Eventful week 8 here we go…
20th Feb 2012
Happy to move on from Okiep, we arrived in Steinkopf a mere 20 minutes later. Letitia was there to greet us at Kookfontein Rondawels, a very unique little place that is modelled after the authentic Nama huts. She is a wonderful woman and is doing so much for her town, of which she is immensely proud and also ashamed at the same time. It’s a sad combination and one we hope to help her overcome. She has many plans for the area which include a clean-up programme and a vegetable patch for the community. We were lucky enough to arrive on a Sunday and witness the gospel group singing; they had come for a spiritual workshop that day and it ended with a beautiful compilation of gospel music. Letitia and Dolores made us a delicious home-cooked meal that night but overcome with tiredness, we went to bed straight after. Of course, it was 40 degrees and all we had was a little portable air conditioner –a combination which usually tends to lead to lack of sleep. And yes, that was the outcome that Sunday night.
A very successful day in Steinkopf. Despite feeling dead because of a mix of heat and no sleep, we manned up and got on with the job at hand. The lovely Letitia was amazing and arranged a whole heap of interesting things for us to visit. The first stop was Ubuntu, the drop-in community centre which feeds 100 people a day and hosts social development programmes and youth projects. Then we stopped off at the community run crèche and spent a happy hour with the 90 beaming faces of the children and the 3 worn out looking teachers. Then we visited a local artist who had a wealth of knowledge of the town and how it had changed since he moved there 15 hours away.
21st Feb 2012
Steinkopf to Vioolsdrif
We drove the hour journey to Vioolsdrif, the temperature rising steadily as we went. We arrived and were stunned at the beauty of the place. Rolling mountains all around of different colours stood beside the beautiful Orange River. Not exactly Orange but a mixed hue of green, blue and orange. Whatever the colours, it’s a beast of a river and a beaut of one too. We checked into Aquacade Camp, the simple but gorgeous camp nestled right on the banks of the river. Absolutely knackered from the lack of sleep the past 2 nights, we had a little nap before exploring the area. We braaied that night whilst watching the sun set over the river-stunning.
22nd Feb 2012
We headed off in search of a bit of grub mid-morning after a very comfortable and well-deserved sleep. Not long along the road, we came across a typical lost-looking backpacker in the hope of a lift up 10ks up the road. Leonard was from Germany but was working in Cape Town and had come to the border to renew his visa too. We dropped him off at a camp up the road and ended up staying for lunch and having a really nice chat with the owner, Hennie who was in the process of setting up a development project in the area. So, of course, we had a really nice talk with him and promised to keep in touch. That night we had a delicious sponsored meal at Oewerbos Camp –locally farmed pepperdew pizza washed down with cold beer. Met with Herrick, one of the owners of Aquacade who told us that Vioolsdrif had not changed at all in the past 20 years but he loved it because of that.
23th Feb 2012
Vioolsdrif to Noordoewer
We left Aquacade Camp after a really nice two-day stay there on the Orange River. We crossed over the border with little trouble and BAM we were in Namibia. We proceeded to drive 60 km in the wrong direction before realising that we missed the northwest turn-off (right at the border). We drove another 60 km before reaching Norotshama River Resort, again smack bang on the Orange River. The drive was magnificent, even though it was barren and desert, the mountains and nothingness were spectacular. The oasis that is Norotshama was a feast for our eyes and were straight into the hotel pool to cool off,
24th Feb 2012
I think today we decided that Namibia would have to be another EXPEDITION Project in the years to come. Once we heard a bit more about what is going on in the country and the support we would get while running the Namibian version of The EXPEDITION Project I think we had no doubts in dreaming about it one day becoming a reality. The country is friendly, vast, and beautiful and even though extremely sparsely populated there would be enough to keep us busy for sure. Do you want in on this?
25th Feb 2012
Noordoewer to Pofadder
Long drive ahead of us today as we left Namibia from Norotshama River Lodge, via the border post at Noordoewer, through Vioolsdrif and Springbok and onto Pofadder – a good four-hour drive. Arriving in a small South African town like Pofadder on a Saturday afternoon is pretty much the same as arriving on a Sunday – not much is going on, nothing is open and no one is around. I must admit, the town was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. I had always heard a lot about it, and always wanted to visit – mainly because of the name J Pofadder is nothing more than a small dusty Northern Cape town, but is still has a lot of charm and some very friendly locals…even if they were drunk on a Saturday afternoon. We checked into the Pofadder Hotel, which reminded us a lot of a few of the previous small-town hotels we had visited. The difference here, however, was the fact that this hotel knows how to ‘window dress’. That term is common in the hospitality trade and means nothing more than adding small touches and making sure you focus on customer service/relations. The staff were all very friendly, and the food was great (Saturday night braai buffet and Sunday morning breakfast buffet). Suretha and the team could very easily have the hotel be just another neglected small-town hotel, but they are doing the opposite – making a real effort!
Sadly the main reason for the Namibian trip was to extend Maddy’s visa – this did not happen as for some reason the border post customs official didn’t feel like it. We really aren’t having any luck with Maddy’s visa, are we?
26th Feb 2012
Pofadder to Pella
What a find Klein Pella turned out to be! Situated on the largest date farm in the southern hemisphere, the Klein Pella Guest Farm is picturesque, well run and the food is awesome. We arrived on Sunday and so, unfortunately, could not interact with the owners or any of the locals too much, but instead, we soaked up our surroundings and worked on our TEP book…oh didn’t we tell you that we are also writing a book about our foundation year? Well, we can’t tell you much about it just yet but we aim to make chapters open for download via our website by the middle of the year.
…of the week:
- Towns visited this week –Steinkopf, Vioolsdrif, Noordoewer, Pofadder, Pella
- Accommodation sponsored this week –Kookfontein Rondawels, Aquacade Camp, Norotshama River Resort, Pofadder Hotel, Klein Pella Guest Farm
- Food sponsored this week – Kookfontein Rondawels, Oewerbos Campsite, Norotshama River Resort, Pofadder Hotel
- Highlight of the week – Kookfontein Rondawels and the community projects of Steinkopf
- Lowlight of the week – Unsuccessful visa extension for Maddy
- Meal of the week – Oewerbos Pepperdew Pizza
- Comedy moment of the week – Maddy accidentally shoplifts in Springbok
See you in a week…