Namakwa Eco Route

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iandvl
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Namakwa Eco Route

Post by iandvl » 09 May 2018 12:04

I recently drove a section of the Namawka Eco route in the Northern Cape. Probably one of the more epic trips I've done for a while - especially since I've always been very fond of the Northern Cape... Well, most of the Northern Cape - the exception being Kuruman. After that incident where Annalien was assaulted there on the way through to the forum Dunes trip a few years ago, I have an unreasonable disliking for the place...

Total trip distance between the Friday when we left, and the Tuesday when we returned was 2595km... If we'd gone on a few more kilometres, we would have hit the coast... :rolling: :rolling:
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We were a group of six vehicles.

Toyota Fortuner : Ron & John
Toyota Cruiser 76: Andrew and Debby
Amarok V6: Bernard and Tracy
Ford Everest: Grant and metgesel
Patrol 4.5: My folks
Patrol 4.5: Annalien, kids and myself.

Route was broken up into several bits, and ran more or less as follows:

Day 1: Rendezvous in Ventersdorp -> Riemvasmaak
Day 2: Riemvasmaak -> Blouputs -> Pella -> Charles' Pass -> Klein Pella
Day 3: Klein Pella -> Kamchab River
Day 4: Kamchab River -> Witsand
Day 5: Witsand -> Ventersdorp / home

I'll type up the sections day by day as I get time.

I've also copied the contact details and costs from a trip report by Ron (who did the planning), so will include them in each section... Just to provide credit where credit is due.

Day 1: Ventersdorp -> Riemvasmaak
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Long drive on this day - around 900km if I recall correctly.

The group RV'ed in Ventersdorp at 6am, and headed out west on the N14. This was after the recent unrest issues throughout the North West, but luckily most had calmed down when we went through. There was a heavy police presence in Delareyville, but all was relatively calm. We refuelled in Vryburg, and again in Upington. After Upington, we turned off the N14 onto a relatively good dirt road just before Kakamas and headed out to Riemvasmaak, getting there around 16h00. We took the "4x4 route" down - which basically consists of one roughish decent... Was fun though, and the first time I engaged 4L on the trip so far...

We camped at Riemvasmaak - about 200metres from the warm springs. Very, very nice. Camp site is in the "kloof", and it was absolutely astounding... No light pollution at all... The moon which was waxing and almost full, which meant night was almost like daylight in the "kloof".

Riemvasmaak contact details: Clarissa Damara - +27838737715 / riemvasmaaktourism@gmail.com
R135 per vehicle with 2 occupants per night. R25 per extra person.
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Fuel Stop in Vrybyrg
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Entry to Riemvasmaak
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Camp Site
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Kloof
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Hot Springs
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Re: Namakwa Eco Route

Post by iandvl » 09 May 2018 12:35

Day 2: Riemvasmaak -> Klein Pella
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After breaking camp, we headed out from Riemvasmaak on the Blouputs road. There were rumours of a vehicle having broken down on this road and blocking the road, so we stopped at several areas to scout the road ahead. About 10km from Blouputs, a Ranger coming from the opposite side confirmed that the road was clear, so we headed down to Blouputs. Scenery is spectcular. Dirt mountain passes which eventually open up into "big sky" country when one enters "Vredevallei" just before the Blouputs bridge.

We reinflated tyres after getting on the tar, after which we headed back towards the N14 via Augrabies.

The plan was to visit Augrabies, but since the Orange river was in flood, there were a few gazillion people entering the park. The queue for the gates was about 500m long, and we decided to rather keep on driving as we still had quite a bit of driving to do before getting to Klein Pella.

We stopped for fuel in Pofadder, after which we headed out further West on the N14. A few kilometres out of Pofadder, one turns right on the road towards Pella. Drove into Pella, deflated just outside on the Nothern border of town, and headed towards the mountains to conquer Charles' Pass, which is relatively easy gravel road pass.

After the pass, we drove along the banks of the Orange river for a bit before turning back towards Pella on one of the pipeline service roads. We then turned out towards Klein Pella on the 4x4 Eco route. This consisted of a nice technical trail, with a few smallish obstacles.

We arrived at Klein Pella at around 16h00 again (this would seem to be our general camp-set-up time for most of the trip)...

The original plan was to bush camp at Klein Pella at the river camp site (more on this tomorrow), but due to the rising Orange river, the people at Klein Pella recommended that it was better to camp in the main camp-site. I think Annalien and the kids were quite happy with this idea, as it meant proper ablutions / similar.

Klein Pella Guest Farm
Glenda Goosen - +27549729712
glendag@karsten.co.za
Main camp: R100 pppn
River camp: R50 pppn
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Route to Blouputs
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Route to Blouputs
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Route to Blouputs
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Weird Mushroom in Vredevallei
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You can get "Medicen" at Blouputs :)
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Blouputs Bridge
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Orange River
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Inflating
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Fuel Stop in Pofadder
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Deflating in Pella
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Deflating in Pella
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Road to Charles' Pass
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Charles' Pass
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Orange River Flood Plain
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Kokerboom
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4x4 Route
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Full Moon
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Attachments
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Klein Pella Campsite
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Re: Namakwa Eco Route

Post by iandvl » 09 May 2018 13:09

Day 3: Klein Pella -> Kamchab River
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Day 3 saw us break camp at Klein Pella and start heading towards the Kamchab river. Before heading out, we drove down to the river camp site to see what we missed. This is about 15km from the guest farm towards the river, and during this drive, one goes through several date plantations. I believe Klein Pella is the largest date farm in the Southern hemisphere. In any case, they are pretty impressive. After that, we stopped on the road from Klein Pella to take some photos of a Kokerboom forest, after which we took the road towards "Good House", and later turning off towards "Witbank". This is the main dirt road, but badly corrugated and has a few runouts and nasty bumps. The road undulates quite a bit, and has a few rather nasty sharp bends in places you would not expect... At Witbank, we turned West on the 4x4 eco route in the Orange river floodplain. We stopped for lunch at a ruined church (I assume - due to the largish graveyard outside), before continuing towards Groot Melkboom. After Groot Melkboom, we headed South-West. After climbing out of the flood plain, you're virtually in "desert proper". It is "big sky country"...

We drove around in the desert for a while, after which we headed towards the Kamchab lookout point, and the Kamchab river.

The Kamchab river was a highlight (as well as a bit of a disappointment).

Highlights: It's a tight, technical drive with narrow routes through the boulders in the river bed. All in all a lot of fun, although the Amarok had a little more difficulty with it's smaller break over angles / similar.
Disappointment: Only permits for 10 vehicles a day are issued, of which we had six. However, there must have been 20 vehicles camping in the river when we went through. Our original idea was to camp right where the Kamchab river joins the Orange, but this space was already occupied by several vehicles. As such we camped a little higher up the river.

Namakwa 4x4 Eco Route
Wilma James - +27818739043
info@namakwa4by4.co.za
R450 per vehicle for the permit.
R200 per night at designated camp sites.
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Date Plantation
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Kokerboom Forest
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View Towards Klein Pella
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Convoy near Witbank
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Graveyard near Ruined Church
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Ruined Church
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Groot Melkboom
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Groot Melkboom
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"Big Sky Country"
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Convoy Driving in the Desert
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Entering the Kamchab River
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Kamchab River Bed
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Re: Namakwa Eco Route

Post by iandvl » 09 May 2018 13:24

Day 4: Kamchab River -> Redsands, Kuruman
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Originally, we would have travelled through to Witsand to spend the last night there. However, my father and I changed our plans. Before going on this trip, I had a severe sinus flu. My course of antibiotics and other medicines was finished on the Saturday. However, several days of dusty convoy driving had exacerbated my 'flu terribly. As such, we decided to leave the rest of the group to continue to Witsand, and start making our way homeward, with an overnight stop at Redsands Country Lodge just outside Kuruman (there is no way I will ever overnight in Kuruman).

As such, we left before first light, and the capability of the Patrols impressed once again. The route through the Kamchab river (which had taken us a few hours the previous day) were completed in about 30 minutes - despite starting off in the dark. Thereafter, we hooked up with one of the main dirt roads running from Goodhouse to the N7. This road is technically "closed" for construction, but we confirmed with the road construction crew, and they said there was no issue - we could proceed along the road. We climbed on to the tar road just North of Steinkopf. After several days of driving very corrugated roads, it was surreal travelling on tar. We refuelled in Steinkpf, and started making our way Eastward. Sprinbok, Poffadder, Kakamas, Keimoes, Upington, arriving at RedSands at about 16h00.

Red Sands Country Lodge: +27537120033
R1200 for a 4-sleeper chalet
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Exiting the Kamchab
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Weird Flower
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Two Patrols in the Desert
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Somewhere near Pofadder
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Red Sands
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Re: Namakwa Eco Route

Post by iandvl » 09 May 2018 13:30

Day 5: Redsands, Kuruman -> Home
DAY5-ROUTE.png
We left early again, and headed out back towards the North West. Massive storm between Kuruman and Vryburg. We refuelled in Vryburg, and headed back towards Ventersdorp. The road was dead quiet, until just before we reached Ventersdorp. My father and I parted ways in Ventersdorp - with them heading towards Potch, and us heading off towards Brits. Roads were very busy from Ventersdorp until we got home at about 12h30.

Final thoughts ?

Will I go back ? Most definitely.

In fact, I'm going to put this trip up on the forum calendar for next year - more-or-less the same time of year.

Sadly, the number of vehicles would be restricted to 10, as this is the maximum number of permits issued for the Kamchab river per day.

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Re: Namakwa Eco Route

Post by Rhett » 09 May 2018 15:49

Ian, that is almost a carbon copy of the trip I did two years ago (see below), and my heart is longing to go back!
Kuruman has become an absolute sh!thole and it's so sad. I would suggest to anyone to drive straight on through.

Thanks for the pictures, looks like you guys had a great time. Did you take a dip in the Orange near Groot Melkboom?

My Namakwa trip:
http://patrol4x4.co.za/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=6743

***EDIT: You didn't perhaps find a titanium wedding ring on the Eco-trail?? My wife still hasn't forgiven me... :pray:
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Re: Namakwa Eco Route

Post by Kagiso II » 09 May 2018 17:10

Wo go that way twice per year on our Richtersveld Outreach ..
Next one is Oct school holidays.
Fantastiese wêreld. Fantastiese mense. My wêreld. my mense :thumbup: :thumbup:

:bravo: :thumbup: :thumbup: Thanks for th epost & picts Bru
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Re: Namakwa Eco Route

Post by iandvl » 09 May 2018 17:44

Rhett wrote:
09 May 2018 15:49
...
***EDIT: You didn't perhaps find a titanium wedding ring on the Eco-trail?? My wife still hasn't forgiven me... :pray:
...
Sorry - no rings found... You will have to buy the missus a Patrol to make up for that... :rolling: :rolling:

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Re: Namakwa Eco Route

Post by andredurand » 09 May 2018 18:30

Jo Ian dit si een roete wat ek moet doen Mooi man sal leter net jou praat :goodpost: :bravo:
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Re: Namakwa Eco Route

Post by Rhett » 10 May 2018 09:14

iandvl wrote:
09 May 2018 17:44
Rhett wrote:
09 May 2018 15:49
...
***EDIT: You didn't perhaps find a titanium wedding ring on the Eco-trail?? My wife still hasn't forgiven me... :pray:
...
Sorry - no rings found... You will have to buy the missus a Patrol to make up for that... :rolling: :rolling:
:lol: :lol: She has already claimed mine, which means I need another one for myself!! :driving: 4.2 TD pick-up is my next :thumbup:
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