Christopher & Birgit & Margie & I are greatly looking forward to seeing you at our Birthday Party on the 8th & 9th February.
We had a very mild winter, and now are enjoying a relatively cool summer. There has been a lot of rain in the district, and the veld is very green. However it still can get very hot during the day. It cools off in the evening, sometimes so much you need a warmer garment. Also since River Destiny Lodge is on the banks of the Orange River you may need a mosquito repellant.
The four of us and David are booked in at River Destiny for Friday & Saturday.On the Friday evening we will be having a braai. We hope that those of you who would like to make a weekend of it will join us. There will be fire, salads, box wine & cool drinks, etc. available, so please bring whatever meat you like to braai and whatever you prefer to drink.
I have not arranged anything for Saturday before the party which starts at 19h00. River Destiny has various facilities you may like to use - if it is hot, I am sure that their pool will be very welcome - their website www.riverdestiny.co.za has all the details. Sitting round the pool and "visiting" with relatives you last saw long ago and people you have just met may be a good option. If this doesn't suit you there is powerboat racing (rubber ducks) at Gariep Dam nearby on Friday and Saturday, and a game reserve for those of you who prefer quieter entertainment. The road over the dam wall is under repair at the moment so you can't walk or drive across it, but there is a low level bridge which crosses the river near the foot of the dam, which is filling rapidly and may be overflowing by then. Either way you will get a good view of the dam. There is also a museum / view site which overlooks the dam, and has displays giving the history of the dam and showing the various stages of the construction of the dam. It also has toilet facilities. It is on the Eastern Cape side of the dam, and its access road turns of the road which leads to the low level bridge and Eskoms hydroelectric power station.
Some of the rooms are self catering, and the others have an electric kettle etc. so you can do your own breakfast or lunch if you wish. River Destiny serves breakfast @ R30.00 and a la carte lunch (please book), or if you want to eat further afield there is a restaurant at Waschbank (082 3374220 ), just the other side of the river from Norvalspont, over the road / rail bridge, a restaurant in the entrance complex to the Forever Resorts Gariep Dam Resort (051 7540045) and Wheels Pub & Grill at the Green Door (082 4493034) across the road from the turn off to Forever Resorts, as well as one at the motel on the top of the hill, which has a good view over the dam. If you want to go further afield there is an En-Route Restaurant (at the Caltex Garage), a Whistle Stop (at the Shell Garage) and a Wimpy (at the Engen Garage) on the N1 around Colesberg and some restaurants and pubs which serve meals in Colesberg (Die Plattelander 051 7530666, Horse & Mill 051 7530406, Bordeaux Coffee Shop 051 7531582) as well as Wild Fings which serves chicken & fish (takeaway or eat there) at the lower end of Church Street in Colesberg.
The Department of Water Affairs runs tours inside the dam wall, which are very interesting, but quite strenuous as it involves a lot of climbing up and down stairs and ladders. The first (relatively easy) stage takes you to the control room where the sluices are opened & shut etc. and which has a good view downstream. The next stage takes you all the way to the inside bottom of the wall. The bottom of the wall has an arch over the river bed, so you stand on the river bed in quite a large hall. I have made arrangements with the Department of Water Affairs for a tour. It starts at 09h00 at the Free State end of the dam wall. The dam wall is fenced in at the moment because of repairs to the roadway, but there is an access gate and some parking there.
Some of you have said you would like to visit Tzamenkomst. If you arrive early on Friday you could go there first, and then on to River Destiny. We van Zyls will going to River Destiny on Friday afternoon and will be there or at the dam on Saturday, returning to Tzamenkomst on Sunday morning, and if you would like to join us there on Sunday please do so. Margie will be attending a Methodist Church Service at 11h00, and you are welcome to join her. If you don't know how to get to Tzamenkomst or would like to refresh your memory look at our web site www.tzamenkomst.co.za where there are directions on how to get to Tzamenkomst.