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12 February 2019, Orania to Kraankuil, 36.3km
Kraankuil Guest House R0 (plus dinner R0)


Nothing earth shattering was seen or done today. We left Orania at around 07:30, after being haled a couple of blocks from our accommodation by the school principal, Johan de Klerk, a cyclist keen to know of our doings, and arrived in Kraankuil just as the cloud cover was lifting and the sun behind it saying a hot hello at around 11:00. What was notable was that we were in considerably less pain after two days off the bikes...
It has rained every day for the last three or four, and we were thrilled with yet another morning spent under cool cloud when Februaries are famed for their intolerable heat, sometimes reaching into the 40s.
We cycled an excellent narrow road, with traffic countable on two hands, past farms named Stofpan and Sandfontein. In the distance, hills; closer by a scatterling of porcupine quills, a dead tortoise and desiccated baby buck.
We were somewhat shocked to find that the tar ends at Kraankuil and that our next two days, one to Potfontein and one to De Aar, will be spent on dirt. The road looks in relatively good nick, but Pieter, our host, tells us there was a shocking storm here yesterday afternoon, one that uprooted ten trees, and that this might have impacted the road condition. We’ll find out soon enough…
In the 1880s, the train from Cape Town terminated at Kraankuil and people went on to Kimberley and the diamond fields via Hopetown by “tram”. A hotel was built here, and extended at some point, as was the railway line. Today, no train stops here, but we did see a Rovos Rail train pass by, perhaps on its way to Victoria Falls, and have heard two others rumble past.
It would be an understatement to call Kraankuil quiet. We are alone in the hotel at the end of a long passage. There is a Vehicle Testing Station next door and perhaps one or two houses; no shops. Our hosts, Pieter and Lizzie, have agreed to feed us tonight, and Pieter tells us it is people like us who stop and spend the night. When we first spoke to him yesterday to arrange a bed, he said he would decide what to charge us when he saw us and not to worry about it, but just to come. So here we are taking on faith he plans to charge us not what the only game in town could charge, but a rate more kindly than that others might pay. [In the end our generous hosts charged us nothing for room and dinner - so kind.]
We’re not sure if we have become part of a Herman Charles Bosman story; or are playing a bit part in Thelma & Louise; or in a more sinister Jack Nicholson movie with “redrum” written upon the wall (The Shining)…
[It is raining again now at almost 15:00, and the smell of the wetting soil is being brought strongly into our room by a gusting wind.]

For today's route see below photos
For overview route, click on ROUTE tab above…
Gertie in the porcupine quills
Gertie in the porcupine quills
Orania to Kraankuil
Orania to Kraankuil
Orania to Kraankuil
Orania to Kraankuil
Orania to Kraankuil
Orania to Kraankuil
Orania to Kraankuil
Orania to Kraankuil
Kraankuil
Kraankuil
Kraankuil
Kraankuil
Kraankuil
Kraankuil
Kraankuil
Kraankuil
Kraankuil
Kraankuil
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