswana speaking people as side street vendors, this town is predominantly Afrikaans, perhaps they trickled down from Bloem! For our drive we had taken the Caddy AllTrack, now boasting a 6 DSG gearbox and 103kw of power and 320nm of torque, it was responsive and solid. We concluded our shopping with T-Bone steak lunch recommended by Yusuf and headed back to the Hotel for a swim. I spent the balance of the afternoon inside the pool while Majola took a nap.



Saturday evening in this part of the world was just different , not a soul in sight in town ,noticed this as we drove to the  our next activity ,I never knew Graaf-Reinet had one of thee best equipped culinary school in the province, this facility provides training and helps employ the youth of the town at most local businesses. A cooking competition was on the cards, MasterChef style!! We paired up with Thami and Nokuthula, our basket was daunting to say the least! We managed to create a starters and canapés, the brief had stated so anyway.  Matt’s Team won with a fancy Goat’s cheese grilled number. It was a fun yet stressful bit, the stress was from having a competitive streak. I am an established cook at home but here I was thrown in the deep end with 3 other people .The weather had changed to a slight wind infused chill by the time we had to go to Dinner which included Gin Tasting. The dinner set was perfect despite the weather. The day’s heat had taken its toll on both of us, we had to retired early!


On our way back we drove the Caddy AllTrack which proves it stripes fairly well , carrying 4 adults with luggage with ease, the performance was impressive!


We headed back to PE full of smiles from a rewarding and relaxing weekend, plus we had our special ones so that made it truly special, with those words we grateful and remain humbled by the experience.


This also marked the last event for Matt, we take this moment to thank him for all he has done us in the motoring space, the guidance, his candid straight talk. It was an absolute pleasure to meet Toni his wife.


Siyabulela Andile, Siya, Yusuf, and Nozipho.

Yours in motoring.

Wezile Lorenzio Bonani


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