Just as the new year rolled over, Adrienne and I (Pieter) decided to roll out. 10:00am on the morning of Friday the 4th January we met at Melkbos bushpub from where we departed to Brand se Baai. About 350km up the west coast.
This would be my first camping trip where we needed to be entirely self sufficient. There is no electricity , no running water , no ablution facilities and most importantly no shops for miles ; So it felt a bit like an adventure for me, and it was , albeit a very relaxing one.
Once we reached Elandsbaai , we had left most of the hustle and bustle behind and with the smell of the sea in the air we decided to stop for a quick refreshment at the hotel, before tackling the 100 odd km of dirt roads between Elandsbaai and Doornbaai.
Luckily the roads had been scraped just a few days earlier and were pleasant enough to drive.
By now we were getting thirsty and hungry , so we pulled in to the Captains Cabin in Doornbaai for a quick bite to eat.
Just around the corner we were lucky enough to also be able to buy our Crayfish permits, as we were planning on having our fill of west coast rock lobster.
Lutzville is pretty much the last town you hit before Brand se Baai , so we made another quick stop there to buy our wood supply.
Brand se Baai is what I would have liked to say unspoiled beaches, unfortunately there were evidence everywhere of thoughtless humans. Empty bottles , cans and other rubbish were spotted frequently. However this is still roughly 100km of beautiful seafront. You just drive up to the beach and find a spot to pitch camp. We didnt drive around for long before finding a suitably secluded and beautiful spot to camp.
We had to unload some stuff to get to the cold beers , but soon we sat our butts down with a cold one in hand watching the waves break but a few meters in front of us.
Adrienne was on dinner duty, so a fire was started and some pork chops were braaied. As is often the case with these camping trips, the food was as much a highlight as anything else.
Unfortunately as we enjoyed our food and drink the waves that was breaking but a few meters in front of us kept rising and getting closer, so once the water broke our highwater mark , we decided to retreat a bit further into the bushes for the night.
There is nothing quite like the sound of the ocean to put you to sleep.
The next morning after a cup of coffee and careful deliberation we decided that even though the water never made it to our initial camp spot we would not be able to fully relax there, so we packed up the little bit that we had unpacked and headed off to find a new camp site.
This time we took our time to find a perfect spot and had a rather nice cruise along the sand tracks. We did pass one or two other campers , but for the most part you’re on your own out there.
Our new spot was high in a little clearing behind a patch of rocks. Our elevated position was not merely a precaution against the waters , but also gave us a very nice view in all directions. The rocks just in front of us would have enough lobster and there was even a nice little beach off to the left.
We set up camp and proceeded to relax and unwind.
We really couldnt have asked for better weather. For our entire stay there was a nice cool breeze coming off the ocean , but never an unpleasant wind. It was Hot in the sun but cool in the shade. Cool enough in fact that from time to time we would put on some warmer clothes while we sat in the shade and read a book.
At what we calculated to be low tide , we decided to go pick up some lobsters for the evening. WhileÂ the ocean was unfortunately way too rough (and cold) for us to attempt to dive for lobsters all we had to do was throw AdriennesÂ lobster nets from the rocks and wait.
While we waited we also collected a big pot of black mussels for later.
When we pulled the nets up we only chose the biggest two lobsters and deposited the rest back.
In reality the lack of lobster would unfortunately become a recurring theme which we blame on the rough waters.
We soothed our bruised egos with a tequila sunrise.
I was on dinner duty and luckily didnt rely on fresh lobster.
I made trout and veggie parcels and corn on the cob.
I misjudged the mielies a bit and it was already dark when we got to eat. With full tummies it wasnt long before we turned in.
Although we went to bed quite early we also got up with sunrise and our unofficial routine started with a cup (or two) of coffee while staring out over the ocean.
Once we got our brains kick startedÂ it was time to crack open a cold one.
Eventually we’d realize that we could use some breakfast which was bread with eggs and sausages and (later) mushrooms.
Much of the days were spent lounging around the camp site, reading a book , talking rubbish , filling up on beer , vodka , wine and snacks or strolling around the beach.
We decided to go scout for a better lobster hole , but we already know how that worked out. After a few hours of driving around and pulling up empty nets the tide started to rise again and we decided to call it quits.
At least we still had a big pot of black mussels which Adrienne made as a tomato variation of his now famous mussel pot along, with a fresh baked bread.
Its difficult to even write about it without my mouth starting to water.
Not long after we scooped out the left overs , Adrienne cleaned the pot and started on the evenings Spicy chicken pasta pot and once again did not disappoint.
And once again , not long after we had our fill did we decide to turn in.
On day four we realized it might be time for a shower , so after our morning coffee-beer-breakfast routine we erected a little shower stall and left our water bags in the sun to heat up.
With the hard work behind us , we had the laziest day of our stay; hardly moving from our chairs all day.
When we got a little peckish around lunch time we heated up the left-over mussels from the day before.
As the sun started to go down a little bit we each rewarded ourselves with a nice hot shower. The sun had done its job and Adrienne even added some cold water to his shower bag to get the correct temperature.
Clean and fresh ,it was my turn for dinner again.
I had brought a bit too much trout and since it was a hit the first time around , we left the lamb chops in the fridge and made another round of trout and veggie parcels , but this time with rosemary baby potatoes.
Oh, did I mention the sunsets? Cause we saw some spectacular sunsets.
Our last day arrived much too soon, but we put it out of our minds as we boiled the water for morning coffee.
Marais could unfortunately not join us at Brand se Baai , but sent a beef fillet along in his place , which we saved for the last day.
Shortly after breakfast we prepared the fillet so that it could soak all day in a marinade we made from the rosemary and balsamic marinade of a jar of olives we finished earlier.
We remembered seeing a rubbish bin close to the ‘entrance’ of Brand se Baai , so we loaded all our rubish on the roof and went looking for said rubbish bin , so that we wouldnt need to bother with it the next morning.
We had a close call on the soft beach and had to stop to deflate the tyres some more before easily driving out and finding the bin just around the corner. On our way back to camp however, a little bit of excitement found us in the form of an older couple who has gotten stuck in the sand track with their Isuzu bakkie.
Had we not been there, they might have been stuck for a long time. Ystervark did not approve of this and pulled the Isuzu out in no time.
Back at camp and with a huge chunk of fillet left over , we tried our hand at making a little capaccio snack for lunchtime. Turns out we’re not too bad at it… I just think we should have made some more.
The evening we braaied the fillet steaks and another fresh baked bread. A fitting end to a wonderful holiday.
The next morning we didnt rush and still started our day with the usual coffee and breakfast after which we slowly started the inevitable clean up and pack up.
We took the same road back home and it felt long and slow , like something was trying to hold me back.
We stopped at Captains Cabin in Doornbaai again for some refreshment and as Adrienne commented , it felt kind of strange being inside a building with a bright glowing television.
We had been toying with the idea of detouring through Paternoster , to see if we can at least pick up a few lobsters to take home , but when we reached Elandsbaai , we made the call that we were running out of time , so instead we stopped at the hotel in Elandsbaai again and had ourselves a massive burger for lunch before the final stretch home.
By the time we got back to Melkbos we had to stop at the bushpub for one final drink to end it all where it started a couple of days earlier.