We woke up to a beautiful morning. Knowing that it could get very hot in this area, we were fortunate with mild and sunny days on our entire trip thus far.
Today, we will drive approximately 130km – close to the Orange River most of the time – to end the day’s journey at Klein Pella Farm. We’ve had a (few) steaming cups of coffee and home baked rusks, before we’ve started packing up.
The first hour of our journey was mostly on flat sandy areas and not difficult to drive at all. Jacques told us that we can expect to drive most of the time next to the river today and that we could later have lunch close to the water.
There are a couple of roads going in the direction of the river – mostly to the remote areas where Nama-shepherds of sheep and goats live. We’ve stayed on the main road that would take us to the river.
On our way, we’ve encountered one of the shepherds with a flock of sheep. These shepherds live a very simple life and most of the time in harsh conditions. We’ve stopped at the shepherd for a moment, where Carel handed him a bottle of cold water and something to eat. Since Carel is also a pastor, he used the opportunity to pray for the shepherd and gave him a bible – this was a very thoughtful gesture.
As we got to the river, we were looking for a camp site called “Groot Melkboom” (literally translated, it would be “Big Milkwood Tree”). This is in fact a giant Namaqua fig tree and is a popular camping site for adventurers on the Namakwa-4×4 Eco Trail.
Unfortunately, the giant “Melkboom” burned down partially in recent years. It is however, still a wonderful sight to see this giant tree.
We were now driving along the Orange river to see whether we can find a nice spot where we can enjoy lunch … and maybe the guys can take their fly-fishing rods out again 😉.
After taking a couple of roads to the river, we eventually found one that took as to the bank of the river. To get as close as possible to the river, you however need to drive through a very thick stretch of river sand. Not wanting to deflate our tyres, we’ve decided to leave our car under the trees (on the harder sand) and took a ride with Jacques and Anel. Due to the soft sand, the guys also left their 4×4 trailers on the harder sand and we continue towards the river.
While the men took out their fly-fishing rods, the rest of us took a short walk in the shallow waters to the rocks in the middle of the river. It was the perfect way to cool down on the heat of the day!
After we had a couple of hotdog rolls and cold drinks, we were quite satisfied to return back to the trees where we’ve left our car and the other 4×4 trailers to seek more off-road driving!
Jacques told us that there are many ruins in this area and we went on quite an adventurous drive through rocky and sandy stretches to see these.
We’ve stopped at more ruins to have a closer look … I always think about these ruins and how it must have been a place of comfort and peace for someone a long time ago …
After visiting several ruins, we took one final drive towards the Orange River. To see the river on one side and then the dry barren landscape on the other side, is every time a majestic sight and one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed on this trip!
The off-road driving was now changing into a wide gravel road that took us to our overnight spot, namely Klein Pella.
Klein Pella is a farm camp and guesthouse that is situated on a working farm. This farm has the largest date plantation in the Southern Hemisphere. The dates are harvested from February until June and are packed here at Klein Pella for both the local and the international market.
It was another long day on dirt roads, but we’ve seen beautiful landscapes (again). Tonight, we are privilege to have decent bathroom facilities – running water and hot showers!
We’ve ended our day next to the fire again – for the last time. Tomorrow, we will do the last short stretch on this route before returning back home.
And yes, we did buy some of those delicious dates of Klein Pella. We will be taking it home and remember our trip to this vast desert that made such an enormous impression on us!
Tomorrow we will enjoy the last couple of kilometres on the Namakwa-4×4 Eco Trail … what a trip!
To read about Day 9 (our final day), click here …