Namibia – Spring 2019

Solveig and I planned a trip to Namaqualand for spring and include parts of Namibia and explore more of the Gariep river area. We mentioned our plans to Haldane and Dani who excitedly asked how far north we planned to go. Haldane had delivered a large order of his new furniture range to a sculpture garden gallery in Omaruru and wanted insitu photographs of his product.

We had never stayed in this area, only travelled through the Erongo region many years before. Sue and Pieter had been there on a birding trip a few years ago and raved about the mountains and nature of the area. 


Once again, Solveig was to take the bulk of the photographs while I was left to concentrate on the driving so as not be distracted. We left home at 9 am on the 20th August and arrived at van Rhynsdorp at around 3:30pm. 

We found accommodation at the van Rhynsdorp Caravan Park on the road to Gifberg just out of town. It had a farm like feel but what really sold us was LM Radio, our favourite radio station playing in the reception area. So, the owners must be cool! At R200.00 for the night, it was reasonable for the facilities offered. Lots of other campers must have thought that too as it was relatively full. There were spring flowers in the fields around the caravan site too adding to the country feel. I’ll be including prices of our accommodation in this blog as a guide for any others that maybe passing this way!

IMG_20190821_165756We re-organised our camper before leaving at around midday and headed inland to the Matjiesfontein farm stall, 15 km beyond Nieuwoudtville. There were 4 campsites, only used during the flower season. We found a lovely site under some huge trees amongst the sandstone ruins of old farm buildings. Only two sites had electricity for a few hours around sunset from a generator. We were lucky to get one. Ablutions were in an old stable, one of the ruins. Our campsite beneath the trees was also beneath swarms of weaver nests whose occupants provided us with their happy song. At R180.00 for the night, which included a drive through the farm on their flower route, was a bargain.

MatjiesfonteinThe next day we followed a route of about 10 kilometers which twisted over the farm to observe the amazing wild flowers of the region. We were able to leave our vehicle and view the flowers close.

cofAfter a light lunch we left for Loeriesfontein where the Fred Turner Windmill Museum is to be found. The museum is also dedicated to the culture and historical way of life of the old Trek Boers. Unfortunately the museum can only be visited by prior appointment.

LoeriesfonteinWe visited a general store next-door to a filling station and ordered coffee and cake. The owner, Josias van der Westhuizen, joined us at out table and wanted to know more about Twiga. After telling him of our trips, and where were going this time, we realised that it was getting late and we had nowhere to stay. When Josias asked us where we planned to stay we answered we would wild camp at a road cutting we’d seen on our way up. He advised us that it wasn’t safe as many truckers stopped there overnight and that it’s also a disgusting mess. He offered us a safe place to camp on a farm of his, Jobplaaskraal, about 10 kilometers south of Loeriesfontein and gave us directions.

IMG_20190822_172216We thanked him profusely. Wherever we go, the people we meet are all so special. Thank you, Josias, we found a magnificent spot next to a windmill  and dam! 


The next day we stopped at the Kokerwoud on our way back to Nieuwoudtville. The trees always face the sun on the north facing slope of the hills.

KokerwoudWe had to return to van Rhynsdorp to continue northwards on the N7. We stopped at the Bagdad Cafe on the way for coffee and cake!



We also dropped in at Garies to order a Kokerboom for Amanda, our Gordon’s Bay neighbour. And more coffee and cake!!!

nor_viviWe asked that they keep the tree for us to pick up on our return trip.  While enjoying our stop, the local folk entertained us to a Rieldans. What a treat.

Continuing our journey northwards, we spent the night at the Kamieskroon Hotel at R220.00 which included electricity. The campsite was covered with beautiful veldblomme and cacti. Before booking in we went up the pass to the plateau above and checked out a “Wild camp” site. The sites were small and expensive without facilities, hence Wild Camp!

We returned to the Kamieskroon Hotel.  Unfortunately we were close to the N7 highway which was extremely noisy with large trucks passing most of the night. Maybe the Wild Camp would have been the better choice.


Before leaving Kamieskroon we had coffee at KuierVreugde Tearoom the next morning where I found a Geocache. We were introduced to this pastime by Shane, our nephew.

We stayed at Springbok Caravan park and visited Checkers to stock up before entering Namibia the next day.

Creatures of habit that we are, we stayed at our favourite wild camping venue,  Gamchab Canyon! Wonderful as always. During breakfast we had a visitor who had stayed at Ai-Ais the night before. He had an overseas guest with him and they were heading for Aussenkehr. His guest, actually a customer from Italy, needed to introduce his own packaging on the export grapes his company had purchased.

We chatted for awhile and got a number of tips about routes and camping destinations from Frans who knew southern Namibia area well. We learned of an alternative route to Keetmanshoop which shortened our journey by a few hours! 

RoadhouseIt gave us time to stop at the Canyon Lodge near the Fish River Canyon where we’d stayed with Dukken and Rolf many years before.

We got to Keetmanshoop too late to get to Mesasaurus campsite which was about 50 kilometers further, on a gravel road we hadn’t been on before. So we camped at the municipal caravan park instead. It was rundown with faulty ablutions but at least it was safe. We thought that the asking price of R215.00 was too much though.

As it was relatively close by we decided check out Mesasaurus anyway for future reference. It was located beyond Giant’s Playground and the road was reasonable. We chatted to the owner and he gave us the whole story about the fossils on his property. We’d missed the guided tour, which was included in the price if you camped. Good value for R230.00 for everything. He knew Gordon’s Bay well as he had a daughter staying in the Helderberg area.

We went to look at the campsite, located in a dry river bed between two ridges full of kokerboom trees, just a few kilometers from the office. The location was as picturesque as the Kokerwoud Campsite near the Giants playground. We explored the place which included a short 4×4 trail and solar ablutions. There were many sites, mostly located beneath trees in the river bed.



We stopped next to one that had a very active Sociable Weaver nest and had lunch. The birds swarmed around us enjoying the hand-outs.


We were relaxed and enjoying the birds. Before we knew, it was too late to continue, so we decided to spend the night there after all. We drove back to the office to book in. The office was closed! We had no choice but to stay, we found a lady who wasn’t sure where the owner was. We told her we’d changed our minds and wanted to stay. She said we could pay the next day,  and she’d let the owner know, so we returned to the campsite and set up camp.

The next day we got as far as Mariental and camped at Koha, a farm near to the Hardup Dam, with excellent facilities for R200. A lovely overnight stop. Creatures of habit, we skipped Windhoek and continued to Okahanja to purchase meat, droewors and biltong from Closwa, a very good butcher chain in Namibia. We stayed overnight at the Ombonde Campsite, one of our favourites just out of town.


The campsite is very special with plenty birds and wildlife and also outdoor showers with water heated by Donkey boilers like this one for couples!

AnthillOn our way to Omaruru we passed this huge termite mound and Solveig just had to embrace it!

Omaruru  has become an artist retreat and the town has many artists, scupturers and photographers living there. We were in for a treat the weekend we’d chosen, Omaruru was hosting an Arts festival! There were the usual food and drink stalls and many of the old houses had been turned into artist galleries which were open to the public and displaying amazing mounted photographs and  landscape paintings. All highlighting the natural beauty of Namibia.

pixlr_20200412133120882Haldane’s furniture was featured in the Sculpture Garden Gallery along with works of local artists.



We spent the weekend in Omaruru photographing the furniture. It took the whole weekend as we had to wait for optimal lighting conditions lighting the furniture. We also explored the area as we’d not been there before.


Across the road from the campsite was the Franke Tower. The tower was built to commemorate a battle between the Hereros and the German colonisers and is used today as a Museum.

The campsite in the town was better than we’d expected with many facilities, a playground and farm animals for children, a swimming pool and local trees and plants well cared for. The shaded site located on the banks of the dry Omaruru river. 


On the Monday we left Omaruru to explore the Erongo mountains. In the mountains were several private game farms that offered various types of accommodation. Sue and Pieter van Oudtshoorn recommended The Three Elephants campsite at Omandumba Guest Farm.

OndongwaWe were shocked when we arrived and discovered that it was fully booked….until January 2020! The receptionist, Thelma, was wonderful. After explaining to her that we were totally self contained and didn’t require any facilities but only a safe place to wildcamp she said she had a place for us. Once again, I repeat, the world is full of wonderful people and you get what you deserve by your attitude.

hdrThelma jumped into a bakkie and asked us to follow her. She showed us to a picnic spot behind a group of rocks, completely out of sight.

rhdrSolveig joked about the guardian angel sitting on the chair alongside me.


Our site was beautifully secluded amoungst the most amazing rock formations.



We were near a proper camp that had a flush loo and an outdoor shower heated by a donkey boiler. Thelma suggested that we look out for the occupants and use the facilities once they’d left the following day.



Our  next destination was the Spitzkoppe mountains community campsite. We’d previously visited there about 10 years ago when there were only six camps with long drops. The road between the Erongo mountains and Spitzkoppe is gravel and was not in the usual high standard expected in Namibia.



We passed a few settlements along the way. The road became more corrugate the closer we got to Spitzkoppe.


There must be about at least thirty campsites now but each one is hidden behind rocks and is very private.



We went via Henties Bay after leaving Spitzkoppe where we spent the night and then continued towards Swakopmund, making coffee and photo stops along the way.

Just south of Henties Bay one of the the Skeleton Coast’s victims is the wreck of the Zeila.



Next, we pulled in at the small resort town of Wlotzkasbaken. Nearly every house in the town was brightly painted. It added  a touch of colour to what otherwise would have been a bleak place.

At Windpomp 14 we stopped for coffee only. The campsite didn’t offer much unless you were a fisherman and it was expensive….



So, we carried on to Swakopmund to the “graveyard”. We knew what to expect and it was affordable even though it was one of the ugliest places we’d ever stayed at!


There were a few changes…. A permanent resident had set up a vegetable garden! He sold his produce to people from the nearby township.


While in Swakopmund we visited the NWR offices to obtain a permit to enter the Namib/ Nauklauft Game Reserve and spend the night wildcamping at the Vogelfedderberg. We had tried on a previous occation but advised that a permit was required.


But first, we wanted to visit the lagoon in Walvis Bay to photograph Flamingos and Pelicans. We stayed at the Lagoon Caravan site.



We could have spent days here, there were so many photo opertunities!! After a light lunch we headed out into the desert as a mist was coming in from the sea.


About a hour later we arrived at our destination and climbed the picturesque mountain. We were all alone, how wonderful!



We noted the direction of the light desert winds and drove around the mountain in search of a sheltered spot.


We found a great level and sheltered spot facing the setting sun under an overhang up the side of the mountain.


Solveig was happy too!


We slept so well in the fresh mountain air with not a sound to disturb us. There is something to be said for wildcamping in Nature.

We felt that we were on our way home again now that we had left the coast, but still without a schedule. We planned to continue in a leisurely fashion and see how things turned out. So after a propper breakfast we set off again towards the Tiras valley where we hadn’t been for a few years. But our plans were to change; we got a puncture! The Tiras valley was out of the question without a spare. We’d already passed the turnoff via Sossus. Our next best route was to head for Maltahohe where we could expect assistance. We were in a beautiful mountainous area, so our detour turned out to be a new experience for us,


We hadn’t been this way for at least 10 years as it wasn’t on one of our favoured routes. We arrived after dark. The caravan park was closed! We drove around the town looking for an alternative and found a guest house. They couldn’t help us as they were fully booked and suggested that we wildcamp behind their guest house in the next street. The owner assured us that we would be safe.

It was on a piece of ground at the edge of town which looked as if it had become a bit of a dumping ground with building rubble all over. There were also a few cows wandering around but it was really too dark to see properly.

In the morning, while I was having the tyre repaired, Solveig took a walk through town. She phoned to say that the caravan park and restuarant was now open and that I should join her there for coffee. We checked out our options and chose Aus as our next stopover. We could then exit Namibia through the border at Alexander Bay using the recently tarred road between Rosh Pinah and Oranjemund.


The road to Oranjemund lies virtually on the edge of the Gariep river. We overlooked farms popping out of the desert on the South African side.




It was nearly the end of September and there were still wild flowers and succulents growing in the harsh desert terrain.


Once we reached the coast we carried on to Port Nolloth. The camp site was another 10 kilometers further south at McDougalls Bay.



The municipal camp was right on the shore, terribly run down, and had several dubious looking characters staying in beach cottages. A wonderful location. Such a pity!



The were a number of other campers staying over the weekend, but when they left on Monday we did too.

We drove a futher 75 kilometers down the coast to Kleinzee, through a diamond consession area previously run by De Beers Consolidated.  Kleinzee had been a town of about 2000 people where the miners had lived until mining operations ceased around 2009. The town got its name from the lagoon at the mouth of the Buffels river. There is a shopping centre, caravan park a few restaurants and a petrol station. The town was in a surprisingly good condition considering the lack of work in the area for the small population. Probably funded from the “klippies” that were still to be found in the abandoned sandunes. 

Springbok was about 100 kilometers to the east over a good gravel road. We stayed at the Springbok Caravan park as usual. We had planned to travel home along the coast, stopping at various resorts along the way, but changed our minds when confronted by cold weather. We would return home earlier. 

We spent a cold night at the Clanwilliam Dam resort which was soon to be closed as the dam wall was being raised to increase capacity and would flood the existing facilities.


A familiar sight welcomed us home after an amazing trip with so many new experiences from a country we just love visiting.




Eastern Cape and Wild Coast

On our trip to Mozambique last year, we’d travelled up the eastern coastline, passing through a very beautiful part of our country not that familiar to us. We’d been to the Wild Coast fairly often, but always on our way to somewhere else. We promised ourselves that we would make it a destination oneday, instead of a part of a route.

We got the opportunity when we were approached by an Irish couple that had sold their Gordon’s Bay holiday home and wanted to return for a two month stay. Our home was already booked for the summer season and we could only offer them our flat where we lived. It would mean that we would have to go away in our Twiga Penthouse! Wonderful to be forced to go on holiday!

As coincidence would have it, a contact from Mike Faure, a musician friend living permanently in Chicago finalised our decission. Mike and Ronelle were coming South Africa to catch up with friends and family. We were delighted to be included on their list of friends!

Part of their visit included the Addo National Park. We decided to meet them there where we could spend quality time with them while enjoying the Addo too. We were lucky to get a booking in the Main camp where they were staying even though it was almost two months away. Campsites in Sanparks are so difficult to get these days. Not long ago it was not necessary to book when camping. The planning of our trip started in earnest…. realising that we also had special friends in various parts of the country that we’d love to see. A slow journey, including a few favourite campsites on the way was to be our plan.

I must thank Shane for adding a new exciting aspect…..Geocaching! More later……..

After welcoming and settling in our new tenants we finally set off late in the day. On reaching Swellendam we decided to stay at the municipal campsite where we’d been before. As it was late we weren’t made that welcome and were also surprised at their new rates! Not everything changes fortunately! The camp is set in a beautifully forested area with plenty of greenery and good ablutions, so I shouldn’t complain. Our planned destination had been de Hoop Nature Reserve.

The next day we gave that a miss as it was too close, and continued to Jongensfontein. We hadn’t been there for many years. The resort had grown into a small town with plenty of holiday homes on the slopes with sea views and also along the coast. Even though it was late in the season, the campsite was almost completely full, something we’d see a lot more of in the next few weeks. We set up camp and went for a walk along the coast….

The beach at Jongensfontein with fishtraps visible
Dassies were not disturbed by my presence

After supper I checked the Geocache app on my phone and found a cache about a kilometre from our camp. There was also interesting historical information about Jongensfontein on the site. When the first boer settlers arrived, Strandloopers were already living there because of a spring providing them with ample fresh water. Hence the name Jongensfontein. I’d have to search for the cache in the morning! While Solveig was still asleep I was off on my seach. It took awhile but I persevered and was finally rewarded. Thank you Shane!

A plaque at the location of the first geocache I found and the tin it was concealed in.

Our next stopover was at Woodbourne in Knysna near to the Heads. We’d arranged our first visit with Glynn and Margie van Straaten in their new home. They had lost their previous home along with everything else in the Knysna fire.

Cheers! Glynn, Margie,Warren and myself enjoying a wonderful reunion

We spent a few more days in Knysna visiting markets and looking for caches. Found one at the railway turntable at the waterfront. We met a couple of overlanders at Woodbourne and had a lovely time exchanging stories with them.

Woodbourne including the de Ruyters Nissan camper

Barbara and Henry de Ruyters, overlanders from Stellenbosch. They’d recently successfully travelled to Ethiopia.

Photo collage; Scarab market

Not too far to our next stop, Forever Resort Plettenberg Bay on the banks of the Keurbooms River.

Forever Resort, Plettenberg Bay

While here we visited Carol and David and ” inspected” the new house David had just completed. Needless to say, it passed with flying colours. In keeping to our mission of reuniting with friends, we visited Estelle and Andre and thanked them for all the wonderful Mozambique destiations and information they had shared with us.

On our way once again we stayed in Jeffreys Bay as usual. I found a few more caches while we enjoyed long walks on the beach. We dropped in at van Staadens River mouth to have a look at the campsite there. It was also almost full with the good sites taken. There were a few left on uneven ground not worth the asking price. So we carried on to Pine Lodge Resort in Summerstrand near the Nelson Mandela University.

We had a few days left before meeting ex Clout guitarist, Sandy Robbie, who had arranged tickets for the Abba Tribute at the Opera House. Sandy had resettled in Port Elizabeth and still played for a number of bands and shows.

Sandy Robbbie at the Abba Tribute Show

It gave us the opportunity to explore the area including the Cape Recife Nature Park where we visited the impressive SANCCOB Seabird Rehabilitation Centre.

A Gannet chatting to the penguins at SANCCOB

We made contact with Sky at the Nelson Mandela University and arranged to see him when it wouldn’t interfere with his studies. He joined us at PineLodge for a meal and a very emotional contact. The highlight of our PE Stay!

A special contact with Sky

We took the signposted turnoff to the Addo Park (R335) which must be the most disgusting road in South Africa. It borders on Motherwell. The road is double carriage and has a 60Kph speed limit for what seems like at least 10 kms. (to make sure tourists don’t miss the filth and decay on the way). What an impression this must leave with visitors to the Addo! Why can’t the official entrance to the park be shifted to Colchester at the southern entrance? A far more scenic route and more possible game sightings immediately.

And what about the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro? How can they expect people to live in Motherwell? Clean Up!!

Fortunately the Addo Park is clean, well run and what you’d expect to find. Hopefully the experience will erase memories of the journey there.

Mike and Ronelle Faure with friends at our campsite in Addo

Once again we had a great time renewing friendships and making new friends. What a wonderful trip this was turning out to be. We’ve said this before; it’s people that make our travels so special!

img_20190218_075253-013509928485440002432.jpegCaught in my reverse camera!

On a game drive in Addo we saw a number of elephants but not many other animals. We also enjoyed meeting other campers in the extremely full campsite. Including a local couple that were staying there until a campsite became available in the Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock. They’d been waiting 10 days!

There are two reasons for National Park campsite being so full lately.

1. Pensioner discounts and the fact that so many pensioners are renting out their homes for income while travelling. This applies to all other good caravan parks as well.

2. Accommodation has become expensive in the Parks. Camping and Caravaning is so much more affordable than Rondawels and chalets.

After a Pie stop at Nanaga and catching up with Lisa Nettleton of Molo Mini in Port Alfred, Yellowsands, near East London, was our next night stop.

Our usual choice of sites overlooking the lagoon were occupied so we chose one overlooking the sea with a stunning view next to a well kitted MobiLodge, the owners we found out, were from Strand.

It was far less sheltered from the afternoon wind though. We’d experienced a lot more cold and rainy weather this trip. Not the type of summer we usually encountered, we hoped for better weather from here on!

We were treated to a lovely breakfast with John and Lynn Rich at Lavender Blue Market nearby. They are also travellers of note! Except they fly! We love catching up with them and hearing of their travel experiences too. Our Wild coast trip was turning into something much more meaningful. We’ve enjoyed the way it’s changed. By making no plans or schedules there can be no disappointments.

So keeping up with our new style of travel we headed for Morgan Bay next. Hilton and Kerry lived there, we hoped to find them home! When we booked in, the receptionist said she knew that Kerry and Hilton were in town and that Hilton was building a house just up the road. Everybody living in a small town knows all the local news!

img_20190227_153309.jpgMorgan Bay beach in front of the hotel
Our campsite at the Inchara lagoon.
This friendly wagtail was a regular visitor at our camp
While staýing at Morgan Bay we took a trip to Double Mouth just 5 km away.

Many years ago, on a previous visit to Double mouth we had found Ming Porcelian shards on Bead Beach from a 16th centuary Portuguese shipwreck. There were also Carnelian Beads and Money Cowries. Unfortunately the estuary had closed due lack of rain in the area and the beach had silted over covering any trace of shards.

Bead beach.

After spending the night camping in the Double Mouth Nature Reserve we returned to Morgan Bay and had a wonderful supper with Kerry and Hilton. We were lucky to see them at all. Kerry was off to clients in Kenya the next day. It was good to catch up with all their news. They are extremely happy living where they do on the Wild Coast.

The following day it was back inland to the N2 for us to continue with our trip further north east along the coast. Just short of Mthatha we turned off the N2, back to the coast again, heading for Coffee Bay where we would spend the next few days. The trip was stunning!

The tarred road wove its way over hills, through small villages dotted with thatched rondavels……

and colourful houses. There must have been a special on turquoise paint!

Washing hanging on lines and fences…..

We knew we’d enjoy the Transkei, it seemed just our scene!

We dodged the goats, cows and poultry, cautiously avoiding the school children returning from rural schools too!

We were fascinated by the tyres at the peak of the thatch roofs, always decorated with something.

Passing through Coffee Bay on our way to White Clay, located closer to The Hole in the Wall, we were glad we’d taken the advice of others on where to stay. Coffee Bay looked somewhat dirty and run down.

img_20190616_220045-015724058446308253895.jpegWhite Clay, our campsite on rolling Transkei hills
pixlr_201906162220137906639359522210397471.jpgHole in the Wall collage and a view from above looking back, away from the Hole, to show the beauty of the area…...

We enjoyed White Clay so much that we stayed a few more days and enjoyed relaxing and walks on the beach

White Clay, Wild coast.

The Irish couple that had occupied our part of Cardamom House in Gordon’s Bay were leaving soon so we could start our way home again as we would have a place to stay!

We had come a long way and needed a few stops along the way and there was no need to rush…

A few days at Yellowsands first. We were glad to get a place overlooking the river, our favourite. We wanted to see Sky on our return too, and learned that he was back in Plettenberg Bay, so we returned to Forever Resort and had lunch with him at Enricos in Keurboomsstrand.

We visited Annabel at the Paws Charity shop in Plett where she worked on Mondays. While there Solveig found an outrageous “Watermelon” dress that looked as if it was made for a fancy dress! Solveig snapped it up to wear at AfrikaBurn which we were going to in May.

Drongos eating from our hands at Estelle and Andre’s in Plettenberg Bay

We were still visiting friends and family along the way although we were on our way home, so we saw the Zoutendyks again, visiting them at their home. We also had coffee with Carol and Lauren at a tea room in town. Lauren was visiting Carol and David on her own. Although Lauren lives in Gordon’s Bay, we never get to see her unless in a crowd. We really enjoyed our get together.

You might not realise that we have to break camp each time we go anywhere by vehicle when camping. Our tempory home is our transport too. So instead of returning to Forever Resorts, we continued homeward(ish).

Buffalo Bay has one of our favourite campsites too and if not windy it is idyllic.

Buffalo Bay. We were lucky to get a site at the waters edge

Before leaving for home the next day we were able to get a chance to explore the coastline on the other side of the point.

A wonderful time was had by us in this amazing country of ours…… Over all too soon!


Ponta Do Ouro

The border crossing was a pleasure! We were done with formalities in moments, no searches or restrictions at all, so Solveig didn’t need to have gone to so much trouble hiding her cartons of cigarettes in strange places all over the car!! We were in Mozambique! The new tar road welcomed us but the lack of signage and the GPS confused, we were left to our instincts. We followed the tar northwards for a few kilometers until we reached a tarred turnoff to the right and took that. After another few kilometers we came across roadworks which confirmed we were on the correct road to the sea.

Soon we were driving down a street lined with vendors selling everything imaginable. We stopped to purchase a data sim and beers as we’d been advised not to bring in any from home. We met Jan from Palm Tree Lodge who had brought in a number of backpackers and clients who’d left their vehicles at Palm Tree lodge. I made the purchases (all in SA Rand) while Solveig checked out the stalls. Carrying on down the main road we reached the campsite at the beach. We’d figured on spending a night in Ponta before moving on. The campsite was undergoing an attempt at painting the ablutions in the quiet season which put them out of service. There was more paint on the floor than the walls and we were asked to use the facilities at the cottages. But it didn’t spoil our stay at all and we could easily see why the resort is so popular. The sites close to the beach ( sandy) were R380 per night while the site we chose on grass 20 meters away was only R190 per night. The easy access via the new tar road will make it even more so.

Campsite at Ponta do Ouro. Grassed with shade on beachside

Luckily it was full moon and spring tide receded enough to expose a stunning reef. The weather was wonderful, but the sea not as warm as expected. We explored the reef and beach for shells.

View of the campsite from the beach at Ponta do Ouro

Besides birds there were a number of colourful lizards all over the campsite.

Solveig showed great patience photographing these lizards

Ponta Malongane

The next day we moved to Parque de Malongane at Ponta Malongane, a few kilometres further north on a 4×4 track with deep sand. The shaded campsite was very sheltered from the afternoon sea-breeze, but sandy. We struggled to get Twiga positioned between the trees with enough space for our Penthouse. R200 per night.

Campsite 40a at Ponta Malongane

We awoke to a miserable day as the bad weather we’d experienced along the coast finally caught up to us. We spent the day tidying up our photos and travel notes. The long white beach must be a wonderful sight in summer to holiday makers from inland.

A Stormy day at Ponta Malogane

The following day we decided to move north of Maputo as the weather report indicated the cold front had moved out to sea there.

We returned to the new tar road and headed north rapidly covering the distance to the outskirts of Maputo which could have taken virtually all day before. When we reached Boane we found a Shoprite and stocked up with items we’d not brought with us in case they were confiscated at the border. We needed a coffee and something to nibble on and visited a bakery in the centre where we found they had Natas, a Portuguese egg custard tart to die for!

As it was a Sunday with very little traffic we took the EN1 to Marrcuene north of Maputo.

The villages along our route had stalls selling clothing, vegatables and curios. We were back in Africa!

Praia Da Macanela

We had chosen to stay at Tan ‘n Biki at Praia Da Macanela, run by ex South Africans for R340 per night. Practically on the beach, the sites were secluded in coastal scrub on the dunes.

The beach at Tan ‘n Biki

There were also chalets and a pub/restaurant.

For the campers unisex ablutions made a change, yahoo! a shower for two……. The place was well cared for and had nicely layed out gardens.

Tan ‘n Biki was a lovely place, but tanning not possible as the weather was not doing its part, so we chose to move on. Before leaving I topped up on data, surprised that ours was already depleted, and also surprised at what we’d paid for our data in Ponta do Ouro!! It was so much cheaper here.

We have many friends to thank for all the tips we’d received regarding places to visit and stay, especially Meryl who supplied us with typed notes, and Andre and Estelle, of course. We also read well written articles in the excellent and informative travel and outdoor magazines available to us in South Africa. DriveMoz, an online Facebook Group is also a must for visitors to Mozambique.


The next few days were spent at Complexo Palmeiras in Bilene.

Another shady site

We’d found a place we could relax at and the weather was great! In fact, it was very hot! We took long walks on the beach in both directions.

The local community were wonderful and friendly, going about their lives without hastling us.

We took a walk into the town and stopped at a roadside pub. I had a 2M local beer and Solveig an R&R – a local rum with Sparletta Marango (Sparberry).

Street Pub in Bilene

Along the way we passed many stalls filled with craft

And clothing…

Fruit and Veg too!

20180821_102000The weather was ideal to fly the drone but like a computer, every time you wish to use it, it wants to do an update first! Difficult with a limited internet, only 2G most of the time.

We were doing so little, except lots of walking, and although we weren’t used to it we actually enjoyed it! Getting up late and going to bed early and really relaxing in between with a few more 2M’s and R&R’s!

20180823_085800We could buy fresh prawns on the beach

After 3 days of this we felt guilty and decided we had to move on northwards again! A couple we’d met at Bilene were celebrating their honeymoon. They weren’t taking any chances, they only got married after their children had left home! They suggested we should stay at White Sands Lodge when in the Inhambane area. But that was still a long way off at the pace we were travelling.


There were a number of lodges that also offered camping too. We found a place near Xai-Xai beach.

20180823_175753Montego was a lovely creative campsite.

Located on the dunes a few meters from the beach on the northern side of Xai Xai beach. The friendly owners gave us lots of advice regarding where else to stay and other travel tips. Besides the deck with sea views, there was a beach side pub.



Once again, we were the only campers!


The beach was stunning with a reef which was exposed at low tide.


We enjoyed our long walks each day, the excellent weather and beautiful beaches made it especially enjoyable.


After two nights we moved on to Zavora Lodge. It was difficult to find because of incorrect information on our T4A GPS map!! Fortunately, I’d seen a sign to Zavora about 10 kilometers before, so we turned back. When we arrived we were met by a flustered manager who pointed out the location of campsites on the dunes and asked us to make ourselves comfortable and handle the formalities later as there were police at the reception. The campsites are at two locations. A few on the dunes alongside the chalets, and others behind the dunes next to a lake filled with reeds.

20180827_090340The campsite on the dunes at Zavora with individual kitchens under thatch 


The following day we found out that a diver had been lost the previous day which explained  our troubled host on arrival. A  tourist from Italy in her thirties was deep diving on Heliox about two kilometers from shore with a party of divers. Her husband had been her buddy when she went missing! Search parties and a helicopter were out all day searching for any signs of the missing tourist.

20180827_060703Sunrise over the Indian ocean

We were very lucky with our weather while SA was experiencing a harsh cold front with plenty of snow everywhere. More lazy walks along the beach and time spent exploring the exposed reefs….





By the time we left the diver had not yet been found. It was Zavora Lodge’s first accident of this nature in the 10 years they’d been operating a dive resort.

Inhambane Peninsula

On our arrival we first explored the town of Inhambane before visiting the resort of Tofo where Estelle and Andre share a cottage with a few others.

davThe Zoutendyk Cottage at Tofo

Tofo is a busy tourist town and we were thankful we were staying at White Sands nearby. There were traders trying hard to make a sale and we were continually being hassled. We preferred quieter venues!

20180827_142413How creative?

One of the restaurant owners and concerned residents of Tofo had organised a beach cleanup and the result of that was this turtle made from bottles they’d picked up!

As Solveig doesn’t eat fish we’d avoided visiting a seafood restaurant before, but I was very keen to have some prawns and as we were in Tofo I just had to try.  What a disaster!! Firstly they didn’t have any!  We should have left but were already busy with our drinks, so I ordered Lulas and Solveig ordered a Prego.

20180827_144505The worst calamari I’ve ever had!

The chips were OK but Solveig didn’t enjoy her Prego either!

We then headed to White Sands where we’d stay for the next few days.

20180828_164834Entrance to White Sands at high tide.  We were cut off for two and a half hours!

We arrived just in time to avoid being cut off by the high spring tide. We were basically on an island. The following day the tide had receded by hundreds of meters.

20180828_125734Fish traps, in the other direction, with our campsite in the distance behind the palms at low tide.

20180828_120257Our island campsite at White Sands.


We spent the days exploring the “island” we were on. The local community offered excursions on their dhows to Pansy Island where you could pick up pansy shells if you got lucky. We took our chances here at White Sands without any luck!

cofDhows at White Sands

cofHuge Starfish

jhdrR & R


Estelle had insisted that we stay at Morrungulo although she didn’t have much information other than it was a well kept secret! T4A maps also didn’t know too much about it as it missed the turnoff by about 10kms! Luckily I’d seen a sign to Sylvia Shoal  Morrungulo, so we turned back and took that road. There was quite a bit of repair work being done so we were grateful to see another sign closer to the sea. Sylvia Shoal was off to the left of the road we were on and every now and again another sign greeted us. When we thought we’d almost reached our destination the signs stopped.  We then took every  turn but always landed up on private property. It was getting dark and we started to get anxious. We eventually came across a lodge that was undergoing renovations and asked them for directions. We were instructed to go to the bottom of the hill and turn right over a dune. There we found a boom which Solveig lifted and we went in. Not a soul in sight, it appeared to be deserted. On investigating further it turned out to be the correct place. We chose to wild camp there anyway as it was now almost dark. There was no water nor electricity, but we could cope.

img_20181015_185715-014253434031007727838.jpegDeserted Campsite at Sylvia Shoal

Early in the morning we were woken by the sound of grass being cut. There was a man there who was looking after the place. It had recently been sold and the new owner was arriving in a week or so! We returned to the lodge on the hill that was being renovated and found a young couple there that were the new managers. It seemed that there were lots of property deals taking place in the area!

The couple introduced themselves as Jessica and Lloyd from J-Bay. Lloyd told us he had been fishing on the chokka boats in J-Bay. I said we’d met a chokka boat fisherman and surfer from J-Bay in Costa Rica at Puerto Veijo de Talamanca named Lookie. What a small world we live in….They were friends!! Lloyd took a photo of us all together and whatsapped it to him! They could not accommodate us but gave us directions to Morrugulo Lodge further down the coast.

img_20180830_172747-012023974268331115701.jpegWe arrived at Morrungulo lodge without any further hassle

The campsite had grassed stands and was practically on the beach.

sdrThank you Estelle!

We would never have found this place without the effort we’d gone through and would have given up had Estelle not insisted that we stay here.


The garden at the lodge

img_20180901_064528-012610650675631230922.jpegSolveig looking a little nervous!

There were palms everywhere as well as other campers for a change. Most of them we spoke to were from Zimbabwe taking a break until the post election fun and games settled down. Prices had also escalated there…..over R120 for 500 gram butter and fuel at around R22.00 per liter! One lady suggested it was not a good time for us to be travelling there. We’d have to find a different way home. I posted on DriveMoz for suggestions.

While on the DriveMoz site I read that the missing diver at Zavora had been found by an experienced diving team and no foul play was expected.

But we were here to enjoy ourselves and there was still lots to see before our homeward journey.

screenshot_20180831-095119-02-014044651316410687452.jpegThe beach was amazing and someone had built a labyrinth right in front of our camp

Another day of long walks on the pristine beach at low tide….



finding beautiful shells and coral in rock pools

20180831_140229Dutch campers soaking up the sunshine

20180901_062917Sunbeams creating patterns in the sky


We had been advised to stay at Baobab Backpackers but wanted to check a few alternatives and do some shopping first.  It was already Saturday afternoon and everything was closed until Monday! We still had food so it wasn’t a real problem. We stopped at a restaurant overlooking the beach for coffee and de natas.

20180901_144105Great coffee, Portuguese pastries and lovely friendly lady

20180901_151953View from the coffee shop of the bay

We were happy that we had chosen Baobab Backpackers. It seemed better than the others we’d seen.

jhdrOur campsite beneath a giant Baobab

There was plenty to see and do….


Signs advertising restaurants and activities.

The beach front was where it was all happening.Scores of resaurants, pubs and informal traders selling mainly beach clothing and curios. Low tide was the best time for photographs with dozens of channels of water separated by sandbars. across the bay you could see the islands of Bazaruto, Ilha de Benguerra and Ilha de Santa Carolina. There were a number of tour operators running Dhow services to the islands situated along the beachfront. There was everything you could immagine to do or rent. Just walking the beach and interacting with the locals was good enough for us.  In the the campsite we also interacted with people young and old from all over.


Dhows at low tide

20180902_152129Children having fun playing on the boats at low tide


20180903_101910We spent lots of time just walking and taking photos

We found an Airush Kite Surfing school and saw a number of Kite surfers. Conditions were near perfect as there was nearly always an onshore wind in the afternoons.


We had made a decision to carry on to Inhassoro for a few days and then turn around and exit Mozambique via the Pafuri border in the north of the KNP. It was a two day trip of approximately 500 kilometers which started about 35 kilometers south of here. DriveMoz had confirmed that crossing the Limpopo would not be a problem as the river was extremely low.


The EN1 road north between Vilanculo and Inhassoro was shocking. Potholes reminesent of the Livingstone/Sesheki road in Zambia.

The first thing we did on arrival was visit a supermarket owned by a South African that stocked all our home favourites. We restocked with the essentials, mainly of the liquid kind. He never had bread as he did not want to compete with the local bakery across the road.

We followed a foreign registered motorhome down a corrugated gravel road for a few kilometers, they also seemed to be heading for Goody Villas Campsite.

cofGoody Villas Campsite, Inhassoro

When we arrived there were eight other Motorhomes already there! A group of European tourists had shipped their vehicles to Port Elizabeth and were going as far as Kilimanjaro, visiting all the countries on the way, finishing in Namibia on their return south.

Goody’s was one of our favourite campsites and Inhassoro a wonderful destination too. We’re so glad we came this far north as we almost turned inland near Vilanculo. The local community depends largly on trek fishing for their protein intake. The nets are taken out over the reef by row boats and then a large number of the community are involved in pulling in the catch.

20180903_160153Young and old all play a part. The stronger members do the pulling….

20180909_111150while the children roll up the coils of rope.

20180903_163411She’d threaded these on seaweed!

20180909_110711There were those we’d never seen before!


20180904_164906A large variety of seacreatures are caught in the nets, including Turtles which are immediately released.

Even huge Crayfish weighing up to 3kgs are netted!


20180904_164823Amazing colours!

IMG-20180909-WA0000Solveig loves the connection, especially with the children.

All too soon we were on our way again, but we hoped to be back soon as there is so much more to see. We hadn’t even reached the halfway point!

Gaza province to Pafuri

Unfortunately we had to retrace our steps through the potholes southwards on EN1, back to the turnoff to Mabote at Mapinhane. From there the road was fairly good gravel to Mabote. The countryside became a lot drier as we progress westwards, but still very beautiful. The trip took a day and a half and was over 500 kilometers.

20180905_171501Herder on his way home.

Suddenly after leaving Mabote, while wondering what the fuss about this route was, we came across a small signpost to Pafuri to the right and the road literally disappeared!

20180908_165629It turned onto a two spoor sand track which drifted from the indicated GPS route frequently as it made its way from village to village.

20180906_105251 Local Traffic

A new telcoms cable was been installed along the route and we followed it confidently. The GPS route re-appeared from time to time which gave us the assurance we were following the correct route on this section of track between Mabote and Machaila.  We only met one other vehicle, a young couple from Lesotho, on their way to the coast. Both parties were grateful as it confirmed we were on route!

The road from Machaila to Mapai seem as if it was being prepared for an upgrade. New culverts were being built the entire distance causing huge humps, as if a new raised road would be built between the humps. This section of road longside the Parque Nacional de Banhine becomes flooded during the rainy season, as does the National Park. It was almost nightfall so we started to look for a suitable place to wildcamp for the night. There were no villages and therefore no chiefs to ask if we could stay overnight. The courteous way!

cofWe pulled off the road next to a culvert construction site for the night

After a wonderful supper cooked on gas we experienced a tranquil night with a stunning milkyway to keep us company. There was the occasional bakkie passing by as well. The next morning we found a village nearby to our surprise!

20180906_083614The Mighty Limpopo!

When enquiring as to the route conditions on DriveMoz I was asked whether I had a snorkel!! The river never even wet my rims!

20180908_163739Twiga gives scale to the size of this Baobab

The road between Mapai to Pafuri was stunning. We’d never expected such a varied and beautiful landscape.

20180906_122252Closer to Pafuri we entered this Fever tree forest


And a final few thoughts from Twiga…..

Stand Tall

Reach for new Heights

Don’t be afraid to stick your neck out

Preserve wild places

Eat fresh greens

Be head and shoulders above the rest

Keep your chin up!


Mozambique – Getting there

Our intended route was to go all the way up the east coast and enter Mozambique at the Ponta do Ouro border.

We left home as a new cold front arrived, bringing extremely cold and wet weather, which accompanied us to Wilderness. We camped the night at the SAN parks Ebb and Flow resort in the south camp as our favourite north camp was closed. Another annoyance was pensioners discount was cancelled until 20th August due to public holidays. We contacted an old friend from our Randburg days, Eleanor Glover, now living in George, and shared coffee and a “catchup chat” before continuing to Knysna.

Margot Paulsen from Gordon’s Bay had recently acquired “The Oaks on Main” centre and was busy leasing premises to new tenants after doing an amazing makeover to the place. The place had been rundown and painted a drab grey.
Not everybody in Knysna was happy with her improvements as can be expected. There are always those that detest change in every community.

Oaks on-Main Centre

We spent a comfortable night at Woodbourne Caravan park near the Heads where they do apply a pensioners discount. The friendly receptionist asked whether we were birders as they get so many staying there. We said it was surprising that we weren’t as so many of our friends were!

Carol and David were on their way to Somerset West the following day and joined us at Oaks on Main for coffee before we each went our separate ways. As we never have any fixed plans we decided to try a drier and hopefully warmer inland route instead and took the Prince Alfred pass out of Knysna through Uniondale to Willowmore.

On the way we stopped at “Angies G spot” at De Vlugt in the pass, run by a pair of ageing hippies like ourselves, Angie and Harold Beaumont. We skipped the Road Kill Burger or Jou Pa se Roti and had the coffee instead. They cater for bikers mainly who don’t drink too much coffee I guess, as the coffee was chicory in a plunger!

Angie’s G spot

Plaaskind se Kombuis, also at De Vlugt, was closed unfortunately.

The Prince Alfred Pass, built around 1860 by Thomas Bain, is the longest in the Cape at around 68 kilometers

After the pass we drove through a beautiful poort before reaching Uniondale. While exploring the town we found this beautiful old stone church.

Stone church in Uniondale.

We decide to spend the night in Willowmore at the caravan park we’d stayed at a few months earlier instead of staying in Uniondale. That night our wish for better weather didn’t quite work out how we’d wished…A bitterly cold night followed. Fortunately our hotwater bottles helped for part of the night. The morning was a beautifully sunny -2° and water left overnight in the basin was frozen!

Frozen basin.

We visited Sophies Choice, a not to be missed attraction in Willowmore, and enjoyed some real coffee.

Some of the decor at Sophie’s Choice

A number of people we’ve met on our travels insisted we bought lamb pies at Kapoet farmstall if ever in Willowmore. We visited there after Sophies Choice and bought two pies for lunch later in the day. We also bought Marmalade. The marmalade excellent…the Lamb pies… rather give me pies from Peregrines anytime.

We’d thought that by moving inland we’d avoid the weather but we were better prepared to handle rain than cold. We had packed clothing for the warmth we expected to find in Mozambique. So back to the coast we went!

We studied the map and chose to take the route via Steytlerville and the Gamtoos valley with its citrus farms to Yellowsands, a favourite of ours.

The road between Steytlerville and Willowmore.

The trip through Grahamstown, Peddie and King Williamstown took longer than we expected and we arrived after dark again! Every night so far! The reception was closed but we knew our way around the caravan park and headed for our usual spot, but it was taken!

We left earier the following day, not even visiting the beach which we love so much, wanting to reach Kokstad before sunset! We managed to get ahead of the rain and enjoyed a wonderful drive through the Transkei.

Beautiful, sparcely populated, Transkei landscape!

It was like being in our neighbouring African countries again whenever we passed through a town. We achieved our goal in reaching Kokstad before sunset!

Another beautiful stone church, this one’s in Kokstad

Returning to Stoneybrook B&B and restaurant out of town where we’d stayed with Steinar and Kristin some years before. This time we bushcamped!

Bushcamping at Stoneybrook

We took the N2 towards the coast where we’d lost our caravan in the storm know as Demoina (sp?) that lashed Mozambique and Natal in the 80’s when we travelled as a family with our boys, Dukken, Rolf and Birgitte, in our Safari 4×4 and Sprite Musketeer caravan.

We both agreed the South Coast has lost a lot of its charm since days spent there at the Zoutendyks in Port Edward. We remembered the many resorts that dotted their way towards Durban, but battled to find a place to stay now. Everything had been replaced by apartment blocks! But that’s progress I suppose. At Karridene we found a Protea Hotel with a lovely caravan park and beach access across the railway line. We were amazed that the Metrorail service actually worked, and with beautifully clean and well maintained coaches, something we had not seen for ages!

A visit to Wozo Moya, a previous supplier, was something we always do in Hillcrest.

Wozo Moya , Aids Craft Centre

But the main reason for visiting Hillcrest was to visit cousin Ruth and Keith and catch up with family news. We always enjoy the time spent with them. Refreshed and stimulated by the conversation and always something new learnt!

Sunset at Ruth and Keith

We parked our van on their driveway to spend the night. They didn’t even argue with us as they knew we were comfortable in Twiga Penthouse. It was great to enjoy a beautifully prepared home cooked meal, wine and more stories.

The following two night were spent in Mkuze. We were really reliving our caravaning days! The last time there Clinton and Haldane made the breakfast. Sven was too young to assist!

In camp that night Solveig broke into song! “ Raindrops keep falling on my head….” Something she never did. A monkey was in the tree above relieving himself!

We enjoyed the hides which had been upgraded (fortunately)

Pictures taken in the Mkuze hides

and the day spent revising an old favourite haunt was something special.

The Lake at Mkuze

What we thought would be a short trip to what we used to call Kosi Bay turned out to take much longer than expected as our GPS could not find the way. Names had changed since we were there before, but fortunately I knew the way. Finding a campsite not run by the extremely expensive iSimangaliso was another matter. Luckily we spotted a signboard to Palm Tree Lodge which offered camping too.

What a find! Wonderfully run by such special, friendly people. A member of their staff, Jan Schoeman, was exceptionally helpful and also turned out to be a very special and interesting person.

At last! We’d reached the border. The formalities were over in minutes and none of the anticipated hurdles took place. It’s got to be all about attitude

Maun and surroundings

After the CKGR we headed for Rakops. The road out was sandy but not nearly as long or difficult as our entrance route. In Rakops we refuelled and inflated the tyres and then we headed for Planet Baobab for hot showers, flushing loos, a pub and a swimming pool.

We’d stayed there before with Keith and Ticks so we knew what to expect. We needed a few days of relaxation and reflection..

These two creations on the highway draw you in to find what Planet Baobab is all about. It’s not just another campsite in the bush. The owners have gone out of their way to be whacky, different and to make your stay memorable.

I worked out my fuel consumption for the past 8 days of mostly deep sand driving in 4×4 high range and I’m impressed. I used 17.57 l/100 km (or did 5.69 km per litre). I didn’t know what to expect not having driven such a distance in these conditions before. The vehicle is a pleasure to live in. Very cool and breezy in our sleeping area. Its also very quick and easy to setup and breakdown camp. With Solveig and I both setting up we’re all done in under 5 minutes. Including the awning !


The pub is a very welcoming venue to chill and connect to the Internet.


Here I am cooling off in the huge pool.


All in all, a great place to come down to earth again.

We passed the entrance to Nxai Pan Game Reserve and the Baines Baobabs on our way to Maun. We’d decided to give it a miss for now as advanced booking is a requirement. Maybe later in our wanderings??


The view from our campsite at Maun Restcamp alongside the Thamalakane river.


Juvenile Kurricane Thrush

No wild animals but plenty of birds, cows and goats, but then all animals need to drink.

We visited one of our suppliers of African fabrics who lives here in Maun, Birgit. She and her husband, Ryno, make frequent trips into Africa to make purchases. We get mainly Mali cloth from her. They have a lovely home under giant Leadwood trees. Both of them have created magic using their talents and skills. Furniture from their travels into the depths of Africa, huge leather Taureg cushions, coloured bottles set into walls in such a way as to illuminate the interior. Imaginative light fittings all creating a comfortable living space anybody would be happy living in.

After stocking up the following day with mainly liquids and ice, we headed for the Okavango pan handle on the western side of the swamp. This was only after a lengthy coffee stop at a curio shop, The Red Monkey. We met the owner Mel Oake, an ex Zimbabwean. Other locals, from the Wilmot family, were also there having coffee and cakes. We chatted and they filled us in with so much of the area’s history and background.
Mel was making and marketing a Kigelia product, made out of an extract from the tree of the same name, commonly known as the sausage tree.


Kigelia has number of uses, all relating to skin ailments and treatments.