Some stopovers while overlanding are more fun than others, this was one of those extraordinary ones #NikelaAfrica
Frequently we simply find a place to camp when we’re ready.
This stopover was no exception. Little did we know we’d have an adventure and make some new ‘friends’.
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On the Road Again 4×4 Stopover Adventure
After being delayed by my mother’s hospitalization and securing a needed document we are on the road again… hurray! Not sure exactly where we’ll stop for the night we simply point the Landy towards Namibia.
Sitting overlooking the hills of the NorthWest Province surrounded by the bush at the Karee Krans Natuur Plaas, with a resident dog under my chair and I watch a Vervet monkey who got himself breakfast out of the rubbish bin. All through our breakfast we’d kept him at bay, making sure we closed the Landy doors and had all food right in front of us.
The three small dogs, a Yorkie desperately in need of a bath, a Jack Russell mix and another little feisty black mongrel, chase the monkey at seemingly random times. It’s almost like a game of tag. They chase, monkey runs and jumps up a tree, dogs bark bouncing around below the tree, dogs leave and monkey comes down and follows the dogs. At one time the dogs and the monkey we tumbling together on the ground like kids playing. On another occasion the dogs lie fast sleep under the low branch where monkey sits chewing on a leaf. Very interesting relationship!
Apparently the monkey was hand raised by the previous owners of the farm. He obviously has no fear of humans as he jumped on my back as I was throwing our trash away. I’d been watching him in the tree above and as quick as lightning he was on and off my back hoping to grab something… but I was faster, at least this time.
The Natuur Plaas is a large old farm tucked in between game farms. An important Anglo-boer war battle was supposedly fought right here. Actually there are grave markers behind me dating back to that time. The new owners, Riaan and Marelize, are not into hunting, and continue to grow this 4×4 adventure park alongside replenishing the wildlife. Riaan tells us they’ve brought in Eland, Kudo, Blesbok and even Sable (typically kept for hunting? So I don’t know!?) The Plaas attracts school nature camps as well as families, as fishing, hiking, biking and a challenging ropes course are also available.
We arrived early enough yesterday so of course Russ is eager to take one of the 4×4 routes. It was hair raising! I took videos while he traversed the some of the most challenging obstacles . The first, a steep down into a river bed with hardly enough room for the length of the Landy before the upward climb back out. Russ said it was like driving right into a wall, but the Land Rover climbed out like a charm. The next, a long, long steep downhill over rocks and through sand. Again, Russ and Landy did well. However, as night was closing in we got stuck by a locked gate and didn’t want to take the long way round. So back tracking was the only option. Were we going to make it up that super steep slippery slope? Was the Landy going to make it over the rocks and through the sand without back sliding?
I walked up so I could take videos. Russ first tries the slow crawl in low gear. Doesn’t work, she stalls out over the first set of rocks. The second time he takes it a bit faster, but again the rocks are the nemesis. He preserves, the wheels spin, the Landy is enveloped in a red dust cloud. Russ retreats. Attempt number three… go at it really fast in second gear (with diff lock engaged of course) This time squirming through the sand he makes it over the rocks, starts sliding, pushes on, bouncing, gripping, sliding, spinning and gripping again. With dust whirling, engine whining and the Land Rover bouncing Russ keeps up the momentum and makes it to the top. Wow! He’s good!
After that we set up camp we enjoy a peaceful dinner watching to Eland below us and then we get an interesting visitor … a duck. She takes stock to see of we’ve got anything for her, circling us. When we ignored her he nipped at Russ’ leg. Probably left me alone because the Yorkie had claimed her spot under my chair. The duck hung around till we climbed up into the rooftop tent… and then started quacking. I used ear plugs to drown her out.
Then, before dawn, along with the chickens there goes the duck again, right next to the Landy! I’m surprised she hasn’t ended up in someone’s pot she is so annoying.
This morning we went exploring a few other 4×4 trails… this time on foot with the three resident dogs in tow. Russ enjoyed looking at the obstacles and calculating how well the Landy would do. Some okay, others needed a shorter wheel base, while others the trees and bushes were far too low for us to get under… as it is we already compromised the cover for our roof top tent. But such it is… Land Rovers and their accessories are meant to get beat up… guess the travelers are too!
Now it’s on through Botswana on to Namibia.