Draaihoek Plaas Farm Camp
As we were cooking breakfast this morning the farm owner, Dion, came to see what time we were leaving. He and his family were off to church and he needed to know whether to switch the electronic gates off, so we could manually open them to exit the farm drive. He also came with a bag of vegetables, grown on the farm. Two types of squash and a large sweet potato. Very sweet.
I have to say this is the friendliest place we have stayed at. The previous evening, Dion had told us to help ourselves to oranges from the 100 year old trees growing next to the campsite. We did and had two cut up in fruit salad with yogurt. They were very good.
The farm grows a small acreage of vines, but produces mainly vegetables. Different types of squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes and cauliflower and onions for their seeds. Apparently the wine industry is in a bad way. During the pandemic the government banned the sale of alcohol and cigarettes for over a year. The export market was ruined by the problems with shipping and has not recovered. All the surrounding vineyards are discontinuing wine production and switching to growing seedless grapes.
Dion’s family were Huguenots who fled from France to Cape Town in the 1700’s. They then moved to farm in the Olifants river valley. As the name suggests, there were elephants there in those early days. Dion is the 7th generation to farm here.
As we drove to the campsite we noticed all the vines were standing in water. According to Dion the whole valley was flooded recently. The most rain he had ever seen in his 40 years! We have noticed that the whole area is smothered in flowers. Dion said he had never seen them looking so magnificent. This is also due to the amount of rainfall.
N7 Heading north.
After we left the camp the road north, the N7 was pretty straight and flat. Not much traffic as we are far from any major city, and not so many trucks being a Sunday. At first impressions, it would seem boring countryside, but the spectacular carpeting of flowers of all hues, with the equally spectacular mountains in the back ground, made it very pleasant driving.
We stopped for lunch at one of the many roadside stopping places and as the afternoon progressed, the scenery changed. Much more mountainous and curvy roads. A few small townships and a isolated small farms were all the habitation we passed. The land must all be farmed as it is all fenced. However, it seems very unproductive. Sheep seem to be the only thing that can cope with the conditions.
We had intended to go as far as Pofadder. So named because of the prevalence of puff adders, apparently. We wanted to take the shortest route on the R358. On the map this was marked as a minor road. We have been on what are marked on the map as tracks, but they have still been sealed. The R358, which we expected to be sealed, turned out to be a dirt road. We set off on it but saw a large puddle coming up. After yesterday’s muddy puddles and as the Sat-Nav was telling us it was going to take us considerably longer, despite being a shorter distance, turning back, we carried on up the N7 and decided to stop for the night in Springbok.
Camping for the night in Springbok.
We are now camped at the Springbok Caravan Park. It is a large campsite and there are about 6 other campers. Our neighbours are English, from Middlesbrough, but having relocated to Cape Town. Our first parking spot looked fine, until we turned off Poki’s engine and heard the birds. The tree next to us was full of weaver birds building nests. They are very pretty, but noisy. Twittering away. We thought it was too much noise, although I expect they would have quietened down at night. We moved to another spot.
Tomorrow we will head beyond Pofadder to Augrabies National Park and the Augrabies Falls on the Orange river.