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
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.
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.
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..