Isn’t it extraordinary when a series of serendipitous events conspire to get you back on track and make sure you are doing exactly what you are meant to do? I found myself walking out of Caledon village with fellow pilgrims from the Grand home of Martie and Gert’s “Caledonegrace”, a month ago to complete the first 100km of the Peace tree Pilgrimage to Platbos. The enthusiastic support from members of the community and the mayor added to the excitement, that a truly worthwhile vision was in sight. It had been such a joy to share months of preparation and
The amazing places and people we meet along the way - photo by Senait Mekkonen
organisation through the eyes and the experience of a few dear friends and the pleasure of meeting so many more. The affirmation of discovering rare and endangered fynbos species along the way with the expertise of botanist, David Gwynne Evans affirmed that this is important and essential to pursue. It was reassuring to have the support of his partner Fran Siebrits, who herself is an accomplished horticulturist, intrepid adventurer and traveller.
Babylon towers and the harvested land, dry and hot - Photo by Senait Mekkonen
It was a delightful surprise to be greeted by friends bumbling out of the roaming vehicle to meet us and walk us into our magical forest destination that is Platbos. To be able to stand next to the new board standing proudly at the entrance to Platbos bearing witness to the fact that it is now a recognised nature reserve and most important of all, get to plant our ceremonial trees on the last day.
Pilgrims on the beach - Photo by Magdalene
So now with all of this behind me, a coincidental meeting of an old school friend of thirty years ago in the village of Caledon a few weeks ago and her invitation to join her and a few friends on their pilgrimage from Robertson called the “Overberg Pilgrimage of Hope”, inspired the new possibility of the completion of the rest of the Peace tree Pilgrimage to
Cape Agulhas, the Southernmost point of Africa. I consequently
discovered that there was a comprehensive guide written about it and the route was indeed passing by Platbos.
On the road, maybe a little too much on this route - photo Senait Mekkonen
So this is how I found myself on the Road again, only this time I’m walking out from the lush re-birthing of spring into the golden wheat harvest and the brilliant yellow canola flowers no more. I find myself walking out from Greyton, which is only 26km from our farm over the mountain through the quaint mission village of Genadendal. I am experiencing another way of doing a Pilgrimage. The plan is to stay with local farmers, get to explore more of my surroundings. I’m filled with a quiet peace, knowing that everything had been organised. All that was required of me was to wake up each morning and walk to our next destination.
Cliffs on the reserve from Wortelgat to Gansbaai - photo Senait Mekkonen
The next morning we joined two very experience walkers who had just completed their walk in from Robertson at an old school hostel called the Eco Lodge. My friend Senait said it reminded her of an old Communist building, and this was possibly because the hostel was probably built in the late 60’s and little change had been done to modernise it in anyway. It was comfortable enough, and the hostess was pleasant. We walked out the following morning through the village, over the mountain, through Genadendal. On our third day I found myself at Dassiesfontein padstal to meet my mother and sister who could relieve me of unnecessary stuff, which I had taken with me in case my trailer didn’t function properly.
A well needed rest swatting the horse flies - photo by Senait Mekkonen
I was committed to using it through all the diverse terrain and seeing if it did indeed work. It was here that I got to meet a fellow Peace Pilgrim , Johannes Loubser who a few years previously had walked from Cape Town to Johannesburg barefoot….. and so, this is how I found myself heading down dusty gravel roads, with the sun beating down , my trailer behind me, good company by my side, taking each step closer to the final destination, Platbos and beyond
Walking to Genandendal Greyton - Magdalene
Sandberg farm part of the next mission for the Peace tree Pilgrimage