Namaqua National Park – Part 2

[Continued from Part 1]

The Park

The Namaqua National Park Park is still in a development phase, and there is still active farming activities going on there.   This will apparently be phased out over time. 

Quiver trees abound.  Some Maartblomme were visible.  At the bookings office there were marked succulents like Taaibos and Kukemakranka (so there’s genuinely such a plant)!

After registering at the Skilpad office, Namaqua National Park (S30°09.489’; E017°46.29’), Martin led the way on the Caracal Eco Route.  Each vehicle received a booklet in which the routes are marked.  Without that I can imagine you can easily get lost in the Park!  Turning points on the route are marked with Caracal signs, some of which are numbered to enable you to plot yourself on the map in the booklet.

After visiting the first view point we descended down the Kamiesberg mountains on a cement road.  The road then became a typical tweespoor farm track on hard ground.  Old ruins are to be found where there used to be permanent settlements. 

At the Witboois river we turned off, rather than to head for Soebatsfontein.   Martin chose the detour that would eventually take us over the Wildeperdehoek pass.

By now we have seen quite a number of Gemsbok and Springbok, and also a solitary Hartebeest.  In spite of the office bearing the name Skilpad, I’ve only seen one dead turtle.  Which is probably a good reason to preserve them.  The area is apparently frequented by leopard, with camera traps set to get pictures of them.  

The road remained pretty much what you would expect on a farm road. 

Before the Wildeperdehoek pass there is one very steep incline where low range is convenient to get up there slowly.  It is not essential, though, as Thomas’ endeavours with his 2×4 Colt would attest to.  The Colt went up the incline with no apparent strain.

It appeared that my bakkie’s starting problem was more acute when the engine was hot.  By now, every time we stopped I would first get the now standard “hoi”, before the engine would fire up at the next attempt.  I became reluctant to switch off my engine.  However, by now the outside temperature had gone up to 49 degrees.  Letting the bakkie idle soon saw the temperature needle climbing.  From previous experience I knew that my viscous fan only kicks in once the red line is reached.  I’m not inclined to wait that long, though, and previously had a separate switched connected to the air conditioner’s fan so that I can activate this manually, while keeping the air conditioner off.  This worked well.      

Wildeperdehoek pass

We turned left for the Wildeperdehoek pass (S29°56.319’; E017°38.085’).  From the Parks’ office to the Wildeperdehoek pass it took some three-and-quarter hours travel.  The tweespoor becomes a proper road that takes you over the pass. 

The pass was built in similar fashion that the Bain’s passes.  It was constructed in the late 1800’s for transporting copper ore from Springbok to Hondeklip Bay.

From the pass you look down on a grass plain to the West which is apparently one of the few grassy areas in Namaqua.  In the distance below you can also see the two gravel roads that runs to Koingnaas and Soebatsfontein respectively.

Reaching the bottom of the pass we took the road to Koingnaas.  This is a gravel highway, as opposed to the twee spoor tracks that we had been doing up to that point.  At the next split in the road (S30°06.691’; E017°24.781’) we aimed south. 

Somehow, however, we took a wrong road (I kid you not). 

Car trouble (again)

Fiddling with my GPS I went through a pothole that caused my number plate to come loose.  As the convoy had to turn around to get to the correct road, however, Martin saw it before I lost my number plate completely.  The convoy was in any event brought to a grinding halt with a stick puncturing the sidewall on Koos’ Hilux. 

Once again, it was a merry crowd.  Out came the tray systems and cooler boxes, with refreshments readily at hand whilst advising Koos on plugging the puncture.  It is unlikely that Koos will ever again have so many advisers on the issue of plugging a puncture.  Koos did the job with aplomb, and soon we were underway again. 

I was parked slightly out of the way, and could quietly seek the assistance of a more practical member of the convoy to assist me with what was supposed to be the fairly simple task of getting my number plate affixed to my bumper again.  

With everyone fixed up again we found ourselves south bound, again on a twee spoor track. 

Sanpark’s booklet describes the area as having rare arid fynbos elements, with pin cushions to be found on the dunes. 

[ Part 3 to follow]


2 Responses to “Namaqua National Park – Part 2”

  • Hi
    I would like to locate an area or road map with as much detail as possible for the Namaqua National Park
    It will be wonderful if you can direct me to a source.

    Thank you


  • Hi Ken
    The map on this blog posting is a copy from the booklet that we received when booking in. That is basically all we had at that time to work on, save for one member of the touring group that had Tracks 4 Africa. That is probably where you will find the most detailed information.

    You can have a look at the Sanparks website. See for instance the following links:
    On the blogposting of mine you will also find map(lets) that we received, this time as we entered at the Northern gate of the Southern part of the Park.

    On the you may well find guys who might be able to assist you. You will have to register to be able to post a question, but try that. They have a link specifically for trails at which would be the appropriate spot to post your query.
    Hope you get the information you require.