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(Boxing Day 1974 saw Much Better Half and I setting off on ‘rideabout’ in our Combi Camper ‘Cambi’ with our daughters aged 4 & 7. By Saturday 28th December we had reached Upington, and while camped on their island in the Orange River we were adopted by a scraggy ginger cat . After we had tried and failed to find where he belonged or anything like the SPCA, he stayed in the Camper while we booked into the hotel overnight.)
I got up quite early to check that Ginger was OK. He was pleased to see me, but didn’t seem at all disturbed to have been left alone in such a tiny new home, and returned to it quite happily when I went in for breakfast. We fed and watered Cambi and laid in stocks of provisions before setting out on a detour to see Aughrabies Falls. The heat there was unbelievable, but we were undeterred and had a thoroughly good look at that amazing natural wonder –even the relatively small sections of it that could be seen from the top as it starts its plunge into the 240-metre gorge were most impressive.
Ginger looked out at the shimmering landscape and, even when there was nobody else at one of the viewpoints we drove to, indicated that we must be nuts when we suggested he come with us. We explored; he dozed. From the minute we had set off he had worn a look of delight. He obviously loved travelling. Bad roads didn’t seem to disturb him. He somehow stayed on his perch on the lid of the sink as if glued there, only occasionally hooking a paw round the tap to stabilise himself. When not curled up, he would sit staring intently out of the open louvre window for long periods.
After a late lunch back in Upington we set off in earnest and at about 7 p.m. entered what was then known as South West Africa. The map indicated a hotel and petrol at Ariamsvlei – but we arrived to find that it had closed two years before. However a local motorist sold us 10 litres of petrol, and we pushed on for a while before stopping in a completely isolated spot for the night.
Ginger and I had quite a long walk after supper. He would trot at my heels for a while before pausing or dashing ahead to explore something, and then rejoin me again.
(To be continued … )
© Colonialist September 2013 (WordPress) November 2007 (24.com)