On Day 15, we left Tietiesbaai to go to Lambertsbaai, still on the West Coast. It is another small fishing town with a lot of wind. Really, this place is windy, and it doesn’t smell nice. It smells of fish and guano.
I was here when I was 14 years old, and the only things I remember are the wind and the freezing cold water. My parents still tell us how we were showered and ready for bed at five in the afternoon, because it was too horrible to be outside. We were camping then as well… at least in a caravan. Twenty-six years later nothing has changed. It was April then and the end of February now. The only difference is that it was about three degrees warmer this time around.
We camped across the road from the very famous Muisbosskerm, a restaurant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Malkoppan is a massive, empty campsite: just us and the wind. It is hard to imagine that it was fully booked over Christmas. Sophia begged Hugo to take off the “spare wheels”, as she calls them, on her bike and she made great progress riding without them. As an added bonus, daddy got a free workout!
For Saturday lunch, we went to The Weskuskombuis (West Coast Kitchen). While I waited with a Kahlua Pedro and tried to catch up on a bit of admin, Hugo took the children to Bird Island. I politely declined to go. I went there a mere 26 years ago and could still remember the smell. Apparently it had a few upgrades since I was there last. Or maybe my brain got damaged last time and I can’t remember, but there is a museum with interesting information and it didn’t smell that bad. They say.
Look at this! Then they tell me it smells like roses…
The second night, we made it to the Muisbosskerm. They served several kinds of seafood, including snoek, “bokkoms” (dried fish), garlic mussels in the shells (it was delicious!), paella, and the obligatory crayfish. Also on the menu was “waterblommetjiebredie” and sweet potatoes. Freshly baked bread with homemade jams and koeksisters rounded it off all very nicely. It was cold, though – they handed out blankets!
On Sunday, we decided to escape from the wind on the coast and move our camp to the mountains. On another of cousin Christa’s recommendations, we went to Enjo Nature Farm in the Ceder Mountains. It is a sheep farm, and the children could feed the lambs and swim in a dam. Hugo and Gustav even felt energetic enough to go on a three-hour hike. The area is warm and dry and, boy-oh-boy, less windy! Just enough wind to make the heat tolerable. Their water comes from a fountain in the mountains and Hugo decided to test out our new water filters. The end result was a filter full of sand and lovely water. We’ll have to get someone to send more filters – one a week or so. Four filters will not last the rest of the year.
Sophia decided she was sick of dirty feet and gave herself a pedicure!
We had a few very cute daily visitors and we could learn our first bird and its sound – a bokmakierie.
There is a local proverb that more or less says that if you are always in a hurry, your body leaves your soul behind and you sometimes have to slow down to allow your soul to catch up with you. This is what we did here – waited for our souls to catch up. It has been a hectic few months, and up until this moment, we have just been busy busy busy. The farm has no internet access; not even mobile reception. We could only read and relax. Pure bliss. But. I still struggle with switching off. I’m wired and anxious, I need to know where next, for how long, what do we need, what do we eat, where do we stay, how do we ensure the children eat healthy, get enough exercise, do some schooling? The schooling has been on the back burner; we really have to work on it. Just breathe Dorette, just breathe! I keep telling myself that we have nowhere to rush to, no final destination that we have to reach at a certain time. This, now, today, this is our destination, we have arrived!
After three lazy days, our stay on Enjo Nature Farm came to an end and we drove back towards the coast to take the N7 north towards the /Ai-/Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park on the banks of the Orange River. We made it to Springbok, a whole 419 km in one day. Must be a new record for us! We really struggle to leave before 10:00 in the morning. We’ll have to start setting a clock, otherwise we will waste half our time in bed. Someone please send us a cockerel!