Trip Log...South Africa

Our journey to Cape Town and up the West Coast

The last preparations for our trip were complete - the Land Rover was fully loaded and ready to go. The only thing remaining was starting the engine and hitting the hi-way!

After 23miles, we had our first puncture.  The garage who had replaced the tube had insisted that they had done a good job - I was not so sure, as they had used a tube which was not ideally suited for such a heavy vehicle.  The tyre was replaced successfully, and we were off.  

Destination: a small town called Sanieshof.  Sanieshof, only exists thanks to the success of maize farming in the area. The trip took us a whopping 5 hours to complete 300km.  The Land Rover was slow and extremely noisy when fully equipped.  It was going to be an interesting trip!  In Sannieshof, we got the puncture replaced at a garage.  The owner personally insisted on supervising, so as a result we got excellent service. He managed to balance all 6 tyres, which was quite a miracle as most of the tyres are on original rims. It was such a good job, that the tyres remained balanced over 10000km.

From Sannieshof, we headed for Kimberley.  In Kimberley we stayed with Lee-Anne's uncle for a night - It was a good evening, where we sat around the table dreaming out-loud of all our dreams. The next morning the Landy refused to start.  Problem: one loose nut on the starter motor! 

Onwards towards Cape Town we headed.  From Kimberley we were heading for the Karoo.  The Karoo is a semi-desert area in the middle of the Cape Province.  Part of the Karoo  host the largest observatory in South Africa. Not many vehicles pass along these small roads - the sheep were not even used to the sound of a vehicle approaching, so as we approached, they would run away.

The observatory was perched high on a peak top. Five telescopes (I think!) point skywards. It was absolutely freezing with a strong wind blowing as we drove past. We were headed for the small town of Carnarvon. After arriving in Carnarvon, we found the camp site, and for the first time, set up our roof top tent.  It was a good feeling...More Karoo...

The tent is a homemade job sitting on top of the roof-rack.  It sleeps two comfortably.  We had our duvet, pillows and mattress permanently in it.

From Carnarvon we headed for the beautiful town of Ceres, which is tucked in the Ceres mountains.  The trip to Ceres took us up some beautiful passes. At one point, we were steadily climbing and then finally we arrived at the top of the plateau.  What an amazing site to see the land stretching far into the horizon. During this trip, we traveled on many farm roads.  Most only catered for the width of one vehicle. 

After leaving Ceres, our first and only major mechanical disaster occurred - traveling down the Bains Kloof pass, our rear diff siezed.  The fault: plain wear-and-tear. To make things worse, we were stuck in mist, on a pass.  Help arrived in the form of a break-down vehicle, which then proceeded to host the rear end of the Land Rover.  This resulted in the front tyres of the break-down vehicle lifting off the ground.  Ninety anxious minutes later we arrived in the small town of Worcester.  It was not a good feeling seeing over R6000 (six thousand Rand, or 1000US Dollars) disappear for repairs. That really manages to put a dampen on ones spirits. 

Cape Town is a beautiful city - it was also the time for the Southern-right whales.  We spent hours watching them frolic in the sea. We left Cape Town  reluctantly but full of excitement as we headed North up the West Coast of South Africa. The West Coast is clouded in Fog throughout the morning, which brings a peace to the small coastal towns.  We spent a very relaxed three days in Lamberts Bay, enjoying long walks on the beach, and excellent fish braais. People lived a totally different life along the west coast compared to the life we were living in Pretoria / Johannesburg.

Our next stop after Lamberts Bay was Springbok, a small town in the Namaqualand. It was a long journey as we had to travel from sea level all the way to 1500m ASL. This trip, in a normal vehicle, does not take long, but in a 31 year old Land Rover, it takes ages. Springbok offers the traveler the last chance to check email before heading to Namibia.

And then finally we arrived at the South African / Namibian border. Rest was in order, so after finding a camp site (called Fiddlers Creek) on the Orange river, we set up camp, swam,  canoed and relaxed for three days. It was also at this campsite were we met our first overland truck.  The peace and quiet was not the same....

And finally it was time to cross the border....

The Namibian Story continues...

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