Slackpack Hike

Diamond Coast Trail
30 Oct - 3 Nov 2017

One is always a bit apprehensive when going on a brand new hike. How will it worked out? We really had an excellent time!!


I travelled down to Kleinzee with Tammeryn en Astrid in two days. We stayed over at a backpackers in Upington. The lady of the backpackers cooked a nice meal for us - see was very caring. One could take two roads from Springbok to Kleinzee, unfortunately we took the bumpy road! Though on the way back we took the other one which was much better.

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Whilst driving from Johannesburg to Springbok the vegetation got less and less and less……the stretch from Springbok to Kleinzee is actually desert. It is dry!!!!


Upon arriving at the Houthoop we were positively surprised. This farm is like an oases in the desert. It is a sheep and ostrich farm as well as a guest farm. We each had our own little 'house'. Before dinner we all had arrived (7). A hiker from Grahamstown had individually booked and joint us. We all had a delicious diner, cooked by Jackie, the manageres of Houthoop.


On day one of the hike we were transported to the Soutpomp from where we hiked through the dunes in the direction of the sea. At first through yellow dunes and then through the white dunes. We saw a family group of gemsbokke. We came across ostrich eggs which were at some stage abondoned, probably due to a real heavy windstorm.


At midday we arrived at the sea and soon saw the first shipwreck of the hike. Very dramatic. Because this area has always been closed to the public and now the visitors are only allowed to hike or 4x4 with a guide, everything in the area is still prestine. The shipwrecks, the shells, the kelp. Soon we saw another shipwreck of a small fishersboat, which they called the dagga boat. Apperently it supplied miners with dagga.


On arrival at the camp, we found it well organised. Tents with air mattresses, a braai area with chairs. A chemical toilet and a bucket shower. Rodville, the manager, boiled water for us and we each had a warm shower. It was time for our happy hour which was well received. The second day we walked all along the sea. We had excellent hiking weather. Sometimes the shell banks were up to 50 cm. high.


There was another shipwreck of one not so lucky ship. At lunchtime the mist came in and the group hiked close together. But as quick as the mist came in, it disappreared half an hour later. We continued through the dunes and along the sea. At the end of day two we were transported back to the main camp where we had again a warm shower. We had a second happy hour as every body contributed something.


On the third day we were transported to the last leg of the hike. We could choose between walking through the dunes or along the sea. We all choose for walking along the sea. Rodville joined us towards the end and pointed out some rare plants and rocks. The black rocks at the sea site were a sure indication of the presence of diamonds. (Although we did not find any). At the end the days hiking the vehicles were awaiting us. We had hiked 50 kilometers in the three days.


Back at the Houthoop we all relaxed and another diner awaited us cooked by Jackie. Fresh musselsoup, skaappotjie with salads and sago pudding with icecream. Such a delicious diner in the middle of nowhere. I felt really spoiled.
The following day most hikers went home. Clive, Astrid and myseld stayed on for another day and did the museum tour. It was well worth it. Rodville has in the tourism office a real museum. He explained how the diamonds are mined and had quite a lot of exhibits. We thereafter drove around in the village of Kleinzee and saw all the old mine houses of the mine bosses, the old hospital, the golfcourse and some unrehabilitated mining areas. There were also mining areas which were in the process of being rehabilitated.


Rodville dropped us of 3 km from the angling club and we had a last walk along the sea. We had a cold drink at the angling club before having a pizza in 'town'. The following day it was our turn to return home.


It was a real good week. Thanks to Rodville and his staff as well as our stay at the Houthoop. We have to put it on the program again so that other hikers also can enjoy this special hike.

Snapshots

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Acknowledgement

Article By: Hannekke S.


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