Africa 2017 Travel

Fishriver canyon and Citrusdal

12 June 2018

Fishriver Canyon and Citrusdal

The end of our trip is coming into sight. As much as we’ve dreaded this day, there is only one certainty in life, and that is that time will keep on moving. In this case inexorably towards Cape Town and our flight back home. But we’re not there yet and we’ve still got some fun ahead of us.

First up: Fishriver canyon. In 2015 Erik and I visited the Grand Canyon in the United States. We’d been in awe of the surreal views. So I came prepared for grand views, another beautiful sunset and a view I just wouldn’t be able to wrap my mind around. Fishriver canyon was a different experience.

We were dealing with low hanging grey clouds. The canyon itself was the grey kind of brown and all in all, not the impressive sight we’d been expecting.

Really, it doesn’t matter all that much. We can still enjoy a big view and a walk around the rim. Most of the group takes the lazy route (a.k.a. the truck) from one viewing point to the next, but I decide to take a little walk with two others. Two of us chat merrily away in the candid and open way that is only possible when walking side by side in beautiful surroundings, while the photographer amongst us snaps shots of the canyon and interesting rock formations. For once on this trip, my fingers are not itching to take more pictures. To make this look as beautiful as can be, in this light, is beyond my skillset.

As we get back to the group, it becomes clear the clouds will not allow for a spectacular sunset, but will prevent us from seeing one altogether. So, back to the campsite it is in the hopes of seeing a beautiful sunrise in the morning. But that hope proves futile as the next morning starts overcast. Nothing to be done then but to cross the Namibian-South African border.

We spent the night just a few minutes from the border. The campsite actually ends at the river that dissects South Africa and Namibia. Foolish as we are, we intend cross to South Africa for a few minutes, by swimming there. But the current is to strong. I am a perfectly adequate swimmer, but I have no real idea of how to navigate currents, so I content myself with watching the one woman who is brave enough to cross over. The evening is spent drinking beers and gazing up at the starts and all that time, I am eagerly awaiting our border crossing for the next day. Finally, after 6 years, I’ll be back in the country that I fell in love with.

When it comes to border crossings, we’ve had it relatively easy. We’ve had to wait a bit at certain borders, but mostly we’ve been able to leave our stuff in the truck, get our stamps and return to the truck to drive on to our next destination. Not this time. This time won’t be allowed back onto the bus (something to do with it being registered in the U.K.) and, more importantly, our bags our checked. One by one we have to open our bags so they can be searched. Some people grumble about it, but I don’t really care. Revenge is sweet when you see a customs officers going through what I know to be very dirty laundry. And to be fair, they are only doing their job.

We switch to a smaller bus and drive on to Citrusdal and a campsite on a vineyard. It’s a few hours’ drive, but by now, we know how to deal with them. It’s a smaller space, but that doesn’t matter so much. We just make it work.

At the vineyard, a happy surprise awaits us: our tents have all been set up already. All we have to do now, is give them a big scrub, because after today, we won’t be sleeping in them anymore. Ever again. They’ll go on to belong to other people. It’s a weird feeling, knowing that our home from the past seven weeks will no longer be ours. Time to go to the winetasting and forget all about it.

As tends to happen at wine tastings, the more wine we taste, the better they become. Thankfully we have more than enough experience and decide not to buy any wines this time. We simply enjoy a bottle with our meal as the sun sets across the green and brown landscape, tinging it pink before plunging it into another starry night. I just know I will miss these the most.

As people around me start to sing and dance and my vision becomes ever so slightly blurred, I am filled with gratitude. Our trip has already been so amazing. I cannot believe how much beauty we’ve encountered. And to be able to return to the Mother City in just one day… travelling like this, is just the best!

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