Sunday 18 September 2022 Home to The Baths Citrusdal
This morning just before 9 am The Earl and I, towing Gecko 81 left Struisbaai while Cathy and Alec, towing Gecko 109 left Napier to meet each other at Stormsvlei Turn-off to begin the first leg of our trip to Namaqualand. The weather was cool but sunny and we were in good spirits and looking forward to another caravanning trip together. As we travelled the picturesque route to Robertson it clouded over and we had a few showers of rain. Our first stop was at Christina’s Bistro on the Van Loveren Wine Estate. The temperature was a cool 13 degrees C but we were warmly greeted by our waitron and shown to a fireside table. The Earl and I had Eggs Benedict and Cath and Alec enjoyed Christina’s special breakfast providing the best of everything – eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns etc.
Feeling fortified with good coffee and food we continued. The clouds cleared and the rain stopped but it was still quite chilly when we stopped at Picketburg to refuel and then at Kardoesie to buy some biltong. We decided not to have refreshments at the restaurant as we were almost at our destination. By the time we arrived at The Baths, Citrusdal the weather had warmed up a tad. Our campsite, number 22, is spacious and takes the two caravans easily. After setting up and having a cup of tea, we headed for the hot pool. It was awesome wallowing in the healing spring water. Afterward, we decided to pop into the restaurant to book a table for dinner. It’s a good thing we did as we were informed that they were closing at six and were only doing takeaway meals till then. It was already five o’clock so we sat down for a G&T and ordered chicken salad to go. Had we come at six we would have been too late and as we had nothing defrosted it could have ended badly!
Monday, 19 September 2022 – The Baths to Groenrivier, Niewoudville
Once again we enjoyed a picturesque drive to Niewoudville. We stopped at the Engen One Stop to have breakfast at their Wimpy. They had rather a cute display outside.
We arrived at Groenrivier at lunchtime. Our lovely sites are called Hadeda A and Hadeda B. Each has its own kitchen and bathroom as well as a shared Lapa which had a lovely open hearth for braaing and keeping warm in the evenings. The facilities are basic but clean and neat.
Our hostess visited us on site and offered us a pamphlet with a map and photos of the flowers we might see. It is a bit late in the season for flowers but we were assured that with a bit of effort we would find some.
We set up camp and made ourselves comfortable but did not go out again. The camp dogs entertained us or did we entertain them by obeying their commands to throw sticks which they willingly retrieved. Their most obedient servant, was, of course, The Earl!
Tuesday 20 September 2022 Niewoudville – A Day amongst the flowers
It was very cold last night and we woke to very low temperatures this morning but the sun was out and it warmed up as the day wore on.
After breakfast, we made our way to Matjiesfontein Farmstall’s flower route. We paid R50 each to drive around the flower fields and it was well worth it. In spite of it being the end of the season, we were impressed with what we saw. We were advised by the owner to get out and walk around to get a close look at the different types of flowers growing together. This was lovely for those closeups.
We took hundreds of photographs but none do justice to the experience we had enjoying the flowers.
Some birds also managed to pop into the photographs.
Afterwards we indulged in coffee and melktert at the lovely little restaurant. Imagine having in a house like this in the good old days.
21 September – The Quiver Tree Forest
Today we had a really awesome day. It was considerably warmer and we began the day by sitting in the sun to enjoy our morning coffee and later a quick cereal breakfast. One of the camp dogs turned up for a game of fetch too.
Namaqualand has some lovely scenery which we drank in as we drove to and from the Quiver Tree Forest.
I have seen scattered quiver trees before but today we visited Gannabos, the biggest quiver tree forest in the southern hemisphere. The quiver tree or “Kokerboom” usually grows detached but can be seen growing together too. In fact, this plant is not a tree but a type of aloe. The Bushmen and Hottentot tribes used to make their quivers for carrying their arrows out of the tough yet pliable bark and branches of the Kokerboom hence its name.
After spending some time with the quiver trees we went in search of more wildflowers but only found small patches here and there.
Along the road, someone who is really fed up with litterbugs put up this warning.
We were sad to see litter in some places and one wonders what induces people to spoil such a beautiful environment.
After enjoying our day we returned to camp. The Earl excelled himself in cooking us ox-tail and veggies for dinner. A perfect end to a lovely day.