Namaqualand, land of Namaqua [ name of a African tribe], is situated in Northern Cape, South Africa and the province shares its border with Namibia. The landscape is desert, ocean and is sparsely populated by human beings. The desert flower season starts end July to mid September but a lot of factors like rain, wind dictate the future of flower landscape viewing. We travelled on N14 for first night of camping at Kamieskroon and the night got so cold and windy that I dreamt the flowers just flew over our roof top tent in the night. When you are born in India, you just get born with an extra gene called anxiety. In the morning by the abulations, a lady decided to beat the bitter cold and winds by taking a dip in hot water tub, resulting in everyone else remaining without bath for the day. The water refused to climb in other taps.
The Namaqua park is about 30 minutes from Kamieskroon and we reached the Namaqua roof in a heart beat. The Namaqua park wore a yellow blanket with its own design [ At Skillpad] . The yellow flowers are in 4-5 shades and the Namaqua roof gives one an excellent shot to store in your memory. I carry Canon to support my future failing memory. As we crossed the Mountains, we saw several other flower spreads like purple, lavender, pink, whites and many shades of red.
We travelled through the stomach of mountain range for hours in soggy sand, several deep poodles and the wind, flowers, desert, mountains and the silence added to the adventure. Several hours on and now a bit anxiously, we suddenly saw few roofs, fences and so on and that gave some hope of civilization. We stopped and opened the self help gate and were in town of Soebatsfontein. There was no one, only houses and junkyards full of worn out cars. That was spooky indeed. I imagined I was in a mad max movie and the bikers were roaring on the roads, any moment. We continued our travel towards Hondeklipbay and saw several such junk yards in varied parts of the mountain range, there were no bones of course. I gulped a sign of relief.
At Hondeklipbay world seem normal, there were people walking in the village. We continued our remote travel. Now we were in Namaqua Park again heading for Boulderbraii with six campsites and 2 toilets. Yes that’s how “Tracks of Africa” navigation system describes it. It might sound funny on the paper, but when you actually travel in remote wilderness, you love the sound of Tracks For Africa. We crossed several self help gates and the no man’s land apparently did belong to some men and the territory seemed divided by gates and more gates. One of them seemed to have had experience of his gate being stolen, so he just requested “please don’t steal the gate, close it”.
The Second day of camping was at Bouslderbay was a scenic one, with angry Atlantic spanking rocky shores at about 10 feet distance and the desert holding on to rocky shores and even blooming in its own right of color in an absolute display of strong character. The sky was full of known and unknown stars and I thought in the time I spent from childhood when we watched sky and gave names of saints to all the bright stars, there were many additions to this assembly, many years later. Several brightly lit diamonds cooling off in the shadows of night. This is my spread. God told me.
We took a 5-7 km walk on rough terrain with legs trained on Johannesburg trade mills, but we did ok.
Next day we were ready and we moved onto DeBeers’ campsite no 13 and that was almost like hanging on to a cliff at end of the world. The Atlantic Ocean sounded angrier than previous place and made a non-stop noise of few 100 planes flying on one’s head, 24 X7. We clicked memorable pictures as sun slipped into other side of Atlantic. The night just grew normally on our head with its amazing starry spread. The chill in the air made us vanish in our sleep quickly.
Away from civilization and in company of raw nature, somebody asked me , who am I ? A nomad? I mumbled with a Land Cruiser.
On our way back we decided to come out in civilization on N7 at Bitterfontein and then travel back on highway to home. The whole of N7 was laced by mysterious flowers on either side and the color combinations were only nature could think of. People who want to see flower show and don’t want to go remote can simply travel on N7 from Springbok to Bitter Fontein.
We cut our journey at Upington for the day. Stopped by Kuthula Camp and spent my Birthday in this beautiful camp. A sense of having come home consolidated in my heart. The sun soaked savanna surrounded us all around and almost at a stage it was giving up for a spring welcome. Kuthula camp is a must for a tired long time driver as its beautifully located and campsite is absolutely luxurious.
We returned home revitalised with a smile of having acquired a secret knowledge, back in the world of several cars crossing N1 to get somewhere, nowhere.