Hi there again!
Welcome to part 2 of our Kalahari-bound journey. Today I'll take you a bit further north to see what else was waiting for us en-route to the Kalhari.
In the meantime, if you haven't read the first part to this series, please feel free to check it out here:
So after leaving Goegap Nature Reseve, we headed off to one of the most exciting destinations (for me at least). The tiny little town of 'Riemvasmaak' - located almost on the border of Namibia, and about 350 KM north-east of where we left off in the morning. There is absolutely nothing going on here. It is hot, quiet and barren. But this is what I love about it. The local community runs everything themselves, mostly, and they do it quite well. These people in the Northern Cape are very special and just live a very quiet and peaceful life. They are so welcoming and really enjoy talking to the odd stranger that enters their little town (which doesn't happen all that often).
But what makes Riemvasmaak particularly special to me is that they have a local celebrity. A gentleman called 'Norbert Coetzee'. There is a TV programme that airs in South Africa called "Voetspore". It is my absolute favourite! It is all about travel. A group of friends that go around and document their travels all over Africa and elsewhere in the world. To get an example of one of their recent trips (also en-route to the Kalahari), you can have a look over here (It is in Afrikaans, but there are English subtitles). If you skip through the video until 43:50, you will be able to see what the town of Riemvasmaak looks like.
Anyhow, I learnt about the existence of Riemvasmaak because of that show, and have always wanted to visit there. This was my chance!
Norbert runs a little cafe/shop over there (when he's not travelling), and I decided to check if he was around - which he was. I was very happy to meet him, and really enjoyed listening to his stories! I highly recommend you pop into the area and have a chat to him, if he's around. He can keep you entertained for hours!
Riemvasmaak Hot & Cold Springs
After chatting to Norbert, we headed over to the hot & cold springs (high ground clearance vehicle recommended), just a few KM's away. This was also a highlight for me. Although there wasn't too much happening over there, the scenery was very beautiful, and a dip in the cold spring was more than welcoming in that extremely hot weather. A day well spent, so far - I would say! Another interesting fact: Norbert told us that he built those spring pools himself. Very cool indeed!
Our next destination was the Augrabies Falls. This was a sentimental one for me, as it's the place where my late father took my mother to meet his family for the first time, all those years back (they lived close-by, in a town called "Upington"). It's a place I've always wanted to visit, so I'm glad I got around to it.
When we finished up at the springs, we had two choices... 1) Drive to Augrabies via the short main road, or 2) take the more scenic route (twice as long) through the barren landscape and dry river beds, on a winding gravel road between the mountains. I'm guessing I don't need to explain which one we took... :P I highly recommend you do that route. It is so beautiful!! This was also a recommendation from Norbert.
In any case, we eventually arrived at Augrabies Falls. What a lovely sight to see! Gushing water everywhere! And the crazy thing is that we went in the dry season.... I can't even imagine what it would be like during the rainy season. These falls are incredibly violent and almost make you anxious in a way. They have these nice decks that you can stand on to view the water... literally right next to the falls. Really something to experience.
Just be careful when you go there and don't be irresponsible. Even when we were there, we saw tourists walking off of the demarcated walk-ways. It really urks me how people can be so irresponsible / ignorant. There have been many people that have fallen down the falls in the past and died, with their bodies still trapped down there - even today. Anyway, moving on...
Another cool thing about the falls is that there are loads of cute little colourful lizards (Broadley's flat lizards) running around everywhere on the rocks. They can keep you entertained for hours on end! I was really amazed at just how many there were.
Overall, I was very happy with our little day trip further north. We got to experience some really cool things. And seeing so much water (both in the springs and at the falls) in such a desolate and barren landscape is something truly amazing to witness. I'm a sucker for this type of contrasting beauty!
I hope you enjoyed this post. I'll leave it here for now - until next time when we finally reach the Kalahari in part 3 of this series.