The isolated settlements of Rietpoort, Molsvlei, Putsekloof and Stofkraal are 44 km from Nuwerus – a riot of colour in spring, offering the best flower experience in the region.
Adding to the splendour are Rietpoort’s surrounding granite domes which change colour according to the time of day. With a population of 970, this settlement is the largest and Stofkraal the smallest with fewer than 300 souls. Die-hard goat and sheep farmers, residents from all five settlements still bake soetsuurdeeg bread in traditional clay ovens, while additional cooking is done in thornbush cooking shelters.
Rietpoort was established by Dutch Catholic missionary, Father Cornelius van’t Westeinde, in 1913 and the beautiful cathedral was inaugurated in 1937. To this day, Mass is celebrated at 18h00 every day.
In Putsekloof on the other side of the hill, there’s an ancient rock art site of shamanistic origins. This was the original site for church services. In the granite boulder-strewn area with wild fig trees clinging to the rocks, you’ll also find the functioning well after which Putsekloof was named.
Walks in the area abound and the locals readily accompany travellers, providing invaluable insights into the veld, flora and medicinal plants.
A bit further afield where the Hardeveld meets the ocean are soul-soaring hideaways with inimitable names: Brand-se-Baai, Malkopbaai, Geustyn se Gat, Jurg-se-kaya and Gert du Toit-se-baai – the last truly wild camps on the West Coast. These exquisite bays are genuinely desolate – so don’t expect ablution blocks or fresh water. It’s you, yourself and I here.
CAPTION: Rietpoort’s Catholic cathedral