Text and photographs Marita van Rooyen
Each and every night – for some hours after sunset – the deep darkness of a small establishment located somewhere between Klein-Aub and Lepel lights up the surrounding valley. With magnetic romanticism, little bursts of light pierce the darkness, welcoming weary travellers.
This magnificent hour also marks the time when Oom Kosie and Tannie Lily Mouton treat their guests to a home-cooked Baster meal. Served with genuine warmth and accompanied by intriguing conversation, this rest camp is the ultimate dream of every off-the-beaten-track traveller.
You need to thank the travelling ancestors that a place like this actually exists, conveniently situated in all its glory halfway between the farm and Sossusvlei. Needless to say, while our world-famous tourist attraction doesn’t need an introduction, Garies Restcamp certainly does.
This is where you’ll find a world of strange engravings, etched into the flat slabs of granite found all over the farm. At times they seem like the drawings and scribblings of naughty children; at others they have the appearance of messages to the gods and our ancestors. Otherworldly passageways aside, the surrounding area is rich in minerals, including quartz, and hosts the remains of old copper mines, copper being a mineral for which the area became renowned.
Garies Restcamp is accessed from the C24 in the building that housed the general dealer at the heyday of the karakul-pelt rush. It offers seven rooms with en-suite bathrooms, camping facilities and a restaurant. Apart from horse-riding and donkey-cart rides, Oom Kosie offers guided tours to a nearby canyon, a cave, fountains and historical places in the area.
This is indeed an intriguing dot on the map just waiting to be discovered!