Sunday 29 September 2013

NAMIBIA Day 3: Springbok – Noord Oewer – Grunau

Day 3
 Springbok – Noord Oewer – Grunau

Today has been the most frustrating day of our trip so far!  Something went wrong with the limited power supply we had at the Back packers and I left without being able to put on my helmet cam.

Still dirty in spite of a quick wash down.

I had forgotten how mountainous the area was and exceptionally green!

Outside of Springbok - the orange Namaqualand Daisies

Hitting the open roads

Hills start popping up

And the last mountain - at the border


Checking our documents at the border

 It was a nice ride to the border. 

Going into Namibia from South Africa

Crossing the Orange rivier

Once through the border at Noord Oewer we went and bought new Namibian sim cards for our phones so that we could have contact with folk back home and if some emergency occurred, we would be able to get help. 

First fuel from Namibia - much cheaper than in South Africa

And a data card for me to keep my blog updated (yeah right!). Yet to get the stuff to work was an absolute pain. Dramas of epic proportions! 

We ended up paying way more than we intended and thanks to the wonderful help of the staff at the Wimpy, they got us connected.  Unfortunately we had spent about 3.5 hours there.

Happy to be on Namibian soil!

This meant that we were too late to take our original route to Karrasburg and opted for Grunau, were we had a good time at a wonderful campsite at accommodation called the White House. What friendly and helpful hosts! Even gave us some rusks for breakfast.

First stretch on the never ending Namibian roads

This was where we met up with Nic. A pilot who was glad to take to the open roads (for a change) and not just the skies! His wife was accompanying him with a cage for some parts of the way.

Glad to know some rest is close!

A view from my tent

First Namibian sunset
Here I could not stop taking pics of the sunset and surroundings, as the sky just became more and more beautiful! 
Nic and Toni discussing the route

We had Salticrax and Mussels for supper and washed it down with a nartjie and coffee.

Our first washing of the trip

Start settling down for the day

The sun catching the distant mountains

Some interesting art

Although we had to do tar all day, we were pretty tired and settled for bed quite early. I started noticing the subtle change in surroundings from South Africa to Namibia. Although different, I liked it. A kind of rugged beauty that demanded a second look.

In Afrikaans: "Laugh with me; just because - for we need it".

A relief to have a good night sleep after a long and exhausting day. Our first day on Namibian soil – yeahh!!!

The White House was the highlight of the day with meticulous care taken of the ablution blocks, the tents and helpfulness. Not to mention the very reasonable price! Definitely a place I would recommend and visit again.

Our camp, tents, washing and dining room

Friday 20 September 2013

NAMIBIA: Day 2. Cederberg – Algeria – Clanwilliam – Springbok

Happy to be alive!
Once again too many pics - especially of me - but after Abie leaves, we are back to me taking most of the pics! Endure a little while longer please! 

Poor Toni has to figure out why my luggage is taking so long to load!

We woke up to a cool overcast morning, with weather threatening to become more than the light drizzle that was in the air. 

Climbing a hill
After a cup of coffee, we left just after 8 and found ourselves at a deep river crossing. Abie was on the other side already, so who was I to be chicken?? 
Our first (of many) water crossings
First Toni

The view from my helmet cam!
We made it through safely, but the second crossing seemed too daunting, deep and fast flowing.

Abie and Toni discussing if they should try and get through

We decide to turn around

Abie goes through first

Back through the first river and then onto a detour that was beautiful. 

And I bring up the rear

It started up a steep climb and then made its way through the rocky outcrops on the Plato.

Abie coming up the hill

Toni flashes past

By now the drizzle was hard enough to make seeing through the visor almost impossible, yet we were accompanied by a beautiful rainbow.

The rock formations were intricate and majestic, yet simple and plentiful. The detour included going through about 5 gates, farms with horses and a lovely campsite.

Near the campsite

Through farms

Waiting to go through one of the many gates
Some deeper (and bigger) puddles to pass

After an energy bar, the rain started falling a bit harder where the detour road connects with the original, Potholes and slippery mud greeted us a little further and we inched our way forward. Well, a little faster than inched, but still very slow. Although stressful, as I did not want to come down at the beginning of my trip, I really enjoyed the challenge and sense of achievement once I had passed without landing in a puddle.

End of our detour

Almost thought I was going to get lucky with a stripshow, but unfortunately not!

What an awesome sight?!

Coming down the slippery pass

Amidst rain, mist and cold

My pants and shoes totally drenched (and muddy)

Slippery and dangerous we slowly made our way to the bottom

The road wetook to get to the bottom

Brutus had seen cleaner days!

Sluices opened at the Clanwilliam dam

All kinds of 2-wheelers were enjoying the masses of water

Abie taking a look

From Clanwilliam we took a look at the dam after the sluice had been opened.

Then winding along a stunning road next to the river. We just had to stop at the Brick wall made by Italian Prisoners of war. Also a beautiful sight, as the water was rushing past to join the tons coming down after heavy rains, flowing high up to the trees.

This stretch was also quite a challenge with slippery mud, some sand and lots of wet spots with potholes. Yet one of the most beautiful roads winding all along the river!

The Clanwilliam dam

We met up with the N7 at Klawer and then rode tar all the way to Springbok. I could not believe the Northern Cape could be so green?!

While refuelling in Bitterfontein Abie discovered a huge gash in his tyre and was forced to turn back, limping safely into Klawer for the night.

Cold garage doors, little bedding and no privacy, especially in the bathroom!

Almost dark, covered in mud and shoes still soaked from the trip we opted to stay in the Springbok Backpackers. Unfortunately I must (for the first time ever) say that I was totally unimpressed with the value for money at this poor accommodation.
The unfriendly and unhelpful staff let us feel we were inconveniencing them in spite of booking ahead of time.

But all in all, a stunning and thrilling day for me. I loved the challenges, the beauty and new roads. Totally drenched and knackered but happy!!