Richtersveld and Namakwa

Please share information about trips you have done
User avatar
iandvl
Patrolman 1000+
Patrolman 1000+
Posts: 1718
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:26
Full Name: Ian de Villiers
Nickname: Ian
Home Town: Garsfontein
Current 4x4: Nissan Patrol 4.5 GRX
Home Language: English
Has thanked: 257 times
Been thanked: 437 times

Richtersveld and Namakwa

Post by iandvl »

I'm going to take a while to get started on this as I've got to explain a few things first....

A few times over the last few years, I've gathered that I really have a love affair with the more desert areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. I think these areas originally resonated with me when I first hit the Kalahari dunes at Transboegoe along with the Patrol Forum back in 2015. This was before the time that I tended to type up any of my thoughts, but later things changed, and I started typing some stuff.

In May, 2018, I hit the Namakwa eco trail with a bunch of fantastic people. Ron's trip report is here: https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/sh ... th-a-Twist. Mine is here: http://www.patrol4x4.co.za/viewtopic.php?f=57&p=97595. I was travelling with my family, and it was a great experience.

In October, 2018, the Patrol Forum did its dune trip at Goerapan. This was an epic event - there was a GTR present. There was a racing Navara present. There were even drag races and similar. Most of it was published in some or other magazine back at that time. I was travelling on my own and decided not to be there for the entire time. I left early, and I headed out to Namibia on my own... A poorly worded trip report is here: viewtopic.php?f=57&t=8060.

Following this, I arranged a subsequent trip to the West Coast and Namibia in December, 2018. It was a difficult trip. The estranged wife (nowadays, ex-wife) reneged on her agreement to do holiday elsewhere, and it resulted in a trip of 3.5K kilos "met die TV wat nie werk nie". In short: I'd have rather travelled on my own. Trip report is here. viewtopic.php?f=57&t=8172

Last year, I had the privilege of doing work in Nam, and spent three weeks there. My trip report is here: viewtopic.php?f=57&t=8536

In any case, the Namakwa trip was special in that I realised what is out there. The other three trips had me either peering at the Richtersveld from across the river, or actually camping there. And I needed to go back...

And there we were. My folks anxious to be getting out again after the lockdown. Myself and SO, with severe cases of FOMO and it is the COVID year 2020 in any case.... So, we made it happen...

The idea was originally to simply hit the Richtersveld. However, since we were around the corner, we decided to do Namakwa as well. And I'm happy about that. 90% of the cost comes from the fuel in any case...

So, this specific post is a place holder for my trip report. It's been more than two weeks, and we've done a lot, so I'll be posting as I get time. But it has been epic. And it has been awesome. And in terms of the camping ? Every single time we've hit a camp site - be it the Richtersveld, or be it the coastal section of the Namakwa park - we've been 100% the only people there. :)

In any case, the total trip length (for myself at least) has been almost 4000km. The odometer of the truck is sitting at 3962-point-something as I speak, but I've not reconciled this with the GPS. I shall do so at some point...
ROUTE-2.png
ROUTE-2.png (1.07 MiB) Viewed 616 times
ROUTE-1.png
ROUTE-1.png (509.05 KiB) Viewed 616 times
Basic itinerary is as follows:

06 November: Potch
07 November: Witsand (Chalet)
08 November: Springbok (Chalet)
09 November: Vioolsdrif (Camp)
10 November: Fluorspar Valley (Camp)
11 November: Potjiespram (Camp)
12 November: Kokerboomkloof (Camp)
13 November: Sendelingsdrif (Camp)
14 November: McDougall's Bay (Camp)
15 November: Hondeklipbaai (Chalet)
16 November: Boulderbay (Camp)
17 November: Kwass se baai (Camp)
18 November: Groenriviermond (Camp)
19 November: Prieska (Chalet)
20 November: Redsands (Chalet)
21 November: Pretoria

Highlights, for me at least, were Kokerboomkloof as well as Kwass se Baai. Also, the view from the Tatasberg in the Richtersveld trans-frontier park. I've posted photos as teasers.
kkk.JPG
kkk.JPG (420.26 KiB) Viewed 616 times
kwass.jpg
kwass.jpg (313.57 KiB) Viewed 616 times
tatas.JPG
tatas.JPG (224.07 KiB) Viewed 616 times
Vehicles: Two Nissan Patrol 4.5 GRX'es. In short, there will be a petrol shortage in the area for a bit.
People: My folks, Hilary and Danie. My lady friend, Liana, and myself.

Next up when I have the time ? Day 1...

User avatar
Peter Connan
Moderator
Posts: 6366
Joined: 10 Sep 2010 07:21
Full Name: Peter Connan
Nickname: Piet
Home Town: Kempton Park
Current 4x4: 1996 Patrol 4.5SGL
Home Language: Afrikaans
Location: Kempton Park
Has thanked: 744 times
Been thanked: 694 times

Re: Richtersveld and Namakwa

Post by Peter Connan »

Waiting in eager anticipation.
Mag ons ons kenniskry met lekkerkry aanhoukry.

User avatar
Oetie
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 279
Joined: 13 Jan 2014 15:21
Full Name: Leon Fouche
Nickname: Oetie
Home Town: Rooihuiskraal, Centurion
Current 4x4: 2009 TD42T Patrol
Home Language: Afrikaans
Has thanked: 285 times
Been thanked: 96 times

Re: Richtersveld and Namakwa

Post by Oetie »

I am brewing a fresh pot of coffee for this report!!
One life, live it to the fullest!!
ORRA - L65
HAM - ZS6LEF

Tlou - 2009 Patrol TD42T

User avatar
Tinus lotz
Moderator
Posts: 8211
Joined: 29 Aug 2010 13:07
Full Name: Tinus lotz
Nickname: Tinus lotz
Home Town: Centurion
Current 4x4: Nissan patrol 4.8 GRX 2005

Toyota 2.7 legend 35 LWB 4X4
Home Language: Afrikaans
Has thanked: 753 times
Been thanked: 483 times

Re: Richtersveld and Namakwa

Post by Tinus lotz »

Ag nee ou ....nou kyk ek elke 5min of jy al weer goed geplak het 😶

User avatar
iandvl
Patrolman 1000+
Patrolman 1000+
Posts: 1718
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:26
Full Name: Ian de Villiers
Nickname: Ian
Home Town: Garsfontein
Current 4x4: Nissan Patrol 4.5 GRX
Home Language: English
Has thanked: 257 times
Been thanked: 437 times

Re: Richtersveld and Namakwa

Post by iandvl »

Sorry mense. Gaan my rukkie vat om te pos. Dit sal oor die volgende paar dae gebeur... :)

User avatar
iandvl
Patrolman 1000+
Patrolman 1000+
Posts: 1718
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:26
Full Name: Ian de Villiers
Nickname: Ian
Home Town: Garsfontein
Current 4x4: Nissan Patrol 4.5 GRX
Home Language: English
Has thanked: 257 times
Been thanked: 437 times

Re: Richtersveld and Namakwa

Post by iandvl »

Day 01 - Pretoria to Potchfstroom
DAY-01.png
DAY-01.png (698.49 KiB) Viewed 558 times
Distance: 176km
Moving Time: 2h07

On retrospect, I imagine I should probably not have included this in my trip report, as it was merely a quick drive through to Potchefstroom to meet up with my folks. The following day was when the trip would really start as we would be leaving the next day from Potch. Anyways, I mentioned it in the original post, so here we go...

Following work, Liana and I hit the road in the Patrol, refuelling at the filling station between Pretoria and Krugersdorp. Route taken was Pretoria -> Krugersdorp -> Randfontein via the N14, and then Potchefstroom via the N12. Got to Potch relatively early. Nothing particularly interesting on the road (hence my stupidity in including it in the original overview). Ate dinner with the folks and then an early night so that we could an early start the next day.

User avatar
iandvl
Patrolman 1000+
Patrolman 1000+
Posts: 1718
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:26
Full Name: Ian de Villiers
Nickname: Ian
Home Town: Garsfontein
Current 4x4: Nissan Patrol 4.5 GRX
Home Language: English
Has thanked: 257 times
Been thanked: 437 times

Re: Richtersveld and Namakwa

Post by iandvl »

Day 02 - Potchefstroom to Witsand
DAY-02.png
DAY-02.png (682.72 KiB) Viewed 554 times
Distance: 598km
Moving Time: 7h40

We woke up early, and headed out of Potch on the N12. Travelled Klerksdorp, Wolmaranstad, Schweizer-Reneke and joined up with the N14 again at Vryburg, where we put in fuel at Mams. After having a cup of coffee, we headed further West. Kuruman and Kathu were behind us when we reached Olifantshoek. Shortly after this, there is a dirt road off to the left marked "Witsand". Road condition is good. A bit of "sinkplaat" at the start, but really nothing to worry about... There has been a lot of rain in the area, and there were huge puddles in the road. Seeing puddles of water in the road in this area has been a first for me... :) We arrived at Witsand around 14h30, and were checked into our chalets quickly and professionally...

For those who have not been to Witsand before, it is a gem. Tidy, well-priced and beautiful. The chalets sleep six people and consist of three buildings surrounding a paved, central braai area. One building contains two sleeping rooms. One building contains the ablutions and another sleeping room. The third building is a lounge / kitchen.

Having been there regularly, my folks decided to relax at the chalet. As Liana had not been there before, we took a drive to look around.

We first stopped and checked out the Southern view point before climbing the "Brulsand". A funny thing occurred on the walk up to the view point. There was a lizard with it's tail sticking out of a hole. I was intrigued, and tried to see what had caught the lizard. I ws peering at it from several angles when it suddently freed itself and came running between my legs at speed. Got the fright of my life... Shortly thereafter, some very weird, reptilian creature stuck its head out of the hole before disappearing again. In short, I presume that the lizard was on its way to becoming a meal for the hole-dweller.

Following this, we checked out the viewpoint on the Northern side. Here, things are interesting, as there are old boer fortifications if one climbs to the top of the hill on the left hand side. We also checked out the bird hide. Interestingly enough, the infographic at this viewpoint mentions the "versamel voels" which one finds all over the place in this area. It also mentions that a regular co-dweller of the sociable weaver nests is the pygmy falcon. So great was our surprise to actually see a pygmy falcon hanging out at the weavers' nests to the left of the walk way to the bird hide. Sadly, the falcon did not seem to be interested in hyaving his picture taken, as he would disappear every time I produced my camera, but he was regularly there, so I guess it is his spot...

Later that night as we were braaiing, a civet cat appeared. We ate and then crawled into bed.
01.jpg
01.jpg (189.71 KiB) Viewed 554 times
02.jpg
02.jpg (399.09 KiB) Viewed 554 times
03.jpg
03.jpg (491.85 KiB) Viewed 554 times
04.JPG
04.JPG (192.45 KiB) Viewed 554 times
05.JPG
05.JPG (174.71 KiB) Viewed 554 times

User avatar
iandvl
Patrolman 1000+
Patrolman 1000+
Posts: 1718
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:26
Full Name: Ian de Villiers
Nickname: Ian
Home Town: Garsfontein
Current 4x4: Nissan Patrol 4.5 GRX
Home Language: English
Has thanked: 257 times
Been thanked: 437 times

Re: Richtersveld and Namakwa

Post by iandvl »

Day 03 - Witsand to Springbok
DAY-03.png
DAY-03.png (679.04 KiB) Viewed 540 times
Distance: 589km
Moving Time: 6h27

I woke up with some bad news... I seemed to have a puncture in the back left tyre, as the tyre was considerably flatter than I had left it the fday before.... A quick evaluation of it showed that I had picked up a tek screw. I presume this must have been when I was doing some maintenance on the tent prior to leaving Pretoria. Anyways, I removed the offending item, and plugged the leak without removing the wheel. I then inflated again with the compressor. I like it when punctures are so easy to find and fix, as this generally takes less time and effort than removing the wheel.

After packing and similar, we hit the road again. However, instead of heading back to the N14, we headed South on the dirt road until we joined up with the N8. Travelling to Upington via Groblershoop. Refuelled in Upington, and had a bite to eat, before heading out further West. This was the scary bit. Despite the area around Witsand having seen some good rain, I have never seen the road West of Pofadder looking as bad as that. It is bone, bone, bone dry. It was absolutely frightening...

We made good time, and got to Springbok. Areas around Springbok seemed a lot more moist than Pofadder's surrounds, and there were even some flowers still around. We checked in Chef's @6 - which is in an area of Springbok one does not really see normally. I imagine this chalet is virtually brand new.

In the lack of perfect braai facilities (there are braai facilities - but sort of shared between units), we cooked dinner that evening. Chatted and went to bed.
01.jpg
01.jpg (392.8 KiB) Viewed 540 times
02.jpg
02.jpg (354.87 KiB) Viewed 540 times
03.jpg
03.jpg (443.68 KiB) Viewed 540 times
Where we stayed: https://www.lekkeslaap.co.za/akkommodasie/chefs--6
Approximate Cost: R237.50 per person per night

User avatar
iandvl
Patrolman 1000+
Patrolman 1000+
Posts: 1718
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:26
Full Name: Ian de Villiers
Nickname: Ian
Home Town: Garsfontein
Current 4x4: Nissan Patrol 4.5 GRX
Home Language: English
Has thanked: 257 times
Been thanked: 437 times

Re: Richtersveld and Namakwa

Post by iandvl »

Day 04 - Springbok to Vioolsdrif
DAY-04.png
DAY-04.png (678.84 KiB) Viewed 534 times
Distance: 140km
Moving Time: 2H03

I had some work to do on Monday morning. Whilst wrapping this up, others headed out to do some shopping, refuel the vehicles and similar. We also refilled the jerry cans on the roof, and ensures that all water tanks were topped up.

Later, we headed up North for Vioolsdrif. At Vioolsdrif, we turned left, passing Kotzeshoop. About 20km later, we reached out camping spot for the night - Richtersveld Wilderness Camp.

This is a very pretty place, where you camp on the shores of the Orange / Gariep River. Campsites have grass, and rustic ablutions. It was very pretty.

Braaied for the evening, and turned in. We'd be hitting the Richtersveld proper in the morning...
01.jpg
01.jpg (428.19 KiB) Viewed 534 times
02.jpg
02.jpg (424.73 KiB) Viewed 534 times
03.jpg
03.jpg (526.47 KiB) Viewed 534 times
04.jpg
04.jpg (734.96 KiB) Viewed 534 times
05.jpg
05.jpg (537.12 KiB) Viewed 534 times
Where we stayed: https://www.richtersveld.co.za/
Approximate Cost: R200 per person per night

User avatar
iandvl
Patrolman 1000+
Patrolman 1000+
Posts: 1718
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:26
Full Name: Ian de Villiers
Nickname: Ian
Home Town: Garsfontein
Current 4x4: Nissan Patrol 4.5 GRX
Home Language: English
Has thanked: 257 times
Been thanked: 437 times

Re: Richtersveld and Namakwa

Post by iandvl »

Day 05 - Vioolsdrif to Sun and Fluorspar Valley
DAY-05.png
DAY-05.png (706.94 KiB) Viewed 524 times
Distance: 75.8km
Moving Time: 3h27

Packing up at the Richtersveld Wilderness Camp, we then headed out Westwards again. Shortly after this, the road starts turning South towards the Eastern "Helskloof". I say Eastern, as there are two Helskloof passes in the Richtersveld. One between the Richtersveld Community Conservancy and Vioolsdrif, and the other one is in the National Park itself.

There are various rocks with petroglyphs lying next to the road. Sadly, and despite the fact that there are massive signs indicating that people *should not write on the things*, it is very difficult to see what petroglyphs are actually on the rocks, as tourists seem intent on their own grafiti. It is very sad.

Shortly thereafter, one reaches the entrance to the Helskloof pass - where thousands of travellers in the past have made their little rock piles in the hope of having a safe trip the Richtersveld. So they say in any case. Whatever the fact is, it is absolutely amazing to witness. Thousands of little rock piles...

We drove through this, and then stopped to have a cup of coffee before htting the more serious bit of the pass. Whilst there, we ran into a "day walker" scorpion - Parabuthus Vollosis. From there, we headed into the community conservancy and then to Eksteenfontein.

In Eksteenfontein, we stopped at the tourist information centre to pay for our camping and permits, before heading out to the Sun Circle route and Fluorspar valley.

This is a magical drive. It was a hell of a lot more technical than I envisioned, and a lot of fun.

We wild-camped at Fluorspar valley.

A side note: Fluorspar burns bright green / blue when you chuck it in the fire. It's very pretty to see.
01.JPG
01.JPG (395.49 KiB) Viewed 524 times
02.JPG
02.JPG (280.39 KiB) Viewed 524 times
03.JPG
03.JPG (308.83 KiB) Viewed 524 times
04.jpg
04.jpg (497.75 KiB) Viewed 524 times
05.jpg
05.jpg (410.38 KiB) Viewed 524 times
06.jpg
06.jpg (467.03 KiB) Viewed 524 times
07.jpg
07.jpg (443.42 KiB) Viewed 524 times
08.jpg
08.jpg (383.58 KiB) Viewed 524 times
09.jpg
09.jpg (1.37 MiB) Viewed 524 times
10.jpg
10.jpg (543.4 KiB) Viewed 524 times
11.jpg
11.jpg (321.42 KiB) Viewed 524 times
12.JPG
12.JPG (272.13 KiB) Viewed 524 times
13.JPG
13.JPG (270.06 KiB) Viewed 524 times
Where we stayed: Wild camped at Fluorspar Valley
Approximate cost: R50 per person per night camping.
Permit cost: R50 per person per day.

Post Reply

Return to “24. Trip Reports”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests