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April 8, 2013 / samwilson60

Along the Orange river and into South Africa!

From Sossusvlei we headed south, in search of more remote camping. We settled on a beautiful roadside spot in the Tirasberg Conservancy, obscured from the nearby campsite by just a few trees. In the evening we got another few silhouettes made for the window and in the morning we watched the sun rise over the ridge that stretched alongside us, before heading south towards the Orange river that separates Namibia from South Africa.

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We felt a bit bad on the drive south for not appreciating the endless craggy rocks – it wasn’t an unpleasant view by any stretch, it was just the same view for hundreds upon hundreds of kilometres – until we hit the Orange river beneath Fish River Canyon, marking the border between Namibia and South Africa. This provided a beautiful burst of greens and a lovely winding drive along the turquoise river, all the way to the border.

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We had a frustrating do we, don’t we moment at the other end, as it was still early but later than we’d normally chose to cross a border. This one would doubtless be easy but still we opted for a final Namibian wild camp and an early morning crossing. In the sparse, rocky south, finding a camp spot was harder than normal, and the lack of shade was taking its toll, but we persevered, or rather Sam did, finding us a surprisingly concealed dry riverbed that worked out a treat. The awning even held up against the gusty wind, providing the only shade for miles around, and the Tinker Beast managed not to sink in the sand – a resounding success.

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By 9.30 the next morning, we were in South Africa. The border was a dream – again, there was no mention of visas, but it was so much better than that. Each counter we had to visit was clearly numbered and the officials were all lovely – although Sam’s heart sank briefly when he saw the vehicle scanner (we’re not hiding anything, but it could take a lot of blood, sweat and tears to prove that if anyone wanted to search every knock and cranny). We were much more amused at the final “Stop” sign, where we just got an anonymous thumbs up out of the mirror glass window – too cool 🙂

After nearly (but not quite) seven months on the road, we no longer had any borders separating us from Cape Hot – it felt too good to be true. We were blasting down the tarmac, through yet more craggy, flower-less terrain, barely containing our excitement, until we noticed how hard the Tinker Beast was working for our pleasure. She was getting hot – even by her standards – and with quite some mountain passes to come, we decided to put our enthusiasm to one side and finally look into the issue. We’d also had quite a few unexpectedly long driving days of late, so it seemed only right to make camp early on our first night in South Africa. For this we stopped in Kamieskroon, a town that (much like a lot of the surrounding area) comes alive after the rains. If we hadn’t seen the photos we wouldn’t have believed how flower-filled and colourful it could be. When we were there it was fairly uninspiring but no matter – it provided a nice space to clean out the radiator and finally let our friends in South Africa know we were on their doorstep.

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Cleaning out the radiator is easier said than done.

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One Comment

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  1. Ingrid S / Apr 9 2013 2:37 am

    Absolutely inspirational! So glad you’ve made it safely into SA and looking forward to the next installments x

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