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Going West through Bushmanland

24 August 2015

Continued from Ironveld and Aughrabies

Wednesday 19 August 2015

We left Augrabies at 7:20, and drove down the road towards Pofadder. In some places along the way there were fields of tiny mauve flowers. At 9:15 we reached Pofadder, 138 km from Aughrabies, and stopped to take photos of it, as it was the provebial back of beyond. Val said that when they were young Pofadder’s  CEK car registration was the only one they had not seen from the old Cape Province, and then one day in a camp at the Kruger Park there was one right in front of them. We had thought of coming here on our 1991 trip to Namibia, but it was too far out of the way. It actually seemed to be quite a pleasant little town, and more hilly than I expected.

Pofadder in the Northern Cape Province

Pofadder in the Northern Cape Province

We turned off to Pella, 170 km from Augrabies, which we reached at 9:36. It was another historic mission station, and we drove down into the valley where it was. The road was tarred, which I hadn’t expected, and the countryside was also hillier than I expected. the town itself was bright and clean, with well-kept houses. At one point we stopped to see where the church was, and were approached by a bloke who wanted to sell us a lump of rose quartz and said he was our information source, and pointed the way to the church, which we could have found without his help. The church was smaller than I expected — in reading about it I imagined some huge cathedral, and the descriptions said it was built by two priests, working on their own. Unlike the Moffat Mission, it was approachable.

The mission church at Pella, near the Orange River

The mission church at Pella, near the Orange River

An hour later, 219 km from Augrabies, we stoped to take photos of a social weavers’ nest on top of a telephone pole. We had taken some photos of them on our 1991 trip to Namibia, on the road to Onseepkans, but with digital cameras one could take more pictures, and I hopoed to catch the birds flying in and out.

A social weavers' nest attached to a telephone pole. What will they do when cell phones take over completely?

A social weavers’ nest attached to a telephone pole. What will they do when cell phones take over completely?

We did not stop again until we reached Springbok, as we were worried that we might run out of petrol, and for the last 70 km the last block of the Yaris’s petrol gauge was flashing. We stopped at the first garage we came to, an Engen one, and they had no unleaded petrol. The next one, a Shell garage, was just replenishing its supplies, and and they said it would be some time before they could give us any. We finally found a Caltex garage and filled up there, 332 km after leaving Aughrabies.

Springbok, Northern Cape, with fields of orange Namaqualand daisies between the houses and the hills.

Springbok, Northern Cape, with fields of orange Namaqualand daisies between the houses and the hills.

Then we went to the local Wimpy and had veggie burgers for lunch. The place was quite full, and there were two blokes sitting near us who looked like Mormon missionaries. There were three others who looked like businessmen, and one of them looked as if he was trying to sell the others something. Springbok  was a very pleasant little town, reminding me in a way of Mbabane, which we had last visited 30 years ago. Val had never been here before, and though I have been here twice, when travelling between Cape Town and Windhoek, it had been dark on both occasions, so I hadn’t had a chance to see the town.

Okiep, Namaqualand, a coppermining town. The chimney is left as a monument to Cornish miners who built Cornish=style beam pumps for the mines.

Okiep, Namaqualand, a coppermining town. The chimney is left as a monument to Cornish miners who built Cornish=style beam pumps for the mines.

After lunch we drove up a hill and saw the view over the town, and then drove to Okiep, which I had also seen only at night. We took some photos of a chimney, a memorial of a Cornish beam pump, and St Augustine’s Anglican Church there, which was surprisingly big, and in front of it were a lot of orange
Namaqualand daisies. It was another place I recalled stopping at in the middle of the night — travelling from Cape Town to Windhoek, we stopped to borrow R10.00 from the Anglican rector, Llewellyn Jones, otherwise we would have not have been able to buy enough petrol to reach Windhoek.

St Augustine's Anglican Churcdh, Okiep, Namaqualand

St Augustine’s Anglican Churcdh, Okiep, Namaqualand

We went on to Nababeep, another copper-mining town, which had a mininbg museum. We saw an engine, a coach and a couple of wagons from the old narrow-gauge railway that had run from the copper mines to Port Nolloth on the coast. They were rather badly weathered from standing for 60 years in the open, and looked as though they would deteriorate more.

Mining museum at Nababeep, Namaqualand, with train that took copper ore to Port Nolloth on the coast. The line closed in 1952.

Mining museum at Nababeep, Namaqualand, with train that took copper ore to Port Nolloth on the coast. The line closed in 1952.

The gauge wasn’t as narrow as I had expected, perhaps 2′ 6″ or even a metre, certainly larger than the standard 2′ gauge one found in other parts of South Africa. Inside the museum were some photos of it in the days when the ore trucks were hauled by mules, and  there were also samples of the ore-bearing rocks.

Narrow-gauge train at Nababeep

Narrow-gauge train at Nababeep

 

We left Nababeep at 15:30, having travelled 367 km from Augrabies, and drove straight to Kamieskroon, stopping on the way at Arkoep Spruit to take photos of some fields of flowers. It was 16:30, and the flowers were beginning to close. We reached Kamieskroon at about 5:00 pm, and found Cosy Cottage, where we were to stay, without any difficulty, and waited until a bloke came with a key to let us in. It had a TV, and we watched the end of a cricket match between South Africa and New Zealand, which we eventually won by 20 runs, though it should have been by more, only there were a lot of dropped catches. It was a cilly evening, reminding us that winter was not quite over yet, in spite of all the spring flowers we had seen,  and we lit a fire in the cottage.

Continued at Namaqualand Spring 20 August 2015

 

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