Thursday, 11 August 2011

Namaqualand National Park

It's Friday.  I am frantically busy trying to get all our camping stuff together.  Never thought about it really, as we are not regular campers.  But you need to pack about as much for a weekend camping trip as for a three week camping trip!  Think about it.  You still need to have your pots and pans, your cutlery, your sleeping bag and mattress, the tent.

We have no itinerary yet.  No destination.  Hennie just briefly mentioned that we should get away for the weekend, and why not drive in the direction of the Groenrivier mond.  As hard as I was working to get our camping equipment together, Hennie was pounding the keys of his computer in his office, surfing google to find accommodation that will NOT require of us to camp.  We are so not campers.

Saturday morning early (OK, not THAT early) we were on the road.  We got stuck about half an hour out of Koekenaap trying to identify a bird of prey sitting on the power lines.  We are also so not birders, but if 90% of your circle of friends can identify birds merely by their calls, never mind seeing them, you start to think you should be able to identify more than an ostrich and a dove.  So we have taken our bird books with us.  (We are DEFINITELY book people!- we have about ten bird books).

It would sound so poetic to say as we drove away from home we start leaving the hustle and bustle of the city behind, and could feel ourselves relaxing.  But that would be a lie.  We live in the most peaceful place on earth and are pretty much relaxed at home.

The road hugged the coast, and we had the most beautiful weather.  It was a scorcher of a day and we stopped at nearly every beach to take pictures of the waves breaking on the beach. We eventually reached the Groenrivier, which had some water in, but was not at this stage open to the sea.  We entered the National Park.  Something about this portion of the park not being officially promulgated allows for free entry and camping.  Getting further into the park the sand becomes thick and soft and we soon got stuck.  But that was soon remedied by deflating the tyres, and when that did not work, by releasing the hand brake!

Sunset at Koringkorrelbaai
We had a choice of potential camp sites, as there were almost no one else in the park.  As Hennie started to tell me that we should find a suitable campsite soon, because we have proper hardwood and would need time to prepare the fire for the braai, his voice started to trail off.  He had exactly two things to pack: the braai grid and the wood.  And he forgot the wood!  oops.

In the end we settled for Koringkorrelbaai, same place where Robey Leibbrandt stepped ashore in July 1941 in his quest to overthrow the South African government.  By the way, Robey also represented South African in the 1936 Berlin Olympics in the boxing discipline.  As we huddled around our gas stove boiling potatoes (could not fit the tjops in the pot!), we speculated about how cold the water must have been, as his dinghy had overturned and he did not intend to put ashore there.  Around eight o'clock we were ready for bed, but a very bright light was lighting up the sky to our east.  And then the moon rose.  As big and as yellow as a cheese, and the night became day...

Next morning we were off to Hondeklipbaai.  We visited the rock after which the place was named, and a long excuse were offered on how the rock was altered and why it does not resemble a dog anymore.  In my opinion it never represented a dog and the idiot who was drunk enough to see the dog had to develop this elaborate plan to prevent people realising he was actually drunk.  But that is just my opinion.  I think if you are a fishermen you have reason to visit Hondeklipbaai.  Otherwise I recommend you stay away.

Spoegrivier caves

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