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Namaqualand National Park – Easter 2012: Part 1

Wednesday, 18 April, 2012

By PG Jonker 

PART 1

“Koringkorrelbaai?  You mean there’s really a place like that?”

“Ja, man.  That’s where the Germans dropped Robey Leibbrandt off with the submarine.”

“Genuine?  Wow!  Who’s Robey Leibbrandt again?”

Sigh.  “Aag, never mind, just get your camping gear ready for Easter weekend, ok?  And by the way, Leibbrandt was actually dropped off by a yacht, not a submarine.”

“O, OK.”

Wednesday, 4 April

Packing

To miss the worst of the Easter weekend traffic out of Cape Town we decided to take the Thursday off as well.  So on Wednesday afternoon the packing started.  Packing is technically not part of touring, but believe you me, it is a journey in itself.  It warrants some comments.

Our destination is the Southern part of the Namaqua National Park, between the Spoegrivier and the Groenrivier.

[Source:   Map data ©2012 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google]

Sleeping over for three nights without facilities such as running water and electricity requires a bit of planning.  Cooling facilities in particular.  I have a camping fridge.  It was a present from my brother.  Well, sort of.  Returning from a trip in the Richtersveld my brother could not find a Municipal bin big enough to dump the fridge in, so it ended up in my garage.  It works well on 220V, but the 12V jack and gas inlet turned out to be only of ornamental value. We did a similar tour last year on which I took this fridge along.  Suffice to say that practical considerations, and a happy marriage, require an alternative plan.

Due to the friendliness of friends, and friends of friends, I ended up with two camping fridges to choose from in my garage.  The one was slightly smaller than my domestic chest freezer, so I opted for the smaller Engel instead.  I also rented a back-up battery from Jacques Basson of Overland Camp Rental in Brackenfell.

But ai, that sinking feeling when you have everything neatly packed, and then your wife tells you there’s “only the last few things” remaining, and these “last few things” then require a total redesign of your packing plan.  Bear in mind that, apart from the fridge and the battery pack (in a crate), two 25 litre water cans and four packs of wood had to go along.  With no trailer or roof rack.

Eventually, rather late in the evening, I managed to close the rear of the bakkie.  Not without difficulty, though.  But it’s a bit like winning a rugby match with one point.  It’s done!

Thursday, 5 April

On the road again

We leave Durbanville just before 07h00.

We soon leave the city behind.  It’s always such a nice feeling leaving the city and to drive on the open road for a change.  Little traffic and so on.  Mos.

At Vanrhynsdorp we fill up with petrol – just in case Garies has a power failure.  I really need to take on fuel at the last possible opportunity.  (Ai, I again missed the opportunity to take a picture of the Gifberg, just to the South-East of Vanrhynsdorp.  It’s a rather imposing sight.)  Garies’ electricity is up and running, and so is the fuel station, so we fill up there again.

From Garies we take the gravel road to Hondeklipbbaai.  Some 70km’s later we turn left into the Namaqua National Park.

Our group leader, Martin, is camping at Bouldersaai from Monday already, some 22 km south of the entrance gate.  I assume this gate is not as busy as, say, Piccadilly Circus.  Gerrit assists us with the paperwork and signs us in.  He also advises that Martin and his son left the camp an hour ago, heading for Hondeklipbaai, but without his trailer.  His trailer will be pitched at Boulderbaai.  We have the whole site booked for our group, so we can make camp anywhere we like.  Now how cool is that, ek sê.

The road to Boulderbaai …