Friday 27 June 2014


See the previous installments at

The Quiver Tree Forest, Giant's Playground and Brukkaros crater

Early rise at the Quiver tree Forest near Keetmanshoop to share sunrise with the Rock Hyraxes between the quiver trees (there's one against the trunk just below the branches of the big quiver tree).

Then breakfast and breaking up camp. More information on quiver trees here:

Driving a few km's north-east on the C11, we visited the "Giant's Playground", consisting of thousands of black or brown rocks piled onto another to form interesting formations.

After Rene finished a small oil painting colour study, we traveled back to Keetmanshoop for fuel, wood and food and then North on the B1 to Tses where we turned off on a gravel road towards the small town of Berseba, nearest town to our next destination, the crater of the extinct volcano, Brukkaros. A few km's before Berseba we turned North to Brukkaros. At the entrance gate, the attendant told us that we won't make it to the camping site on the rim of the crater - we needed a 4x4. We decided to push on. The attendant told us to pay when we come back, expecting us back within a few minutes. We made it, but only just - with a lot of grace... 

Bukkaros mountain, an extinct volcano with the bridge over the Fish River to the right. The name "Brukkaros" was derived from the Afrikaans words "Broek" (Trousers) and "karos" (leather apron)

Rene and myself walked to the inside of the crater through a break in the wall - an hour and a half hike - not a level walk, strenuous at places. It was the best rain year in Namibia's history - beautiful grass plumes covering the crater and slopes - normally only rock and sand. The crater is approximately 5 km x 3 km in diameter. Zoom in to see the crater on the interactive map further down below.

Camping on the rim of the crater - no water available and only very basic facilities. Disaster struck - the 12v to 240v inverter refused to work - our pump for the air mattresses works from 240v - we had apply mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the two mattresses... Only us tonight - nobody for km's, only silence, except for the  fat from the meat of our braai (barbeque) dripping on the coals... 

Total distance traveled today: approximately 150 km, of which 70 km was gravel road, the last few km a very bad mountain pass.

The map below is an interactive Google Map showing the actual GPS track we followed (imported from a .gpx file). Zoom in to follow our route. Click on a balloon for more information.

Monday 16 June 2014


See part 1 of this series here:

Into Namibia, down memory lane in Keetmanshoop and the Quiver Tree Forest

Early rise for breakfast and then further North to the quaint little town of Askham, deep in the Kalahari, for a quick fuel stop and a few refreshments. Then on to the Namibian border at Rietfontein (RSA) / Klein Manasse (Namibia), passing the turn-off to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (no time to visit this time). Still tarred road. Through large salt pans with funny names like "Koo Pan" and "Hakskeen Pan" (Heel Pan), past small towns with even funnier names like "Groot Mier" (Big Ant) and "Klein Mier" (Small Ant). Past the small town of Rietfontein to the border post. No hassles with the trans-border formalities on both the South African and Namibian sides of this very small border post. Friendly people - I don't think they see many travelers per day.

Start of 200 km of excellent gravel road to Keetmanshoop via Aroab and moving one hour back in time - Namibia uses daylight saving time during the cooler months...
Marlene and Rene with the Klein Manasse (Namibia) / Rietfontein (South Africa) border post in the background where the road ends.

Our first lunch in Namibia

Namibian Kalahari dunes

At the one-horse town, Aroab, we payed the Namibian road tax of N$240.00 - normally payable at the border posts, but due to it's small size, our border post didn't handle money matters and then on to Keetmanshoop.

Moving back in memory lane...
Both myself and Marlene grew up in Namibia where we finished school. After marrying Marlene in 1976, we moved from Windhoek to Keetmanshoop. On this trip, we planned to drive past all places in our past of sentimental value. The first house we lived in after getting married was a one bed-roomed house in Keetmanshoop for which we payed R50.00 per month. The house is situated next to a huge Camel-thorn Tree.

Our second house in Keetmanshoop was an official state owned house for which we paid the astronomical amount of R8.50 per month and received a water subsidy of R11.50 per month to maintain the garden...
We stayed in this house until 1981 when we moved to Olifantsfontein near Pretoria in South Africa.

Back from memory lane, we bought food and wood for a cozy fire and drove to the Quiver Tree Forest on the C11 road 14 km North-East of Keetmanshoop where we grabbed our cameras and ran to catch the sunset between the quiver trees. 
Only after our photography hunger was stilled, we pitched tent, made a fire and prepared dinner...

Total distance traveled today: approximately 430 km of which 220 km was gravel road.

The map below is an interactive Google Map showing the actual GPS track we followed (imported from a .gpx file). Zoom in to follow our route. Click on a balloon for more information.

Monday 2 June 2014



During May and June 2011, myself, my wife, Marlene and a friend, Rene Snyman, traveled from Bloemfontein, South Africa, to Namibia, We were away for a total 39 days, of which 35 days were in Namibia, camping with a tent most of the time. During the next couple of blogs, I will give a day-by-day account of our travels coloured in with many photos.

A preview of one of the places that will be featured in the blogs.

Useless Information (all monetary values are in South African Rands or Namibian $: ZAR 1 = NA$1)
8765 km traveled of which 3850 km were on gravel roads
Fuel:  966 liters used @ R9206.00
Accomodation: R8923.00
Entrance fees: R1785.00
Food and other expenses: R10957.00
Total expenditure: R30875.00 for 3 people
Vehicle used: 1997 Toyota Venture 2.2 GLE with Limited Slip Diff
Built-in 12v - 240v inverter
Camped 30 days
Stayed with family 7 days
Other accommodation 1 day

What we have learned: never to use inflatable mattresses again - invites the cold air from below and get punctured regularly...

Trip report - day 1 (2011-05-13)

Nothing much to report - just a long, boring road and and as we were pressed for time, no photos. We departed from Bloemfontein to Kimberley via Petrusburg on the N8 early morning. A quick stop in Kimberley to stretch our legs and then on to Groblershoop via Griekwastad. Obviously the area around Griekwastad received exceptionally good rains as there was water next to the road as far as I could see for km's on end, sometimes nearly up to the level of the tarred road surface. A fuel stop in Groblershoop, just across the Gariep (Orange) River, and then on with the N10 for a lunch break with family of Rene's in Upington. We stayed for the night on a farm 80 km North of Upington.

Total distance traveled for the day: 680 km, all tar except for the last 2 km.

The map below is an interactive Google Map showing the actual GPS track we followed (imported from a .gpx file). Zoom in to follow our route. Click on a balloon for more information.