An Africa4us traveller’s experience – Cape Town to Kamieskroon in Namaqualand and on to the Fish River Canyon.
The Africa4us team welcomed us warmly to the night before the start of our 14 day trek through Namibia, with an introduction to everything we could expect on our journey through Namibia. After a great meal and good night’s rest at a top Cape Town V&A Waterfront hotel, we all bundled into the luxurious truck that would take us thousands of kilometres to Windhoek.
Despite the fact that it rained the whole day as we left Cape Town, our spirits were high and comfort levels even higher with all the personal space we each had to ourselves. With a window seat on either side of the aisle and a box next to us containing a safe for our valuables, as well as USB charging points to keep mobile phones, cameras and laptops powered up, we knew we were in for a truly luxurious overland tour of note.
Our first overnight stay after a delicious lunch served up by our tour guide, who was a magician at creating food that was simply divine at our road stop, was in the small Namaqualand community of Kamieskroon. Before going to our hotel, we stopped off at the local school to donate books brought by the team of Africa4us to the library of the local home for underprivileged boys and girls who come from many communities in Namaqualand.
We then went on to the Kamieskroon Hotel, and despite the continued rain, our exceptional tour guide and driver treated us to a braai (BBQ for those not from sunny South Africa) and side dishes that had us rolling to our beds with full belly’s. After a good night’s rest we were treated to the real thing as far as a true South African breakfast is concerned, right down to homemade marmalade and ‘moer koffie’.
From there it was a half day journey to the Namibian border, where our crossing was made easy by our guide, not to mention our fantastic driver who knew exactly how to deal with border police in the politest of terms, having made the crossing thousands of times. By then the sun had come out, and by the time we got to the Felix Unite Rooms on the Namibian side of the Orange River, which is call the Gariep River, we had divested ourselves of our warm layers.
While we were shown to our rooms situated beautifully right above the river, the seemingly inexhaustible team of guide and driver got lunch ready, including starting the preparation for dinner. The views across the river, the birdsong and call of the fish eagle were the perfect background music as we set about exploring the riverbanks. A five star dinner was served as usual, complete with flowers and candles on the table, with much laughter and a ton of fun had listening to the stories our well travelled guide and driver shared with us about their many journeys throughout Africa.
Day three started early as we had a long trip ahead to reach the Fish River Canyon by late afternoon. Our lunch stop was at the Ai-Ais Hot Springs resort, where we all stripped off for a well earned dive into the healing warmth of the natural spring water that feeds the main swimming pool. None of us got too close to the closed off section of one of the springs festooned with warning signs about the extreme heat of the water, it was easy to see from the steam rising up that even to dip a toe into that water would mean losing it! After another five star lunch prepared magically out of an incredibly well equipped and organised kitchen on the lower level of the truck, it was off on our final leg to Fish River Canyon.
We were all incredibly grateful for the luxury reclining seats with their ergonomically oversized backrests designed by Africa4us on this leg of the journey, what with the very gravelly trip to the first viewing point at Fish River Canyon.
What an experience, looking out across a vast expanse of canyon carved out by thousands of years by the Fish River, everyone quiet and in awe of the shades of colour created by shifting shadows and the beautiful sounds of silence created by the wild empty spaces. Then it was a trip to the topmost viewing point for yet another perspective of this beautiful canyon, enjoying a light lunch cheese and biscuits. We had a more than a few beautiful little birds joining us for lunch, however, our crew, ever conscious of the delicate ecological issues that are thrown out of balance when humans feed wild life, gently explained why it would be best not to feed these winged little beauties for their own sake.
Leaving breathtaking Fish River Canyon behind, we headed off for the last leg of day three, aiming to reach Canyon Roadhouse Rooms by late afternoon, leaving us enough time to freshen up after the long hot day before dinner.
The Canyon Roadhouse Rooms was an experience in itself, with rusted trucks, cars and spare parts from bygone areas sprouting trees and succulents wherever we looked, as well as a windmill that looked as if it had come from another century. We sat down to dinner in a restaurant surrounded by front ends of old cars and ambulances, and walls plastered with very old number plates and signs from bygone times and from everywhere in the world, making it the most unique restaurant and stop over any of us had ever experienced, slap bang in the middle of nowhere.
Every evening our guide would sit with us to plan the next step along the way, the historic sites, communities and rampant wildlife that lives just beneath the surface of this arid region, and it was great to know what to expect of each day.
After an early breakfast at the Canyon Roadhouse Rooms it was off on the next leg of our journey, which would take us to the Sesriem Rest Camp for our first night of camping virtually in the middle of the desert and 45 kilometres away from Dune 45.
We knew that our fourth day on the road was going to be a long one, but the shifting sands of the Namib Desert were calling us, but at least we got to do it in comfort and style, with air conditioning making each day that got hotter a lot more bearable!
Watch this space for the next instalment of our Africa4us Exquisite Cape Tour.