From Clanwilliam we drove in the direction of Namaquapark. We were still undecided whether we should drive along the coast, through Namaqualand, or via the N7 to Namaquapark. Our first day took us to Vredendal. There we stayed overnight at the farm Onderhoek. In Doringbaai it would have been possible to enter the Namaqualand – along the coast. The lady at the farm advised us against it. She said it was too windy and there was really nothing to see on this section. We followed her advice and drove first to Vanrhynsdorp, always looking for wildflowers. The statements were sobering. Unanimously it was said that it was currently too cold. It would be better to visit the region from the end of August. In September, the full bloom would be there. Guido was a little sobered – he had really looked forward to this full bloom.
Where are the flowers?
After a few detours and places completely without flowers, we took the N7 to Kamieskroon. From here is the access to the Namaquapark. We decided to stay outside the park and spend a day in the park. Despite statements to the contrary by the staff, the yield was sobering. We left our car at the reception and followed the recommendation to use the better of the two hiking trails and explore the park on foot. We followed the approx. 5km long hiking trail and were honestly disappointed. If at all, maybe 3-5% of the flowers were visible. The overwhelming part did not show up yet. The trail showed the wonderful potential of this region. The idea of how the expanses that are currently green will look in full bloom is overwhelming. We are convinced that this beauty will leave you speechless. If you want to visit this park, you are on the safe side in September!
Getting to the Ai-Ais/Richterveld Transfrontier Park
When we left the Namaquapark again, we oriented ourselves in the direction of Alexander Bay. From here we enter the Ai-Ais/Richterveld Transfrontier Park. This should be our last stop in South Africa. Our nearly 3 month tour through the most southern country of Africa comes to an end. In fact, Sendelingsdrift is the only access point to the park and wherever you are, you have to travel via Alexander Bay. Alexander Bay is located in the far west of South Africa. At Sendelingsdrift there is a border post to exit into Namibia (or vice versa). The crossing of the Orange River is done by a pontoon. This runs from September to April and is otherwise closed. We therefore have to travel back to Alexander Bay and enter Namibia via Oranjemund.
Rugged nature at its best!
We booked ourselves into De Hoop Campsite for two nights and Richtersberg for another two nights. Both campsites are located directly on the banks of the Orange River. We really enjoyed driving through the rugged valleys of this inhospitable region. It was over hill and dale, over narrow passes and wide valleys and suddenly a fertile green strip appeared and we had arrived at the riverbed. We enjoyed the silence and the nature. Unfortunately the nights were not clear, moreover there was still a quite full and therefore bright moon. The starry sky showed up unfortunately not as spectacular as it could be. In Richtersberg we were completely alone, and when suddenly a bird of prey showed up in the sky and the call of a African Fish Eagle followed, Guido smiled contentedly and happily. Now one would have to ask a psychologist why animal calls trigger feelings of happiness but for Guido this is very strongly connected with the call of the African Fish Eagle and for Sonja with the evening grunt of the hippos.
Back in Namibia
We enjoyed the days, baking on the potjie, making evening campfires and enjoying the rugged nature during the four nights in the park. We drove back to Alexander Bay without incident and returned to Namibia after almost three months in South Africa. Now we are slowly driving to Windhoek and are looking forward to meeting our friends in Namibia’s capital. From there the four of us will start a tour of several weeks in the lonely and wild north of the country. You will probably have to wait a while for these reports – in the north there are a lot of things only with luck and eventually – but there is no internet reception in any case.