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Prins Albert Weg on the N1
The Immeasurable Landscape
What nudges a man to swop the blue mountains of the Boland for the immeasurable landscape of the Karoo? A yearning for the openness of the platteland and the freedom to do your own thing.
“My parents farmed in the Far North of Limpopo,” recalls Piet Gouws “there I learned a hands-on approach. I enjoy making things, coming up with unique solutions to challenges.”
In May 2021 Piet and Ruth Gouws left their interior decorating business in Paarl and moved to an eco-farm in Prince Albert Road. Once they busied themselves with awnings, carpeting, curtains, tiles, canvas, and upholstery, now they have taken on the stewardship of Assendelft Lodge and Bush Camp. To reach Assendelft EV drivers need to turn off the N1 just south of Prince Albert Road and follow the R407 for 1 kilometre. Prince Albert in turn lies 42km south of Leeu Gamka and 85km north of Laingsburg.
“Assendelft is a normal Karoo bush camp,” says Piet unassumingly. “In Karoo terms, it’s not a big farm, about 1000 hectares. People come on hunting safaris, but we also have a wedding venue,” he continues “and we attract eco-tourists, weekenders, moto-cross, and mountain bike riders. Some people come simply to hike along the buck trails.”
The game consists mainly of springboks, with several migrant Koedoes. In 2023 he’ll add zebra, wildebeest, and other large buck species. Piet also has a herd of Dorper sheep and a number of laying hens. He cultivates squash, butternut, oranges, and melons, which are sold – along with the free-range eggs – at the Prince Albert Road farm stall. “We’re doing quite well; in the future, we’ll add more products.”
Piet and Ruth offer guests the choice between Chalets and campsites. In the bush camp, there are 5 chalets, each with 2 beds. St the lodge there are 2 rooms each with 2 beds. “In 2023 we’ll also make the cottage available,” says Piet “we’re converting it into a family unit.”
Piet and Ruth have a few regular guests. “We have several palaeontologists that stay here,” says Piet with pride “they’re working on a research project, and they sleep over at Assendelft when they come fossil hunting.”
The Karoo is known for its hot and sunny climate and Piet has already installed a solar power system at the lodge and bush camp. This includes a submersible pump, lighting for the Lapa and cooking area, as well as lighting at the chalets.
Perfect stop and charging station location
“When Joubert enquired at the railway station whether someone in the vicinity was keen to get involved with Zero Carbon Charge I put up my hand,” says Piet.
Assendelft’s location is ideal for EV travellers from the north (110km from Beaufort West) and the Cape (200km from Worcester); perfect to stop, charge and stretch the legs.
“The farm is split by the N1. East of the highway is the bush camp, but the portion to the west is underutilized,” says Piet “Or rather, it was under-utilized, now we have a project.”
The positioning on the corner of the R407 and the service road next to the railway line offers quick, easy, and safe access from the N1. “It’s an attractive site,” adds Piet “there is a slight rise where we’ll place the panels. And the site where ZCC will place the retail business will offer a beautiful view.”
The average fast charge stop lasts about 30 minutes. “That’s more than enough to relax, grab a bite, and appreciate the Swartberge in the distance. Or spend a quiet moment watching animals coming to drink in the Vlakkkraal River that runs through the property.”
When it comes to EVs Piet and Ruth have a strong preference.
“We’re loyal to BMW. We are old friends of the owners of Paarlweg BMW. When the time is right, we’ll have a chat with them and buy a suitable EV” he says without hesitation “it’s the future and we want to be part of it.”
Wise words from a member of the Zero Carbon Charge Tribe. We’re all going to the same future, and we need more people such as Piet and Ruth Gouws to ensure that it is a bright future.