29 July 2011

Groot Melkboom

Dear Coco
The next morning - look who was still here! On our Land Rover roof!
We packed up, shooed the cat off the car, and left for the next stage of the trip - after buying some delicious dates for our Sunday morning walks from the farm at Klein Pella. We saw this cute little Pygmy Falcon ...and lots of amazing flowers that I won't bore you too much with, but this is Hermannia stricta, the Desert Rose.
There are no wild animals here, apart from birds and a few rodents (Dougal eat your heart out) but we saw lots of goats and some cows closer to the river, which is somewhere in those green bushes in the background. At lunchtime we passed this large house in the middle of nowhere, and saw some huge Irish Wolfhound-greyhound style dogs that all rain joyously towards the cars.
You can just see one of them on the veranda. Just beyond the house, we came to our campsite - Groot Melkboom (actually a Namaqua Rock Fig, Ficus cordata I think) but to our disappointment we found someone had beaten us to it. The Orange River has had some really serious floods so there was a bit of flood damage and debris around. We settled down to have some lunch and discuss Plan B, and were joined by this dog that looked like he was related to the dogs we had just passed at the big old house. I think they must be Namaqua Hunting Dogs. While we were scoffing away on delicious snoek pate and fresh farm bread, we were visited by two more very friendly dogs who arrived with a whole flock of goats. I slipped them a piece of ham while their goats drank at the river, and they soon moved on with a friendly tail wag of thanks. Plan B turned out to be a bush campsite a little further up the river, so we all uitspanned and the Alph went for a dip. It was a wee bit chilly for me, so I checked out the Goliath Heron's footprints in the mud - which turned out to have a size 7 or 8 foot - and then had a hot shower that Peter and Ian had rigged up while our backs were turned. Most civilized!
As you can see, it was a pretty heavenly spot. You can see the mountains of Namibia on the other side of the river. The Namaqua Hunting Dog seemed unsure of where to go that evening: to the chap making a potjie under the Groot Melkboom ...or to stay and sample some of the delicious food that Ian and Peter had cooked up for us.
I think he stayed, but after a few glasses of good red wine, it was difficult to see very much in the dark!
Hope you are being good and not driving the neighbours too crazy with your barking,
love from the Food Lady

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