Joined January 2017
  • Day16

    Home Jerome

    January 5 in South Africa ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Drive home was long and tiring. I wanted to get off the N12 and onto the N1 (or at least avoid the mining areas where the speed limits change from 100 to 60 about a thousand times. Unfortunately I didn’t have my map book and had to rely on google maps. This would have been perfect had google maps kept me on my chosen path as opposed to telling me I could save 3 minutes travel time Turing left when I suspect I should have gone straight. And so I drove though small town South Africa off the beaten track and ended up back on the N12 stopping and going and screaming (now quietly) at google.

    The good news was I made it home in one piece and my family was there to meet me. A great end to a holiday I thought would be stressful and chaotic full of Cape Town traffic and turned out to be relaxing, fun and full of laughs and adventure. If this is how 2019 ended I trust that 2020 will push these limits. Happy New Year everyone!
    Read more

  • Explore, what other travelers do in:
  • Day15


    January 4 in South Africa ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    During the storm I hid in the kitchen area that was dedicated to my campsite (no 4). Realizing that the storm was diminishing but would stay for a while I decided to go for a drive. What a drive, outside temperature about 21 and everything crispy clean. The frogs were going wild and the birds were out playing. The first sociable weaver nest I came to had a pair of Pygmy Falcons popping in and out. Road trip made!

    For the rest, all I can say is if you haven’t been to Mokola I strongly suggest you go.
    Read more

  • Day15

    Rain in the Karoo

    January 4 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 36 °C

    Knowing I was camping in Mokala I needed to get some fresh meat to cook on the fire. Carnarvon Spar only had massive bulk packs and Britstown had nothing (Britstown is where you join the N12 to Kimberly and civilization). Luckily for me the Total service station in Strydenburg also has a butchery and a few other things and so I got a pack of lamb-chops for dinner.

    On the way towards Kimberly and Mokola I noticed things in the sky I hadn’t seen the whole of the previous day. Clouds. Not just any clouds, big rain clouds and the closer I got to Mokola the bigger and badder and more rain-cloudy they looked. So much so that about 5km from Mokola the rain started to come down and I started I get concerned about how to pitch my tent. None the less it was an impressive sight watching the rain roll inane listen to the Northern Black-Bellied Korhaans calling wildly in the rain.
    Read more

  • Day14


    January 3 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    I made it to Carnarvon. But before getting there I took a little detour to look for an SKA telescope. The detour was successful even though the telescope was somewhat far away. I also saw a Ludwigs Bustard which was almost as cool as a small radio-telescope (now I sound like a real nerd).

    I stayed in the Lord Carvarvon hotel which turned out to have two establishments. One close to dinner. The other close to breakfast. I chose dinner without knowing about the breakfast location thing. Either way they were 2 blocks and 400m apart so not too much of a hack of walking.

    It turns out that Carnarvon is not only famous for the SKA but also for Corbelled houses. These are houses built by the early white guys who (for some reason no one will ever understand) came to farm in the Karoo. Once they arrived they found out that it was quite hot in the area and so needed to build something that they could live in that wouldn’t cook them alive. Hence the corbelled house. Who knew. Anyway I found one at the museaum that was closed (along with everything else, except the bars).
    Read more

  • Day14


    January 3 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 35 °C

    I was tired, grumpy and not yet in Carnarvon. So I stopped in Williston at the only restaurant in town, ordered a cheese cake and coke. The guys lurking round my car (protecting it?) claimed they hadn’t eaten since New Years which may or may not have been true based on the status of the town and the karoo in general. Either way they got a tip.Read more

  • Day14

    The karoo

    January 3 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 34 °C

    There’s not much to say about the Karoo other than its there it’s dry. It’s vast. It is also eerily beautiful and surprisingly forever changing. I don’t think I’d want to live there though. Hot and very very very dry.Read more

  • Day14

    No-waterfall in Niewhoudsville

    January 3 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    Roberts has Niewhoudsville as a birding site on the app. So once over Vanrhynspass I crawled into Niewhoudsville looking for the turnoff to the waterfall that Roberts says is impressive and worth a visit. Luckily I knew the road to take as there were no signs suggesting there was a waterfall anywhere around.

    It turns out the signs weren’t all wrong. There was absolutely no water falling off anything. I’m pretty sure it would be impressive if there was water falling off the rocks. I also think there would be more birds in the area. In this case the dryness was evident and the lack of life more so. To be fair I was there around midday but I think my bird count was 4.

    Leaving Niewhoudsville on the left was a WWF flower reserve. I suspect it wasn’t amazing this year but I guess it could be. A place to visit another time when (and if) South Africa gets rain there again.
    Read more

  • Day14


    January 3 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    Just after the Bagdad cafe and it was time to climb up onto the plateau that is the Karoo. This is done by climbing up Vanrhynspass. I’m not 100% sure if it’s one word or two (or even three).

    The pass itself is quite impressive and goes up very steeply and very quickly. Do not be stuck behind a bus or truck while attempting this pass because the name is misleading and there is nowhere to pass. I stopped a few times on the way up and the ire looking down were impressive as well as desolate. About two thirds of the way up there was a truck that on its way down (mountain side not a drop to nowhere) had obviously got quite tired because it was lying on its side having a nap. It wasn’t evident to me why it had fallen over but it was a reminder to not do anything silly while driving home.
    Read more

Never miss updates of Pete Cairns with our app:

FindPenguins for iOS FindPenguins for Android