Port Nolloth beach front.

Yesterday (23rd) was not so great on the weather front. The sun was shinning but it was cold and a gale force wind blew the whole day. At one stage I was considering taking down my rally tent as I thought it was going to be ripped off the front of my caravan. That kind of wind makes me slightly depressed so I determined to take a drive into Port Nolloth and have a look around.

Port Nolloth was only given that name in 1855 when it was renamed from Robbe Baai (Seals Bay) by Sir Harry Smith. Prior to that it had also been known Aukwatwas (1779) and also as Gawaap. Copper was found in the Namaqualand area and the first shipment of 1 ton was was made from the harbour in 1850 and so the big rush to the area began. It was only in 1957 that Port Nolloth received municipal status.

I started my walk from the northern end of Port Nolloth and the first thing I saw was a really beautiful beach. There are a few houses overlooking the beach but not as many as I would have thought.

The bay to the north of Port Nolloth.

The bay to the north of Port Nolloth.

The coastline round the area is very rugged, as it is all along the West Coast and there have been quite a few big storms in the last year or so. It is known for its foggy weather, has an average rainfall of 20-25mm per annum and the average daytime temperature is a moderate 22ºC and 14ºC at night. As you will see a bit further on those storms caused quite a bit of havoc.

The unique lighthouse.

The unique lighthouse which was established in 1909.

The Roman Catholic Church.

The Roman Catholic Church.

Walk ways above the beach

Walkway above the beach You can see 2 boats that were washed ashore recently.

One of the entrances to the walk way.

One of the entrances to the walkway.

Official opening plaque.

Official opening plaque.

The walkway and beach front development were opened officially on the 8th August 2008.

The old building housing the Museum

The old building housing the History Museum

Old rail carriage in font of thr museum.

An old rail carriage in font of the museum.

Good place for a bite to eat? Love the Vespa on the roof!!

Good place for a bite to eat? Love the Vespa on the roof!!

I have not been out for a slap up meal since I left Cape Town 24 days ago. I think this is where I will go next week some time. One thing this restaurant illustrates is how much bigger in all aspects Port  Nolloth is compared to Alexander Bay. There are far more  bigger and better shops and the population is also about  four times that of Alexander Bay. Most people from the area either come come here or drive all the way to Springbok for their monthly shopping. As I said previously I am amazed by the local Spar Supermarket.

Another popular eating establishment.

Another popular eating establishment.

The Biodiversity Living Museum

The Bio diversity living Museum

You can even take up Karate at the local Do Jo

You can even take up Karate at the local Do Jo

Lastly, just to show you how violent the storms can be, the boat below was washed up to where it now rests on the 16th of June this year. It has not been stripped down so it looks like they may try and re float her on a really high tide. Looking at how deep she has sunk into the sand it might be just wishful thinking.

The Pafuri.

The Pafuri out of Cape Town..

So as you can see  an interesting walk, especially if one goes into the museums and spends a bit of time there. I hope to do a post on combined visits as there are some fascinating artefacts and things to see. I also popped into the De Beers controlled harbour and had a chat to the manager, Deon Lotter, and will do a short post on marine diamond mining.

A look arournd McDougalls Bay.

I spent yesterday afternoon and this morning walking round and talking to some folk in McDougalls Bay. Again everyone was friendly and prepared to go out of their way to help me. One guy even offered to give me some 4×4 driving lessons when I told him there are certain places I don’t take the Pajero as I don’t know much about 4×4. Think I might just take him up on that!!

Plots in McDougalls Bay, belonging to mine managers in the area, date back to 1855 and it is believed to have been the holiday resort of the rich. In 1960 there was renewed interest in the bay and plots could be hired from the municipality but only removable structures could be erected. This changed in 1986 when the bay was resurveyed and tenants could get ownership of their plots.

A guy called Jack Carstens found the first local diamond at a place called Oubeep just south of McDougalls Bay 0n 25 August 1925 but it was only in the 1970’s that the mining of diamonds from the sea started.

McDougall Bay taken from the North side.
McDougall Bay taken from the North side.

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Apart from the rough beauty of the place 2 things really struck me – one was the number of houses and plots  on the market and two some of the unusual architecture. It seemed as if every third or fourth  house is on the market and when I popped in at the local Seeff Office and spoke to Beverly Jackson I was given a list of all the properties and sites that are for sale.  I count 44 plots and about 27 houses listed by Seeff alone. There are also quite lot of B&B’s and Guest Houses in the area.

The price of houses range from about R450,000 to just over R2,500,000. One that caught my eye was this one below.

House for sale.
House for sale.

It is listed as being newly built but here is also a sign above the front door that reads 1894.

The Koi pool area.

The Koi pool area.

This house is on the market for R1,800,000 and consists of 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 garages, a Koi pool, is also fully furnished  and  has a bachelor flat attached. Wonder what that would go for in say Yzerfontein?

Yesterday evening on my walk I met one of the real local characters, George who is/was a diamond diver, and I want to do a full post on him. Even his house is fascinating so thought I would start here with some of the unusual architectural  aspects of McDougall Bay.

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The house that George built.
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Ben’s Den

I have seen something similar near Hangklip.

Bigger is better?
Bigger is better?

This one is on the market for R1,530,000 and has 4 bedrooms and 31/2 bathrooms.

Colourful hey?
Colourful hey?

No ja well fine!
No ja well fine!

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On the market for R1,200,000

Netting harders.
Netting harders.

Spotted these 2 bobbing around in the bay netting harders. They were out the whole morning and I saw them pull in quite a few. I have been told that the fishing in the bay is very poor but I aim to try and disprove that in the near future. If there are harders around there must be other fish in the water.

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