NAMAKWA-4X4 ECO TRAIL (1)


SEPTEMBER 2020

INTRODUCTION

With the outbreak of Covid-19 in South Africa since March 2020, we were contained to our town (and house) for almost 6 months – like the rest of the world! What a weird time it was (and still is!)

While we were forced to stay (mostly) indoors during this time, we took our minds on long holidays and getaways with reading a lot of books and magazines. One such magazine we love to read, is “Weg!” (the English version is called “Go!”). This is a great magazine for any outdoor lover!

Another magazine that is also issued under “Weg!” is “Weg! Ry & Sleep” (the English version is called “Go! Drive & Camp”).

The July 2020 issue of “Weg! Ry & Sleep” had a front page that immediately had our attention and very excited!

Afrikaans version: Front page of the July 2020 issue of “Weg! Ry & Sleep”. The particular heading that interested us was “Namakwa-4×4”

Since the beginning of this year, we were looking for an opportunity to undertake a 4×4 route with our Suzuki Jimny.

What about Covid-19?

When our government announced, at the beginning of September, that our country will move to Level 1 of Covid-19, that meant leisure travel was eventually allowed (though only domestic at that time, but at least we could now cross provincial borders).

Since the “Namakwa-4×4 Eco Trail” is in the Northern Cape and we are living in the Western Cape, we would have to cross provinces should we want to undertake this journey … and under Level 1 we were now allowed to do that!

What is the “Namakwa-4×4 Eco Trail”?

The “Namakwa-4×4 Eco Trail” is referring to a specific region in the north-western corner of South Africa, running along the mighty Orange River. This route involves wild camping in remote places (little or no basic facilities are available) and mostly gravel roads or jeep tracks … sounds like the perfect holiday (for us anyway 😊).

We’ve convinced some of our friends to travel with us for a week to see this beautiful part of our country. One couple joined us in Langebaan and we travelled together up to Alexander Bay, where we will find the next couple (Alexander Bay is a small town where the Orange River is flowing into the Atlantic Ocean). The last couple will join us on the track for the last two days.

The article about the “Namakwa-4×4 Eco Trail” … the vast open landscape and remoteness of this desert area has its own beauty and was calling us for a visit!

The route itself is about 600km and one of South Africa’s longest off-road routes. We however, had to travel another 605km just to get to the start of this route!

During this trip, we will also drive through two national parks – the Namaqua National Park on the West Coast of South Africa and the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park on the border of Namibia and a true mountain desert – all part of this exciting trip!

Over the next 10 days, we will cover a total distance of more than 2000km (1242 miles)! 

  • Starting from Langebaan
  • Drive through the Namaqua National Park and Namaqualand Region
  • Entering the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park
  • Continue on the Namakwa-4×4 Eco Trail close to the Orange River
  • The off-route trail then ends in Pofadder
  • Then the long way back to Langebaan (tarred road this time)

It promised to be quite a long journey, but an adventure we were looking very much forward to.

In the next couple of posts we will show the beauty of this route …

To read about Day 1, click here

Categories: Namakwa-4x4 Eco Trail

15 comments

  1. You are so lucky.

    I am under what I believe is called Tier 4 which means I am under house arrest. Travel is but a distant memory and a dream that will never be realised in my lifetime for me nowmthanks to this totally unnecessary virus. Thank you so much, China.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am going to enjoy reading about this trail tomorrow.
    I also think that I should get myself that magazine, but I might get the Afrikaans version so that I read more Afrikaans. Since I have been Journaling in afrikaans I dream some words of Afrikaans in my dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This was a great trip … and you’ll see why when you read through the posts!
      If you buy the newest edition of this magazine in Afrikaans (“Weg Ry&Sleep (Feb/March 2021)”, you will see my letter in the front regarding this trip – in Afrikaans ☺️. My letter’s heading is “Op julle spoor” …
      It’s amazing that you already dream some of the words in Afrikaans … one of these days, you will be fluently in my home language 😄.

      Like

  3. Hello I have just discovered that I have ancestors (great granny) was born in Papendorf on the west coast. Her father was born on st Helena Island and he moved to South Africa looking for a better life. Did you see a place by that name?

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    • Hi Morag. I know the place as Papendorp … it is a tiny fishing village between Strandfontein and Lutzville. And yes, we did drive past this little place on our our way during the first day of our 4×4 trip. Berto and a friend of him went there a couple of times to catch fish a couple of years ago when our friends’ parents lived in the beautiful coastal town of Strandfontein on the West Coast.
      I’m glad to see you are still busy tracing your ancestors – must be really interesting 👍🏻.

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      • 😀😀I am going start on the family tree some time soon. As for papendorp there seems to be another one closer to Cape Town. It is now known as Woodstock but originally it was Papendorp. The birth place says papendorf western cape so I think I must do more digging. It is an interesting journey of ancestory and understanding my Afrikaans heritage. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, I didn’t know that … but after I’ve googled it, you’re right about Woodstock being called Papendorp in earlier years. That’s very interesting (and could also be quite confusing 😄) … good luck, it seems you’re going to know our country much better after your studies of your ancestors!

        Liked by 1 person

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