South Africa
Rooiwal Suid

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    • Day 72

      Day 72 - ‘Helskloof Pass’/Vioolsdrift

      May 26, 2022 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      Yesterday when we left camp for our day-trip out, I was stunned by the steep and dangerous almost precipice, we had come down to river-level and into the camp, the previous day! The fact that I needed to get back up with the caravan again, had plagued my mind all day and night!

      All those worries and concerns that kept me awake, amounted to naught. Caravan and all, we left 'De Hoop' campsite at just past 08:00 and enough day light to see the nightmare ahead and above! In 4 Wheel-Drive, Low-Range and all 'diff's' locked we took it on, as Karen would say... "All Guns Blazing"!!!

      Although 'shit-scared', we pulled it off, like a hot knife through butter! Karen leaning out of her window, checking how close we were to the rock wall, and me leaning out of mine, aiming not to go over the edge of the world, we crawled up and out! That 'Fortuner' is a machine and the 'X-Cape' caravan behaved itself well!

      That was a good start, but only the start. Ahead lay wide open prairie's but confused by crazy kilometers of unbelievable 'krantzes' again with tracks only wide enough for one vehicle at a time! Having not seen anyone for days, I was okay with that... but what if?

      To make up time we did the best we could on sandy but corrugated surfaces, as we knew what lay ahead? For the first time in the Richtersveld, we saw real Springbok’s, all 5 of them and even a nonplussed Jackal with the regular Ostriches showing face from time to time.

      Help me out here, please someone! Why would you call a pass 'Helskloof Pass' on a mountain range called 'Paradysbergge'? FFS.... I'll tell you why!!!

      That was in fact not the most frightening, but what came before was scary and equally exhilarating for me at least! Karen was squeaking, groaning and yelping and reaching for the good old concoction of 'Voltaren, Vaseline, Valium and Vicks'! Now she is never feint hearted, nor is she a timid little girl (by a long-shot).... she was shit scared as we up, overed and downed 'Domorogh Pass'! Brent and others back home (Pretoors) had mentioned 'Helskloof' before, but I think they too, had wiped this 'thriller' from their memories! Just as a reminder to you all, and a warning to the rest which come after us, Domorogh Pass is not the N1 Highway! Loose shale, large boulders, sever road surface (if any), not to mention the 'plummet's' left and right, and the rises that one cannot even see whatever, over the crest!

      We eventually arrived at Helskloof Gate to exit the park.

      On another godforsaken road between the gate and Kuboes, which incidentally has a paved main road. Having missed a non-sign-posted turn off we eventually connected with the road to real Hell! Worse than Commissioner St. and Eloff in Johannesburg and Genral Herzog in Vereeniging, this road needs to be driven every day by the local councillor in his 'Fat-Cat Mercedes, to fully appreciate what an atrocious road his electorate needs to drive from A to B! How and why he even picks up a pay check every month is beyond me? My guess is that he doesn't even live in any of the two places?

      We were assured by the Bottle store lady, just outside Eksteenfontein that the shorter 4X4 route through another Helskloof Pass of only 54km was way worse than the road we had already traveled😳 So instead of sticking to our Policy and staying on the lesser known route, with time ticking and no prospects of fuel other than Steinkopf, that's where we headed. Via Tierkloof se Berge=>Skimmelberg=>Nana se Koppie=> Anenous Pass and between Narraberg and Klipfonteinberg on the R382, we arrived, near on sunset.

      A late afternoon arrival at Vioolsdrif, our destination for the day, past Kabinaberg and Baviaanskop on the N7. An excellent stretch of tar-road 70km into the sun, toward the Namibia border post at Noordoever.

      Karen now able to 'GOOGLE' for the first time in 5 days and nights, she found the only one camp on the Orange River that answered the call. ‘Orange River Rafting’, we found a very comfortable campsite, overlooking the river, also meters away from the flood plain, now still flowing strongly but slowly retreating. Flood debris and bent over brush visible, pretty high above the current level.

      Whilst Karen conjured up a delicious bite to eat and I finished off other camp duties, I noticed another what I thought, locust on the lawn at the edge of the groundsheet. Knowing this could completely disturb the peace, in the semi dark I bent to throw it over the wall and out of sight. By now I had become quite accustomed to a locust’s gait… this was not it! Instead I stopped short of picking up a bright green SCORPION!!! Whether deadly or even just poisonous, now near Vioolsdrift in the Northern Cape, on the edge of the Orange River, on the verge of Namibia, probably more than 300km from a hospital at 19:30 at night was probably not the time or place to find out!?😳

      We tucked into some 'leftovers' from the previous night and after pitching a more permanent camp set for a few days, chucked it in.

      Love, Peace and Light,
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    • Day 73

      Day 73 - Vioolsdrift

      May 27, 2022 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      Before going anywhere today, just to say thank you to everyone, for following us on this completely awesome 'Getaway'. So appreciate all your likes and comments, and you motivate us to continue, not just with the (ir)regular posts, but to just keep going, with the whole trip! Often had thoughts not even to come back and to just keep on 'choogling'!!! Truth is we both miss you all and can't wait to see you again! Back to the 'Big Smoke's'.... I'm not so sure😖😖😖

      Back now in semi/uncivilized/civilization on a Grape Farm on the Orange River and also the home of the 'Orange River Rafting Lodge' we awoke to the gentle sounds of another possible riot! Farmworkers going about their Friday chores!

      Before the farmhands and the villagers converge on the town, baring in mind that it's the last Friday of the month and before the 'Pap-Sakke' exit town from all angles, best we get down there and purchase, requirements!

      Planning a full on shopping list and dressed in my best 'bib'n tucker' and preparing to pound the pavements of Vioolsdrift... all we found was a little Indian trader and a few dusty groceries, 'Sell by or Best before' dates, dusted or even rusted over! The bottle store shelves were at least clean, with a single facing of each item! A pretty little lady was so enthusiastic about serving us from behind an expanded metal grid, with a slither of a gap only, for money to change hands. She, a little perplexed that I produced a card, which I had to pay at the grocer nextdoor. Other than that, absolutely nothing! Not a filling station nor even a PEP!

      In and out of the 'village' in less than a half-hour, we were back at camp.

      Get this? Whilst at the bottle store a Police car pulled up and pleasantries were exchanged. Having already paid for 'Road Tax' in Oranjamund last week, we thought we would ask this 'Border Policeman' what the protocols were in this regard and whether we could re-use the same permit? "No... but..."!!! He then proceeded to advise us how to 'jook' the system'😳

      If we told the Namibian Border Authorities that we were only going spend the night at a lodge called 'Felix Lodge' in Noordoewer, right on their side of the Border Gate, we only needed to pay R100.00 road tax instead of R350.00, should we advise them that we were going all the way to Ai/Ai's!!! Has Karen not learnt to shut her Mouth, at the appropriate time? Karen then lays into him about being 'skelem' and that HE should not be sharing that kind of info!!! And after all this, I am waiting with bated breath, to see which option she is going to choose, when it comes to paying the Namibian Road Tax?

      The rest of the day we spent oaffing in the campsite. Later a Dutch family, Mom, Dad two young sons (8 & 7) and a daughter of 11, pitched on the other side of the reed screen for the night. Had dinner together at the camp restaurant, for our weekly date night! They were tripping for 8 months, two of which only in RSA.

      Love, Peace and Light!
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    • Day 74

      Day 74 - Vioolsdrift

      May 28, 2022 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

      The whole day was spent in the Boardroom and was an admin and planning day for the week ahead. Washing, cooking some prepared meals for us on the move and even getting a glimpse of the Monaco Grand Prix Qualifying in the open pub, overlooking the Orange River.

      It would appear that a 'Cold Front' has moved over today, and there is a cold wind blowing. Compared to the Western Cape vinyards, which have already lost their brown leaves, here the Northern Cape vines are only now feeling it and slowly getting the sniff of winter lurking. Green leaves are fading, turning purple and orange and starting to go to ground.

      Time for us spent here, alone in the quiet desert, the sea, in the mountains, and vineyards along the banks of the river is precious. We shudder even thinking that we are on the back end of this trip. Though excited about the next chapter, we dont want this to end and everyday we consult brochures, maps, people and enquire as to the next move, prolonging the inevitable. Obviously we also have our own agenda and priorities but there is just so much, that none of us even know about. We just cant afford to skip a beat and search for reasons to extend this trip. That we are not under any pressure to return to anywhere nor any deadlines to meet, makes our lives so easy to kickback and enjoy.... smell the Rose's!

      Different things that happen every day reminds us of each of you, in different ways and we miss you all!

      Love, Peace and Light!
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    • Day 75

      Day 75 - Vioolsdrift

      May 29, 2022 in South Africa ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Saturday morning Boardroom meeting was fearsome! This morning was about taking stock, counting the losses and regrouping! Collateral Damage included some pot handles, loose table screws, and Woolies top-notch Rusks, now top-notch muesli! Nothing too costly other than the microwave oven that, in addition to it now being quite rowdy, smokes profusely from behind, which I'm guessing cant be optimal! Other than that, damage has been kept to a minimum.

      So during the night and Karen rejects my accusation that it was her, out of hand and it certainly wasn't me, but someone had 'dumped' a foot away from the edge of our ground sheet!💩 Judging by the bore, it could well have been Pieters (the 'resort' manager) Boerboel or even Pieter himself, but by the coy look on some of the other camper's faces and the snigger and muffled chuckles as I walked by.... I suspect it was one of them!!!

      Whilst Karen cooked a few takeaway Curry's for further down the road later this week, I unpacked the Fortuner and wiped several hundred kilometers of accumulated dust inside the car! I had already cornered an off duty member of staff to give the car an outside wash! What for I'm still not sure? The first 100km to and out of the border gate tomorrow is gravel😖

      We settled into the Monaco Grand Prix on the banks of the Orange, simultaneously punishing a number of ice cold Windhoeks and equal numbers of Red Wine!

      Love, Peace and Light.

      Breaking News!!! 😖😖😖
      After I wrote this last night and before we posted this morning, the following happened!

      At around 04:00 this morning, and I suppose it was bound to happen, I was woken up by the Camp Managers dogs barking. Having now lay awake for over an hour and been out to the toilet and have a look around, I did hear light footsteps and a rustling of plastic. I unzipped the tent window and shouted, and then heard the @#$%^& @#$% run for it!


      It so happens there was not much of value lying about anyway, A 6pack of Windhoek Draught, A 6pack of 'Buffelsfontein' RTD Bottles, a box of Wine and Karen's bag of knitting (99% complete) was what went missing. All of that, I'm sure you will understand... is not the point!!!! In the meantime Karen has discovered her ‘Havianahs’ have also been liberated🤬😤

      Love, Peace and Light,
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    • Day 15

      Wüste Namib

      November 13, 2021 in Namibia ⋅ ☀️ 36 °C

      Nach einem kurzen Bad im Pool zum Abkühlen fahren wir wieder früh los. Wir fahren eine halbe Stunde an üppigen Weinbergen entlang, bis es apprupt stoppt und das Gebirge anfängt. Die Strasse schlängelt sich dem Oranje Fluss entlang durch den Canyon. Wo der Fluss durchgeht, ist es herrlich grün, der Rest ist karge Einöde.
      Wir fahren stundenlang schnurgerade durch die Wüste Namib, die Anfangs steinig ist, irgendwann dann aus herrlichem orangenem Sand besteht. In Aus sehen wir die berühmten wilden Namib-Pferde, die neben Springböcken und Straussen durch die Wüste spatzieren. Wir erreichen die ehemalige Kolonialstadt Lüderitz am Atlantik und entlich ist es nicht mehr 40 Grad warm. Wir besichtigen die Stadt und und gehen am Strand baden. Um 17 Uhr machen wir noch einen Abstecher zum Diaz Point (Leuchtturm) und gehen frischen Fisch essen.
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