Cape Town to Noordoewer
The pre-holiday feeling of pure excitement for the journey ahead had come to a head. The cross-questioning oneself and cross checking the checklists to make sure all the important stuff were ticked off and packed. I made sure that there weren’t any unneeded things packed that would just end up clogging the sacred space we have in our VW California Beach campervan.
I left Cape Town on Sunday, 27 December, an hour before sunrise to miss the town traffic. Heading North into Namibia where my destination for the night would be at Amanzi River Camp in Noordoewer, not far from the Border Post. I would be driving 1 500 kilometres and doing three one night stops until I reached Windhoek where I’d be fetching my hubby from the airport. Ian was flying in, straight from work on the 30 December 2015.
With my playlist of music flowing from one classic song to the next, my thoughts were running wild from one thing to the next. My eyes were absorbing all the natural beauty around me as my journey progressed.
I was so happy to see that all the stop and go roadwork areas were open due to it being between Christmas and New Year, and everyone was on holiday. On our return home three weeks later we experienced many 15 – 20 minuite stops between Vioolsdrift and Springbok area.
Clanwilliam Dam is still in the process of having the dam wall raised by 10m. One day the road I was on, along with the campsite across the way, some farmlands and lots of fynbos scattered with boulders and rocky outcrop caves, will all be underwater. A utopia for the fish who will end up with a bigger playground and for the locals with a substantially larger water storage facility.
Vioolsdrift Border Post in South Africa
I arrived at the main gate, got my vehicle check slip that indicates the process you need to go through before exiting the Border into Namibia.
A dozen people were waiting their turn at the first counter. I had my turn and was told to move on to counter number two. At counter two, I was informed that I needed to go back to counter one before proceeding as the lady hadn’t stamped my vehicle checklist slip. The above happened to quite a few others which made us all a little frustrated. How could they not know what to all get done with you before sending you off to the next counter?
There were already a dozen new people who had arrived and were waiting for their turn at the first counter. I wanted to go straight to the front of the queue but felt that one can’t just jump to the front of the line. On trying, I looked around, and there were twelve sets of eyes staring me down. Someone who had the same thing happen to them told me to join them as they were very close to the front. Which I gratefully did.
A family was standing to one side. The parents were looking quite stressed, and their two daughters looked very bored. They were calling a friend to help them as they didn’t have their 17-year-old daughters Unabridged Birth Certificate with them. They needed it to be faxed through to the South African Border Post so they could continue through into Namibia.
It didn’t take too long, and I was through the Vioolsdrift Border, driving on the bridge, over the Orange River which divides South Africa to Namibia.
Noordoewer Border Post
I arrived at the border post thinking there are only a dozen or so people in front of me as the South African side hadn’t been too bad.
I couldn’t believe it! Noordoewer wasn’t handling the influx of visitors they were getting through today. It was just past lunch time and the hottest time of the day. The queue snaked its way across the tar area between the incoming and the outgoing visitors buildings. It then doubled back on itself and had a long tail that was getting forever longer as more people arrived. A high steel roof kept the boiling sun directly off some of us, but it couldn’t keep the high afternoon heat away.
It didn’t dampen the festive spirit, but it did mean that a lot of people would not be making it to their destination for that night.
A lot of patience was necessary. Some people went to fetch their camping chairs. There was lots of chatting going on between everyone while others were quietly reading. The line was moving so slowly, and frustration began creeping in after about an hour and a half of standing around.
I was only a few steps from reaching the door when the family I had seen organising their paperwork in South Africa arrived. Their friends were in the queue in front of me. It was so lucky for them that they had sorted their problem out and still make it in time to meet their friends. To my surprise, they kindly let me into the office before the eight of them.
Once inside the building, the process felt like it went relatively fast. I received a raised eyebrow from the gentleman across the counter after he wanted to know why I was travelling alone. He was a little shocked as to why my husband would be flying in while I’m driving up by myself.
I was through and so grateful to be on my way again.
I stopped at the closest garage which is only a few kilometres away from the border post. I was only looking for an MTC cell phone sim card, but they had sold out, so I moved on. The next garage along my journey would be around Keetmanshoop which for me was still to be two days away!