Namaqua National Park – Part 1

Or:  how PG got his groove

By PG Jonker

[Extracts hereof published in Leisure Wheels, July 2011]

“Kamieskroon?  Ja, sure, I know Kamieskroon.”

Well, I don’t really know Kamieskroon.  It’s more like the way you know the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause.  You sort of know them, you just never met them.

Anyway, to cut things short, we were invited to join a crowd already existing of 5 vehicles to an outing to the Namaqua National Park and the Spoeg river caves.  The rendezvous point would be Kamieskroon.

Caracal route


[Source: Map data ©2014 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google]


Now, before our date of departure I had to attend to a few things on my bakkie.  More in particular, for quite a while the bakkie had been teasing me with a “hoi!” when commanded to start the engine.  Invariably on a second attempt, the engine would start.  However, this is clearly not the way the engine was designed to operate, and I thought it would be rather unsportsmanlike to proceed on the trip with what appears to be a pending hassle.  I might bog down the whole group in a difficult situation in sand.

The auto electrician where I took it to replace the battery advised that it was not the battery, but the alternator.  They did not have time to rebuild it before the weekend, so I settled for a replacement alternator.

However, shortly after taking delivery of my fixed vehicle I was merrily greeted again with a “hoi!” from the engine compartment.  I called the auto-lec, but he assured me that I must just give the new alternator a chance to properly charge the battery.

On the road again

So on the Friday afternoon of a long weekend in March we left Durbanville in 36 degrees Centigrade.  Upon later reflection this accounted for a cooler part of the weekend.

Just before Citrusdal we had to stop at road works.  Upon restarting the bakkie, it said “hoi!”

I thought: “$%^&!”, but said nothing – just smiled at my wife.  She later advised that she would prefer that I do not smile at her like that.

Shortly after that, just about 100m before the turn-off into Citrusdal, I noticed the battery light coming on.  I then realised what that faintly familiar sounding clonking sounds were that I heard from underneath the bonnet shortly before that.  As a best case scenario my fan belt broke.  Worst case scenario, the new alternator departed.

I turned into Citrusdal.  It was 17h15 on the Friday afternoon that marked the beginning of a long weekend.   

Engine problems

The first building to be found in Citrusdal turned out to be the Toyota garage.  With the bakkie’s temperature needle reaching for the upper quarter of the gauge I coasted to a halt in front of the (open!) doors of the part of the building that read:  “Service Centre”.

I opened the bonnet and saw the remaining strings of my fan belt stuck around the new alternator.

A very friendly JP Visagie came out to see what the problem was.  JP is a big chap.  I would assume he will make a good lock forward for the local rugby team if they can work up his aggression levels a bit. Having successfully identified the engine and alternator to him, he had me pull the bakkie into the workshop, and set to work.   It turned out that my new alternator is of a different type than the previous one, which necessitated a different length of fan belt.  The new fan belt might have been either too thin or too loose, and got chewed up by the alternator.  Also, the second belt had a 180 degrees twist in it.

JP had to experiment with pretty much half of the fan belts they had in stock to get one that could serve as the now non-standard fan belt.  I bought an additional one of those (for the past 10 years I’ve had spares of all three belts in my bakkie, never having any use for them).

A half an hour later the bakkie was up and running again.  Pieter & Hanneke Loots have since learnt of our problems and called to say they are waiting for us at Klawer until we got there.  I suggested they rather not do so, but Pieter assured me that he had nothing better to do than to sit in the Wimpy at the garage and sip some coffee – which, incidentally, is served virtually by the gallon by that specific outlet.   We arrived there some time after dark, and travelled in convoy further.

It was the night before the super full moon of 19 March 2011, and we had a very full moon shining.

We were the last two vehicles of the crowd to arrive at the Gousblom B & B at Kamieskroon at 21h30.

It was a happy crowd.  We were introduced to each other, had a braai, and eventually settled down to sleep in air conditioned(!) rooms.  The nineteen people easily fitted into the guest house, with even some rooms unoccupied.


We awoke and started doing breakfast / packing at a very sedate pace on Saturday morning.  No-one was in a hurry.  This is actually nice.  It puts a bit of pressure on those without trailers and tray systems and the like to keep up with a fast moving crowd.

After a last stop at the Kamieskroon petrol station we left Kamieskroon at 09h00.

We took the gravel road that leads past the Kamieskroon Hotel into the Namakwa National Park.

The line-up

The full complement of the tour group consisted of 6 vehicles and 19 people.  The vehicle line-up was:

  • Land Rover Defender Td5 with trailer.  Martin Behm, tour leader, at the helm, with his son Daniel.
  • Current generation Hilux double cab.  Koos & Surita Janse van Rensburg and their sons Janco and Wikus.
  • Previous generation Hilux double cab.  Johan & Celia van der Merwe (oupa & ouma).
  • Mazda 3.4 double cab.  PG & Marga Jonker with Anita and Chris-Jan.
  • Toyota Fortuner with trailer.  Pieter & Hanneke Loots, with their sons André and Hanro.
  • A 2×4 Colt cab-and-a-half.  Thomas & Marinka Swanepoel with their daughter Tayla. 



2 Responses to “Namaqua National Park – Part 1”

  • Jis PG.

    Sjoe maar jul het besig geraak met die skryf vandat ek laas op die blog was. Sien jy het bietjie daar deur my wereld getoer.

    Het lekker gelees aan jou Namakwa toer.

  • Ons het net so lekker gery daaraan!