The Senqu Orange Gariep Expedition Journal - THE MOUTH

Thursday, 10 December 2009

A 2 km walk up the beach at Alexander Bay brought us to the beginning of our trip. The MOUTH of the Orange River !

Was an absolute pearler of a day to be there. If you know this area, you will be used to the coastal fog of the west coast, where visibility is poor. The first man i met on the beach was fishing, he told me that we had luck on our side today. Good weather and good fishing, as he unhooked another fish and dropped it into his dinner cooler. The day went better than planned.

A lunch in the shade of a gum tree, next to the graffitied bus stop, had us planning

to drive up the South African side of the river to Sendelindsdrif via Brand Karos and Sanddrif and cross the river on the pontoon into Namibia. However, shortly after leaving Alexander Bay we saw a sign saying the pontoon was closed due to higher water. We crossed at The Sir Ernest Oppenheimer Bridge and into diamond mining territory. A transit visa was all that was needed from NAMBED mines along the “ crash road “ . The lady at the security gate told us and insisted we drive slowly.The road is marked consistently with crosses from previous accidents. It is good wide dirt road, but the loose gravel is what catches the speedsters out. Passing the small hill-sized mine dumps in the ancient riverbeds with security warnings and signs in this relatively unknown area. This road leads you away from the duned coastline and into the Richtersveld mountains.

On Moday the 8th, Ine spent 4 hours on the river between the Fish River confluence and Xonas mine in the Ais-Ais Transfrontier National Park to get a feel for her new boat and get a warm up session in. With the flow at approx. 300 cumecs the flats and pools were moving noticably and the 4 rapids washed out with easy navigation through the rollercoaster waves.

I got on the river yesterday and had an hour and half blast from Aussenkehr to Gamkab confluence, was good to be back on the water after the last session 3 months ago.

Arrived at Norotshama Resort, and are spending 2 nights to catch up with writing and slow things down a bit, after the last 2 weeks. Swims in the river, outfitting the kayaks and watching 2 tourists in a canoe getting swept down the river from the resort.

By the time you read this we will be on our way to Goodhouse and then Onseepkans. The river is dropping, which is ideal for exploring the next section downriver of Onseepkans.

Rob Wilson