Springbox to Alexander Bay

Trip Start Apr 24, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of South Africa  , Northern Cape,
Thursday, May 24, 2012

Springbok to Alexander Bay

We arrived in Springbok at around 2pm. A beautiful big town with "all the Bells and Whistles".  This, according to our new scale of values.  Malls and Woolworth's long forgotten. But truly, it has all one needs, even an airport and a GREEN golf course.  Why I say “green golf course” is because it is literally about the only green grassed area around.  We decided to look for the camp site first before going to town for supplies.  We took an early turn and ended up out of town at the “Kokkerboom Karavaanpark”.  Situated right next to the highway back to Cape Town N7. Although in good nick, but the only Kokkerbome in sight were the two at the gate!  We have learned soon enough not to trust the name of an establishment. See photos to understand. We were not staying here.

Next we went to the Goegab National Park camp site. (Right next to the airstrip).  It looked lovely but the lady at the gate explained that the gate closed at 4pm only to open again the next morning.  The fact that there was no electricity was no problem but the fact that there was no service in terms of internet or cell, was.  So we opted for the Springbok Caravan Park just outside of town.  Nestled between rocky mountains. This seemed to be THE spot as a number of campers were already setup for the night.  They have grass at every stand, a laundry, HOT showers and clean ablutions and reception for us to update the blog and speak to the kids.

Carlos spoke to a gentleman in the camp before setting up and he warned us to prepare for wind.  Apparently it did not stop blowing here. So much for the hope of a good night’s rest ahead.  While setting up camp we battled the wind and made sure that we had extra anchor everywhere.  After last night we were not going to have the wind ruin our sleep.  No sooner did we set up camp and had that wonderful hot bath and shower we dreamt of, the wind died down, not to come back again.  Wonderful stuff!!! We made a grand fire and did not even go into town. 

We paid for 2 nights as we needed to do supply shopping, fix the geyser and do laundry the next day.  Next morning first thing after coffee was the laundry.  To my delight I discovered that there were 3 washing machines.  All the washing could go in at the same time.  While the washing was on the go it was time to wash the dishes, fridges and the kitchen in the trailer.  Clean out the car and rearrange everything after being in the bundu and just chucking everything in.  Wonderful, amazing feeling to be organized and clean again.

Carlos helped me hang the washing and short before long it was all dry. We popped into town and shopped to our hearts content.  First, the local “tuisbedryf” for rusks.  Next, Shoprite Checkers and then Builders warehouse.  Done and Dusted!  Back to camp to stock the fridges and try make everything fit in.

The other campers left that morning and so the camp was empty except for an elderly couple that arrived that afternoon. Carlos was still busy on the computer and I was just about to pack up when,  to our great surprise (or shock) a local woman appeared in our tent. This, after dark. We did not see or hear her coming.   At first one hardly knows how to react.  Pepper spray? Or hello? Anyway, turns out “Rosetjie” was a little tipsy and just came to say “hi”.  She was friendly with the men that stayed in a caravan in the camp (contractors that we never laid eyes on).   She spoke to us for about half an hour.  We got to know her life story and all her bosses.  “Rosetjie” this and “Rosetjie” that.  She had a 2 year old son. A no good father to the son.  But she explained that he was a real dish and that is why she fell for him.  In her words “ OOOooh ma hys mooi! Hy lyk dan soos a slams! “ Ek se jou! Nes n indian”.  Hy wek ni want hy het n slegte voet, n impediment. Ma ooh hys mooi” When I asked if there was anything wrong with his hands she said no but he can’t work.  He gets aid from the government. She is a very good domestic but her people moved so now she is out of work.  She also told us about the people that are stuck in the mine at Kleinsee.  Apparently the mine closed the area off.  Some people, desperate and hard up for money, went into the closed mine to find diamonds.  The mine collapsed onto them and that is the incident we heard of on the radio. “ons bid almal en steek kerse op elke aand” she said.  In her opinion the mine would now consider making a plan to employ more people as they were desperate.  After what seemed a very long time, I excused myself by saying I need to go to the bathroom and get to bed.  She said that her mother taught her to be friendly and she just wanted to come see who was in the light behind the tent.  Odd experience!

We went to bed soon afterwards.   “Rosetjie’s” made a huge racket at 4 am to go to work.  We stayed in bed till 5 and then Carlos could not do it anymore.  Keeping in mind that the son only comes up at 8am we had 2 hours to kill.  We got things ready.  Had the longest shower and bath ever and then folded then tent and got out of there by 7h30.  Record timing.

In good spirits we hit the road.  Just outside of Springbok we saw the sign to Nababeep.  I just love that name and always wanted to go see what this town was all about.  We made a U-turn and were not disappointed.  The town has a good slogan.  See photo.  I took a couple of photos of the “gardens”. Nothing but clean swept sand, but neat and proud.  This is a mining town.  What they mine we still not sure of.  Will have to check on google some time. We took a back road thanks to Dolla (GPS).  Not a bad idea.  Lovely stretch of road with some interesting ruins.  We joined the main road to Port Nolloth at possibly the most dilapidated gate ever.

From here on it was “smooth sailing”.  Wide open TAR road.  It even rained a couple of times on the way to Port Nolloth.  Marias, my brother called to say that he was very curious as to what we would think of Port Nolloth.  Hannes and Marais bought a stand in Port Nolloth a while back.  We lost signal and decided to wait till we were in Port Nolloth before calling him back. 

Arriving to Port Nolloth I held back before making up my mind. There was nothing but white sand at first glance.  When we got to the camp site we were pleasantly surprised. A very organized camp with neat surrounds in a residential area called McDouglaBay.  The caravan park is huge with a large number of chalets. Right on the beach with an amazing fresh sea smell.  The sea was as smooth as glass. It is protected by a reef.  This makes it a fantastic holiday spot for families and older people.  One could quite easy swim all day long without being tossed around by waves. Apparently the water gets to 24 degrees in summer unlike at the moment.  (See pick of Helsinki – very clever) Not getting hold of Marais again we left McDouglaBay area back to Port Nolloth town.   The harbor is small but interesting. Town has a number of restaurants and the “other” necessary.   I was hungry as usual and suggested we eat something before heading to Alaxander bay.  The owner forewarned us that there was NOTHING in Alrexander Bay.

He was SO RIGHT!! Nothing to speak of in Alex. (To top it off it was the most hazy dull day) Alexanderbay has a boom gate controlling access to town. Why one can only speculate, because there is Nothing.  R40 bucks to get into Alexanderbay. This gets you the key for the lock to the gate to the river mouth and a tour through. Pointing out that we should visit the mall in town.  For a start we missed the turn to the river mouth and then there was no mall or any shops to mention in town.  Definitely a town of a “bye gone” era. With nothing to lose we headed to the mouth.

At least this was unexpected.  We left Lynxi at the gate due to very soft deep sand. One can drive along the beach all the way to the mouth.  On the other side is Namibia.  We quickly let Tomas know that dad beat him to this one.  “Most Westerly South African”.  Tom said he will get the next one.  A couple of Flamingos let us get rather close to take some photos and I loved the old dilapidated buildings much to Carlos frustration. That was really all there was to Alexander Bay.  We filled our water tanks after returning the key to the gate. One even gets a R10 deposit back.  Next is the Richtersveld.  Sendelingspost.
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