#HACF15 – The Graaff-Reinet Road Trip

@SouthAfrica recently organised the first #MeetSouthAfrica national instameet in Graaff-Reinet. The event took place over the Heritage Day weekend – 24 to 27 September 2015.

This was the perfect excuse for a road trip.

But… Not the kind of road trip you’re thinking of. Not the kind where you drive to Durban in 5 hours, or to Cape Town in 12.

This was going to be a photographers’ road trip. The kind where it takes us two days to travel 800km from Pretoria to Graaff-Reinet. Because photos.

This post will contain only iPhone photos. They’re mostly behind the scenes shots, because I elected to document the trip on film. And the film is still being processed. When it’s done, I will post my picks to Instagram.

We left on Wednesday evening, 23 Sept, after work, for most of the guys. The guys were @adriaanlouw and his lovely wife, @nadjalouw (honorary guy), @alessiolr, @alexioso, @leboditibane and @euclid27. We were lucky enough to travel in Adriaan’s Land Rover Defender 110, dubbed DakRak (@dakrakthedefender). I know, right? When your car has it’s own account – #befak! Powered by biodiesel – #befknfak!

First stop was Parys in the Free State, for our overnight stop. But not before photos on the Vaal River bridge.

@dakrakthedefender on the Vaal River bridge, Parys, Free State :: #MeetSouthAfrica #HACF #HACF15

A photo posted by © Tim van Rooyen (@timvanrooyen) on

 

Day 2 – Parys to Marquard

#HACF15 : Day 2 : Dutch Reformed Church in Parys

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

Our route was charted to take us past the town of Marquard, to take part in their Heritage Day celebrations – they were attempting a world record for the most people braaiing at the same time. After, we would visit and overnight with Adriaan’s family on their farm. Sadly, the Landy’s fuel pressure pump packed in and we were stranded in Ventersburg. Thankfully this was close to Marquard and Adriaan’s dad collected us.

We spent the evening on the farm, around the Landy, while Adriaan, his dad, and his uncle replaced the fuel pressure pump. We had all the beers. And then we had light rum and creme soda or sparberry. Much buffoonery ensued, but the car was fixed and fuelled before the night was out. I had never experienced such hospitality before. The Louws of Ebenhaeser are legends.

 

Day 3 – Marquard to Graaff-Reinet

We set off from Marquard with the aim of reaching our destination by 3pm – in time to register and maybe attend a sunset walk.

But, photos happened.

#HACF15 : Day 3 : We explored an abandoned condensed milk factory outside of Excelsior

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

#HACF15 : Day 3 : @nadjalouw sang a lot of Frozen treffers

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

We explored an abandoned condensed milk factory on the back roads.The road to Colesberg was long.

#HACF15 : Day 3 : Diesel and Dust : Colesberg

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

#HACF15 : Day 3 : Karoo landscape : My phone has dust particles stuck behind the lens cover.

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

Along the way we had some fun shooting the two vehicles in motion, and took some shots of the Defender at sunset.

Just another 30 minutes :: @dakrakthedefender on the road to NMB. Almost there. #MeetSouthAfrica #HACF15 #celebratedefender

A photo posted by © Tim van Rooyen (@timvanrooyen) on

We rolled in to Graaff-Reinet after 7pm on day 3. We set up camp, had a braai, and Nadja had all the drinks.

Day 4 – Graaff-Reinet

Plans to wake up for sunrise didn’t quite work out after the celebration the night before. We hit the town in search of coffee. Seems everybody else had the same idea – Maria’s Roastery is the place to be. We explored town a bit, then finally got to register before packing into minibuses for the official walk at the Valley of Desolation in the Camdeboo National Park. It’s a long drive up the mountain, but the views were spectacular.

#HACF15 : Day 4 : Valley of Desolation : #meetsouthafrica

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

#HACF15 : Day 4 : Valley of Desolation : #meetsouthafrica

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

#HACF15 : Day 4 : Valley of Desolation : #meetsouthafrica

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

#HACF15 : Day 4 : Valley of Desolation : #meetsouthafrica

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

After the walk (we missed our bus back, because cliff legfie – @adriaanlouw), we had awesome dinner and all the drinks at the town hall.

Day 5 – The Road Back

We woke up as close to 5:30 am as we could muster, packed up and and hit the road back. The GPS said we’d be at our first drop-off point by 5:30pm.

But, photos…

#HACF15 : Day 5 : The road back. It's long. : #meetsouthafrica

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

#HACF15 : Day 5 : The road back. It's long. : #meetsouthafrica

A video posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

We stopped in Bloemfontein for coffee, but they didn’t have any. So we made our own.

#HACF15 : Day 5 : Built-in Barista : #meetsouthafrica

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

The sun set outside Kroonstad. This caused a further delay to our progress.

#HACF15 : Day 5 : The last sunset. : #meetsouthafrica

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

#HACF15 : Day 5 : The last sunset. : #meetsouthafrica

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

#HACF15 : Day 5 : The last sunset. : #meetsouthafrica

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

#HACF15 : Day 5 : The last sunset. : #meetsouthafrica

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

#HACF15 : Day 5 : The last sunset. : #meetsouthafrica

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

#HACF15 : Day 5 : The last sunset. : #meetsouthafrica : End of iPhone series.

A photo posted by Timmee (@timmee.me) on

Huge Annoying Cluster Fuck

From the outset there were some concerns that the whole trip would be a HACF, due to the fact that we were camping and details of the organisation were very loose. @2summers coined the phrase and we adopted it for our purposes. Read Heather’s write-up about her experience of the trip. (Theres also #EAD, but that’s another story.)

Big props to @craigrodney for putting the Graaff-Reinet meet together – the bits we attended were flawless and highly enjoyable – thank you Craig!

We only spent one day in Graaff-Reinet, but the destination was never the purpose of the trip. We travelled 2150km over 5 days. We made all the photos.

The photos I made were all captured on film. I had no desire to shoot my dslr. It was just such an analog trip…

I might share some of those moments in a follow-up post, but I’ll definately share my favourites on Instagram, once the film is developed.

Because the best things take time.

#wedigress