Richterveld to Augravies

Trip Start Apr 24, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of South Africa  , Northern Cape,
Thursday, May 31, 2012

Richtersveld to Augravis

The sun literally escorted us out of the Richtersveld. Hot on our heels giving us one last glimpse of the spectacular colours it is so famous for. We are heading for Tierhoek  (in the Richtersveld conservancy) with only a short while before sunset.  Elated with the fantastic wide smooth road, we felt like we had just escaped from jail and had the open road ahead of us.

At the turnoff to Tierhoek  it looked like just too much of a remote site to handle right now.  We had just been able to chat with the kids because for the first time in 4 days we had signal. So we just wanted to hold on to that line of communication for a while. We also need to fill with diesel and water by now.

We went on (on the fantastic road) to Eksteensfontein.  A town with a Guest House and a campsite, and hopefully reception.  Not far down the line the road once again turned into 4x4 terrain. AG NEEEE!!! Regtig hoor!  Not now.  It was dark by then. At first we could only see two lights in the town of Eksteensfontein.  Later a couple more.  No signal, dark, no campsite or guest house. What now?  We needed to make a call.  A local explained that the road to Vioolsdrif – the closes place to get diesel, was tricky even during the day.  They strongly suggested we should not try that at night and with a trailer in tow.  So Rooiberg it will have to be.  The GPS noted "not recommended" but we had no other choice. Arriving in Rooiberg it was pitch dark! I mean it.  It was cold and the wind was blowing so the chill factor did not help the setting up process.  We did not feel at ease here.  Decided to leave the Lynxi hitched and just put out the necessary to sleep over. A resident domestic cat contributed to the eerie feel of the place.  This was to be a night from hell.  The wind did not stop the whole night and because we did not pitch properly on top of that, the wind had a field day with the tent ALL NIGHT! Carlos slept like a baby! I wanted to switch on the light and be at home in my own bed!

Next morning, as soon as I sensed that it was light enough I made hast to get the hell out of there! It was so cold that our fingers ached and burned so much so that we had to take breaks in zipping up the cover of the tent.

Carlos had a look at the GPS again before going to bed and our plans changed as Vioolsdrift also did not have diesel. We had to back track to Steinskopf.  We were dirty scary looking creatures in the town of Steinskopf. Totally out of place.  Very happy to be there though.  115 L of Diesel and 90 L of water later, we were good to go.  The local supermarket was surprisingly well stocked too.

Yipee, we could breath free on the open TAR road to Vioolsdrif.  The 5 mile pass takes you right to “town”.  It is merely a border post.  Very nice pass.  Speaking to my dad he said that the oranges at Vioolsdrif are memorable.  It looks green but is super sweet.  We unfortunately did not find any.

Back 50km or so we once again took the Namaqua 4x4 option to follow the river.  We came across many desolate dwellings and farms along the way.  Goodhouse was next along the river.  “once apon a time” this must have been a fantastic farm. Big old house and like in so many other instances along the river, farms with all its equipment just lying in ruin. I took some photos of the cemetery just to see who lived and died here and when.  Interesting – have a look.

Groot Melkboom would be our next sleep over. We were making good time as the road was not bad at all.  At times the corrugation was a bit hectic but otherwise fine. I was driving today as I was going cooked just sitting. Much better. The Groot Melkboom is a great spot to camp.  Again one feels like the only people on the planet. We pitched the tent as if to expect gale force winds. Just for in case.  Carlos was not having me poke him in the ribs for every noise again. LOL. We had the most wonderful night under the big tree.  It was also our 25 Wedding Aniversary the next morning so a good night's sleep was just what we needed to feel on top of the world .

We started seeing “versamelneste” everywhere.  Like my dad says, when you see these you know you are in the Kalahari. The dirt road changed from white to red and to our surprise the road was wide and recently scraped.  The reason being – Witbank. A town with a lot of new infrastructure and seemingly important,  because lots of money was being spent here.

Just outside Witbank I saw a “toy” for Layla.  A white sun bleached vertebra that looked like a little airplane.   I wanted to keep it for her but Carlos just laughed and said that Carla would put it in Milton for 3 months and still not let Layla play with it.  So we took a photo of it instead. Layla is our darling little granddaughter of almost one.  We get constant updates of her progress and antics via BBM.  It makes all the difference to get images while being away from her. I would like to tell you more about her but it will take 4 pages just to describe her smile not to mention those black eyes that talk without words.  So, another time.

Along the way to Pella we saw the most Kokkerbome (Quiver trees) to date.  They stood like hair on a dog back.  Almost as if they had been planted there.  If there was a Quiver Tree forest anywhere – this was it.  The road to klein Pella was lined with effluent looking farms.  So good to see. Pella camp however does not exist. So we turned back to make our way to Augravis via Pofadder.

The region around Augravis is mainly grape farming. The town of Augravis is small but well organized.  Lots of accommodation available here.  We entered into the camp and decided to stay for 2 nights as we needed to do the blog and washing, and see the falls and surrounds, “natuurlik”. Carlos also wanted to take the pressure switch as the water pump worked randomly.

The camp is great.  The monkeys and baboons are just a bit of a bother. Don’t leave anything unattended.

The falls are something to behold.  I now understand why the photos that I have seen of the falls did not impress me too much.  Again, it is on such a scale that one simply cannot capture it on camera.   You have to see it for yourself.   And even though the flow was not strong while we were there, the roar that it makes gives you an idea of the strength. The photos on display of the flood periods is simply scary.  We took a ride to a few of the viewpoints.  Zebra, Giraffes and squirrels entertained us along the way.

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Roger on

Boy, are you guys doing things most of us only dream about!

And it was just the other day that you were visiting us in Port Alfred...

Augrabies must be something to see, even when it isn't in full spate. Spectacular probably doesn't begin to cover it.

Well done on the 25 year thing! An anniversary is such a special thing and you've had 25 of the. Well done!

Keep the updates coming. We're loving them.

BTW, effluent farms are farms that process human waste... Affluent farms are where the rich farmers come from! But we know what you mean!

Carla on

hehehehe, need to brush up on your vocab mamma;)

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