Posts Tagged ‘road’

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.

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

The start of my journey (Part 3)

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

Site at McDougalls Bay

As you can see the camp is just hardened sea sand

McDougalls Bay Caravan Park

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

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

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 start of my journey (Part 2)

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

Pajero and Sprite on the road

My set-up on the road between Springbok and Port Nolloth.

The road from Springbok

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

Sunset at McDougalls Bay

Pic taken from just in front of my caravan.

To be continued…