Day 19: The Farewell Party in Vioolsdrif
Vioolsdrif Travel Blog› entry 26 of 34 › view all entries
At the end of the canyon the Fish river flows into the Orange river. This marks the border between Namibia and South Africa. We crossed the border at the town of Noordoewer, heading to the South African town of Vioolsdrif. I just love those names in Afrikaans!
Oddly enough, the Orange river is named after the Dutch royal family, but the name has been translated into English, rather than Dutch/Afrikaans 'Oranje rivier'. To make it even weirder, recently the river has been renamed to the name it was given by the indigenous Nama people: Gariep.
And so realisation began to sink in that it was nearly over. In two days time we would be in Cape Town, which is the end of the line.
But we'd be sure to make our final days count and the Fiddler's Creek Bush Camp where we spent the night played an important role in that. This very pleasant camp-ground on the banks of the Orange river has the reputation of being quite a wild place at night.
But before it was night we went on a kayak tour on the Fish River. Or I think they actually called this rafting, but it wasn't anything like the rafting we'd done in Zambia. "This is relaxing rafting" our guide explained. "Just a bit of paddling, but mostly just floating."
Well, floating we can do. So armed with two cooler boxes full of beers, we set out onto the Orange River in inflatable two-person kayaks.
The just a bit of paddling turned out to be an awful lot of paddling, since the recent rains had caused a rise in the water level and thus a drop in the flow.
Today Ross and Laura, the Scottish couple, were on cooking duties and they whipped up a very nice coque-au-vin surprisingly quickly considering we had arrived back so late.
Even though we had one more night together Riaan and Juliana explained to us tonight would be the best night for a farewell party, because we could have a line-in tomorrow, whereas we would have to get up very early on the last morning.
Out came the bottles again, and fortunately they had not been able to find any Mother's Daughter but instead a very nice rum and a sherry were used for the next game.
It was interesting to hear how most people mentioned similar highlights, but most had completely different opinions about what was the worst experience of the trip. This only underlined the cultural differences between the people in the group, which had become more and more evident over the last few days (but more on that later).
After dinner we retired to the bar. Because virtually every overland tour stops at the Fiddler's Creek, the bar is known to be quite the party place and as a result many a friendly (desperate?) local can be found here mingling with young overlanders.
Riaan treated us to a local shooter, a springbok. Springboks are small antelopes characterised by cute small horns and very bright white arses. The barman explained how you are supposed to drink the shooter, mimicking a springbok. I will not go in detail here, but leave it up to your imagination. Needless to say many a springbok was ordered throughout night. Each time Robbel went to get a round of drinks at the bar she ordered a springbok for herself while waiting.
At which point I find it difficult to explain what happened next. Some gaps seem to have appeared in my memory of the evening. Somehow I recall a very nice and quiet evening, yet the 176 photos taken with my camera tell a completely different story.