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Citrusdal, The Gariep River and Fish River Canyon

May 7, 2009

Day 6

Our tour group left in our huge overland truck at 8:30. Our first stop was the waterfront to buy some water and get enough cash to last throughout South Africa and Namibia. Our next stop was Table View which is a beach with great views of Table Mountain.  After stopping for a few minutes to snap some pictures, we were back on the road.

It was a smooth drive to Citrusdal, our first overnight stop on the trip. Citrusdal is so named because it’s in the midst of large citrus orchards. The area is also known for natural hot springs. When we arrived at the camp site, we learned how to set up our tents and then headed to the hot springs which were about 43 degrees Celsius (110 Fahrenheit). We alternated between the cold pool and the hot springs until dinner time.  The sun had already set by the time dinner was finished and we forgot to bring a flashlight to get back to the camp. Good start! Our guide, Vengai, and our cook, Robert, were with us and had their flashlights, so we were fine. Fine until I saw a spider about 4 inches in diameter (including the legs – not just the body) behind the toilet.

Day 7

This was a long day of driving. We stopped on the roadside for lunch and reached the Namibia border around 3:30 in the afternoon. We reached our campsite along the Gariep River where we set up our tents and explored the area around the river until dinner. Robert made a nice goulash that everyone loved.

Day 8

We were up at 6:30 am to go canoeing on the Gariep River. We rode in the back of a truck about 15 km down the river and paddled back to camp. It was a perfect day. It was clear and sunny and it wasn’t too hot by the time we finished. (It was over 100 later in the day!) We saw some baboons and other small monkeys and lots of interesting bird life.

We got cleaned up after the canoe trip and were back on the road to Fish River Canyon. We arrived in plenty of time to do a small hike along the canyon (the 2nd largest in the world after the Grand Canyon) before sunset. When we reached the end of the hike, the guides surprised us with some nice wine and chutney-flavored chips while we waited for the sun to set. Eui was very excited!

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