May 25- Day 17
Today was moving day, and thankfully no tents to take down in a rush!
We left Knysna via the Prince Alfred Pass to Uniondale where we stopped for a very necessary pick-me-up cup of coffee. Our next stop was just below the dam wall of the Beervlei Dam where a rare plant of mom's was supposed to be growing. The dam itself is empty, but below the dam wall there appears to be a permanent spring providing a pool of water. Unfortunately, the dept. of water affairs doesn't seem to want anyone anywhere near said pool... So we didn't get to see if mom's plant was there or not. We will need to do some pleading with Water affairs for that... We were then going to go cross country on some dirt roads, but decided instead to continue up the N9 due to the ever marching time (on holidays it seems to go in full gallop actually!). We reached Camdeboo National Park just in time for a late lunch (more tea time really...).
We went to reception as requested by the sign at the gate, but were nonchalantly showed the boom gate where someone would apparently help us. The people at the gate where not the most helpful and took forever to finally let us in. We then proceeded to a picnic site, which was very nicely kept, had a quick lunch and made our way out. Near the gate, the 2 ladies that had been manning the boom gate met us (yes, walking casually around in the game area) They stopped us to say our wild cards were not valid - huh - and demanded payment. She showed me a very tatty, aged, yellow slip that was purportedly ours as their 'proof' but wouldn't let me have it to see the date it had been printed or to compare card numbers. So we showed them our renewal letters that clearly stated they expired in 2014! We eventually got away with a distinct feeling that all they wanted was for us to pay cash so they could pocket it...(We didn't). It was very sad experience that has tainted our only experience of Camdeboo NP.
It is also very sad that being some private security company's staff, their behaviour reflects on negatively on SANParks, who's staff on the whole, are very good.
Anyway, enough moaning, and on with the TR!
We then headed straight for Mountain Zebra NP, where our faith in SANParks was restored!!
The man at the gate was super! (and clearly a SANParks employee, which does seem to make all the difference) and we were checked in in no time
We made it to reception where we were further checked in and assured there was absolutely nothing wrong with our wild cards! and directed to the campsite. We then spent some time deliberating on which campsite to choose, as the sun sank steadily lower behind the surrounding mountains. So once again we set up camp in the dark... Thanks to the forums
I had read there was a microwave, so we got some woolies lasagne to quickly heat up for supper. And then we sank into bed for a lovely nights sleep. Unfortunately though, mom continued to sink all night through - her air mattress had developed a slow leak...
P.S. - Apologies for the highly cropped photos in this episode, I only had my zoom lens handy - the wide angle lens landed up being packed in the depths...