The next morning (Friday 3rd) took a drive into Port Nolloth, filled up with petrol and found a Spar shop to get a few things and draw some money. Went back to camp and hitched up ready for my drive back to Alex. Bay and the ordeal of getting to Brandkaros.
Site at McDougalls Bay
As you can see the camp is just hardened sea sand
McDougalls Bay Caravan Park
Just to illustrate how full (in season?) the park was (not).
The journey back to Alex was uneventful and I then drove the 27 k’s of bone jolting road to reach Brandkaros at about 11.30am and checked in for a week. By the way it is R50.00 per person per night.
Again I was the only one there so could choose to park wherever I wanted. Found a nice shady spot under some trees and started to set up camp. Wow!!!! Opened the caravan door to find the fridge door completely off its hinges and lying on the floor and the contents scattered all over the caravan. The rest wasn’t too bad but the dust was something else. Managed to get the fridge door back on and then spent about an hour trying to get the dust out. What a job!
By the time I had cleaned up and set up camp it was 4pm and I was really hungry so went to the new “deep freeze” to get some goodies out for a big super. This is when I discovered that this was no real deep freeze but a cooler that tried to keep already frozen food frozen but with no success. I have, up to now, thrown away about R400.00 worth of food as a result. I also found out that the fridge in the caravan was not working and I could not find anything wrong to try and fix. I was not a happy camper. It was only at about 6am the next morning that I sat up in bed with a brainwave. I opened a cupboard where the plug for the fridge is situated and found that something had fallen over , in all the shaking of the drive, and switched the plug off. Have now taped that switch down. More of my frozen food ruined!!
Brandkaros camp site
My nice shaded camp site but it still gets really hot in the afternoons.
At this stage I was already starting to wonder if I was doing the right thing or should I just pack it all in and head back to Cape Town. It just felt that so many things were against me.
In spite of everything I managed to put together a good meal, watched an episode of Lost and then crashed.
The next morning (Sat 4th) I did a few chores and then decided to do some exploring. Got some very hazy directions on how to get to the river and set off.
It took me about an hour to walk and then find a way through the really thick bush and I eventually came out on the banks of the Orange River. From what the 4×4 man had said I was expecting a roaring, massive flow of water with high cliffs on either side, maybe a rapid or two… ha-ha.
Orange River at Brandkaros
Orange River at Brandkaros
The “roaring” Orange River.
Got back to camp to find some new arrivals, a group of about 6 vehicles and a couple with a Safari caravan.
Made friends with the couple, Koos and Lieta Prince, who were camped next to me and so at last had someone to converse with and they spoke far better English than I did Afrikaans. What really nice people.
To be continued..
The next morning (Thursday 2nd) I took a drive, without the caravan, into Springbok to get petrol (Gulp!! it was worse) and to have a look around. Again it was a trip down memory lane as I used to travel to Springbok as a rep for then Reckkit and Coleman (not sure if the spelling is correct) and stayed there many times. I found the hotel I always stayed at, The Masonic, and it looks exactly the same as it did as it did then.
Back to the park, hitch up and on my way to Port Nolloth via Steinkopf, Alexander Bay and then onto Brandkaros about 30 k’s from Alexander Bay where, after all the stories from my 4×4 man, I planned to spend a few weeks.
The drive was great as there was very little wind and it was pretty flat, apart from one section, so I made good time and knew my petrol consumption was much improved.
Pajero and Sprite on the road
My set-up on the road between Springbok and Port Nolloth.
The road from Springbok
As you can see the road is in good condition, it was a dirt road the last time I was on it, and pretty flat.
Arrived at Port Nolloth about 11.30am had a quick look round and then onto Alexander Bay and Brandkaros. The road to Alex B. was also good and flat so made good time and was there by 2pm and that is where all my troubles started.
My 4×4 man had told me that Brandkaros was fantastic and that the road was tar all the way. Ha-ha on both counts. From 3 k’s outside Alex the tar road became a dirt road and a bad one for towing a little old caravan like mine. I went about 20 k’s down the road and thought ” this is crap”!! I really thought the caravan was going to fall apart. The guy did not know what he was talking about. I even stopped and asked someone where the camp site was and they had no idea. So around I turned and drove all the way back to Port Nolloth as there was no where else to stay in Alex Bay.
Arrived back in Port Nolloth and found a place called McDougalls Bay also on the recommendation of 4×4 guy as being wonderful etc. (ha-ha)
The site is huge, about 180 stands, and is situated right on the beach front. So far so good!
Went to check in to be told the price was R123-00. I am used to half that for 1 person at an over 60’s discount, and there was no discount. The reason – it was in season (read school holidays) and that was the price per site for up to 4 people. Reluctantly paid and went to find a site. I could choose from 178 as there were only 2 other caravans there. So much for in season. Had a chat to the lady about Brandkaros and she new exactly where it was – I must have stopped about 8 k’s from the camp site – so I have determined to give it another try tomorrow and just hope my caravan does not fall apart .
The sites themselves are just hardened sea sand and you track the sand everywhere. Also the ablutions left a lot to be desired. Actually I could write a whole post on the ablutions at all the parks I have been to so far. They are all bad but some are really terrible. Anyway what can one do. Sorted out some food and had an early night.
Sunset at McDougalls Bay
Pic taken from just in front of my caravan.
To be continued…