Day 1 – 31 July 2013 – Cape Town road trip to Namibia, camping alongside the Orange River (20km from the border) at Amanzi Trails, Noordoewer, Namibia – Coordinates for Amanzi Trails: S28 41.995 E17 31.989 – Distance: 719 km – Duration: 8 hours 34 mins
Trip Report –
Ian and I left Cape Town in the morning at 10, after the late night of checking and rechecking that we had everything.
We made a bit of a detour via Durbanville to stop in at Outdoor Warehouse to pick up a “flat pack” hosepipe which is small, easy enough to store as it rolls into a flat ball. It will come in handy when needing to fill up our water tanks.
The road from Cape Town to Namibia along the N7 is known as the Namibian Route as it’s a direct, straight link from the one to the other. There are enough fuel stations along the way with a ‘one stop shop’ and the usual wimpy restaurant within them.
We stopped for “brunch on the road” just outside Melkboss for a quick cuppa and toasted sandwich takeaway, here: https://goo.gl/maps/06WxA
There were quite a few road works along the N7, and these have been going on for the past year or two, moving up to the area from Citrusdale to Clanwilliam Dam and again after Springbok for a few kilometres. We ended up having 3 x 20 min stops where they were fixing up longer pieces of road. We were on holiday, so we took the time to relax, stretch our legs at times and chat.
We stopped for our second pit stop at the garage just outside Klawer. It’s a nice garage, and we always make sure to make a quick stop when passing it.
Follow the following link if you would like to see where this garage is:
We were back on the road in under 20 mins with our music filling our ears, often with us singing along. The landscape on either side of the road as we travelled further North was spectacular with the fields of white, yellow, blue, orange, red or purple flowers in their full Spring bloom. Namaqualand and the area around it are well known for its annual spring flowers which blossom for all our pleasure.
We stopped in the town of Springbok to top up on diesel and to get a quick meal before heading towards the border as we knew we’d still be on the road for a while.
The following link is for KFC in Springbok:
We meet some fellow travellers, at one of the roadworks STOP/GO’s, they were on their way into Western Namibia and told up about their travels last year where they had headed into Khaudum where we were heading. In the short time at the stop, they managed to share some of their experiences, danger warnings and their plans for their trip ahead of them. They were following a journey written by a travelling man who’d written his self-drive book. They gave me something to be very concerned about as they mentioned we’d be passing the area where the once famous GPS coordinate plotter for Garmin had died. He had ventured, as we were, into the unknown and had befriended a local who had turned on him the next day. We were excited about what lay ahead of us on this journey into the northeastern part of Namibia.
We arrived at the Vioolsdrift Border Control (South African side) just as the sun was setting behind the mountains. The border post went well; our passports got stamped, we filled out the necessary forms, and we drove over the “no man’s land” bridge that joins South Africa, over the Orange river and into Namibia. The Namibian, Noordoewer border post was still undergoing some building renovations, and we were fortunate enough only to have a handful of people in front of us. We waited our turn to go through all the offices, filling out the forms and requirements needed to pass through. It didn’t take too long, and we were on our way into the heart and deep in my soul of Africa as it should be in all its vastness of the beautiful land. The people, landscape, cultures, sea, fishing, mountains, sand dunes, wild horses, ghost towns, canyons, hot springs, rivers, animals, birds and millions upon millions of stars are a few of the things we love about Namibia. It also helps, that it’s ‘rand for rand’ as they accept our South African currency, and we don’t require a visa. We are once again, able to enjoy our adventures in Namibia while spending our vacation on earth.
A note on the border post that interested me: When you arrive in a vehicle, it’s standard procedure that everyone of that vehicle gets stamped in or out, one after the other, even if they walk through the door after you, the taxi full of people will all get helped together. It is a fair way to deal with it; it’s their way.
Tips to remember: Passports, cash for paying your road levy fee, fill out any SARS forms that prove your possessions you’re taking out of SA don’t get charged SARS for when you leave Namibia for SA again. Also, remember, if you are paying off or hiring a car, then you’re required to have a letter of permission from them. Make sure your vehicle insurance covers you while you are on your travels. It’s wise to carry a copy of your car’s registration document with you. Remember as well that you are only allowed in Namibia, as a South African citizen for 90 days, visa-free ~ make sure you don’t overstay the days as it will result in a fine when you want to leave again. Rather put a lengthier intended time on your document in case of problems you may encounter vehicle wise that may prolong your stay. You also need the first address where you’ll be staying in Namibia as this has to be filled out in your border crossing forms.
We arrived at Amanzi Trails, our campsite for the next two days. It was a little later in the evening than expected but we were there, reconnecting with our friends with a drink in our hands while catching up around the campfire before retiring to our bed. Our bed is above our Hilux, known to us as GEM; it is an Alu-cab rooftop tent. With the beautiful Orange River, we were overlooking, it was tranquillity at its best and absolute bliss!
Amanzi Trails offers a well-equipped campsite on the banks of the Orange River, canoeing trips, clean ablution facilities, millions of stars to view at night, their friendly border collie dogs that hang around and the wonderful staff and hosts. It was so good to be back here at Amanzi Trails.
Click on the Google map link below if you would like to see the route we travelled from Cape Town to our destination of Amanzi trails – today’s road trip
Day 2 – 01 August 2013 ~ Amanzi Trails, Noordoewer, Namibia
We woke up to a perfect day on the river. There wasn’t a breath of wind, and the sun was just popping its head out on the eastern horizon. The birds were singing and getting active along the rivers edge. It was tranquillity to a T as the day began its slow start. Our roof top tent had been more than comfortable for the two of us to sleep in last night and we were fresh to start our adventures for the day.
The four of us enjoyed a cuppa and some breakfast before setting off at around 10 am on our canoe trip down the river. Robin had organised with Amanzi Trails that they would take us 15 kilometres up the river by road, almost to the border post. They dropped us off with the inflatable kayaks as well as a cooler box with some water, ice, a cold drink, a packet of chips and some peanuts for each of us. It was our snack pack for the river and incredibly kind of them and was greatly appreciated.
We were warned not to take our time with canoeing down the river at the beginning, as they said the wind would start coming up around midday, making it harder to paddle ourselves back to camp. We experience all the river had to offer us. It is just so beautiful, peaceful and tranquil!
Ian with the Richtersveld National Park mountain range in South Africa on the left of him and Namibia on his right.
Here I am, paddling down the Orange River with a huge smile on my face.
We made a pit stop on a little island, made up of soft, white river. We were grateful to stretch our legs, relax our arms and to have a nice cold drink.
We hadn’t stopped for long, and the wind started to come up. We knew we were still quite far up the river with a possible 2 hours of paddling to get back to our campsite, so the guys took over the back position, and we all got stuck in to make a real headway downriver, back to our camp. We had great fun going down the small rapids which you can hear way before you see them. It is an incredible feeling when the force of the water in the river propels you forward while swirling and churning underneath you with a loud gushing sound as the water rushes over the river rocks below us.
The scenery from the river is spectacularly beautiful with the Richtersveld National Park running along the South African side with its magical mountainside, colours of red and brown rocks that catch the sun from sunrise to sunset and reeds along its banks. Then the river itself with all its different sections of farmlands, the variety of cattle, vineyards and guest lodges or campsites scattered here or there. You feel you’re alone in the world, taking in the sounds that are far from white, traffic noise. It is blissful hearing the birds call, watching them sitting in the reeds along the banks and soaring high above us. As you approach the Amanzi campsite, the scenery seems to get just that bit more breathtaking with the boulders/mountain on the South African side which bulges out and over the river where one can touch it, admire the rock formations and paddle “under” it. It was well worth taking the time to relax a bit more before heading across the river to our campsite.
The view of South Africa from the Orange River.
Look carefully at this picture and you will see the debris left behind on top of the rock that is on the river. It gives you a good indication of the height and the vastness of flooding which has happened in the area. This area is also, almost right across the way from the Amanzi Trails campsite which itself has experienced being flooded a few times in the past.
A closer picture of the rock with branch debris on it, from the last flooding of the Orange River
I made this youtube video of us paddling down the river from our footage which we took with our Sony cell phone. It shows us in action with some of the fun we had. I apologise for the quality of the video, but it will give you a good idea of our fun time on the river.
We arrived back at the campsite around lunch time where we were pleasantly surprised to find our other friends there. Jo, Belinda and Florian had come early as we only expected to meet up with them the next day. It ended up being a lovely afternoon, relaxing around the campfire while catching up with each other and planning our next day and other days of travel ahead of us. We had a good meal and a good few drinks and still managed to get an early night as we were planning to start our road trip as soon as possible the next morning. Over the next few days, we had to cover a few thousand kilometres to get to the places we wanted to reach. To travel some roads not yet travelled by ourselves as well as some new routes which are yet to be on maps or our GPS. We were going to be going, off the beaten track at times.
What happened the next morning.
Our friends, Jo and Belinda realised that they had diesel leaking our of their Landy. It was dripping from somewhere!
All the guys had their chance to lie on their with their backs on the grass while looking up at the tank, cleaning away the drips and trying to see where it was. They all had a chance to voice their opinions and men being men; they made a plan to slow down the flow. It wasn’t perfect, but it did the trick, and we managed to get on the road. We were hoping not to have any serious vehicle dramas along the way. That is undeniably always a problem, some time or other, your car cries out for tender loving care or finds a way to alter your journey ~ That we had our fair share of further into our trip!
Our journey continues, to Quivertree Forest, which is in the area of Keetmanshoop, Namibia.
For more pictures of the Orange River and Amanzi Trails Camp, please visit my Photo Gallery where you’ll be able to view our various vacations on earth, over the years, at this particular place. We have camped at Amanzi Trails a few times and had some lovely stays in their chalet with its natural outside bathroom.
It is a magical place!
We’d like to take this opportunity to Thank Amanzi Trails for their hospitality and for the fabulous campsite accommodation that they provide.
Amanzi Trails River adventures and campsite
Noordoewer, Southern Namibia
S 28 41,065’
E 17 31,962’
Cape Town, Tel: +27 (0)21 559 1573 (RSA)
Namibia, Tel: +264 (0)63 297 255