Gannaga Adventures

Tanqua Karoo National Park Panorama

Trips to the lesser known parts of Southern Africa

 

Ceres - Kamieskroon - Namakwa National Park - Caracal Eco Route (Rooikat 4x4 Ecoroete) - Hondeklip Bay - Groenrivier Mouth - March & August 2012

On my second trip in August 2012 we camped at the Kamieskroon Hotel - ablutions fine, but the traffic noise is disturbing.
There is a privately owned community camp site at the Skilpad  National Park's Office (Nathan of Gloudine Agenbad Tel. 027 -65721314), which would have been a better option, but I did not know about it.

Preparing for the road ahead

Showing the route

(click the link to download the whole trip in MapSource gdb format - NamakwaNationalPark.zip - please note that Waypoints 1 - 14 refer to the numbers in the Caracal Eco Route booklet which you can buy at the Parks Board offices)

Day 1
Ceres - Kamieskroon - Skilpad Rest Camp

SkilpadChalet

These chalets are well laid out and there is a brilliant panoramic view. Highly recommended as a stop over.

Remember to take your own dish washing liquid and drying up towels. Also, the water is brackish and won't be to everybody's taste - take your own.

View from Chalet 


Day 2
Skilpad Rest Camp to Eagles Nest Guest House

This part of the route has only one or two rocky sections which may be difficult for soft off-roaders.

There is a real oasis at Kookfontein. Camping allowed if arranged beforehand. The water tanks for the ablution block are empty, but there is permanent water at the fountain - bring a bucket to fill the toilet cisterns.

We could only look at the Gents' section of the ablutions, which looked a mess because doors and windows had been left open.
This had been cleaned up by September 2012.

Oasis at Kookfontein

The dilapidated homesteads along the way made me sad.
I thought about the people's dreams that are no more.

Different archesDream HouseAt Kookfontein

What a pity

We popped in At Hondeklip Bay.
What amazed us most was how clean the whole town was. The locals apparently all work together to keep it that way.
There are lots of accommodation options, but most of them were closed when we were there - enquire beforehand.

I forgot to take pictures of the Eagles Nest Guest House as I was overwhelmed by something very different and unexpected.
There are different accommodation options available, from a large 5-roomed house to 2-bed chalets (Book at 027 581 1846).

Emu's will accompany you as you wander around the homestead.

Remember to take your own dish washing liquid and drying up towels. Also, the water is very brackish and won't be to everybody's taste - take your own.


Day 3
Eagles Nest Guest House - Spoegrivier Bay - Groenrivier Mond - Ceres

This part of the route to be tackled by 4x4's with high ground clearance only - soft off-roaders will not make it.
There is some real deep sand driving along certain sections (I let my tyres down to 1.5 just before the Spoegrivier Caves and re-inflated at the Groenrivier Mouth).

Spoegrivier Caves

At Spoegrivier Bay we were greeted by Dolphins enjoying the waves.
It was very misty. We stuck around for an hour hoping for it to clear up so that we could explore the bay. No luck.
Hikers are allowed to camp here, but the spot is very exposed to the elements.

Exposed

Early morning dew

Early morning dew

Below is a typical camp site. Some of them have toilets and water. These sites start about half-way to the Groenrivier Mouth and all of them are marked on the Tracks4Africa map.

Typical Camp Site

Toilets

 One travels through amazing dune fields

Dunefields

Generally, the conditions of the major roads were not too bad, with some very corrugated sections. However, rain and the large expected traffic during the flower season will change those conditions.

After the storms in August 2012 - some of the access road were covered in foam - weird driving through 1,5m thick foam.

After the storms in Agust 2012

This park obviously does not get a lot of visitors outside the flower season, which is great for people like us, who enjoy the solitude (We met no other vehicles on the 4x4 route, except close to the Groenrivier Mouth).

Some flowers in September

Flower with bees

Erna in flowers 

I made a mistake when we got close to the N7, where I should have taken a turn off to Kotzesrus and then within a short distance a turn-off to the south-east.

In August 2012 we followed the coastal route from the Groenrivier Mouth to Lutzville. There were lots of water pools we had to drive through, but the sand was not deep. Took 3 hours for 70km (short lunch stop included).


Total distance travelled 1100km.