While in Springbok I heard a lot of talk about the wonderful Verbé caravan park in Kamieskroon and was told I must stay there. There are 2 caravan parks in Kamieskroon but was told by everyone I must go to the Verbé as it was great. By the way the other park is called the Kamieskroon Hotel and Caravan Park and when I had a quick scout round it looked fine to me.
- Entrance to Verbé Caravan Park.
When I arrived at the park I was actually disappointed as it did not look like anything special, in fact the stands and ground were pretty awful as they were uneven and not a blade of grass in site.
Some of the sites.
That building on the left is a Lapa but I did not see anyone using it.
I also found out when I tried to hammer some pegs into the ground that it was incredibly hard. It took me 3 times longer than normal to set up and my hands were really sore at the end of it.
- My set-up. I kid you not that ground is like rock.
It was only after I had taken a stroll, quite a long stroll actually, up to the ablution block that I understood why everyone had spoken so highly of Verbé. I have been on and on about the terrible, sometimes shocking, ablution blocks I have had to use and how caravan park owners/managers just have no idea how important good, clean ablutions are to caravanner’s.
- The ablution block.
- Inside the gents section. Spotless!
Just goes to show that even an average park will get really good revues if the ablutions are half way decent.
Dina the park manager.
Another reason why people like coming here is the very helpful and charming Dina the manager at the front office. What a nice lady! Nothing was too much trouble and she made sure that all ran smoothly.
Saw this old bell holder at the top of the park.
The park and surrounds from the old bell holder.
The building on the right, with the mast, is the police station. We had a black out for a few hours the one night and they run a massive, very noisy generator, for the duration.
Saw this beautiful flower at the entrance to the park. (Specially for Michael)
The town of Kamieskroon is situated 67km south of Springbok and is set in the granite rock formations of the Kamiesberg range. The towns origins lie in the 1860’s, 7km north of the towns present location and was called Bowesville (later Bowesdorp). But in 1924, because there was no room to expand, the church council decided to demolish the church and rebuild it at its present site in Kamieskroon.
The Kamieskroon Church
Commemorating the fallen in the Anglo Boer War of 1899 - 1902.
Kamieskroon is essentially a town that services the surrounding farming community. There are quite a few B&B’s that come into their own in the flower season and there are also some wonderful hiking trails. In fact you can hire a guide steeped in Namakwa knowledge who offers hikes along uncharted trails, but, Kamieskroon is synonymous with spring flowers and extends the season with brilliant shows of Bulbinella latifolia and many other species.
I awoke at about 6am yesterday to the sound of rain on the caravan, not very heavy, but it continued for about 2 hours or so. Later in the morning it started again, this time quite heavy, and rained on and off for the rest of the day.
Now compared to what was going on in Cape Town it was nothing, maybe 5 -10mm (I am guessing as nobody has an accurate measurement) compared to C.T.’s over 100mm, but it did cause quite a bit of chaos. Remember that the area round here is classed as desert and as such has a very low average rainfall of about 25mm per year.
The road to Alexander Bay became like a mud bath and very slippery with the result that quite a few cars either got stuck or went off the road completely. Those that made it through to Brandkaros were covered in mud to half way up the windows. Some of the roads that go past here toward the Richtersveld Park became impassable and 2 guys from Springbok had to stay over here in the rondavals.
The other problem that was caused, with all the damp, was a localised power failure. They get so little rain here that there is not a lot of maintenance done on all the outside light covers or in the camp site office. I had a look and found that water was dripping down exposed wiring in the toilet. Not very safe!!. None of the electrical boxes, that the campers plug into, even have earth leakage. Anyway they managed to get hold of an electrician from Alexander Bay to sort some of it out. He had a hell of a job getting here and said he nearly went off the road a couple of times but at least I had electricity and could keep nice and warm and the fridges going.
I had been wanting to go to Alexander Bay yesterday to get some fresh supplies of fruit, bread etc. but decided against it because of the road conditions. I was hoping that when I woke up this morning that the sun would be shinning and I would be able to go in this afternoon. Unfortunately it is still overcast and could even rain again later, so no go. Will just have to make do with what I have.
I did bump into Analine, who manages the camp site, and she had baked me an enormous loaf of brown bread. I have had a few slices and it is delicious.
Delicious home baked brown bread.
I am sure that after all the rain it will be a bumper year for the Namaqualand Spring flowers. I hope that by the time I start my journey back to Cape Town, late August, that the flowers will have started to bloom. I remember 40 years back, when they had a bumper year of flowers, it was spectacular. Mile after mile of flowers for as far as you could see. If this is a really good year I would recommend, to all who can, to go into the Namaqualand for a week-end. It will be well worth it.
Namaqualand flowers - Photo from Google images