Day ten – Augrabies falls
Day ten was another major driving day as we worked our way towards the Kalahari. Up and out early again, we hadn’t unpacked all that much so getting moving in the morning wasn’t too difficult. Of course, “we” misplaced one set of keys and made everyone wait while I ran back in and determined that they were, in fact, stuck in the door where they should be. We are going to be the problem children on this tour it seems!
We hit the road for another 400 plus km driving day. This drive was much the same as the day before with even fewer scenic spots to stop and take photos. The scenery, while beautiful, all blended together and we all catnapped our way though the morning. We got off the truck for another toastie for lunch at a quirky little restaurant that was playing Dolly Parton’s greatest hits. I’ve heard a lot of vintage country since I got here actually.
As the drive progressed, the scenery became more and more desert like and barren. The flat land was dotted here and there with windmills that bring water up from deep wells below. As soon as the Orange river made an appearance, however, the scenery became a lot more lush and we began to see vineyards again. I noticed one fairly large township smack up against a vineyard and thought “hmmmmm… Wonder what THAT does to the local groundwater!”
Arriving at our home for the evening, we quickly checked into a very pretty little hotel in a small town about 40 km from Augrabies Falls national park. Then we headed off to see the park itself. We were given an hour to explore the boardwalks, look at the falls from the many viewpoints, and to take pictures of the little lizards and the ubiquitous rock dassies. It was a beautiful spot and I would have LOVED the opportunity to spend longer in the park. The park didn’t close until six, but we were rushed out of there at 4:30 or so… to spend over an hour sitting in our rooms watching tv before dinner! I don’t get it?! I was super annoyed we didn’t spend more time.
The hotel was lovely, however, with the wonderful service we’d come to take for granted. The beautiful little restaurant sat next to a courtyard with a pool. The only thing that spoiled things a little were the “stay here at your own risk” signs that were posted here and there. We also found it a bit odd that the tiny hotel safe also came with a preset code… A very super secret code consisting of our room number twice!! Here’s hoping the hotel staff are all honest!!
We all sat down for another communal dinner. After eating with our fellow passengers several times, we are getting to know everyone a lot better. It’s a good group of people and we are all pretty considerate of one another. I think it will be a good group to hang with for the next couple weeks!
Dinner was amazing. They had a good menu with lots of local options on it. I had garlic shrimp to start and they were swimming in garlicky cheese. Mmmmmm. Grant had springbok stroganoff, Jess had (but didn’t eat) the ostrich steak, and I had kudu pie. Yum!!! (Grant was very sad when we saw a springbok later though!) Good food here is relatively cheap compared to Canada. The whole meal with two starters, beers for Grant, sodas for Jess and me, and game meat all round was only $62 including tip!
We headed back to the room to pack up and get ready for a super early start the next day. I stayed up late blogging – starting to have trouble keeping up with both the blogging and the laundry!!!
I may use your blog with my students!