Place of solitude and stark beauty

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iol travel sep 18 n cape ca p13 weaverbird done INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS A weaver brid is seen building a nest at Narries Guesthouse on Spektakel pass just outside of Springbok. Photo: Matthew Jordaan

Springbok - The darkness hung thick around me as I started to walk back along the gravel road with only the stars to illuminate my path.

I stumbled somewhat as my feet hit the edge of the wide road as it began to change direction. No points of reference apart from the stars above to help me find my way back to the lodge. I felt truly lost and alone in the thick, warm air. It was perfect. The Northern Cape is marketed as an extreme destination: abseiling, 4x4 tours and river rafting, but it would be better described as a place of solitude.

As we made our way around this vast province, starting in Kimberley and driving through Carnarvon, Calvinia, Kamieskroon, Springbok, Hondeklipbaai, Pofadder, Kakamas and ending in Upington, it was clear that we were in a place of isolation.

Driving along a dirt road, just passing the middle of nowhere, seven white dots could be seen along the horizon. This was the KAT-7 array situated on the Muisdam farm, the site for SKA (Square Kilometre Array).

After a brief stop and a tour of the site we started our long trek to our HQ in Springbok, over 400km away.

Meeting up with Rita Nefdt, a woman whose passion for the Northern Cape is unparalleled, we began an exploration of all the sights off the beaten track around Springbok.

iol travel sep 18 n cape ca p13 Narries Flower done Springflowers seen on Spektakel Pass just outside of Springbok. Photo: Matthew Jordaan INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

From the abandoned town of Bowesdorp to a forgotten grave site just off the N7 and a dam still cordoned off by British gun barrels trapped in stone.

Rita truly showed us that the Namaqualand is more than just a few daisies once a year.

“When I have a weekend off I just pack my tent into the back of my bakkie and just get lost out here where no one can find me,” Rita explains to me as she drives me back to the lodge after rescuing me from the side of that pitch-black gravel road.

The Milky Way hung over our heads as we continued along in the darkness, enjoying the solitude in each other’s company. - Cape Argus

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