Heine's Ramblings and Rumblings

2005/12 Richtersveld

Richtersveld December 2005

Day 1 27 December Home to Upington

We met at 5 am on the N14 near Krugersdorp , destination Upington

After an uneventful journey we arrived at 3 pm . Not having booked in anywhere, I used the find function an the gps and we decided to give Die Eiland a try. It cost us R96 for 6 people , so we were a bit apprehensive . But it turned out to be OK , with not bad facilities . It is a local hangout , however , so don’t expect a peaceful campsite .

Upington was very hot , peaking at 40 Degrees , and it was still 25 at 10 pm

Day 2 28 December Upington to Klein Pella

We decided that we would leave early and have breakfast at Augrabies
Falls
. As we arrived at the park entrance , my landy cut out and wouldn’t
start again . We changed the fuel filter , and checked that there was fuel at
the injectors , but no luck . We decided to tow the landy to the falls and look
at it when it cooled down .

After taking in the falls and having what had become lunch , Eric suggested
that we change the crank sensor , as it is a fairly common problem on the M52
motor .

This unfortunately didn’t help , so we opened the instrument cluster to check
the ECU connections . Again no luck . Eventually Eric discovered faulty connector
block
  on the loom which he cleaned up . So far so good , and we made Klein
Pella campsite
  just after 3 pm .

Day 3 29 December Klein Pella – Ramansdrif

First off – no problems with the car today . Let’s hope it stays like this
. We left Klein Pella at 6:30 to beat the heat . We first drove to Pella 
to do some sightseeing and then started the Namakwa trail . We planned to camp
at Groot Melkboom , but when we got there the spot was taken . We then drove
to Goodhouse  , only to learn that there was no suitable campsite . We backtracked to Ramansdrif 
, arriving at about 1:30 . We found a nice campsite right on the river and spent
the rest of the day swimming and parking off as the temperature was above 40
the whole day .

We were a bit concerned about getting out of the river bed again , as the slope
is quite steep and very sandy . But that was tomorrow’s problem

Day 04 30 December Ramansdrif – Vioolsdrif

Getting out the river was easy enough . We had an easy drive to Vioolsdrif
where we booked in at Fiddlers Creek campsite 

. The campsite was very pleasant , and we spent quite a lot of time swimming in the river . Phillip and Geoff swam across to visit Namibia
.

Unfortunately some of the locals had a birthday party planned for the evening , and the campsite soon filled up . A band was setting up for the New Years bash tomorrow . Some idiots stayed up until 3 in the morning having a singsong .

Day 05 31 December Vioolsdrif – Brandkaros

We all woke up pretty pissed off with the neighbors . We left fairly early again to beat the heat . The road was like a rocky roller coaster with the car in front suddenly disappearing to pop up again a few meters later . It was also very hot , with most of the cars coming very close to overheating .

As we got closer to the coast , we noticed at big drop in temperature with
it dropping from 40 plus to around 25 .

We actually made a fire that night and wore jackets  , even the temperature was still in the 20’s , it felt like winter to us

We decided to switch to Namibian time and celebrated New Year early because
everyone was so tired , we were all asleep by 11 PM .

Day 06 1 January Brandkaros – De Hoop

We had a fairly late start , mainly because it was much cooler and we could
stay in bed after sunup . Michele was convinced her malaria from our Mozambique
trip the previous year had returned , but it just turned out to be a very severe
hang over caused by too much Amarula

We entered the RNP and headed towards Potjiespram  which was our destination for the first night . The campsite wasn’t bad , with fairly new ablutions and nice tree cover , but it was miles from the river .We decided to press on to De Hoop which was our stop over for the second night . The 50 or so k’s to De Hoop was the best driving of the entire trip , with plenty of riverbed driving and rocky inclines . It took us just short of 2 hours to get to De Hoop , and then it was situation normal . Find what shade you could and wait for the sun to go down .

I measured the temperature of the sand at 4 PM and it was still at 68 degrees Celsius .

Although there were showers (unheated), we all washed in the river because
the water coming out of them was hotter than anyone could handle .

Day 07 2 January De Hoop – Port Nolloth

At a family meeting held last night we all decided that it was just too hot
to stay in the Richtersveld – I did’t even feel like drinking beer ! , so we
all voted to drive to Port Nolloth and spend the night at the McDougal’s campsite
.

The drive out the park was again nice and challenging , with the temperature
reaching 44 degrees by 9:30 AM .

We got to Port Nolloth at about 12 PM and after booking in at the campsite
, spent the afternoon playing pool in the local bar and doing a bit of sight
seeing
.

On returning to the campsite , the wind had picked up and it was freezing cold.

I suggested that we book into the hotel for the night , which everyone quickly
agreed to . We also ended up having supper there as nothing else was open .

Day 08 3 January Port Nolloth – Oranjerus

After a nice breakfast at the hotel , we left Port Nolloth – destination Upington
or thereabouts .

Eric radioed me just before Springbok to mention that he was seeing puffs of
smoke coming from my car every few minutes . We decided to refuel in Springbok
and I found a garage with a workshop . After filling up , we asked to borrow
his pit .

Upon getting under the car , we noticed that a t-piece that had been plumbed
into the oil cooler pipe for the gearbox had worked it’s way loose . Because
it was too difficult to tighten in place , we decided to leave it as is and
just keep an eye on the oil level . It was just as well that we stopped when
we did , because the gearbox took almost 2 l of oil .

We found a nice campsite just before Upington called Oranjerus .

Day 09 04 January Oranjerus – Home

We continued on to Vryburg , where, after lunch , we left the group behind
as they had decided to camp there for the night . We arrived home at about 6
PM , in a huge rainstorm – quite a contrast to what we had experienced for the
past week

Participants

Eric and Anne

Phillip and Karin

Heine and Michele

Geoff

Total Distance covered 3050 km

In closing I would like to say that although the scenery was awesome and the
locals very friendly – we totally chose the wrong time of the year . It was
in the 40’s everyday and even at night the temperature rarely dropped below
28 .

The stars and moon were bright enough to read by , and I think if you time
it for after the rains , it will be one of the most beautiful places to visit
in South Africa

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