Northern Cape Province
Stage 81 (63): Felix Unite to Springbok
Our last border crossing; I’ll not miss them. Exit stamp from Namibia, pedal across the DF Malan bridge over the Orange River and then go through the entry process for South Africa. This last one pretty easy; no visa fee and only a cursory police inspection to complete the entry requirements.
It’s a long and steady but not severe climb out of the Orange valley to the interior plateau; I think about 35 km gets us up and over. The road is very good, only 2 lanes but with a well-marked shoulder so no complaints. Traffic is really light for at least the morning.
It’s not a particularly inspiring ride; the road is so straight, while the land on either side is essentially barren. Interestingly, it’s all fenced, so it’s got to be worth something to someone. The region is experiencing a multi-year drought, so perhaps we’re seeing it not at its best.
Quiver tree - able to survive in this climate (it’s a branching species of succulent plant)
Crosswinds and amazingly persistent fruit flies prove irksome most of the morning. As we approach the lunch stop, we top another rise and go through a road cut; magically we pick up a tail wind which chases us for the remainder of the day. The flies enjoyed riding that wind, too.
The afternoon was starting to turn into a bit of a slog, but at some point or another I found some legs and it ended well enough. We diverted from the route within the final kilometre and went down into Springbok itself, in search of a functioning ATM and the local Vodacom shop. The latter was easy (especially as they accepted Mastercard/Visa for payment); we had to try 4-5 ATMs before hearing the gratifying sound of bills being spat out.
Then back up a short hill to the designated camp for the night, a mostly empty caravan park. But grass, shade trees, and a subsequent beer run by Doug in the TDA Hilux all facilitated a relaxing end to the day.