The trek begins

Day 1 – 7th May – Cape Town to Tankwa Karoo National Park

L: So……the day is finally here!! S: So excited (and a “little” nervous)

L: We were up before 6am and although we had said goodbye the previous evening to our friends (who we had been staying with),Lesley and Trevor and their children – Alex, Brad and Candy, Lesley was kind enough to come and help us with the last minute packing and plying us with coffee. A HUGE thank you for having us.

Well, we will call it packing, but there was quite a lot of shoving going on to squeeze everything in…..!!! We knew it was going to be difficult as we have a lot of supplies, but the biggest problems was getting all the crocheted (and knitted) blankets and wool in. Thanks too to Annari for the lovely chunky wool to work in to the next few blankets.

I had crammed everything in and went back upstairs to fetch my rucksack only to find that Steve had forgotten the big box with all our toiletries and cleaning products for the whole trip. Well, I really battled to re-distribute everything to squeeze it in. In the end I took another small suitcase with my towels shoes etc and the rest of my things fitted nicely into the cubby-hole Steve had made instead of the back-seat. We would not have managed if he did not take out the seat, good plan!!! S: The more space you give them, the more they find to put in!

L: We did not have to pile the roof-rack so that was a bonus too. Last goodbyes to Lesley and her mom, Astrid and little Candy and we were off!!! with a blast of the old air-horn. Fantastic.

S: We stopped in Lakeside to vote and stood for an hour with our two daughters, Nicole and Heather and had another cup of coffee.

We took a few family pics and waved at tearful goodbye to our girls……not sure when or where we will be seeing them again…….L: I noticed that Steve was very keen to get in the car and drive (so they wouldn’t see the tears), I on the other hand just gave in, so sad.

A sad farewell

A sad farewell

L: We filled with diesel (it had gone down by 30 cents the night before) and pumped up the tyres for our extra load. Here I must mention another thing that Steve had decided was a good safety precaution was a Tyre Pressure Gauge which Steve ordered from Tireguard on 30 April, but with 1 May being a holiday and a weekend in between, it was a tight squeeze getting it before we left and it arrived in the nick of time yesterday ( another bit of stress Steve gave us). Thanks to Abraham for the good service, even while on holiday :-). Well now that it is fitted, it monitors any problems on any of the 4 tyres and I will have to get used to the beeping when changing tyre pressure for our on and off roads….

After filling up, we drove to say goodbye to Linda and Gary (Steve’s sister and brother in law), had a chat and a quick cuppa and then left.

Next, we stopped at my sister, Linda and her hubby, Tony and my nephews, Chris and Jon. Coffee and cake were on offer and Tony gave us a nice, big jar of olives and a jar of jam for the trip. A quick goodbye call to Steve’s Dad and yet another spare from Midas (glow- plugs) and we were off, officially at noon.

S: We started on the N7 through Malmesbury and to Ceres and then on to Tankwa Karoo National Park. Luckily, although we arrived after their office hours, they were still busy checking in a couple who had booked (we had not) and gave us access to their lovely campsites. We had a private kitchen, separate shower and loo at Perdekloof campsite.

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Perdekloof campsite with kitchen bathroom and toilet

Perdekloof campsite with kitchen bathroom and toilet

Roughly 5 hours driving as the roads needed grading and about 362 kms covered.

L: What lovely sites. (We will put up a price guide later to answer any questions). We were treated to an amazing series of sunset vistas (Steve will probably limit my photos to one……) S: Maybe just 2, L: while Steve zipped-and-flipped the rooftop tent and braaied. Sure you can guess what I was doing….though I heard several birds, I did not see many as it was getting a bit dark. Steve braaied while I made salads and sorted things for the evening.

We had decided that it would be a good idea to get to bed really early as we had a long trip in the morning, so after a shower, we were in bed by 9…….

A good first day. We have had so many messages and calls to say goodbye, thank you to all our friends and family.

Good night…..

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Day 2- 8th May – Tankwa to Kgalagadi Game Reserve

Oh my!!!! What a racket. The wind is blowing so hard and the tent is shaking so badly that we cannot sleep.

1.30am…….by 3am we had had enough and decided to get up and head out of the park – yes, in the dark!!

We showered to wake up, had coffee and rusks and packed up. It was a long and tiring drive out and such a relief to leave the noise of the wind behind. The corrugations in the roads were horrible, but it was safe enough. We saw so many owls, rock rabbits and a lovely little “deer caught in the headlights”.

S: Long-distance driver that I am, I had to eat humble-pie and relinquish control of my vehicle to my wife as I could not keep my eyes open after the first 100 kms. For the rest of the morning, I could not drive more than 50 kms at a time before almost falling asleep. “See Dear, I can be a passenger in the car on long, straight roads”…….L: Sometimes you have to eat humble-pie cos you bite-off more than you can chew. (This comment is especially for you, Walter, as you like the come-backs πŸ™‚

A bird entering it's apartment building of nests

A bird entering it’s apartment building of nests

S: Then it was a long, long straight road to Upington with a brief break in Brandvlei at The Wind-Pomp for breakfast where we had a nice chat to the new (returned) owner, Rolf. Lesley drove a lot of the way so that I could doze and recharge my batteries. I felt fine by mid-morning.

Kokerboom forest

Kokerboom forest

The long road

The long road

We stopped in Upington to fill up and buy some meat at Upington Meats who also sell at the park, but rather more expensive.

L: We also had to buy water as ours has turned brown much to Steve’s horror so that will be on the “to do” list tonight. We thought of taking some grey water for showering, but this is on a whole other level. Think the water we brought to kwaggas was so much better, right Trish VA and Sharon…..

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S: Then it was another 270 km to our destination. On the way there were ominous dark clouds in front of us with the occasional streak of lightning in the distance. Along the way Lesley spotted a baby on the side of the road. He was about 2 years old with not a stitch of clothing on. His mom and a few other people were selling ornaments to tourists. We stopped and Lesley had her first opportunity to donate a blanket, which she duly did, to a happy mother.

First blanket donation of the trip

First blanket donation of the trip

A little later the temperature dropped and it started to rain so she was doubly happy the little guy would have something to keep him warm.

At Kgalagadi reception we were too late to go through immigration control so we will do that tomorrow. We checked in, paid our conservation fee and headed for the door to be met by a heavy downpour, and we are supposed to be camping. Fortunately it was not for too long and it seems the storm and bad weather has moved on, but we were rather worried for a while.

We were on the road today for twelve hours. Just as well we left Tankwa at four in the morning as we would never have reached here in time. There was a strong headwind most of the way and our fuel consumption suffered as a result, only managing 6.4 km/l between Calvinia and Upington, compared to 8.2 km/l between Cape Town and Calvinia.

I have just checked the water and pumped a few litres out. It actually looks fine now and I put some into an ice-cube bag to check. It is not brown and there is nothing floating in it so I think the filters have been flushed.

I am writing this watching my meat cook on the braai and looking forward to my bed. It has been a looooong day …….

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Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “The trek begins

  1. Sleep tight

  2. liz kampers

    Wonderful read, guys. Not surfe if I should feel jealous or sympathetic! Liz

  3. Laurence/Shirley Crichton

    Steve, Les… I counted no less than 6 cups of coffee… and those were before you hit the road in earnest. You may well have got to Tankwa before the office closed if it weren’t for all the pit stops you no doubt had to make.
    We wish you all the very best on your journey. Thanks for the updates and interesting reading.
    Stay safe,
    God Bless you both… and the girls back home.
    Laurence and Shirley.

  4. Walter

    I hope that the pie tasted good – even if you over-filled your mouth πŸ™‚

  5. skinz67

    All seems to be going well so far, stop pushing yourself so hard, Steve! SLOW AND STEADY!

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