Monday, 25 November 2013

Day 1-3: Cape Town-Cederberg-Fish River Canyon

Day 1 to 3 : Cape Town -Cederberg Mountains- Orange River/ Border crossing

** Internet is annoying me so only half done.. will update when I have a chance**

Bright and early departure from the beautiful city of Cape Town. Exciting to finally be on this tour! We had a long day of driving through varied landscapes. The drive was made longer by quite a bit of construction too.  We followed the coast and gradually moved into a dry grassland and then into farmland and wine country. The first stop was a beautiful view of Table Mountain from the beach. The truck looked a tad out of place parked next to the fancy condos. 

The guides of the tour are: Belinda and Hermann. Herms does most of the driving and has been guiding for 13 years. Belinda does all the cooking. Seems like a good combination even though this is their first trip together. 

The first campsite was a gorgeous winery, Highlanders Wine,  and even got to camp on grass! (This is a novel concept since most of the campsites during the tour were on sand!) A huge bonus was a pool that overlooked the vineyards and the river. And the showers had a beautiful view of the vineyards as well. Something to be said for open air showers with a view. 

Another day driving through landscape that changes rapidly throughout the day from vineyards to dry foothills to our destination for the day which looked like a gravel pit. The campsite, The Growcery, was right down by the Orange River and lovely. But the surrounds look like mountains of rocks and gravel. Even the locals think that the God just dump all the extra rocks there. Only downside so far of the tour is that the sheer amount of driving which means not a lot of walking or stopping to look at things. So I’m making a point of going for a walk around the campsite so Tan and Sarah and I and a campsite dog all went for a walk. The dog thought this was great fun! 
(rock mt pics, dog)

A wonderful way to start the day is a canoe trip down the Orange River. Beautiful warm morning for a 3 hour paddle down stream in a canoe like thing except it was inflatable and we used kayak paddles. No pics of this part yet since I wasn’t game enough to bring my big camera. Waiting on pics from other people who did bring cameras. Probably just as well since Emily and I ended up starting a few water fights even though we probably got wetter then everyone else! Hehe Great fun! 
(pic of river)

We crossed the South Africa - Namibia border today which I had been stressing about since I still don’t have my work visa from Harnas yet. At least Belinda and Alanna aren’t to concerned. Alanna says that a lot of volunteers don’t have their visas by the time they arrive at the airport or to Harnas. It sounds like things move slowly. Luckily, there wasn’t any issues at the border. 

And we had our first mechanical break down: a flat tire shortly after crossing the border but sitting in the Namib Desert. We are quickly finding out that there isn’t much that Herms can’t do! The tire was changed quickly which was good since the desert is living up to the stereotypical ideas and was very hot (high 30C) but lovely in it’s own way. 
(tire, fix , jumping pic)

And on to one of my favourite part of the trip: Fish River Canyon. Fish River Canyon is the 2nd largest canyon in the world behind the Grand Canyon. It’s 550 m deep, 27 km wide and 161km long. It is the oldest canyon and was formed 500 million years ago. Catfish can be found in the river , which is more like a stream and the hottest recorded temperature at the bottom of the canyon is 58C. 

The weather was looking bad with a big black clouds rolling in over the canyon but it ended up being a stunningly spectacular evening. Did rain for a few minutes to damp the dust and cool everything off. But between the thunder and lightening, black clouds a few rainbows and a stunning orange sunset. Spectacular evening! We ended up spending a few hours here watching with Tan and B attempting to get a lightening photo. Tan did get an amazing one over the canyon and sunset in back ground. 
(tan’s pic) 

I’m finding it a bit difficult to really describe this evening so hoping the pics will do it justice.  
(multiple sunset/canyon pics)

Also saw a baby puff adder snake. 

This day couldn’t get much better! And will be a hard one to beat!

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