We have just returned from a roundabout journey to Johannesburg to meet our new grand son Jack! Our first two nights we spent with a delightful lady, Poppie van Wyk at her B&B in Kamieskroon. We visited the Namaqua National park close by but many of the routes around Kamieskroon needed a 4x4. Our two wheel drive car with low profile tyres was a nightmare on such roads! We even missed the opportunity of visiting Poppie's farm as our car just would not have made it. I was very sad about that as the whole area is quite beautiful, and parts are very reminiscent of Cecil John Rhodes grave site in the Zimbabwean Matopos National Park. There were very few flowers as they had not had enough rain. We did a lot of walking but the heat was incredible. I intended to paint and draw but didn't.
We then headed off to Springbok. We didn't even attemp the Geogab Nature reserve as we had met two ladies in a Toyota Tazz who had got stuck in the sand!
We visited the mining town of Aggeneys but there was nothing much to photograph. We did get a lot of very respectful waves so maybe Bryan looked like a visiting VIP! It is amazing the amount of money required to set up the structures needed for a mining town.
We then headed to Pella to visit the Cathedral in the Desert! After trying to avoid beggars that accost you as you enter the little town, we eventually found the Cathedral which was founded by the London Missionary Society in 1814. A sanctuary for Khoisan driven out of Namibia, the village was named after the one that gave refuge to Christians in Macedonia in biblical times. Abandoned in 1872 because of drought, the Roman Catholic Church reopened the mission in 1878.
The Old Cathedral, surrounded by date palms, has a curiously Arabian atmosphere. Using an encyclopaedia as their building manual, it took two missionaries seven years to complete.
Set on a sandy plain backed by high, sun-baked hills denuded of vegetation but vividly coloured by minerals in the soil, a spring reaches the surface, giving life to a green oasis. Pella’s dates are sold by mail-order to customers all over South Africa and exported to Saudi Arabia.
We then headed off to see the waterwheels in Kaimoes and visited the information office which is now housed in an old Egyption house of worship. It was so cool insite due to the very thick walls. We were now very close to the banks of the Orange river and now started seeing massive vineyards. Yes, there is a wine route up on the orange river. They also do a lot of dried fruit.
Augrabies falls was our next stop. The miggies were too terrible! They got up your nose, in your eyes and ears! The secret was to wear sun glasses, hat and keep a tissue over your nose so that you could breath without bugs! Insect repellent did not work and I believe they are there all year round! The only respite was when the wind picked up. This seemed to blow them away.
There was not a lot of water going over the falls but it was still very powerful. The gorge was spectacular. We spent two nights there, visiting all the viewing points and doing some waking too. The heat and dryness was amazing. We managed to get some spectacular photographs of some Springbok.
From Augrabies we set off toward Johannesburg via the N14. The trucks travelling this route were a nightmare and progress is erratic due to the "RY/GO'es" as lots of work is being done on the roads. A "Ry/Go" is a sign which says you can RY (drive) / Go and the other side says Stop. It is used to control traffic when the road has been reduced to one lane due to construction work on the other lane. We had a truck in front of us that hit the load on an oncoming truck, knocking something off which bounced off the road into the front of our car causing some minor damage. A nerve wracking trip.
We got to Kuruman and could not find overnight accomodation as there was some agricultural show in town so headed on to Vryberg for the night.
Next stop Johannesburg and seeing my son, his wife and little Jack. I still I had not done any drawing but instead I got to feed and burp my first grandson. Amazing how it all comes back! I was actually quite nervous as I thought I would never remember what to do!