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Published: November 30th 2008
On departing our lovely gorge camp site we found that within only a few miles we were into the Orange River
valley and the first rural concentration of local people we had seen for many a mile. Clearly there was water close to the surface as natural greenery was to be seen along the valley floor.
As we turned to follow the valley we suddenly came upon a vast area of land cultivated with vines, many hundred of acres, warranting the road to be tarred to avoid the dust pollution had they not sealed the surface. This continued for several miles before we had a dusty, featureless ride to the boarder town of Noordoewer
. By now the river was flowing with plenty of water.
Another fuel stop before the border formalities which were speedily completed without any fuss. Crossing the river we entered the RSA border post where again the formalities were friendly and slick. There was reluctance on the Customs behalf to stamp our carnets because, they said, we were all part of the common customs union and there was no need. But they humoured us when we claimed the importance as far as we were concerned and we hope that the other border posts will be as amenable when we leave the country.
What a change when we set off along the N7 road towards Capetown! Beautiful tarmac again, well painted road markings, clear signposting - and very little traffic. The country to begin with was the same as Namibia but, the further south we drove, the more it changed to the very low veldt scrub, featureless and rather boring to drive through.
However, down the side of the road there was a continual line of telegraph poles and every tenth one, or so, had a nest in it. We think that these nests were initially built by crows, as they abounded, but many of them were now used by various types of raptors which Ian, Chris and Milla had great fun trying to identify. Otherwise, the road was monotony personified and we drove nearly 400 kms south of the border before pulling into the sleepy little town of Voonrhynsdorp
where we established ourselves in the one and only windy, dusty camp site.
A local told us that the wind would drop by about 8 pm so, as I am writing this before that time, we all hope she is correct! Meanwhile we have bought local Sims for our cell phones and have contacted the cousins in Capetown warning them that we hope to arrive there tomorrow, in time for tea. How English can we get?!
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