Klein Pella → Vanrhynsdorp (Letsatsi Lodge)
Today is our last day on the Namakwa-4×4 Eco Trail … it is a very short stretch from Klein Pella towards Pofadder (probably around 50km).
Frans and Fiela already left early this morning, as they need to head back to Cape Town.
We enjoyed the last few home baked rusks and coffee, before packing up to travel towards the river again.
On our way, Jacques took us to a friend of them that stays in this area. Pieter lives in a very small house – just he and his dog. Jacques gave him a 2l Coke … they told us that they always bring something for Pieter when they come to camp here.
Pieter comes from a big town in the north-east of South Africa, but moved to this place about two years ago. One could see that he had a hard time living his life, but he was still smiling and positive about his circumstances. He told us that although he is leading a very simple life here, he prefers the quietness and uncomplicated way he is living … I could understand this.
He took us to the back of his house to show us a small cave. We asked him whether there is anything significant about the cave and he said a geologist once visited this cave and said that if he digs deeper into the cave, he might find something. When we’ve asked whether he did that, he simply said “I don’t have time” 😌 … yes, he is truly living a very simple life and is seemingly quite happy.
We gave him a packet of mixed nuts, dried fruit and salami. Once again, Carel took the opportunity to pray for Pieter and gave him a bible … it was a blessed moment and a wonderful way of ending our trip.
We took the road close to the river again and drove for another 15 minutes on a quite rough stretch with a combination of hard rocks and shale stone (a type of stone composed of many thin layers that can split easily into pieces).
The Charles Pass took us to Pella where our 4×4 journey ended. This small village was founded by the London Missionary Society in 1814. Pella is well-known for their beautiful Roman Catholic Church. The Old Cathedral, surrounded by date palms, was built by two missionaries which took them seven years to complete.
By now, both our car and Carel’s vehicle was so low on fuel that we crossed our fingers to make it to Pofadder. We’ve greeted Jacques and Anel, who drove back to their house just a couple of kilometers further.
We did make it safe and sound to Pofadder – when we refueled our car’s tank, it showed we had just 1.2 liters of petrol left … close call!
When you are in the Northern Cape, you have to buy “skuinskoek” (they’re named after the diagonal shape that they’re cut into). It is a well-known sweet treat from this region – a dough with lovely spices like cinnamon and aniseed and then it’s deep fried.
After a week of driving on rough and dirt roads, we were now back on the tar. We drove to Springbok – a distance of approximately 165km. Here we stopped at an old favourite, the Springbok Lodge. Since my childhood days, this was the stop on our way to Alexander Bay, where my father bought milkshakes for my brother and I … great memories.
It was now also time to say goodbye to Carel and Estelle, who will be travelling back to Alexander Bay. It was already after lunch when we left Springbok and still more than 500km back to Langebaan … we were not sure whether we should go all the way …
We were by now quite tired after driving that 4×4 stretch earlier this morning (and probably also after the delicious milkshake ☺️), that we decided to call it a day at Vanrhynsdorp – almost 500km since our start of this morning.
And what a beautiful place our overnight place turned out to be! Letsatsi Lodge has beautiful accommodation, swimming pools and a restaurant … we were quite impressed with this amazing place!
There is a beautiful chapel on the premises of Letsatsi Lodge. The old Catholic Church was built in 1937 and has a remarkable, hand-painted site of the cross, as well as great paintings on their walls.
The staff are very friendly and accommodating. We were in need of one last fire on our trip and the staff offered to send a salad and sandwiches to our unit. We bought meat and wood and had one last “braai” to conclude our Namakwa-4×4 Eco Trail.
We had an amazing time this past week with our friends in a part of our country that is so well-known for its vast and open landscapes. I think we will probably yearn back to the starry nights, calmness of the desert and the banks of the Orange River …
What great memories we made 😊. Thank you for joining us on our epic Namakwa-4×4 Eco Trail.