The Road Less Traveled
Let’s just say I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to have experienced the light speed time warp that I was transported to upon entering Verkykerskop. Believe it or not, I ended up there in an attempt to avoid a racistly named town (I can’t subscribe to that crap). I drove for 40km and came to a few stone buildings, a couple of wooden cabins, and what can only be described at the 'town centre’. It was made up of two buildings, a shed, a police station and a petrol pump (that’s rarely open).
After inquiring about accommodation and if they were pet friendly, Emily and I took a wander around and discovered that this place was not only the local store but also the backpackers come motel come wedding venue come restaurant come post office and that’s only what it functions as. It felt like I had entered a bubble of the past and future smooshed together in an eclectic hodgepodge atmosphere of collectable trinkets which is a total feast for the eyes.
This lasted at least 15 minutes as I stumbled around with my jaw dropped in bewilderment. Everywhere is for lack of a better word, 'littered’, with antique collectable relics from all over the country if not the world. From collectable signs, tins and trinkets to dressed up drag queen taxidermied animals…. YES, I know.
After collecting myself I ordered a drink for me and the pooch whom I was road tripping around the east side of the country with. I got to meet the owners, which after spending just 5 minutes with these lovely humans, I made perfect sense of why this place was the way it was. They are warm and quirky, bubbly and loud, welcoming and eccentric and the team that supports them are mirror images of themselves. Simply put, It’s 5 star 'farm style' service.
On further discussion about the accommodation all the faaaaaaancy options were already booked up and I was offered a little wooden cabin on stilts with two single beds, surrounded by bluegums, mountains and quiet open spaces. For a 4 star princess it was incredibly comfortable in its simplicity, (shared bathrooms yo).
I was heading back to Jozi for a New Year’s party with my friends, and so I was only planning a one night stay. But after speaking to the other guests mingling around the bar who all seemed to be muso’s escaping the big city, I was told about this legendary New Year’s party that has been going on for around 12 years. NOW i was even more intrigued and decided to stay. Till when? Who knew….
The setting, as I’m sure you could imagine, was quaint and quiet, VERY fucking quiet. And while for me it was actually exceptionally blissful, my mother would describe it as hell. It’s real farm living, open spaces for miles with mountain ranges encircling you, the smell of bluegums and then open veld. I know nothing about birds but from what i heard it seems to be quite a sanctuary, over and above the crickets and mozzies, that is. *Peaceful Sleep shout out! WHOOP! WHOOP!
At night the place becomes a galactic light show with stars so prominent, it feels so magically surreal that you want to try and touch them. I seriously suggest a blanket outside and some cuddle stargazing. (Author’s and dog lover’s note: There are plenty of pooches if you doing a solo road trip).
The New Year’s party was all part of my own adventure and the magical humans were among some of the best we met on our adventure. If you’ve got a spare weekend or are looking for some headspace or a romantic weekend away, then Verkykerskop - A town that time forgot will definitely surprise you in one way or another.Jared Hurwitz