It’s an easy hour’s drive into South Africa through hills that look more like piles of boulders, the brown hues only broken by a strip of green along the Orange River (that acts as the border) where raisons and mangoes are grown.
From the small mission town of Steinkopf I’m taken to Springbok. It gets me a little closer to Cape Town (still 550 km to go) and a bit further from the border town of Vioolsdrift 113 km away. Its also the capital of Namakwa: land of the Nama people. Its disappointing to be away from the coast, but travel along the seaboard is restricted by closed towns, private roads, and a total lack of public transport. What transport there is almost certainly follows the N7 highway to Cape Town. The N7 is the ‘Cape Namibia Route’, perhaps explaining why its so difficult to get away from it.
Unfortunately, when the two minibus taxis for the day arrive at Springbok’s transport depot they are already fully booked. The only real alternative out is to hitchhike, called ‘hiking’ here. ‘Hiking’ involves a little more hiking then I would ideally like. I had to trek to the south of town, a 5 km walk.
During the journey we leave the Northern Cape for the Western Cape between the turnoff for Garies and Bitterfontein. The shift in states makes me feel enormously closer to Cape Town. We pass signposts for lovely sounding towns like Hondekilpbaai, Beeswater, Douse-The-Glim, and Cheddar-In-The-Pantry. I end up in Vanrhynsdorp, a rather nice town. Even though its not coastal, I’m glad I had some time there.