8 December 2012 – Fancying around in Franschhoek Pass

119 Theewaterskloof Dam Cache

Theewaterskloof Dam near Villiersdorp, South Africa

S34°00.200 E19°11.394

Noting several trackables in various caches located along the R45 via the Franschhoek Pass and toward Paarl, Brunette Suikerbos suggested a scenic caching trip via the majestic Franschhoek Mountains and their surroundings.

Our first stop was along the Theewaterskloof Dam to grab a cache located on top of a roadside lookout point.  We were lucky to find not one, but two trackable items, so grabbed them both and left some of our long time travel buddies.

For more detail on the Theewaterskloof Dam, read our post Celebrating One Year of Caching.

Visit Theewaterskloof Dam Cache at www.geocaching.com

120 Oppikoppi#120 OPPIKOPPI (GCW100)
Franschhoek Pass, South Africa

S33°55.873 E19°09.829

Just as the name implies, this cache was located on top of a koppie situated along the winding R45.

Despite an injured toe, Brunette managed to hop-along all the way to the summit to enjoy a panoramic vista of the Du Toit River flowing through the kloof.

Managed to loose not one, but TWO pens on our way down – still trying to solve that mystery…

Visit Oppikoppi at www.geocaching.com

121 The Haunted Franschhoek Pass#121 THE HAUNTED – FRANSCHHOEK PASS (GCRNPK)
Franschhoek Pass, South Africa

S33°55.186 E19°09.560

This quick park-and-grab roadside cache commemorates an interesting piece of rock art resembling a dragon.

Quick find and on to the next.

Visit The Haunted – Franschhoek Pass at www.geocaching.com

122 Franschhoek Pass Historical#122 FRANSCHHOEK PASS HISTORICAL (GCN3Z8)
Franschhoek Pass, South Africa

S33°54.400 E19°09.381

This cache is located near a beacon commemorating the oldest path – Cats Road – over the Franschhoek Mountains between Paarl and Villiersdorp.

By the time the French Huguenots settled in what was then called Olifantshoek, the only way over the Franschhoek Mountains was along a track created by migrating elephants, a route inaccessible to wagons.

Local farmer SJ Cats was contracted by the Cape government in 1818 to build a mountain pass.  He completed it a year later, but Cats Road remained dangerous and impractical and soon fell into disuse.

In 1822 formal planning of a pass over the mountains commenced.  Labour was provided by 150 soldiers of the Royal Africa Corps stationed temporarily in Cape Town while waiting to be deployed to Sierra Leone.  The pass was completed in 1825 and the road was broad enough to allow for two wagons to pass each other.

Franschhoek Pass is South Africa’s first professionally designed and constructed mountain pass, and it also holds the country’s oldest stone arch bridge (Jan Joubert’s Gat bridge), and the oldest still in use.

We were a bit disappointed to have lost out on a trackable listed for this cache, as it was grabbed the day before by another cacher.  However, we decided this a perfect spot to set our Travel Bug – Wasabi, the Green Sea Turtle on his journey.

Visit Franschhoek Pass Historical at www.geocaching.com

123 TF5 Toby Heywood#123 TF5 TOBY HEYWOOD (GCVRZW)
Goederust Guest Farm near Franschhoek, South Africa

S33°53.100 E19°04.369

This cache promised a Geocoin and was located within a restaurant situated on the Goederust Guest Farm.

We arrived just in time as the venue was closing for a function later during the day.  Disappointment however soon dawned when we realised that the Geocoin had gone missing – as so many unfortunately do.

Visit TF5 Toby Heywood at www.geocaching.com

124 Bridge Over The River Berg#124 BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER BERG – WC (GCVXMC)
Berg River near Franschhoek, South Africa

S33°52.669 E19°02.058

Our last cache for the day was a small micro located on a disused railway bridge over the Berg River.

Having already lost two pens earlier the day, we were down to the bottom-of-the-bag one.  So, no surprise it stopped writing midway through our log entry and even less of a surprise that all the ink squirted out while Brunette tried to resuscitate it.

Having ink all over our hands, this promptly ended our caching trip and Paarl will see us on another day…

Visit Bridge over the River Berg at www.geocaching.com