Trip 1: North to the Kamiesberge

Posted by David Henning on 8 October 2021

In the first of three films in the Mazda Change Your View series, Getaway and Mazda tour the far Northern Cape with artist Quasiem Gamiet in the latest CX-3 crossover.

The goal? To hunt down the unusual and the curious – and create some great art. Here’s what they found.

Where do you go if you need fresh inspiration and a break from one of the country’s most beautiful cities? If you’re Quasiem Gamiet, one of the Mother City’s most prolific street artists and entrepreneurs, you go where there’s new reference material, trails for your bike and a wealth of wonderful views. The Kamiesberg Mountains then, obviously.

The Kamiesberg is a scattering of giant granite outcrops near Kamieskroon, not far from Springbok up the N7. Named Th’amies (jumble) in Khoikhoi, they are similar to Zimbabwe’s Matopos, a wonderland of endless red peaks, valleys and plains.

But before getting to the Kamiesberg, any road trip up the N7 should take its time and indulge the curious.

‘It’s a feast for the imagination, this region. The ever-changing terrain, the quirky destinations. I love it’, said Quasiem.

In the dorp of Piketberg, the Art Deco Voortrekker Garage and movie theatre speak of an age of 1930s farming riches. Just out of the town the dramatic Versveld Pass is the CX-3’s first real test – both for the 2-litre engine and the chassis. Enter the hairpins at speed, turn in, the chassis is alive, it’s fun as well as safe, with plenty on tap to power out the other end.

Turns out it’s the first of a number of spectacular passes that test the well-suited crossover. Kardoesie Padstal is halfway up Piekenierskloof Pass just before Citrusdal and Clanwilliam with its famed Old Gaol, now a shop and restaurant. Bagdad Cafe is another must, nestled in the Knersvlakte below Vanrhys Pass, an entirely unexpected padstal in the middle of nowhere that makes the best roosterkoek in the province.

But for all the curiosity of the route up the N7, nothing prepares for the majesty and silence of the Kamiesberg Mountains. Turn off at Garies and head through Draaiklip Pass to the tiny dorp of Leliefontein, hidden in the middle of the giant boulder landscape.

‘Driving into the Kamiesberg felt like I drove into a reference image,’ mused Qausiem.

It’s near here that Quasiem unpacked the bike from the CX-3’s foldable rear seats and went in search of a location for his artwork. Driving the tech-rich CX-3 in such an ancient landscape had seemed like piloting a spaceship, now on a bike it felt like he’d time-travelled to some bygone time.

Invited by the community of Nourivier, he needed a clean surface with a sense of place. Bingo – two abandoned farm dams presented themselves, graphic, elegant in their derelict way.

‘Fully immersed in the environment made me even more connected to the mural. Painting in the middle of nowhere was magical. It’s so far removed from the city and graffiti’s natural habitat.’

The children of the area came out in crowds to watch the strange Capetonian create his art, fascinated not just by the process of painting but with the drone filming it. For most, it was a first, and the relationship between drone and controller utterly mesmerised them.

The art complete, there was time to head into the mountains in the CX-3 and on the bike to discover the hidden backroads and trails. The Kamiesberg is largely unexplored, its main drawcard the flowers of September, but even then, few venture beyond Kamiesroon on the N7. Trek inland and the real magic presents itself, a landscape as ancient as time, untouched by mass tourism.

The B-Roads are challenging but perfectly passable in a well set-up SUV or crossover, such as Mazda’s CX-3. The key is confidence, in both driver and vehicle; out here there’s no signal and no help for miles. The right equipment is vital.

Back to Cape Town on the often-empty N7 it felt insanely busy. It wasn’t, but the ancient quietness of the Kamiesberg had had a great effect, and our modern pace felt like an out-of-control locomotive down a mountain pass.

‘This trip was epic,’ said Quasiem. ‘It opened up a whole new world, as well as a better way of travelling. Slowly, curiously. Pay attention, don’t rush. And there really are parts of the land that few people have seen or even heard about. Think about that. How cool is that?’



Win with Mazda, Getaway and Legacy Hotels and Resorts

Follow the Mazda Change Your View series and stand a chance to win one of three Legacy Hotel and Resorts weekend getaways for four.

Indicate one of the destinations of the three Mazda Change Your View trips (check the link here) and stand a chance to win one of three Legacy Hotel and Resorts weekends away for four.

How to enter, below

List one of the three destinations in the Mazda Change Your View series.

Provide your name, address and contact details.

Indicate which of the three prizes you would prefer.

The Prizes

A weekend at Castleton Resort in the Southern Drakensberg.

A weekend at Bakubung Bush Lodge in the Pilanesberg.

A weekend at the Portswood Hotel in the Waterfront, Cape Town.

Discover more about the Legacy Hotels and Resorts prizes here.

  • The prizes include accommodation on the basis stated, and the stated extras for four people.
  • The use of a Mazda for the weekend.
  • It does not include airfares or other travel expenses.

The competition closes on February 28th 2022







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