Archive for the Richtersveld Category

Port Nolloth Biodiversity Centre

On my first day of walking round Port Nolloth I found the Information Centre which is also part of the Biodiversity Centre in that one woman runs both from the same building. Her name is Alta Kotze and her official title(s) are Tourism Information Officer/Manager Biodiversity Centre. I also found out that she is a singer, composer and song writer trying to make a break into the world of music.

Port Nolloth Biodivrsity Centre

Port Nolloth Biodiversity Centre

I had been in a bit of a rush so made an appointment to have a look round the centre at a later date to take a few photographs of some of the exhibits. I nearly fell over backwards when I arrived back there yesterday and was told that she wanted to sing one of her songs for me using a backing track on her computer.

Alta Kotze the singer.

Alta Kotze the singer.

I think it took an awful lot of guts to do what she did (no ways could I have done that) and to be honest I was really impressed with both her voice and her own composition. I hope that somewhere along the line she gets a break and has a chance to make it doing something she is passionate about.

Alta the Tourism Information Officer.

Alta the Tourism Information Officer.

Skeleton of a Piolet whale

Skeleton of a Pilot whale

Exhibit

Exhibit

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Exhibit

Exhibit

Exhibit

Quite a few of the normal exhibits that use live animals – snakes, chameleons and lizards – are no longer functioning as they have  died. Pity really as the setting for the centre is great but one should really have more displays.

Although not part of the museum I did find this exhibit round the back  in the harbour area.

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The Port Nolloth Locomotive.

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The Port Nolloth Locomotive

Final word – If there is anyone in, or knows someone in, the music industry who might be interested in hearing a demo- tape of Alta  you can contact her on 072-1941947.

McDougalls Bay Caravan Park

The past 3 days, the weekend and Monday, have been pretty awful. It has been really hot, over 30ºC, and the wind has not stopped blowing at gale force all that time. There has been sand and dust everywhere and it has made me feel pretty depressed and lethargic. Being camped on sea sand does not help. Think Camps Bay Beach on a really hot, windy day when the sand is blowing all over the place.

Today, Tuesday, sees a complete change in the weather. It is overcast, a lot cooler, light breeze and feels like it could even rain sometime. It has also made me feel a lot better and keen to have a look around for more interesting places and people. I am still trying to track down George, the diamond diver, but he has proved elusive, and I hope to catch up with him later today or tomorrow.

Because I have been pretty well trapped at the camp-site I thought I might as well take some pix and show you what it is like. If you read some of my previous posts you will know that I was really given the run around as far as the pricing is concerned. It is a municipal site and I think their prices are too high compared to all the other municipal sites I have stayed at. They call themselves a Holiday Resort so have a look at he pix an see what you think.

McDougalls Bay Hoiday Resort?

McDougalls Bay Holiday Resort?

The security gate?

The security gate?

Unfortunately a lot of the time there is no one at the gate during the day and at night.

Brocken security fence from beach.

Broken security fence from beach.

Even if there was full time security at the front it would not make much difference.

Seasand site

Sea sand site

One of the 93 sites and they are all the same.

Electical connection

Electrical connection

Each site has an electrical connection but some of them are very unsafe.

Ablution block.

Ablution block.

What can I say? Why do all the camp-sites all have the same problem and yet the ablution block is the most important feature that one looks for. At least there is plenty of hot water.

Chalet

Chalet

There are 2 0f these right on the beach front. They charge R440.00 per night out of season and over R500.00 per night in season. There are also 15 smaller chalets at the back for which the charge is R210.00 per night.

Overall I think the “holiday resort” is pretty run down and to be honest over priced but the one factor that overrides most of that is the position right on the beach front. The sights, sounds and smells of the ocean, in the protected bay, are fabulous and go a long way in making one overlook all the shortcomings.

My camp-site.

My camp-site.

Right on the waters edge.

Golden sun set.

Golden sun set.

Not many places I know that one could take a picture like this right from your caravan.


From Brandkaros to Port Nolloth.

Yesterday was the day of my move to Port Nolloth or should I say to McDougall Bay 4 kilometres south of Port Nolloth . I was dreading the first 27 k’s as it was over the dirt road that had nearly shaken my poor old caravan to pieces 16 days earlier. I was told that it would be best to drive as fast as I could as it would smooth out the corrugations so, after saying my goodbyes to Apie and Analine du Toit, off I went.

It might be easy to drive at 80/90 kpm on a dirt road when not towing anything but with an old caravan behind you it ain’t so. The road did feel a bit smoother but I think more as a result of the rain a few days earlier than anything else. The only thing of interest that I saw on the first part of my trip was a jackal as it crossed the road just in front of me and ran off into the veld. To quick for me to try and get a photograph I’m afraid.

After what seemed hours I finally came to the end of the dirt road and onto the tar. I pulled over at the first opportunity to have a quick inspection inside and out. Horror of horrors the fridge door had come off again and there was a huge mess inside. I cleaned it all up, as best I could at the side of the road, got the fridge door back on, the goodies packed away and off I set.

On the road again!
On the road again!

The drive from Alexander Bay to Port Nolloth is about 80 k’s on a really good road. It was, however, difficult to pull over to stop and take photographs as the shoulder of the road is very narrow. I mostly took photographs out the window so they are not too great.

The straight and narrow
The straight and narrow
The contrasts are unbelievable
The contrasts are unbelievable

As you can see by those land dumps there is mining all along the coast line.

I wonder who on earth thinks up these names?
I wonder who on earth thinks up these names?
After the recent rains there are already patches of brightly coloured flowers.
After the recent rains there are already patches of brightly coloured flowers.
Ariva ariva!!
Welcome!

As you will see it was only about 15 minutes after the welcome sign that I thought I had made a big mistake.

If you have read one of my earlier posts you will know that I stopped overnight at McDougall Bay just over 2 weeks earlier. Wonderful setting, position wise, but basically the sites are just sea sand. Anyway I was told that it was in season and the price was a flat R123.00 per site per night. If I came back after the season it would be R99.00 less 30% discount for over 60’s so just under R70.00 per night.

When I arrived I was told the price I had been given was a mistake and it was in fact 30% off the high rate which works out to about R86.oo. I started jumping up and down and the manager phoned her boss to try and clarify what the correct price should be. (Just as an aside there were only 2 other campers  and there are 93 sites.  Go figure!!) After an hour I was eventually told that I could pay R70.00. I later met up with a couple from Cape Town who had stayed there during the HIGH season and the most campers on any night had been 4 and all stayed over for only 1 night. Wonder why??

My new base for a while.
My new base for a while.
The view and sounds are superb.
The view and sounds are superb.

I have been warned not to leave anything outside as people walk off the beach and steal.

As you can see it is going to be a batle to keep the sand at bay.
It is going to be a battle to keep the sand at bay.

Cool and misty.

Cool and misty. Compare to yesterdays shot.

I woke up this morning to find it cool with quite a heavy mist that will probably stick around the whole day as there is no wind. Have been into town to the Spar Shop which is very well stocked. They even have some vegetarian foods.

Once I have posted this I am going to take a long walk along the beach and then just relax for a while.

A last look at Brandkaros.

Today is my last day at Brandkaros camp-site. I leave for Port Nolloth tomorrow morning and will be setting up camp at nearby McDougalls Bay. I have now been here for 16 days and to be honest have really enjoyed my stay as it has given me the time to catch up with myself and also to get this blog started. Oh and it has also given me the opportunity to improve my Afrikaans which has gone from very poor to just poor.

The entrance to Brandkaros

The entrance to Brandkaros

Apart from going into Alexander Bay a few times to look around and meet some interesting people, I have spent most of my time walking,  fishing and just chilling out. (Not so sure “chilling” is the correct word to use as it has been sunny and hot most days.) The walks have been great and even though I only caught one small fish the fishing has been relaxing as well.

The people here, manager Analine and here husband Apie Du Toit,  have been incredibly friendly, kind and supportive. I have had bread baked, apples left at my door and my washing and ironing done by Analine and delivered by Apie to my door. They wont let me pay for any of that either.

The actual camp-site is difficult to show photographically as it is really spread out, has different sections and is shaded by lots of trees. I believe there are plans to spend quite a bit of money to upgrade the camp in the near future and personally I would recommend they start with the ablution facilities.

The area I was camped in.

The area I was camped in.

The camp-sites are not marked out so it’s first come first served.

The larger site

The larger site

Brandkaros is more of a transient rather than holiday camp-site. Convoys that have been to or are coming back from the Richtersveld Reserve pull in late afternoon and are gone again early next morning.

The rondawels

The rondawels

Some of the convoys coming through stay in the self contained rondawels rather than set up camp.

I supposed the thing that irked and annoyed me the most were the monkeys. A troop of about 30 come through the camp at least once a day and cause chaos, jumping all over the caravan and tent, overturning and scattering rubbish from the bins and just being a pain in the butt.

Catch me if you can.

Catch me if you can.

I am surprised he is not showing me the finger. They know you have not got a hope of doing anything to them.

The other thing that is annoying is that over weekends they allow day trippers to come in and braai. They make a lot of noise with their loud music and shouting and cause a major disturbance. Most camp-sites don’t allow this and now I understand why.

The ablution block

The ablution block

The ablution block is not great (still looking for a good one) but there is plenty of hot water.

The swimming pool is not bad and really nice in the hot weather.

The swimming pool is not bad and really nice in the hot weather.

As mentioned earlier I did do quite a bit of walking so will end off this post with a few pix that I took on my excursions in and around the camp.

Old and rusting farm equipment

Old and rusting farm equipment

Sad to see as not too many years ago this used to be a thriving citrus farm and has now gone to ruin.

View of Brandkaros from a nearby koppie.

Early morning view of Brandkaros from a nearby koppie.

As you can see an oasis in the desert. That large white building in the foreground used to house 45 full time employees on the farm and is now just falling apart. It had full ablutions, cooking facilities and dinning room.

Plant coming to life after the recent rains.

Plants coming to life after the recent rains.

I believe the flowers here and in the Namaqualand  are going to be spectacular this Spring

I will end off this post with my favourite shot taken on one of my early morning walks and have posted all photographs taken at Brankaros here.

Sunrise in the Richtersveld.

Sunrise in the Richtersveld.

Speak to you again from my next port of call Port Nolloth. First going to have to pull my poor old caravan over that 30 odd k’s of gravel road into Alexander Bay. Not looking forward to that.

The remotest B&B in S.A.?

Each time I have travelled from Brandkaros to Alexander Bay and back I have been intrigued by a sign at the side of the road, about 20 k’s from Alexander Bay, that advertises a B&B. On my way back from Alexander Bay on Wednesday I determined to stop and have a look around.

B&B in the desert

B&B in the desert

You can’t really miss it because of the brightly painted bits of scrap metal.

The B&B is managed by a mother and daughter team, Annemarie and Saome Reck, and is owned by someone living in Hong Kong. Annemarie started the B&B about 18 years ago and has managed it ever since under various owners. She is from the area as she and her husband used to farm nearby until he passed away.

Salome and Annemarie Reck

Salome and Annemarie Reck

There are 5 rooms, 3 inside and 2 outside, and also an extra house about a 100 meters away for when things get really get busy. Unfortunately it has not been too great recently as the pont at Sendelingsdrift is not working and people from Namibia can’t cross over there and as a result they have had many cancellations. ( The same thing has happened at Brandkaros and I have been the only one staying there for days now.)

Mother and daughter are very friendly and were more than happy to show me around and for me to take photographs. Again I will let the pix speak and just offer a few comments. All I can say is that Annemarie has tried to be as creative as possible, without much to work with, and in fact many passers-by stop and ask if the place is also a museum.

The main house

The main house

One of the rooms inside the house

One of the rooms inside the house

The 2 wendy house type rooms and ablutions.

The 2 wendy house type rooms and ablutions.

View from the front of the house.

View from the front of the house.

It really is a bit like an oasis in the middle of a desert. That is the Orange River in the distance and the dark area between the road and the river used to be an olive plantation.

The dinning area

The dinning area

The bath garden

The bath garden (My name for it)

The charge per person  per night is R250.00 and breakfast (R60.00) and dinner (R75.00) are extra. I reckon if one is passing through the area it would be a great and unique place to spend a night or two.

If you wish to see more photographs of the B&B please click on B&B photos

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