Ginger William of Orange (vii)

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Previous instalment links: (Map) (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi)

Ginger William - 'Fizzy'

Ginger William – ‘Fizzy’

(On Boxing Day 1974  Much Better Half and I set 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.  On a detour we took to Augrabies Falls next morning he proved he loved travelling,  so when we set off for South West Africa later in the day he came with us and went for a long walk with me that night.)

 The last day of the year saw us breakfasting early before driving on to Karasburg where we had some delightfully cold soft drinks and made some more purchases. I bought a petrol can (which turned out to leak) and a canvas bag for water. Its contents always tasted awful, but were at least cooled by evaporation.


    A brief stop at Grunau, and we took the excellent dirt road to the Fish River Canyon. We had lunch at the main viewsite and then had time to drive to all the others, gasping at the wonder of it all.


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     At 5 p.m., with plenty of light left, I decided to venture down the Sulphur Spring path into the gorge. I was a little distracted from the view by coming up (or down!) with a group of German tourists of both sexes – all topless. They greeted me with total unconcern, so I tried not to look – and not to look as though I wasn’t looking because I wanted to look.

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        I stayed for a while at the bottom of the gorge after they had left, taking pictures and exploring the river bank. It was about 7 p.m. when I started the climb back up, confident that being fairly fit I would soon overtake the German group. The fact that I didn’t aroused my competitive spirit, so I pushed myself …

Cambi on edge of Fish River Canyon

That is not a dirty mark under the arrow – it is Cambi!

    Bad mistake! I collapsed from dehydration near the top, and a couple of the men had to come down and give me water before I could get the rest of the way. Once back up I drank copious amounts of water, and a good deal of beer a bit later. At that time, one glass of beer would usually have had me excusing myself almost immediately – it seemed to have a straight-through effect – but on this occasion I felt no urge to go behind any bushes until the following evening. However much I drank, it simply got absorbed.

    The Germans drove away, we had supper, the kids went to bed, and then MBH, Ginger and I stayed up soaking in the magic of being on the edge of that majestic canyon, with no signs of other human beings visible. We drank a toast to 1975 in German beer at midnight, and Fizzy added an ‘Urrr!’


    That was one of our Top Five in New Years.

     A short while later when we went to retire, though, the cat was nowhere to be found. We called and called, but he didn’t appear. Tiredness overcame worry, and finally we went to sleep.

     When we woke up in the morning and there was still no sign of Ginger Willie, real panic started to set in. We were also faced with two tearful and accusing little girls. I was in the process of assuring them, rather unconvincingly, that he’d be back any minute when an impatient meow said, ‘Look, when you lot have quite finished nattering on about something, how about some breakfast?’

     In all the rest of the time Ginger travelled with us he chose to keep close by at night. Why he vanished then, and where he’d been, remained his secret. 

(To be continued… )

© Colonialist September 2013 (WordPress) November 2007 (

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Cats, Personal Journal, Photography, Roving, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Ginger William of Orange (vii)

  1. Pingback: Ginger William of Orange (x – Finale) | Colonialist's Blog

  2. Pingback: Ginger WIlliam of Orange (ix) | Colonialist's Blog

  3. Pingback: Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge – Round up | Hope* the happy hugger

  4. Pingback: Ginger William of Orange (viii) | Colonialist's Blog

  5. What an amazing part of the world… wonderful photos… dying to hear the rest of Ginger’s story…


  6. hugmamma says:

    The landscape photos are reminiscent of the volcanic terrain on the Big Island of Hawaii in the Hawaiian Islands. It looks eerily like the moonscape, and the quiet lends itself to some science fiction film.


  7. A wonderful tale of drama and resurrection 🙂 thank heavens the cat was fine!


  8. 68ghia says:

    My grandfather had one of those canvas bags – the taste of that water will ever remind me of hot, dusty, scorching Western Transvaal December holidays 😉
    When cats go missing at home it’s a big thing – can only imagine how it would feel when on holiday!
    That must have been a magical way to enter the New year – I was a full 7 years old by then 😉


  9. disperser says:

    . . . rocks . . . all I see is rocks; you could have asked them to pose for you.


  10. bulldog says:

    Col I admire your reserve… I would have done a U turn right there and then and aided the tourists back to the top… that’s what all good host citizen should do… also a good test of ones peripheral vision, no direct stare… bet you don’t go walking like that without water anymore.. It is a brilliant part of our country that so few actually seem to want to visit… love the old photos…


  11. linda says:

    Had a good giggle at you and the German tourist. So glad Ginger came back.


  12. Maybe Ginger William went to visit the topless Germans? What a memorable new year you had, Col. I love this.


  13. cobbies69 says:

    Brill’ pictures and story to boot,, and for ginger to actually turn up after his night out was a blessing,, they are inclined to be a little independent, and relief for all.. 😉


  14. Sonel says:

    Beautifull photo’s Col and it looks quite hot there for sure. Glad to hear you survived and I do hope Ginger came back. Thanks for sharing another well written piece of your adventures. 😀 *hugs*


  15. newsferret says:

    Truly a part of the country with a unique beauty of its own.


  16. nrhatch says:

    Sounds like a great New Year’s celebration . . . except for the dehydration part and the missing cat and the fact that you weren’t able to overtake the topless Germans. 😛


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