My Southern African Road trip day 5, Monday December 2 2013- Springbok to Augrabies


Appropriately for a Monday, I woke up at 5am, packed up, and checked all my nuts and bolts.  The gear lever incident of the day before made me more vigilant.  Most of them had quite a bit of room to tighten, and also one bolt was completely gone.  Luckily I had thrown in a few spare bolts on the last minute.  And they actually fit!  So up I saddled and off I went.  But before I hit the long road, I had to get my sticker for Springbok.

SAM_2338

Appropriately up at 5am on a Monday

IMG-20131202-00638

A signal hill with a steep and angled road that Anton dared to go up once.

I found some at Springbok Lodge which opened at 7am.  Then I hit the long road.  Anton, from Springbok Caravan Park warned me that after Aggeneys, the mountains retreat and its just one very long piece of dead road.  I was worried about dying of boredom.  I was also worried that I wouldn’t have enough fuel to get to Pofadder where Anton knew for sure there was a petrol station (he wasn’t so sure about Aggeneys), so I took an extra 5 liter on my back.

IMG-20131202-00640

Starting out eastwards to Augrabies

IMG-20131202-00641

What the hell does THAT mean?

 Its not so good riding with fuel in a backpack.  It felt like I was riding with an ice block on myback.  When I got to the Aggeneys turnoff, I saw there was a sign for a petrol pump in the town.  But the town was 8 km down the road, so I was relieved that I didn’t have to go there.  Some more km down the N14, I threw in the 5 liters and then on to Pofadder, stopping of course a few times more.  Shoo, I don’t know how the Voortrekkers managed with their oxwagons on those gravel roads, and no shock absorbers accross the Kalahari.  I can see it now, the Voortrekkers trekking accross the vast plains of Kalahari gravel and bossies (bushes) in ‘n ossewa (an oxwagon), no shocks or nothing. They must have been (had) tough cookies, want my hol brand op ‘n teer pad (because my bum was burning from riding on a tar road).  Luckily, my back was ok.  Much better than my first local road trip with my Honda VFR 400.

IMG-20131202-00646

Turn towards Aggeneys

SAM_2345

kilometers upon kilometers of exquisite kalahari nothingness

IMG-20131202-00650

exquisite Kalahari

I was lucky that it was overcast, so it wasn’t very hot and other than a sore bum, it was comfortable.  It turns out that this long of road of nothingness was quite a novel experience for me so it was quite nice.  Every now and then there was a few kilometers of these hills/mountains spotted with Kalahari bushes, looking like stone heaps that were just plonked down there.  Apparantly these mountains are rich in minerals, from iron ore to platinum.  So says Anton.  I do believe its true.  There’s lots of mining going on here.  All the mountains have chunks out of them that have been blasted to hell.  The road is straight and very long.

Pofadder finally came, and as Anton said, the road widens into two lanes just at this section of the N14 that runs through Pofadder.  Classic.   Pofadder was so quiet! One would never say it was a Monday morning.  I asked the petrol attendent why it was so quiet.  He says, that by Friday the town starts Woeling (becoming lively), and the partying picks up, maar by Maandag, is die dorp weer mooi rustig (but by Monday the town is nice and quiet again).

SAM_2349

Pofadder at last!

I crossed over the road to the Petrol station on the other side, to get a sticker and to see this Ox-wagon at Pofadder Autos.  True as god, as Anton said, there’s an ox-wagon in the shop.  Its no longer a car dealer though.  There’s all kinds of oddments being sold there now.

SAM_2350

Pofadder Auto

SAM_2354

Ox-wagen inside

Then came a good enough time to get back on the road again.  The next petrol stop was many many kilometers away in Kakamas.

SAM_2359

Leaving Pofadder

IMG-20131202-00665

UFO

IMG-20131202-00657

Life in the Kalahari

IMG-20131202-00658

This is what it feels like to ride through a painting

IMG-20131202-00660

Picture Perfect

The landscape changes quite a bit as one nears Kakamas as the wine farms start springing up on the sides of the roads  in stark contrast to the desert vegetation.  I saw the turn to Augrabies, which is before Kakamas.  So I stopped to ask a guy on the side of the road where the nearest petrol station was.  He said “baie naby” (very near), “by die robot op die links” (left of the next traffic light).  His “baie naby” was 10 km later!  I had a lunch at the petrol station, filled up, and turned back towards Augrabies which was 10km back down the N14, and then right onto the R359 for about 30 km.

IMG-20131202-00669

baie naby

SAM_2372

As the Orange River wine route begins, the landscape becomes greener.

SAM_2379

wine farm near Kakamas

SAM_2374

Turn for Augrabies

I found a sign along the road for Augrabies backpackers unexpectedly after about 20 km, and was relieved to realize that there was a budget option.  The actual backpackers turned out to be a twisty kilometer or so down a piece of dirt road.  Its nice and isolated from the main road and quiet-ish.  On the property, there were lots of blooming fruit trees, and decent rooms.  They also had free wi-fi (with in reason-told to me by Cade the youngster running the place).  They are not in the current coast to coast, but they are in the alternative route.

SAM_2469

Blooming figs at Augrabies backpackers

SAM_2466

blooming grapes at Augrabies backpackers

SAM_2468

blooming oranges at Augrabies backpackers

After settling in and asking the Cade about what there was to do in Augrabies, he explained to me how to get to the Augrabies Falls National Park and that anything can be arranged from there.  So I went, and booked a game drive and then went to see the waterfall.  They call it Augrabies after the bushman word for “place of great noise”.  And it IS a place of great noise of the nicest kind.  Staring down from one of the lookouts at the thundering waterfall, I imagined what it must be like to fall into it.  You’ll be smashed to smithereens and whipped to a frothy pink pulp.  This waterfall was definitely one of the most beautiful natural things I’ve seen in my life.

SAM_2381

Finally there 🙂

SAM_2394

Quiver tree in Augrabies National Park

SAM_2382

walkway to the waterfall

IMG-20131202-00672

Augrabies main waterfall. There are no words …

Later, the game drive didn’t disappoint.  It was hard to see animals, we saw a few from a distance, a little giraffe, a few kudu, and Eland, a couple of very cute haasies (hares), klipspringers a spotted owl, and what the ranger said seemed to be a little fox.  What fascinated me the most was the landscape! You can see it on pictures, you can see it on tv, but to be in it is surreal.  The desert is so so so so beautiful.  There are no words to describe how I felt to be inside it.  The red gravel sand not completely covered by green, red and yellow bushes, and the golden bushes dressing the black rock pile hills.  The smell rising up from the yellow kalahari bushes after a gentle drizzle.  I will have to go back there again, when the season is open for it, to do a 3 day hike through the Kalahari.  Its too hot now and Cade told me that the season for hiking probably just closed.

IMG-20131202-00683ac

Dusk over the alluring desert

IMG-20131202-00679

giraffe in the national park

IMG-20131202-00681

can you spot the haasie (hare)?

SAM_2445ac

alluring landscape

SAM_2440ac

alluring landscape

The game drive was at night.  If I did it again, I’d rather do it in the morning.  At night, they shine spotlights on the animals which makes the animals run away.  They also allow people to do a certain part of the game drive in their own cars.  Motorbikes are not allowed unfortunately.  Riding back in the dark was a bit daunting, especially since there signage to the backpacker was not so good, but I managed, one km at a time, going slowly.  Once back, I played a couple of game of pool with Cade and then went to bed. He was soul alone there.  I was the only person staying there at the time.

3 thoughts on “My Southern African Road trip day 5, Monday December 2 2013- Springbok to Augrabies

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s