Archive for the Namaqualand Category
As some of you know I am a professional photographer working out of Cape Town, South Africa and hope that the photographs in my posts have been fairly interesting. The professional work has been connected to theatre and dance so this type of photography was pretty new to me. After having a look through all the photos from the trip I decided to do this post of a few that I think stand out from the rest.
Interesting to note that only 2 of the photos were taken with a high-end camera – actually a not so high-end Canon 20D with an 80-200 2.8f lens – and all the rest with a point and shoot type Canon G7 camera. I was truly amazed at the quality of the G7 and it was only for the photos of birds that I switched to the 20D.
- Sunrise at Brandkaros near Alexander Bay.
This is one of my favourites and I am using it as the desk top of my computer.
- Beach at Alexander Bay.
The feeling of desolation in this photo sums up the story of Alexander Bay itself.
- Hazy sunset at McDougalls Bay.
- Golden Sunset at McDougalls Bay.
Every sunset at McDougalls Bay seemed to produce different tonal qualities.
- Shipwreck at Port Nolloth.
This happened fairly recently and they were hoping to re-float her.
- Shipwreck just south of Kleinzee.
Not much chance of re-floating this wreck!
- Spot me if you can.
Photo of very well camouflaged chameleon taken near Kleinzee.
- Dragline taken at Kleinzee.
Namaqualand flowers just outside Nababeep.
Flowers near Springbok.
According to most of the locals I spoke to 2009 has not been a great year for flowers.
Seal on the edge at Hondeklipbaai.
About 10 seconds after I took this shot the seal took a headlong dive into that churning white water.
Still standing! (Dooringbaai)
Talk about the power of the sea – the noise when that wave hit that wall was like thunder.
Bird Island at Lamberts Bay.
The noise, and to be honest the smell, when you went down wind of these thousands of Gannets was quite something.
Bird on the wing.
Touch down at Verlorenvlei
Both bird shots above were taken at Vensterklip using a Canon 20D camera.
Well I hope you have enjoyed looking at the photographs as much as I did taking them. Hopefully there will be plenty more, at new locations, in the coming months.
Overall I enjoyed my 2 month journey from the Richtersveld through Namaqualand and down the West Coast and although there were some lows there were many more highs. The highs include places, sights and people that I met along the way. Overall it was the people that I met and chatted to that really made the trip worth while for me.
- Koos and Lieta Prince
Met up with Koos and Lieta at Brandkaros and I am sure that it was the 2 days that we shared that spurred me on to continue my journey in spite of all the set backs I had suffered. They have been caravanning around SA for years and taught me a lot. Wonderful couple.
- Pieter van Wyk.
Meeting up with and spending a morning with this young man was definitely one of the highlights of my journey. I am not going to try and recap all about this remarkable 21 year old so if you want to read more about him go to this link. I hope that one day, soon, he will have his book published, be awarded a bursary and given the opportunity to further his education at University.
- Annemarie and Saome Reck.
I spent a wonderful morning with this mother and daughter team who manage a B&B right on the banks of the Orange River. Talk about making the most of very little.
- Alta Kotze.
I enjoyed Port Nolloth and also received one of my biggest surprises in a long time when the lady above broke into song so that I could hear her voice and one of her own compositions. Truly amazing. I hope she gets the opportunity to further her ambitions and become a full time singer/composer.
- George Moyses.
Although I was not too happy with the caravan park at McDougalls Bay I did love the setting and also got to meet a real character who lives there in diamond diver George.
- Dragline at Kleinzee.
- Ship wreck just south of Kleinzee.
The 2 photographs above represent one of the the most pleasant days of my journey and I have to thank Gert Klopper of De Beers for showing me round Kleinzee and Dudley Wessels for taking me on the 4×4 trail along the coast. I thought Kleinzee was great and was amazed at what is being done there to make sure that the town does not go the way of places such as Alexander Bay. I see a big future for Kleinzee and if I had some spare cash I would buy property in the area as an investment or as a retirement option.
I enjoyed Springbok, the Springbok Caravan Park and exploring places like Nababeep and Okiep as I had travelled there 40 years ago and it was interesting to see how much things had changed – for the good and the bad.
- Fields of flowers at Skilpad.
Kamieskroon, because of the good caravan park was great and I also enjoyed my visit to Skilpad in the Namaqua Park where I spent a day looking at the beautiful Spring flowers.
Loved Hondeklip Baai and the people. If you love the sea I think it would be a great place to have a holiday house or even to retire.
My set-up at Strandfontein
Although I found Strandfontein a bit of a strange place I did enjoy my caravan site with its private ablution block.
Doringbaai and the power of the sea.
The last part of my journey included Lamberts Bay and Elands Bay. Lamberts Bay was interesting and I enjoyed exploring and meeting some of the locals. To be honest the best thing about Elands Bay was that it was only 5 km’s from my final caravan park call Vensterklip.
Set-up at Vensterklip with Verlorenvlei in the background.
Vensterklip was great as, again, I had a private ablution block and it was really quiet and peaceful. It also provided me with an opportunity to try my hand at photographing birds.
On the wing?
If you read my previous post you will see that the highs far out way the lows of my journey. As to the question will I carry on with my voyage of discovery the answer is YES. There are still so many more interesting places to see and people to meet that, God willing, I would like to carry on until I have covered the whole of the South African coast line.
I have been back in Cape Town for a week and had some time to think about my trip through the Richtersveld, Namaqualand and the West Coast. There are still so many more places that I want to visit on my voyage of discovery as my original aim was to travel the whole of the SA coast over a 3 year period. So after 2 months of my journey is this still what I want to do?
I am going to start with the lows as most of these occurred at the beginning of my trip and, apart from one or two problems later on, the majority of my journey was great.
The biggest low for me was the problem of my new deep freeze which just did not do the job. I had bought a lot of frozen food before I left Cape Town as I was not sure what would be available, and at what cost, in some of the small towns I was going to. Having to throw away over R500.00 worth of food was a real downer. This happened at Brandkaros which is 27 km’s from Alexander Bay. The drive to Brandkaros was also a low as the road was terrible for towing a standard caravan and caused some pretty heavy damage.
My site at Brandkaros
One of the worst problems I had at Brandkaros was the troop of about 30 monkeys that came into the park everyday and caused chaos by over turning the rubbish bins and jumping on the caravan and tent. The first time it happened I just wanted to pack up and leave.
Not one of my favourite animals.
I did find out, after a day or two, that they did not like the crackling sound of the shock-stick that I had with me.
I found that some of the caravan parks were badly run down and poorly maintained with the worst part being the ablution blocks. Some of them are appalling and here I think of Brandkaros, McDougalls Bay, Lamberts Bay and Elands Bay. If only the managers or owners of these parks knew how much caravanner’s talk amongst themselves about the parks and basically judge them on the ablution facilities. A prime example of this was Kamieskroon that everyone raved about, which had very average sites but fantastic ablutions.
Brandkaros ablutions. Really bad but I was told, just before I left, that they were budgeting quite a bit of money to upgrade them.
McDougalls Bay Holiday Resort?
McDougalls Bay ablution block.
What a place of contrasts. The site was the most run-down and yet was the most expensive on the first night that I stayed there as it was “in season” and cost me R123.00. You can not leave anything outside as people just walk up off the beach and steal. They also have a big problem with beggars. Even when I went back there after Brandkaros they wanted to over charge me. McDougalls Bay itself is stunning and it is such a pity that they do not do more with the caravan park.
Lamberts Bay Caravan Park.
Elands Bay Caravan Park.
I stayed at Lamberts Bay but not at Elands Bay and have put them together as they both fall under the same name and telephone number for information and management. Lamberts Bay is bad but from what I saw Elands Bay is shocking. Sadly both have been badly neglected. I say sadly because with good management and an injection of funds by the municipality both have the potential to attract a lot of people into the area all year round.
Lamberts Bay Harbour
I enjoyed the town of Lamberts Bay but found the street sellers and beggars to be very aggressive and make life very unpleasant.
Something that I can not understand is the inconsistency of pricing at the parks. I paid from a low of R45.00 per night at Kamieskroon to R123.00 per night at McDougalls Bay. As I said Kamieskroon was great McDougalls Bay not!! One thing I did pick up on was that where there was competition the better and less expensive the sites were.
Overall not too many lows and I know that when I post the highs they will be strongly in the majority.
While in Springbok I heard a lot of talk about the wonderful Verbé caravan park in Kamieskroon and was told I must stay there. There are 2 caravan parks in Kamieskroon but was told by everyone I must go to the Verbé as it was great. By the way the other park is called the Kamieskroon Hotel and Caravan Park and when I had a quick scout round it looked fine to me.
- Entrance to Verbé Caravan Park.
When I arrived at the park I was actually disappointed as it did not look like anything special, in fact the stands and ground were pretty awful as they were uneven and not a blade of grass in site.
Some of the sites.
That building on the left is a Lapa but I did not see anyone using it.
I also found out when I tried to hammer some pegs into the ground that it was incredibly hard. It took me 3 times longer than normal to set up and my hands were really sore at the end of it.
- My set-up. I kid you not that ground is like rock.
It was only after I had taken a stroll, quite a long stroll actually, up to the ablution block that I understood why everyone had spoken so highly of Verbé. I have been on and on about the terrible, sometimes shocking, ablution blocks I have had to use and how caravan park owners/managers just have no idea how important good, clean ablutions are to caravanner’s.
- The ablution block.
- Inside the gents section. Spotless!
Just goes to show that even an average park will get really good revues if the ablutions are half way decent.
Dina the park manager.
Another reason why people like coming here is the very helpful and charming Dina the manager at the front office. What a nice lady! Nothing was too much trouble and she made sure that all ran smoothly.
Saw this old bell holder at the top of the park.
The park and surrounds from the old bell holder.
The building on the right, with the mast, is the police station. We had a black out for a few hours the one night and they run a massive, very noisy generator, for the duration.
Saw this beautiful flower at the entrance to the park. (Specially for Michael)
The town of Kamieskroon is situated 67km south of Springbok and is set in the granite rock formations of the Kamiesberg range. The towns origins lie in the 1860’s, 7km north of the towns present location and was called Bowesville (later Bowesdorp). But in 1924, because there was no room to expand, the church council decided to demolish the church and rebuild it at its present site in Kamieskroon.
The Kamieskroon Church
Commemorating the fallen in the Anglo Boer War of 1899 - 1902.
Kamieskroon is essentially a town that services the surrounding farming community. There are quite a few B&B’s that come into their own in the flower season and there are also some wonderful hiking trails. In fact you can hire a guide steeped in Namakwa knowledge who offers hikes along uncharted trails, but, Kamieskroon is synonymous with spring flowers and extends the season with brilliant shows of Bulbinella latifolia and many other species.
To be honest I wish I could have spent a few days in this quaint little fishing village. The people are so friendly and willing to chat that I got caught up, and ended up not having enough time to meet half the characters I wanted to.
On going into the village itself the first person I met was one of the local constabulary standing in a very pretty garden in front of his neat house. What a nice guy. He told me about which roads I should take and which to avoid when he heard that I wanted to visit Koingnaas on my my back to Kamieskroon.
A colourful flower bush in the policeman's garden. The bee loved it!
About a hundred meters from the policeman’s house I came to the little harbour which has been used for many different purposes over the years – shipping copper ore, as a base for the diamond diving boats and for the fishing and crayfishing boats.
The harbour area
The fish and chips shop right at the edge of the beach.
The four in picture placing their orders, all residents of Hondeklipbaai, were very friendly and invited me to sit down and have lunch with them. The guy on left of picture and his wife, 3rd from left, have had a plot in Hondeklipbaai for 10 years and over time built a house and moved in permanently just over 9 months ago. The guy 2nd from the left, Stanley Cierenberg, is an artist and also runs a small art gallery from his home.
The Cierenberg Gallery.
Inside the gallery.
Stanley sitting at his favourite spot for tea and breakfast.
One of the artists on display at the gallery is local photographer “Roberto”. Roberto and his wife Dawn also run a restaurant, and offer tented self-catering accommodation called Skulpieskrall.
Sheltered tented accommodation.
Skulpieskraal tented camp comprises six comfortable tents with two single beds and bedding in each. The tents are pitched on timber decks under A–frame structures which are covered with shade netting where one can relax and enjoy a late afternoon sundowner.
Die Rooi Spinnekop Restaurant run by Roberto & wife Dawn.
This sail boat is used as a serving table.
Unfortunately Roberto was not available to have a chat so my friendly guide, Stanley and I moved on as I was a bit worried about what I still wanted to see and do and it was getting late.
The Outside Gallery run by Villain.
A wreck in the harbour area.
While I was sitting at the Fish and Chips shop having a bite to eat I spotted this wreck on the other side of the bay. I have no idea what, how or when but thought it looked quite dramatic and I also wanted to a view shot of Hondeklipbaai from the same angle.
View of Hondeklipbaai across the bay.
It was getting quite late, and I still had a long way to drive, so I reluctantly left and started the rest of my journey for the day. I also wanted to make sure that I did not have to drive on the gravel roads in the dark.
Entrance to Koingnaas.
I should probably have stayed longer in Hondeklip than try and rush through to Koingnaas as there was just not enough time to get signed in at security and get to have a look round the town. So once again I was on my way and hoping to see flowers on my way to Soebatsfontein. I don’t know if it was to late in the day but I saw very little in the way of flowers. What I did get was the worst road I have travelled on so far in my journey and thought the old Pajero was going to get shaken to pieces.
Soebatsfontein rugby field.
I did find something interesting at Soebatsfontein and that was the Wallabies (Australian Rugby Team) having a secret scrummaging practice in preparation for the rest of the Tri Nations Rugby Competition.
All in all a good day but I do wish I could have spent a least 3 or 4 days exploring Hondeklipbaai and its interesting, friendly inhabitants. There is such a great attmosphere there and all seem to live in peace and harmony.