My Southern African Roadtrip day 3, Saturday 30 November 2013 – Bitterfontein To Springbok


The overnight in Bitterfontein was quite nice, especially after that hard day of riding.  John and Dawn who run Dawn Ridge guest house are the nicest couple of people that side of the Cape.  She’s nearly 80 and he’s nearly 70, they look quite good for their age.  Would you believe that Dawn still does all the cleaning and between them they do all the catering for their guests?  Its a very homely place to be.

Dawn and John are bikers too, even Dawn, only she stopped riding a while ago.  John had just sold his scooter and was looking for a new bike.  They say that the afrikaners, their fellow townfolk are very racist and even towards them were very unwelcoming and jealous about them running a sucessful guesthouse.  Its only after 8 years that they started making friends in the community when they joined a church.  Dawn says its necessary to be a member of the church because anything can happen to them and if they need to be buried, they’ll need a priest.  So thats why the finally joined the local church.

They also have some to say about the coloureds.  The coloured area is quite seperate from (and alot poorer than) the white area.  The say the coloureds are quite nice and harmless, like naughty children really.  Drinking, not working, sitting around, basically out for just a jolly good old time, and really there’s not work for them here.  Bitterfontein is 100km away from Vredendal which is the nearest town to find a decent supermarket to do some affordable shopping.  John drives some coloured folk there at a charge much less than the local taxis.

Dawn is a total sweety pie.  She told me some stories of the strange things the local afrikaners did to try to get rid of them.  the likes of throwing scorpions on their stoep, one which stung her causing her to nearly die.  A cobra got thrown on her stoep too.  Another local coming there to ask to buy a bottle of brandy, insisting that they should have some alcohol to sell.  She thinks they were trying to catch them trading alcohol illegally.  Then a couple of other strange stories about men pitching up there with young girls wanting to rent a room for a couple of hours, and also men coming there asking if they get a ‘girl’ with the room.  Sigh.  Lots of interesting tales.

The house is surrounded by plants which are not normally able to survive in these parts.  She really has a good hand with them.  After a hearty breakfast, I packed and prepared to set off back on the way to Springbok.  But alas, the flat battery problem delayed me a bit.  John luckily had a garage full of handy stuff, including a car battery which we used to jump start my bike.  Once it started, I decided to cancel my plans of seeing what there is to see in Bitterfontein and just head north on the long road straight away to charge the battery.

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Dawn and John from Dawn Ridge Guesthouse

As one crosses into the Northern cape, the landscape goes through a dramatic change.  Lots of  half worn down mountains, almost balding.  No more flat lands with only desert bushes.  Everywhere is green, despite the desert.

I stopped in Garies for petrol and did a bit of a walk down the short main street.  The town is nice and bright.  Lots of coloured Volkies (folk) just hanging about.  Two ‘drankwinkels’ in that one short main road, a loan shark and, 2 petrol stations, 2 or 3 guest houses, a police station, and a couple of grocery shops.  I’m not sure what the people do for work there, because there seems to be nothing really around.  But they are driving really nice cars.  I found it quite fascinating.  I had a bit of a snack there and carried on.

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Killer maltese living in Garies. Watch out!

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Welcome to Garies

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Garies main street

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Garies

I took a sho’t right to Kamieskroon.  There’s a nice caravan park there, which I may think about staying at if I’m ever on this side of the world again.  I made a turn at the petrol station, to top up, but they were completely closed (at 11am).  All the pumps with apologies pasted on them.  There was no petrol.  So on I went for 60 more km to Springbok.  Kamieskroon looks very very nice/cute/quaint/bright/relaxed.

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Sho’t right to Kamieskroon

The 60 kms were breathtaking, balding rolling hills, green and yellow and red bushes dotting the landscape.  Cows relaxing on open patches, some sheep, dirt roads darting off to destinations with the most imagination inspiring names.

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Scenery to Springbok

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The road to Springbok

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Balding mountains

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Intersection

I arrived in Springbok just after midday.  There are lots of signboards coming into the town.

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Welcome to Springbok

The info center was closed in Springbok.  Apparantly, Saturdays are much like Sundays.  Not much open in the town.  Even the backpackers next to the Shell garage where I filled up with petrol (and my packed lunch from Dawn Ridge) also looked closed.  On John and Dawn’s advice I contacted Springbok Caravan park and they had a little room available and several camp spots.  I was very tempted to camp.  The surface is nice grass which is perfect.  But once I saw the room and put my stuff down, I was sold for comfort over adventure.  The relaxing day of riding gave me renewed courage to tackle the road to Kleinsee the next day.  There was sure to be a whole lot dirt to ride there.  The tar road was becoming a bit monotonous.

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Feet up after at Springbok Caravan Park after a pleasant day of riding.

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