Day 19: The Farewell Party in Vioolsdrif

Vioolsdrif Travel Blog

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surroundings of the Orange River

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.

old Overland truck turned into a road sign
In four days time I'd be back at work - Yikes!

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.

Kayaking the Orange River
So what was supposed to be a three hour leisurely float, turned into almost five hours of pretty hard work, and we arrived back at the camp-ground well after dark, much to the chagrin of our guide (of course us fooling around all the time and 'accidentally' deflating each others kayaks had nothing to do with our delayed arrival).

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.

Sunset over the Orange river
Each person had to stand up and tell what their best experience of this trip was, drink a ladle full of the rum, and then tell what they liked the worst about the trip, finishing off with a ladle of the sherry.

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.

The whole group, with our kayaking guide in the middle. Somehow nobody knows who the old guy on the right is...

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.

 

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surroundings of the Orange River
surroundings of the Orange River
old Overland truck turned into a r…
old Overland truck turned into a …
Kayaking the Orange River
Kayaking the Orange River
Sunset over the Orange river
Sunset over the Orange river
The whole group, with our kayaking…
The whole group, with our kayakin…
the road to Vioolsdrif
the road to Vioolsdrif
crossing the border into South Afr…
crossing the border into South Af…
For some reason I didnt bother ap…
For some reason I didn't bother a…
Bushwacked Adventures
Bushwacked Adventures
Orange River
Orange River
setting out in our kayaks
setting out in our kayaks
For some strange reason we didnt …
For some strange reason we didn't…
pee err swim stop
pee err swim stop
Orange River
Orange River
Orange River
Orange River
Kayaking the Orange River
Kayaking the Orange River
Kayaking the Orange River
Kayaking the Orange River
watching the sunset on the Orange …
watching the sunset on the Orange…
Farewell party at Fiddlers Creek …
Farewell party at Fiddler's Creek…
farewell party at Fiddlers Creek;…
farewell party at Fiddler's Creek…
Ceri, Sally, Paola and Belinda
Ceri, Sally, Paola and Belinda
Robbel and Juliana
Robbel and Juliana
Sally, Riaan, Rudy and Paola
Sally, Riaan, Rudy and Paola
Stuart, Martin and me
Stuart, Martin and me
The Kudu Sisters
The Kudu Sisters
Sally and me
Sally and me
Sideshow Bart
Sideshow Bart
Martin, Paul, Neil, Belinda and me…
Martin, Paul, Neil, Belinda and m…
The non-British crew: Robbel and m…
The non-British crew: Robbel and …
Robbel and Neil
Robbel and Neil
Vioolsdrif Hostels review
Not the place to have a quiet night
The Fiddler's Creek Bush Camp lies just east of Vioolsdrif on the banks of the Orange River. The camp is an easy stop before or after crossing the bor… read entire review
Vioolsdrif
photo by: Biedjee