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 Post subject: Scouter Namaqualand a-scouting & a-stalking we will go Aug11
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:53 pm 
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Tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn a Scouter and a Stalker will be off to Namaqualand...well hopefully the Stalker will be able to get herself out of bed and in an upright functional position by the crack of dawn. This will be a maiden voyage for the Scouter....but I am sure she is really going to enjoy it. :tongue:

We have three glorious days booked at Skilpad restcamp...what more can we ask for?

We will try to keep you updated as we go along but that depends entirely on the state of the cell signal.....

It will probably take us all day to get there because the Scouter is determined to stop at every farm stall along way....why ??????

Because we CAN...that's why !!!!! :dance:

And why are we off to Namaqualand ???

Because.....we CAN...that's why !!!! :dance:

And because ......

Just living is not enough....one needs sunshine, freedom and a little flower !!! :gflower:

Caracal send her deepest apologies that she has not yet finished her previous trip report :think: as she know the rules all too well :rtm: but she HAS tried - and tried - and tried again and has been getting bumped off the Forum every time she tries to post .... so please be patient

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 Post subject: Re: Namaqualand .... a-scouting and a-stalking we will go
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:09 pm 
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Yes we are home....:) but we still need a day or two to get organised.....:)
But we will take you around Skilpad soon... :thumbs_up:
In the meantime stock up on your :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Namaqualand .... a-scouting and a-stalking we will go
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:11 pm 
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Right let’s get this TR on the go…

Quote:
the Stalker better be ready Can't wait !!!


Pffftttt....of course the Stalker was ready…she may have been walking around in her sleep but when the Scouter arrived she was ready and waiting . :tongue: :wink:
We hit the road just after 7.00 am …..we were bright-eyed ( well let’s pretend.. okay !!!) and bushy-tailed and full of anticipation at what lay ahead.

We were no sooner on the road when a mouse appeared :shock: and told us to stop and turn left. We obeyed…one does not argue with a mouse...especially such a huge one. :big_eyes:

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Here we stocked up with cheese and liquors…just in case. :wink:

A bit further down the road a more important mouse dressed in blue jumped out and stopped us. Oh heavens was I speeding already ?????? :redface: No...just a routine check and once again we were on our way !!! :thumbs_up:

These were the first of many stops…we stocked up on jams :roll: …we stocked up on oranges and dates :roll: :roll: ….but more importantly we stocked up on the most beautiful views that I have ever seen along that road. :thumbs_up: Scouter was in her element…as I said this was her maiden voyage to Namaqualand in the flower season !
This was also Scouter’s maiden voyage with a DSLR….. :big_eyes:
It didn’t take me long to bring up the subject of F-stops……
Scouter very happily thought I meant Flower stops and Farmstall stops. Imagine her dismay when I informed her that F-stops had nothing to do with flower stops or farmstalls !!! :evil: But let me tell you that Scouter took to these F-stops like a duck takes to water and before long she had that DSLR off auto and was clicking away quite happily. :thumbs_up: :clap:

The flowers alongside the road were so beautiful…
One could not just drive past them...they demanded that we stopped and admired them.

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These flowers, farm stalls and roadworks were taking their toll but eventually almost 10hrs later (that is an average speed of 50kms/hr) Scouter had her first glimpse of Namaqua NP….and I think this is a good place to stop and let Scouter take over!


Over to you Scouter :D ..when you are ready...:)

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 Post subject: Re: Namaqualand .... a-scouting and a-stalking we will go
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:22 am 
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Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to Caracal for inviting me along – it was awesome and spectacular and mind-blowing and I had SO much fun ...... :dance:

Let me also say that Caracal is a wonderful person to go with on an expedition of adventure – she is very patient and does not mind explaining F-stops over and over until it has penetrated the thick skull of the person sitting next to her. She also doesn’t sigh and roll her eyes at you like your kids do when you ask them to explain something technical AGAIN ..... :roll:

She also, unlike SO’s all over the world, does not put her foot down heavily on the accelerator when she spies a farmstall in the distance – she slows down and asks ...” should we ....?” and yes, most times we DID !!!! This one broke the monotony of the stop/go’s of the Piekenierskloof Pass

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And this one is in Garies.... I was very tempted to buy a shocking pink knitted toilet-seat cover but I was strong and resisted .....

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If anyone is interested, there are about 10 farmstalls between Cape Town and Namaqua National Park, and we tried most of them – some are MUCH nicer than others and some just sell oranges and a very yummy new thingy that Caracal introduced me to called a Novelty which is a cross between an orange and a naartjie but with only 1 solitary pip and peels like a naartjie and has enough juice in them to quench the thirst of the entire French Foreign Legion..... needless to say we did not eat them in the car but outside or over the sink !!!!

Caracal is also an INCREDIBLE birder and can ID a LBJ sitting on the fence or some dark speck flying overhead while doing 120km/hr without taking her eyes off the road – I meanwhile am still gawping out the window trying to FIND the bloody bird never mind ID it – it was awesome !!

We stopped a good few times along the way just to take photos of the beautiful flowers growing along the side of the road – Garies was stunning ...and even I with my limited knowledge of F-stops, managed to get a few nice photos. I did have my little happy-snap Canon with me “just – in – case” but with Caracals guidance and patience, I soon dumped it and got the hang of things with my DSLR ...

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 Post subject: Re: Namaqualand .... a-scouting and a-stalking we will go
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:17 pm 
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OMW Scouter...you make me :redface:

Btw those birds alongside the road were very easy to ID….. :wink:
very little and very red….a Southern Red Bishop
a bit bigger and white neck and chest….Pied Crow
very very black….a Cape Crow….. :D :D ..easy peasy !!!!! :thumbs_up:

But hey there is always two parts to a successful formula.....you are a very dedicated bird list ticker :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: and as for those muffins you baked..well they were just too scrumptious for words!!! Way out of my league...if I went on a road trip on my own would probably starve !!!!
:redface:

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 Post subject: Re: Namaqualand .... a-scouting and a-stalking we will go
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:29 pm 
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Although my eyes are always on the look out for birds they manage to pick up a few other creatures as well. I had been looking long and hard for meerkat but we had to be happy with…………………CATERPILLARS!!!!!! :dance:
I just love Caterpillars :D ..if we saw one we saw millions…

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We managed to see a few more creatures just before we arrived at the park...but I am afraid I need the page to turn before I can tell you about those..... :D

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 Post subject: Re: Namaqualand .... a-scouting and a-stalking we will go
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:25 pm 
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We were no sooner back in the car when we spotted some little creatures foraging in a field…. bat-eared foxes. They were quite far away and I think we managed to count 7 in total. Such a special sighting !

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As we were progressing closer to the park the fields were becoming more and more orange. There was much ooh-ing and ah-ing from the passenger seat. Having been to the park a few times I knew that Skilpad is always better than the fields just outside of the park. I must admit I had a rather smug look on my face…Scouter was running out of words to describe what she was seeing….I just knew she was going to be gobsmacked when she finally saw Skilpad. I must admit I was pretty much gobsmacked myself. These were by far the best carpet of flowers I had seen in the past 4 years.

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Oops what is that….a springbok amongst the flowers. We almost missed seeing him.

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Now you know why it took us 10 hrs to get to the park :redface: …so much to see ..so much to :cam:
At last the reception was in sight... :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Namaqualand .... a-scouting and a-stalking we will go
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:45 pm 
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Thank you Flutterby and lion queen and Micetta :redface: - I do think we make rather a good team - well, we never irritated each other too much I don't think :roll: and Micetta - you have NO idea how many caterpillar trees there were in the park :wink:

As Caracal has mentioned, I was beside myself with all the beautiful flowers we were seeing along the way. The closest I had come to seeing “the flowers” was a trip up to Posberg 2 years ago on an unfortunately grey and gloomy day and a previous trip in 1997 – in actual fact we nearly never made that trip as it was the day that Princess Diana died and my British sister-in-law who was visiting at the time was prostrate in front of the TV and we had to drag her away in floods of tears and bundle her sobbing into the car – and the flowers both times had been rather bleh to say the least ....

Every time I let out a muffled gasp at a new batch of flowers, Caracal kindly looked over at me and said “ would you like to stop ?” and so we did ..... again and again .... until eventually the tiny dorpie of Kamieskroon hove into view and Caracal did a sharp right turn at the minuscule Kudu kop that was hiding away at the bottom of a signboard – obviously she knew it was there because I thought she had lost it and was in desperate need of a tea break or something of that kind and was heading off into Kamieskroon - I had to look for it again the next time we turned there – you would think SANParks would make the sign a leeeetle bit bigger for platkops like me who was expecting a Kgalagadi sized signboard showing us where to go ..... :slap:

We bumped and bounced our way along the (nasty) corrugated dirt road, (no, I am not dissing Caracal’s driving – she is a very good driver – the road was really really bad) climbing out of dongas and fording rivers that were merrily flowing across the road until the orange daisy’s started making their appearance, along with a very tempting sign on the side of a very rundown little building ......

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My horror and dismay at finding out it was closed ( do you remember Caracal saying it had taken us 10 hours to get there - by now the tannie had long packed up and gone home ) and I wasn’t about to sink my fangs into some hot and sugary pancakes, was balanced out by this next sign ...

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We were nearly there ....... and the flowers were stunning ....

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After stopping to take photos of the springbok hiding in the daisies and the batties mooching along looking for munchies among the anthills, we saw THIS sign ...

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And then THIS one – I did wonder about the people visiting the park as this sign looked rather the worse for wear and it did cross my mind to wonder who had been trampling IT, never mind the flowers ...

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We drove up into the park proper and up to reception where we were met by a very charming and friendly lady who tried her very best to sell me every book, pamphlet and sticker available ( and she did a very good job I must admit) – she even tried to sell Caracal a trip on the Caracal Eco route for R100 until she was gently corrected by her assistant who informed her that it was free seeing as we were actually staying at Skilpad :whistle: .... a bit crestfallen, she turned back to me and I obliged her by buying a few stickers for the Anatolian sheepdog project, which cheered her up again...

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Caracal determinedly steered me past the cute little farm stall inside the park and we drove through the gate into the most amazing display of orange that I had ever seen – wherever your eye fell were just fields and fields of orange flowers in the late afternoon sunlight – absolutely exquisite .....

( And I’m sorry Caracal, I have hogged the lion’s share of the photos on the page again – sorry .... the next one’s all yours ...)

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 Post subject: Re: Namaqualand .... a-scouting and a-stalking we will go
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:29 pm 
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At last the turn off to the chalets appeared and one would think that I would have taken it quite readily ..but no I was not quite done with a-scouting and a-stalking. :shock:
How about one more drive around the Skilpad loop ? ….was my question to Scouter!
Of course she agreed. We were no sooner around the next bend when we came across a group of Red Hartebees. They were pretty much out of range but they still made for a pretty picture though. I think I counted 3 moms with 3 babies ..

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A bit further we saw a small creature scurrying away...the first of many that we were to see over the next few days…but always in such a hurry. :evil:

By the time I stopped the car and grabbed my camera little bunny was very far away indeed !!!

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At some stage while I was stopped for Scouter to take a pic I noticed these purple and orange flowers. I just took a quick photo with my long lens to remind me that I needed to come back and investigate these flowers when hopefully the wind was less strong. It never happened because for some or other reason we never saw these flowers looking like this again. Either it was more windy or they just never opened as much as they had on that day. I have to be content with some really wild looking flowers blowing “bedonderd” in the wind!!!!

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Finally I took the turn off to the chalets and when I pulled up alongside no 4 Scouter produced even more oohs and ahs…..
I had a quick walk around the chalet to investigate the flowers. I must admit I was a tad disappointed in what I saw. I had stayed in no 4 last year and the flowers around the chalet were numerous and varied. The flowers were mostly bulbs but from one spot I counted 15 different flowers. This time round I was lucky if I saw 4. But then again this was my first trip in August...my other trips have all been in September when mostly the flower carpets are coming to an end but obviously the bulbs have started flowering.
Nevermind..I had never seen flower carpets like I had seen that day so off I went to unpack the car. That didn’t take long and we were soon set up for the sunset.

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Now you may all think that this was me teaching Scouter bad habits :shock: when in actually fact the sherry bottle and little tin mugs were my props for Scouter’s photographic lesson on DOF :whistle: :whistle: :whistle: ( btw Scouter…don’t get me wrong here…. DOF is ” Depth of Field” not Dof as in doff !!!!!!) :wink:

We had a bit of fun playing around with the cameras and Scouter took a few shots of the sunset. I decided to put my long lens on the tripod to see what I could get…well I got some weird and wonderful shots of a sun with a bumpy head !!!! :shock:

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And then it happens…I decide all of a sudden that I have had enough of my camera…so I downed tools ( oh I probably downed a sherry as well…!!!!) and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the sun quietly sink behind the bank of mist.
Then the chilly air hit us ..it was time to move inside and get the fire lit.

But this character …the official “moth gobbler” enticed me to get my camera out just one more time…. :roll:

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Seeing that these “moth gobblers” gobble moths I do not mind sharing my chalet with him. Luckily for me there were no other intruders that night.

A wonderful supper was prepared by Scouter ...whereupon I did my fair share of gobbling as well. I reckon that if I was prepared to gobble moths I would put that “ moth gobbler’ to shame !!!!

We spent a pleasant evening in front of the fire with Scouter churning out yet another knitted scarf for the KTP clothing drive :clap: and myself crocheting a few more rounds on my “SANParks” blanket.

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 Post subject: Re: Namaqualand .... a-scouting and a-stalking we will go
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:24 pm 
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lion queen - so sorry you haven't been well .... :gflower:

This won't be along episode ( even though I do tend to ramble on :redface: ) - just a quick one to show you some photos of the stunning cottages .... I was blown away by them - well done SANParks - they really are beautiful ...

Cottage no 4 ...... the furthest away from the other 3 and very nice and secluded ...

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One morning I took a walk ( being careful to dodge the bunny loo's in front of the chalet) so this is it from the front ..... I love all the stone ....

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and if you are really lucky you might spot a Caracal nearby like I did :D

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I dont want to overload the page so I will put up some photos of the inside of the cottage as soon as the page turns ......

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 Post subject: Re: Namaqualand .... a-scouting and a-stalking we will go
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:13 am 
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The cottages are indeed really lovely and the insides are simply stunning .... I was just blown away by this trip so far ... the beautiful delicate flowers growing by the side of the road, the lovely cottages nestled away amongst the bushes and to top it all .... batties, springbok, hartebeest and a cute steenbokkie that dashed away before we could take its photo ... I remember saying to Caracal that if I saw a bunny sitting in the flowers, I thought I was going to cry ( I am the kind of emotional type who blubbs happily away through any romantic comedy I happen to be watching, even though I’ve seen it 5 times already – and heaven help me, keep me away from Bambi or even worse, ANY Lassie films ....) so ja, I felt it was pretty darn amazing ...

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We eventually stopped going round and round the loop and decided to head to the cottages and how lovely they were .... they are open plan kitchen and lounge with a nifty counter with nice tall chairs so we could sit and eat our supper in a civilised manner and not like barbarians hunched on the couch .....

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There are sliding doors from both the lounge and the bedroom leading into a stunning ( if rather drafty) enclosed stoep with views out over the rolling hills all the way down to the sea in the distance and beautiful windows on both sides set like a diamond in the wall ....

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The bedroom is simply gorgeous with 2 very comfy beds and the nicest thing of all was the panel heater on the wall that some thoughful person had switched on for us so it was emitting a cosy warmth as it was starting to get rather chilly ( we were very careful to keep the bedroom door closed to keep the warmth in) ...

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I didnt take any photos of the bathroom unfortunately but it was lovely too - with lashings of piping hot water in the shower always ...

I soon put my scouting skills into practice and had a nice fire going in the fireplace inside. I know the picture is slightly skew but honeshtly, it washn’t the sherry I promish ..... Caracal still has to teach me the fundamentals of Photoshop, and how to straighten skew photos ....

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I did get to practice my photo taking skills on the sunset though and was rather pleased with the result – no tripod though and vrek, it was COLD outside so we didn’t linger too long before heading inside for a lekker supper and some knitting in front of the fire ....

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Namaqualand .... a-scouting and a-stalking we will go
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:31 pm 
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18 August
I must admit cell phones do have their uses :clap: ….they come in handy as alarm clocks and when mine went off that morning Scouter was the first to jump up :clap: ….I pretended to be fast asleep in the hopes that I would get a cup of tea. 8) As you all know by now I am not a great morning person at all and waking up over a cup of tea goes a long way in making me more pleasant in the morning. Thanks to Scouter I was indeed a pleasant person that morning !!!. :dance:
But OMW one look out of the window and I was ready to jump right back into bed. :shock:
We faced a huge bank of mist that was moving in at a rapid rate. We were indeed disappointed because we knew that the flowers would not open in the mist. :( But the cold air woke me up good and solid and I realised what a beautiful scene I was taking in. Out came the camera and tripod….

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About five minutes later I could no longer see the chalet….

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It is truly amazing how quickly the mist can come along and devour you. :big_eyes:
Our plan that morning was to visit Goegab Nature Reserve . On my previous trips to Namaqualand ( 3 in total) I had not managed to get to Goegab. This time round I was determined to and I had warned Scouter that no matter whether it rained, hailed, snowed or stormed we were going to Goegab..it was as simple as that. Our plan was to be on our way by 8h30. Well we had every good intention of doing that but my camera and tripod kept me busy …. :roll:
The trouble is one sees too much out of those lovely large windows in the chalet and it is vey difficult to keep one’s attention on the task at hand.
What is that bird on the tree..grab the binos..check the bird. Let’s try a photo ..grab the camera. Oh darn…bird flew away !!! And then we would spot another bird…and so it would continue . We were almost out of the door when I spotted a rabbit… I grabbed the already packed camera out of the bag…I just had to have that photo of the rabbit…his ears matched the orange flowers beautifully….

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The rabbit hopped further and we went in search of him...but then we saw a flower that needed our attention and then some more birds :roll: ….OMW….what had happened to 8h30 ?
We eventually got ourselves into the car …by now it was 9h15.
We were no sooner in the car when we were out of it again. :roll: Skilpad loop was just too beautiful for words….

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Scouter trying out her long lens…

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Come along Scouter we really must make a move…
Okay …:thumbs_up:
OMW..look at those windmills…out we got again. I mean how can you drive past those windmills…the fact that it was now 10h00 was besides the point.

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By now the mist was really thick and I am sure the two of us must have looked like gorillas in the mist !

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We eventually drove out of the park but there was just one more obstacle …the Pannekoek Paleis. Scouter eventually got to sink her fangs into what she described as the most delicious pancakes out….I don’t do pancakes so you will just have to take her word for it !

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So there we were more than two hours behind schedule ….I was not sure what time we would get to Goegab…but to Goegab I was determined to get :thumbs_up:

to be continued.

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 Post subject: Re: Namaqualand .... a-scouting and a-stalking we will go
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:12 pm 
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But I will sneak one or two more photos in.

We continued our meanderings through the mist and beautiful orange fields but when we arrived in Kamieskroon I just had to turn right into the Kamieskroon Hotel carpark..and no we had not run out of sherry...I just know that it is quite a little interesting place to stop and take a few pics.
Of course I did not get much past this caterpillar with a hairstyle of note.

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But yes time ticketh on and there was nagging voice in my head ...Goegab....Goegab...Goegab.

We hit the road once again....but soon we were back in the gutters photographing flowers....

I just love this one of the misty road to Springbok.

Image

to be continued...:)

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 Post subject: Re: Namaqualand .... a-scouting and a-stalking we will go
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:58 pm 
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:lol: - In actual fact Scouter and Caracal have been out the whole day - throwing her Jeep up and down very steep sanddunes and breaking in our new Defender by putting some nice bush scratches on it and hurling it up and down the sand in a very nice playground - very close to Koeberg nuclear powerstation - so if we start glowing bright green you will know why :lol: We then finished off the day with a VERY nice braai at Caracals - thank you Caracal :gflower:

Glad you are all enjoying our report - we did have a good time together :tongue:

I was exceedingly happy to have a second breakfast that morning on the way out - I mean, who could resist such yummy hot pancakes straight from the tannies frying pan, even though we had eaten barely 2 hours before - photography makes you HUNGRY :lol: and the homemade biscuits that my family appreciated when I got home ..... I stood and waited and watched as my breakfast was made while Caracal wandered off taking more photos of flowers and water and bugs and catterpillers ( did I mention that she LURVES catterpillers :lol: )

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Feeling slighty nauseated by my 2 breakfasts, we carried on our bouncy way along the gravel road that was almost as bad as yesterday even though the water crossings seemed not as deep this time round, and into the parking lot of the Kamieskroon Hotel as Caracal has mentioned, because she wanted to show me a cactus - a very interesting cactus and one, she mentioned casually, that she would not like to fall into .....

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The closeup will show you why she warned me about it - it make me slightly nervous too .... I can't imagine how painful it would be to land in those spines so believe me, I was exceedingly cautious standing over it to take its photo ...

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There were lovely quiver trees and blommetjies to photograph as well as Caracal's punk catterpiller - when I saw her photo it reminded me of those plastic troll dolls I used to have as a kid with the funky hair in all colours sprouting up on top of its head ...

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And Caracal had to literally drag me away with the promise that I could come back and explore the farmstall there because she was still on a mission ..... to get to Goegab

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: Namaqualand .... a-scouting and a-stalking we will go
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:15 am 
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Sorry for the delay – I really really tried to get my photos uploaded yesterday but Photobucket just wasn’t playing ball ....

Caracal and I left the Kamieskroon Hotel parking lot to all the other flower-seekers who were arriving in droves, and continued our way up the N7 to Springbok. It was a very gloomy and overcast day and the sky was just this horrible pale grey colour with looming black rain clouds over the mountains – it didn’t look good for our expedition but our spirits were high, especially Caracal’s as she was at last going to get to see Goegap. She had warned me at the beginning of the trip that we were going to go, come hell or high water or nasty gloomy weather at the very least :D

The flowers along the side of the road were still amazing, even though there wasn’t much sun to make them open up fully – but that didn’t deter us – we stopped a couple of times to get evidence .... see the nasty bleh sky :roll:

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Caracal and I had made a pact that we would try and take some photos of each other on this trip – the perks of having 2 photographers :thumbs_up: and to be honest, this is one of my favourite photos of the “guttersnipe” :lol: :lol: ( well, we both were actually, cause we really were lurking in the gutter next to the road).... we also made a pact that we would delete any dodgy-looking photos of ourselves from each others pictures which was a HUGE relief ....

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The trip passed quite slowly due to all the stops we made and we were getting a bit worried about the time but we couldn’t pass the Springbok Golf course without a quick stop there – it was covered in the most beautiful flowers . As a true friend I will refrain from posting the very interesting photos I took of Caracal who was lying on the ground in the most weird poses, trying to get some shots of ground-level blommetjies and will give you this one instead of the Golf course sans a Caracal :tongue:

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The flowers around Springbok were stunning too but we decided to push on towards our goal and take some photos on the way back as we had to make quick detour into Springbok for some emergencies ( do you KNOW how nasty the toilet paper is in the park :whistle: - and I had discovered to my horror that morning as I was outside in the howling gale trying to take photos of a very shy bunny and my eyes were watering like mad, that the new mascara I had just bought was NOT WATERPROOF and I landed up looking like a panda – thank you Caracal for NOT taking photos of me looking like that ).... After a little while, there was some excited mutterings from the drivers seat – the signboard to Goegap at long last – and of course we HAD to stop and take a photo....

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The flowers kept us busy there for another good while until we nearly got flattened by a massive tourbus going past us on the way to the park, so we reluctantly left our purple carpets and headed off the last few k’s to the park ...

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We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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