Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Town named Springbok

After the Cedarberg, we drove up into the Northern Cape, the largest province (with the fewest people) in South Africa. Through the barren Knersvlakte (literally translated 'gnashplain') and the distinct rock hills scattered with Quiver trees (Kokerbome) of Namaqualand (a dry, rocky region of South Africa and Namibia about 440 000 square kilometers big) we were headed for Springbok, the biggest town in the area.

Early springtime every year, the brown plains of Namaqualand undergo a stunning transformation and the veld is covered in colors - everything from daisies to succulents flower and attract tourists from all over the world. We've witnessed this phenomenon on a previous vacation trip, however this time we saw what the area looks like most of the year: a semi-desert.

Arriving in Springbok, we camped at Springbok Caravan Park for a few days while looking for a place to stay for 3 weeks (until we go raft the Orange River April 20th). We enjoyed the camping despite a cold wind preventing us from doing school, and went on a few nice walks (the boys enjoyed exploring the veld a lot). We also went on a road trip to Port Nolloth (the nearest coastal town).

My explorations - experimenting with my new camera (thank you ouma and oupa Venter!). 

The road to Port Nolloth. 

Diamond-searching, giant-vacuum-cleaner boats at Port Nolloth. They are basically filtering sand and sediments coming from the Orange River, looking for any precious stones. 

When we finally found a place to rent, it was fully furnished and perfect for our situation. The only quirk was that the house is situated in Springbok's industrial area which turned out to be really safe, comfortable and quiet. To our surprise a truck arrived with mining equipment a week after we moved in, and since then we have been learning more about how to look for different types of stones.

It's amazing to see the variety of stones present in sample loads of soil taken from different farms around the area. 'Oom' Daniel, Ferdie and Dawie are working on sorting and processing the stones every day, and the boys have enjoyed helping them a lot. They even took dad and the boys to a Stock Car racing event that they (of course) thought was awesome. It also inspired new possibilities for the future.... Maarten and Theuns are already planning on the building of their future stock/pipe car (oh dear).

The squad. 

Sorting. Maarten is using a magnet to get the iron out. 

Waiting cars. Watch a video here

Pipe car. 

Springbok itself is not extremely interesting, but it is well located as a stop-over to Upington, Cape Town, the West Coast, the Richtersveld and Namibia. There is a nice church as well as the well-known Springbok Lodge, where a very big collection of rocks/stones/minerals (collected by the owner over 37 years) is permanently exhibited.

The sandstone church. 


We also discovered a monument where an old smelting furnace used to be.  

A noteworthy evening outing was a drive through the Goegap Nature Reserve, a very busy place during flower season, but rather bare the rest of the year. There are many kinds of beauty however, and we had a surprise encounter with a Gemsbok, when we drove around a corner and the creature was standing right next to the road.


A few faraway Gemsbok seeking shade beneath Quiver Trees. 
This one prefers privacy above comfort (or so it seemed).

The Reserve has a succulent garden which sadly didn't look too well, but among the Hoendertone ('chicken toes'), Boesmangif (bushmen poison'), Skotteloor ('dish ear'), Wolftoon ('wolf toe'), and Bokspoortjie ('goat track') plants (yes, those are actually names), I found a pretty little Haasoor ('rabbit ear') flower. 

Gemsbok close up. She just stood there and looked at us. "What on earth". 

Otherwise we worked hard (dad work-wise, and us school-wise), went on walks, enjoyed having pets (fish, a one-eyed cat, and four tortoises), had fun in the swimming pool, tried to avoid scorpions and mosquitoes (you'd be surprised how many mosquitoes there are in an industrial area), and watched movies.

Needless to say, I took a lot of photos (of Quiver Trees...). 

Meet 'Langhaar' (Longhair), our weapon against spiders, scorpions and general vermin. She may have one eye, but that doesn't seem to worsen her aim (we have scratches). 

The tortoises were low maintenance. Once in a while they sprinted across the lawn (for seemingly no reason..), but the rest of the time they just chilled. 

The perks of living in an industrial area. Spring traps?!

Some scorpions which evaded the cat. If you are stung by either of these guys, you've got a few hours to get medical attention, and if you don't you die.


It's a wonder-filled life. Thanks for reading! 


  1. Jou manier van skryf oor gewone dinge en die blote raaksien daarvan (soos 'n bok wat in die koelte staan of die pret in die slagyster/springtrap bord teen die hek) maak die lees van die geskiedkundige dele soveel meer aantreklik. So min mense het die gawe.

    1. Dankie ouma - dit is tog die klein goedjies wat op die ou end die groot dinge is. Ek kan nie dit net oorslaan nie.


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