Since being cheated out of our trip to Richtersveld during our trip to Namibia in April 2011 I have not managed to put the park out of my mind. We had planned to enter Namibia via Sendelingsdrift but seeing the pont had been washed away in the floods that was not possible. Nor was it possible 3 weeks later on our return from Namibia. The September long weekend was fast approaching and the flowers in the Northern Cape were beautiful ….so I did what I do best and planned an "on the spur of the moment” trip to Richtersveld. Doug,myself and Monty left on Tuesday 18th and overnighted in Vanrhynsdorp. From there we crossed the border into Namibia and spent one night along the Orange River. As these are SANParks unrelated I shall not write about that part of our trip here .
If you would like to see some photos from the beginning part of our journey you can check my Facebook Album here
And so to pick up the story…..20th SeptemberEn route to Sendelingsdrift via the D212.
I had been really looking forward to travelling along this road because I had expected it to follow the Orange River all the way. Unfortunately there were many times that the road deviated away from the river through scenery like this.
I had high hopes of seeing many Fish Eagles etc and sadly I did not. Birds that I did see but were too far away for any kind of photo were a Goloiath Heron, Grey Herons, Cormorants, a Black Stork, Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters and Pied Wagtails. There were many little roadside LBJ’s but it was pointless in stopping for them as they take off before Doug can bring Monty to a stop.. The only mammals that we saw along the way were a few baboons.
We continued our way through the desolate landscape
and across the dry Fish River
Seeing that Rosh Pinah is only 20km’s from Sendelingsdrift we decided to pop in there and have a look. Nothing much happens at Rosh Pinah but we were able to fill up with fuel. At least there were some roadside flowers that prettied up the scenery.
As one approaches the the Orange River the stark rocky outcrops appear again…majestic rocky mountains but the afternoon light did not really make for awesome photography…so I just kept snapping through the windscreen.
Approaching the Namibian Borderpost..
Our passports were checked in no time but a couple next to us were given a hard time…
Why ? Because they were rude to the officials and were giving them a hard time over filling in a departure form. A departure form has to be filled so fill it in with a smile on your face :-) and you will get a smile back. :-) :-) Cussing and bemoaning the fact will probably end up with you having your entire car searched….when will people learn.
Now it was time to cross over on the Pont…I was not entirely happy about this.
I am not a great water fan. Imagine my relief when I realised that the river was not too wide at the point of crossing but imagine my horror when I saw the size of the pont….that little Pont was supposed to hold our precious Monty. Imagine my relief when I realised that Monty was the only passenger on that crossing ( the Pont can actually hold two fully laden 4 x 4's ) but imagine my horror when I saw how the Pont was rocking from side to side.
The Pont arriving on the RSA side …
Pont on it’s way back to collect us.
Pont crossing with SANParks reception building in the background.
Monty being driven onto the pont.
Once Doug had driven Monty onto the Pont ( horror) and parked in the middle (relief) we were told to get out ( horror) and we were given life-jackets to put on (relief). The following photos were taken with my camera in one hand while the other was tightly clenched onto Monty - did I mention that I don't do water....did I mention that the Pont was rocking from side to side !!!! And did I mention that Doug gets motion sickness and was already looking a bit green about the gills. I was not going to get any sympathy from him.
The crossing was very quick...the Pont is in fact motorised...so it was with a huge sense of relief that I whipped the life-jacket off and jumped back into Monty to await been driven off. Doug hung about waiting to pay a fee for crossing but he was ushered into Monty and told to drive off. We now had to do two things...enter South Africa and check-in at SANParks. Clearly one should enter the country before checking in so we made our way to the borderpost. WRONG decision....one actually has to go to reception and pay your Pont crossing fee first(R100 and R150 if you are towing a trailer). Then you take your little receipt and go through customs....THEN you go back to reception and check in. No problem with that system but it would have been helpful if the chaps on the pont had told us what to do. Anyway everybody was very friendly and helpful and eventually we were back in Monty and ready to start the next part of the adventure