Nababiep Reserve S/Richtersveld & West Coast Eco Trail

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    West Beach Cape Town
    Thanked: 0

    Default Nababiep Reserve S/Richtersveld & West Coast Eco Trail

    Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 3:56 pm Post subject: Nababiep Reserve S/Richtersveld & West Coast Eco Trail In September 2006 I organized a trip to Richtersveld main reserve for a group of our regular 4x4 friends, an epic trip and a first visit to the area for all parties concerned. We spoke about this trip time and time again over many “braais” and each time vowed to go back to this very special part of our world.

    Two years later, I decided to take the initiative and motivated a “re union” trip to the area. The response was unanimous. Come what may the guys were in. Initially I had planned on re visiting the same region but after much debate and deliberation it was decided that we should search for a lesser known route away from the “maddening crowd” as well as seek a more challenging part of the region. Our final decision comprised of a combination of T4A mapping data as well as some previous trip experience by two of the party.

    This is our story;

    Friday 13th June dawned. The fact that it was a superstitious day never entered my mind. I had owned my cruiser for a mere two weeks and all I wanted to do was get this beast out into the bush. We had arranged to all meet at the Swartland 1 Stop on the N7 at 10 am . The party comprised of a) Myself LC 80 GXL 4.5EFI b) Craig De Villiers LC 80 GX 4.5 c) Rieger Van Rooyen LC GX 4.5
    d) Jacques Dowd 105 GX EFI e) Malcolm Foulis LC 80 GX 4.5 f) John Murray Nissan Patrol GRX 4.8i .

    Each driver had one passenger as a navi , excluding John who had two passengers . Total number 13 for the trip. No Girls , No Kiddies . This was going to be hangover week .

    After picking my boet up at the airport ( he flew down from Durbs) we headed out to the One stop at met up with the guys there. Formalities were done , gifts exchanged( it was John’s Birthday ) breakfast was had and finally we hit the road towards Springbok. Constant chatter emitted over the VHF radios and every now and then I had to decipher some “Afrikaans” taal “for my boet . You soon get to know who the “clowns of the trip” are over a radio channel when traveling a distance together. We stopped at various view points along the route

    and slowly some of the newer guys got to know each other . Now not knowing my “new cruisers” fuel guage that well and having already pumped over the auxiliary tank I was getting concerned with a quarter of a tank left and about 180kms to go to Springbok I called for a fuel stop a “Garies” . After numerous threats of death by strangulation from Rieger over my pronunciation of the name “Garies” we all veered off left in to the town. So this is where the first small eventful mishap takes place. How difficult can it be to distinguish the difference between a dedicated Diesel Pump and a dedicated Petrol Pump. This is a question one would have to pose to Craig because of course he pulls up to the Diesel pump and says casually to the educated pump jockey , “Fill her up” .This small episode took place at about 4.30 pm ( yes it took us that long to travel to Garies) . So 90 Litres later the penny drops .” S##T she put diesel in my tank” . Ok Craig we all confer , you did ask her to fill it up. Long story short Craig wheeled down next to the store and after a few random ideas decided that he could drain the tank form under the vehicle. This however was going to be a lengthy process so being the easy bunch we are we decided to have a braai on the stoep of the Co-Op next to the filling station whilst Craig lay under his vehicle getting instructions from a pigmy attendant who had definitely seen the “better side of life”.

    And just to throw some excitement into the mix it was decided that whilst we wait we all go in to the Co-Op and have a competition to see who can purchase the most useless item for under 50 Bucks . Man was that cashier not amused .

    It was probably at this stage that Malcolm came out with the artillery . His super powered over pressurized paint ball gun . This machine would remain part of Malcolms dress attire for the rest of the week. Mallie was not going to have his meal taken by the monkeys on this trip . By the time we hit the road again our cruisers had suffered some radical colour changes.

    We eventually pulled in to Fiddlers Creek after 9.00pm sometime and set up in a communal camp site together. Some guys with rooftops and others with ground tents. A bonfire of note was made and the rest of the evening continued with much merriment. “ Jurgermeister straf dops” were passed around and Rieger won the prize for the most useless thing purchased , a blue powder line marker used for outlining measurements on the ground. More to be said about this useless item later on.

    The next day was a day of rest and recovery for all of us. We were graced with amazing weather and for those of you who have not camped at Fiddlers before, I can highly recommend the setting. The showers are hot and clean and the sites are well layed out with good facilities as well as electrical points. We spent most of the morning fishing on the banks but caught mostly reeds . At 3pm we moved off to the Pub/Boma where they had arranged to show the Boks vs Wales test. It is worth noting at this stage that Jacques had organized to collect his Welsh friend back at Sprinbok on the next day . He had flown in from Wales to watch the test and had arranged to charter a flight to Sprinbok to join our convoy. Craig had arranged some decals for the side our vehicles with everyones name and nickname on it. We decided ahead of time and premature to the rugby result to nickname our Welsh friend : “BOKNAAI” . How is that for confidence in our boys.

    Another night of festivity and Sunday was upon us . After loading up with wood and deflating tyres we made our way in towards the reserve. For the first few kms it is gravel driving and at some point we turned off the gravel towards the river and got into a bit more sand driving . There are numerous places where one can stop alongside the river , which we did for a lunch break. There are also good opportunities for fly fishing at some places .

    We found a few interesting “play” areas along the river

    with some soft sand and after a few dig ins some of us deflated some more to get through parts of the deeper sand. Jacques eventually joined us along the river section with his Welsh friend and after some amusing banter we set off to tackle the rock section we had heard so much about. Mallie was first in the line and had done this section before , but at that time he had been in his Colt D/Cab . Jacques was with him on that trip in a SWB Pajero. They had taken about two hours to get through and over these rocks and at some point had used high lift jacks to get over sections. Although it was challenging and required some navigating and concentration, the cruisers and the Nissan sailed through this without much difficulty at all . I came down on my tow bar once but that was about it. I was also carrying all the wood for the trip as well as other heavy items which probably added to the rear weight . Johns’ Nissan suffered a small cosmetic thingy getting scuffed under the wheel arch and Jacques new Rock sliders came in to play when he came down on a rock on one side. You would not be able to do this section in a vehicle with limited clearance or runner boards without some damage. It was sufficient to get the adrenaline going and certainly more challenging than anything in the main park , barring possibly Helskloof Pass.

    It took us about 45 mins to get through and after reaching a point where the tracks on our GPS misguided us finally arrived at our camp spot alongside the river.

    The serenity of this place leaves one speechless . There was not a breath of wind with glorious sunshine and still waters. Every so often you would hear the fish eagles call out and it was’nt long before we spotted them . No cell phones and complete solitude. The camping area was perfectly sized to accommodate all of us without being on top of one another. We set up camp and this would be our home for the next two days.

    Fishing became the main focus over this time and amongst our clan we had some pretty serious fishermen . The guys were pulling out all the fancy gear imaginable and trying various bait mixtures but these fish were just not taking. It was at this stage that “Ben” one of Johns passengers decided to throw in the handline . Now Ben is about as knowledgeable about fishing as I am about politics, which is not much I can tell you , so you can imagine the thoughts going through our professional experts heads when Ben consistently started pulling in the fish . Everyone was asking the same question , “ Ben watter bait gebruik jy” . He was not going to let on that easy. Finally he revealed his secret . ‘You know that blue chalk line stuff Rieger bought , just roll it in some bread and slap it on boet. The fish love it “ Ha Ha , we collapsed over that one. Rieger had a straf dop that night when we reversed the decision to “ the most useful item bought from the Co-Op.”

    We were to have many laughs over these next couple of days and there are too many singular events that occurred to cover all of them . Above all we all learned to relax which is fundamentally part of the objective for a trip of this nature. Being in the photographic industry myself , it was refreshing to see so many people taking a keen interest in the art of photography . Good one guys.

    Finally our stay over at the river’s side came to an end and it was time to head in to the mountains . We were heading towards Eksteenfontein direction but with a night stop over planned in the mountains en-route. A point was earmarked on the GPS which looked promising , and so we headed off. The terrain comprised mostly of dry river bed with rocky trails similar to what you would find in the main park. We found one or two interesting rock sections to test our articulation out and at one stage we engaged lockers. There was never any need to feel rushed and we stopped on numerous occasions to either take photographs or have a snack.

    As dusk fell the first of the rain started . Up until now we had had awesome weather so the rain did not bother us as long as it did not pour down as our intentions were to sleep alongside a river bed for the night. I could see the conceited looks on the faces of those guys with rooftop tents . Nightfall was upon us when we eventually set up camp against a rocky outcrop .

    The wind had turned a bit cold and the rain was enough to be an irritant. We lit the fire , cooked and ended up having a fairly somber night. Daylight came with continued rain and the thought of packing up a wet tent in the rain kept me in my bed a bit longer. Today we were heading down towards Hondeklipbaai .

    Once packed we moved off and the speed of the convoy picked up momentum when we hit the gravel roads. A fuel stop at Port Nolloth , some rations , a quick look at the museum and we headed off towards Kleinzee.It was just before the gravel road section when “Ben” the fisherman decided that he needed to bail out of the trip and get home for a business meeting. He had miscalculated the trip return date and no amount of common sense could prevent him from deciding to hitch hike home. He was left on the tar section outside Port Nolloth , a bit crazy but that’s Ben. He made it home by Thursday.

    Permits had been arranged for Kleinzee and Rieger surprised us with a inpromto visit to the local Recreation club . We had a few warmer uppers , shot some pool and moved on down to Hondeklipbaai. Here we had booked in to the Honnehokke chalets where Attie the owner had an awesome dinner prepared for us. The best mussel soup I had tasted in ages . A festive evening in the pub was had by all with some good guitar playing and sing along stuff the order of the evening. Attie is a fantastic host and I could highly recommend a stop over at his establishment. .

    Thursday dawned with most of us being refreshed from a good nights sleep and hot showers . After a scrumptuos breakfast layed on by Attie , we headed out towards the section leading to the coastline. The first part involves a series of opening and closing of farm gates that goes on for ever. Most of us have done this drive before so it nobody was in a rush to go up front. Our Welsh friend chose this time to mark his turf. He had gone big the night before and was looking paler than a Welshman could possibly look. He must have puked at every gate stop along the way. There was little compassion from this gang .

    Spoegriver Caves are one of those places where if you have been there once it’s enough but a few guys had not done this trip section before and we reluctantly decided to go down to the caves . This decision proved to haunt us later. Last year a friend of ours , mutually known between most of the guys , had sunk his Jeep trying a river crossing a bit further down from the caves. Craig and myself had witnessed the event but the rest of the guys were keen on seeing where this crossing was. John and Mallie disappeared around the corner and by the time I arrived at the crossing John had already decided to venture through in the Nissan. His was the only vehicle without a snorkel and this proved fatal to his cause in the end. He had taken in water and had cut out halfway out the other side. This crossing is a nasty piece of work , not very wide , probably 7 -8 metres , but hell it is deep in the middle. Do not attempt this without a snorkel , it will drown your vehicle.

    And so the the lengthy procedure began of stripping Johns air intake and getting the plugs out. My boet and Mallie must be commended on their technical abilities here as it was not a simple procedure. Rieger had a Sat phone which proved its worth as we had to phone Nissan to find out how to get to the plugs. The guys eventually had to remove the manifold to get to them . Once the pumping started it was incredible how much water had been sucked in as it came out in plumes initially. Whilst this was all happening Jacques casually made a crayfish potjie whilst the rest of us mingled around. We decided Johns car was in capable hands and left it up to the mechanically minded guys to get stuck in. About 3 hours later John turned the key and the Nissan kicked in to life immediately. A sigh of relief as this meant we could move on and of course for John’s sake he was not facing a major disaster.

    The trail itself is by no means challenging and is probably better known for being in such close proximity to the ocean. You can drive for miles winding in and out of rocky crevices and during the summer months it is a fantastic trail to do a family camp over. I am sure this trail has been covered before so I wil not bore you with detail .

    Our stopover was Groenrivier for the night where there were more tales from the day to be shared around the campfire. We would be heading home in the morning. As morning broke it came with the sound of torrential rain. It was a fairly miserable start as most of our gear was wet . Rieger had convinced me to do the back roads home apposed to heading straight back to the highway and in the end it was well worth it. We encountered some challenging muddy roads en-route to Elands Bay which on more than one occasion saw a vehicle losing its rear end and going sideways. This was not to due to overspeeding or reckless driving, the mud was hectic in places .

    By the time we reached Elands Bay our vehicles really looked the part . We all tucked in to a long awaited Pub lunch at which stage I offered my boet the cruisers keys. It had been a long and enjoyable week and it was time to head back to our families and civilization.
    We said our goodbyes and hit the road.

    What I did learn from this trip is that it is not always about where you go to on a trip that’s important , it’s the company that you are in. We had an excellent bunch of guys and I would do this again in a heartbeat .

    My Costs

    Total Distance covered : 1 617kms .
    Fuel in Litres : 350
    Average consumption : 4.61 Kms P/Litre
    Total Trip Cost all in : Approx R 8000,00 for two people.

    '95 80 GXL 4.5 EFI

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Thanked: 49

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Cape Town
    Thanked: 244


    Please folks - take note - THIS is how you do a report back!!!

    Slobber drool!!!!!! Man I wanna go back to my favouritest national park!!!
    2015 Pajero Sport 4x4
    1996 3.5v6 Pajero (For Sale)

    Carpe Diem Scrotum
    Give a man a beer, waste an hour. Teach a man to brew, and waste a lifetime!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Thanked: 477


    Ian as i said to you on the other forum you should be a tour operator, your story is also brilliant and am sure will give more people encouragement to do this sort of thing even on a smaller scale. Cheers Ian


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Thanked: 0


    Hi Ian
    Excellent trip report. I am currently planning an excursion in that general area. Is it possible for you to supply waypoints and/or the route map? It is always easier to picture where you were and is very usefull for planning a trip.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    West Beach Cape Town
    Thanked: 0


    Hi Skippie,

    Please send me you e-mail address and I will send you the file from mapsource showing the breadcrumb trail .



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