Posts Tagged ‘monkeys’

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.

Visit to Alexander Bay.

Monday (6th) was pretty chilly and misty in the morning. I woke up fairly late and by the time I got out the caravan Koos and Lieta were all packed, hitched up ready to leave. I was quite sad watching them go as they had been great company for the past 2 days. They were planning to travel through the Richtersveld and then into Namibia to go and visit many friends at various locations.

Koos and Lieta

Koos and Lieta

Koos and Lieta Prince all hitched up and ready to continue their journey.

About an hour after they had left the monkeys were back with vengeance. It was not pleasant as I was now the only one there and they went mad around and on my caravan. There must have been at least 20 of them from little babies to pretty big adults. There was nothing I could do as I watched them use the rally tent in front of  the caravan as a trampoline. I was, after about an hour of this, getting really angry and frustrated and decided enough of this I have to leave. I even started packing up some of my things when suddenly they were gone and peace returned.

I boiled the kettle, made some rooibos tea and sat down to think it through. I really did not want to leave yet as I still had to explore Alexander Bay and the only place I could move to was Port Nolloth 80k’s away and very expensive until after the school holidays. I decided the best thing to do was to go into Alex Bay so I could get away from Brandkaros for a while and calm down.

Driving on my favourite dirt road to Alex Bay, to be honest without the caravan behind the road was not too bad, I wondered how I was going to get information on where to go and what to see. I had been to Alex Bay 40 years previously and  remembered very little of what it looked like but knew it had changed a lot.

After signing in, to get into the town, I managed to find a Sentra  shop, buy a few things and decided to have a cup of tea at the only restaurant in town. On chatting to the lady serving me I found out that the only person to talk to was a guy called Pieter van Wyk and he was the librarian. Found the library and walked in to find Pieter. What a shock!! I had somehow conjured up the image of an elderly man, as he new all the ins and outs of the town, and there was this young man of 21 standing in front of me. What a nice guy. (More about him later) We made an appointment to meet on Wednesday morning, as he only starts at 1pm on Wednesday, and he would show me round.

It was still quite early so I decided to take a drive down to the beach and take a few photographs.

Alexander Bay beach

Alexander Bay beach

The old watch tower

The old watch tower

The guards old watch tower on the beach. This used to be a restricted area.

If you would like to see more pix taken at the beach please click on this link:  Alex Beach


Brandkaros

The next morning (Sunday 5th) Koos and Lieta decide to stay on an extra day as they had been on the move for a month and needed a bit of catch up time. I was pleased as they are such a nice couple and have some really interesting stories from all their travels over the years.

They wanted to see the river and I wanted to try a spot of fishing so off we trekked. I found what I thought was a nice spot to thrown in a line and they went off to explore further downstream.

Fishing in the Orange River

Fishing in the Orange River

Not even half a bite (foto: Koos Prince)

The day was very pleasant, hot with no wind and by the time I got back to camp later and at last starting to relax into it all when the next shock arrived in the form of a troop of monkeys. It was chaos for about the next hour and a half as they emptied every bin they could find and jumped all over the caravans. Not very nice at all. They did not give me such a hard time but went for Koos and Lieta and nothing we did would scare them off.

I have discovered that Brandkaros is no longer a working citrus farm, has not been for the past couple of years, and is basically just going to rack and ruin. There is still a huge amount of fruit on the trees but they have not been trimmed or harvested in ages. What a shame! From what I have heard it used to be an oasis in a desert landscape.

Brandkaros Farm

Brandkaros Farm

Brandkaros Farm

Brandkaros Farm

The farm is just falling apart. Even the irrigation piping is all broken and useless.

From what I can gather there is a reason why this farm and many other businesses in the area are either finished or on there way out. There has been a massive land redistribution in the area to the Richtersveld people and also a lot of money poured in by the government and it is all going to waste. People who have been in the area since the early 18oo’s have been kicked off their land without much, if any, recompense. I am not going to say much more as I am no expert in the field but by the look of it things can only get worse.

Had a great evening with Koos and Lieta. They are or were both teachers and have some wonderful stories to tell while sitting round drinking coffee and Rooibos. Also found out that Koos was at one stage Lietas school principal before they got married. Stunning couple!

About 10pm, after a glorious day we said our good nights and off I went to lala land. After all the walking and day fishing in the sun I slept like the dead.