Gamkaskloof Die Hel alternative 4x4 road to travel

Die Hel – It Made Me Think

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accommodation in old Schoolmaster’s house

We took a trip into Die Hel this week ( as not being far from us, it’s a fairly short trip. The road in and out is pretty awe-inspiring for not only its views, but its switchbacks and hair pin bends, which on returning, made the Swartberg Pass seem like a highway!

It’s an isolated valley run by Cape Nature with only a few permanent residents. The history of each restored cottage is detailed outside and it has the feeling of a very forgotten place.

There is no electricity – the few lights in the cottage and the fridge are run off solar power and hence no way of charging cell phones or laptops. For some this is an unthinkable place to be, but for me, it set me thinking.

A Unique Retreat
a new neighbour?

I’m not so addicted to Facebook and the like, and could probably go cold turkey on that without too much problem. I do use my phone for keeping in touch via sms, frequently, and am a fairly prolific e-mailer. Also I use the internet for information. A lot.

So here’s the thing. I am considering a month’s sabbatical in De Hel and wondering if I could cope. It’s not so long ago that we didn’t have the luxury of instant messaging, phone calls from anything other than landlines, and the University of Google. So could I go back to a time without?

The only stipulation is that I keep my laptop with me for writing which would mean purchasing some sort of solar charger, but that’s it.

 Hell or Heaven?
cottages in Die Hel

For a month I would have to bring in all the food I need, or else drive a torturous 3 hours each way to pick up supplies. Everything would be washed by hand, it would be a constantly bad hair day and I would have no-one to talk to save a few passing tourists and the frequent wild life.

Time to learn about oneself for sure with no excuses for all those writing projects that procrastination delays. It would certainly be a self-made retreat which kind of appeals to me in some perverse way.

So, will I do it? The jury’s out, but it is an option that for some obscure reason I’m still considering.

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