Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Richtersveld - Day 4

I ran out of steam writing day three that I couldn't continue with day four - you would have all been exhausted!

As you can see we covered quite a distance and stopped off because we just had to! You HAVE to take a photograph when in Pofadder and you absolutely have to stop off in Pella. I cannot begin to explain the peace and solitude of the mission, and across the way is a little "guesthouse" - if you want to call it that - three beehive grass huts, of which one is the honeymoon suite - if you are in search for something completely different! Here they make the best "Moerkoffie" ever!

So you see, one cannot just drive past these places without stopping to take a peek. We have such a vast country, with so much treasure to discover. How people survive in these remote areas is a miracle in itself, but they do and it is simply amazing to see what is out there.
Now, I haven't mentioned that the opportunity arose for us to do this trip with the 4x4 Offroad Adventure Club we belong to. I had no idea what to get my hubby for his 60th and thought a membership to a 4x4 club would be good as he'd got his dream machine in 2006 and we weren't doing anything with it.

So, before I carry on, we had travelled from Johannesburg to Springbok with Ryan, Bronwyn and Ethan, members we had met over 2007 and who are very special people to know and also keen travellers.

Day four: Right, now for the B I G adventure. Gas Bottles still full? Check! Dug? Check (fold up spade)! Any last minute requirements? No, think we have it all, check! Right, all ready, let's roll!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Richtersveld - Day 3

Day three: Upon waking , the sunrise greeting the day was beautiful and not a sound was to be heard as the day was dawning.

After a good cup of coffee (or tea for yours truly), we took a short walk around, had a quick bite for breakfast and embarked on an hours walk on the wooden pathway down to the falls and surrounds.
What a sight to behold!
And the sound of the water is unbelievable. The Hottentots were right when the named it !oukurubes (the noise making place)!
The Orange river roars headlong into the gigantic gorge, with a rising cloud of spray which can be heard and seen from a considerable distance away during flood season!

The river rages and rushes through the granite gorge for about 18km and drops over 300m in a series of rapids and small falls. The gorge is said to be approximately 240m deep. Augrabies is regarded as one of the six great waterfalls in the world and has been described as being essentially masculine. Ruthless and brutal in a harsh and fearsomely arid landscape.

During peak flood about 400 million litres of water rush over Augrabies every minute! Just imagine!

It most certainly is worth the trip and I would really like to be there during the high rain season to experience the magnificence of it all. It must be truly awesome!

The finest examples in the world of weathering on granite by water are to be found in this breathtaking, dry, unyielding but touching environment.

What a beautiful place to be.....

And so, after being blown away by what we had just seen, our journey continued from Kakamas to the next little town of Pofadder!

Named after the Hottentot chieftan, Pofadder was once the centre for karakul and other sheep. In 1959 however, all the livestock was transported by the army to better grazing until such time that rains came to revive the astoundingly resilient vegetation. But, there are no gardens at the homesteads, instead people have been quite creative and have used old galvanised iron baths, basins and such like to plant their "gardens" and some places had the most brilliant shows of colour, which were so striking in the vast bleakness of the parched, bleached earth they live in.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Richtersveld and Karoo - 11 Day Trip - 18 to 28 March 2008

Because this was a long trip, eleven days in total, I will deliver two days at a time over the next couple of days.

In March 2008 we had a wonderful opportunity to travel to the Richtersveld.

Day one: With vehicle loaded, complete with rooftop tent, ablution gear etc., we made our way to Kuruman and camped at De Oog (The Eye), the source of the Kuruman River. A fine ornamental pool, covered by waterlilies and surrounded by tall shady trees is a welcoming sight after a long, hot travel from Johannesburg, approximately three hours away.

Day two: we passed through Upington, notorious for its history of river pirates, bandits, rustlers, renegades and desperadoes who used the densely wooded islands as strongholds in days gone by. This is also where the second longest railway bridge in Southern Africa was built over the Orange River to carry the railway from De Aar on its way to Namibia - when the area was abundantly rich with fruit, cotton and grain.

We drove through Kanoneiland, the largest island in the Orange River. The name originates from the period of the war against the river pirates. In 1879 the island was bombarded with a small cannon for several days, and so the name was born. The river was finally cleared of these unruly elements after attacks by the Cape Mounted Rifles. The area was extremely fertile and became a prosperous community where crops were planted and harvests were rich.