Today will be a long day on the road … we will travel around 230km to our next destination, namely The Growcery. This is a river camp on the bank of the Orange River and is 22km from Vioolsdrift (the border post between South Africa and Namibia).
We are also leaving the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park today – what a wonderful three days we had here! We will drive with the same road back to Sendelingsdrift where we will refuel our vehicles … but that doesn’t mean the road will be boring! No, we will now be able to see the park from a different side 😊.
We have stopped a couple of times to enjoy the vastness of the landscape. It was during these stops that we’ve seen all the different small plants next to the road – if you are in a hurry and don’t stop every now and then, you will miss these wonderful sights.
The last stretch, before we’ve reached the dry river bed again, was rocky and in real contrast with what we’ve seen closer to the river … but it was still an amazing sight!
Back in the dry river bed, we’ve taken our time to stop at a beautiful rock formation. The sharp rocks and soft white sand of the river bed, was a feast for the camera eye!
We’ve taken the time to sit for a group photo … and what better place as on top of the “table” rock!
Towards the end of the park, the landscape changed again from the rocky surfaces we’ve seen the last two days, to fields covered with plants, bushes and the beautiful quiver trees.
In Sendelingsdrift, we’ve stopped at the petrol station to refuel our vehicles … we will now have to drive the rest of the trip without encountering any petrol station on our way! We’ve therefore filled our vehicles’ tanks, as well as some jerry cans to use as backup.
We were still on gravel roads and our journey were now taking us towards a small village, called Eksteensfontein. It was good to have a GPS – although we’ve been here before – it was reassuring to see that we were going in the right direction.
It was now lunchtime – we’ve been on the road for most of the morning – and were looking for a nice shady spot where we could stop to have something to eat. We found another dry river bed next to the road with trees and stopped there to have filled wraps, coffee and cold drinks.
We’ve expected the road to Eksteensfontein to be a rough one … me and Berto drove this road about 4 years ago, and it was almost undrivable! But we were quite surprised to find the very same road in good condition … according to Carel, the road was recently maintained after heavy rains … it was now a pleasure to drive!
Although Eksteensfontein is a very small settlement, they have a liquor store where we could buy a few beers for the rest of our trip 😄.
It was now already late afternoon and we still had to cover some serious gravel road before we reach our end destination.
There was one more mountain pass to drive through on our way to The Growcery – once again, not too difficult to drive (with the right vehicle), but we had to be on the lookout for sharp rocks and huge pot holes.
At about 10km before The Growcery, we’ve encountered huge rocks, known as “petroglyphs”. Petroglyphs is a type of rock carving and are often associated with prehistoric people.
There are several of these huge rocks next to the road and we’ve stopped at a few of them to take some photo’s.
Eventually, after a full day’s drive (dusty and tired), we found the turn off to The Growcery.
It is a real surprise to find this beautiful place after driving through dry and barren landscapes for most of the day!
We have visited The Growcery a couple of times before and each time it is like getting to an oasis! The staff is super friendly and their facilities are top notch! At the reception area is an inviting seating area and information boards about all the activities they offer (like river rafting, hiking and other tours).
We had cold drinks while we were checking in. There are rooms (called “shacks”) where one can sleep, but we’ve opted for yet another night of camping … this time, on grass and with beautiful bathrooms to our disposal (and hot water ☺️)
The Growcery was almost fully booked and there was a sociable atmosphere between all the campers … though we still had to maintain social distance (Covid-19 regulations)!
After we’ve pitched our tents, we all made use of the showers to wash off the day’s dirt and dust – it felt like 5-star camping!
Our menu for tonight: Steak on the fire, while Berto prepared a dough to form into bread rolls and then put them on the coals. Estelle kept us healthy by preparing a fresh green salad. Sounds like a really tasty dinner!
We were tired after the long day on the road, but felt blessed to have such a beautiful place to rest for the night.
Tomorrow, we will continue on the Namakwa-4×4 Eco Trail and were looking forward to a different type of landscape than what we’ve seen the last couple of days.