2015 Kgalagadi – Day 1

The first unforgettable Kgalagadi trip!

Thursday – 2015/09/24

We left Centurion shortly after 6h to collect Grandpa Ampie in Pretoria North and returned to hit the N14, for the start of our almost-a-day’s-drive to Kuruman. There’s a Mugg & Bean on the N14, which resulted in us first stopping for a Serious Cappuccino just to make sure we were awake… and were we awake! We almost couldn’t sit still!

Before the coffee was done, Grandpa Ampie opened up his variety of food. The smell of sandwiches, frikkadelle and boiled eggs filled the air and we dove into it.

The drive was cut in half with a stop-over between Coligny and Lichtenburg, where we met up with Petro and Riaan (my uncle and aunt), who drove through from Lichtenburg, just for a quick hello! Of course they too packed a basket to provide us with something to eat. They packed some of the most tasteful boerewors we’ve ever tasted. Ouma wors made in the Northwest.

With our butts rested, legs stretched and tummies filled, we hit the rest of the road through the Northwest to the Northern Cape… without any incidents… Until we hit Vryburg… Escapé’s lack of cruise control caused us to be pulled over by a local traffic officer, as we were travelling at 72 km/h in a 60 km/h zone… Fortunately Grandpa Ampie managed to talk the traffic officer out of writing us a ticket, explaining that we did not drive fast intentionally. We were just absorbed in the area and didn’t notice our speed… And just for the record, no money exchanged hands in the process of not getting a formal ticket. The traffic officer also didn’t pay us to leave. 

Cave drawings and a spooky stalagmite in the cave.Around 14h we arrived in Kuruman, where we basically just stepped out of Escapé into Aunt Mara’s Mercedes. We hit the road towards Danielskuil in order to visit the Wonderwerk Cave… While we are in the area, wink-wink…

The Wonderwerk cave is being dug up by archaeologists. It’s a deep cave with lots of stories to tell. For more information on it, please go to the link and read more: www.wonderwerkcave.com

From the cave we drove a bit further to get to the entry of the Wondergat… Or Boesmangat, as Aunt Marie and Grandpa Ampie remembered it.

At the farm house, surrounded by barking and drooling dogs, there were nobody in sight. We almost gave up, when we decided to take a drive around the yard and came across someone. This someone was a farm worker, who ran to the farm house, very helpfully, and called the right people to assist us.

The young man gave us directions to the Wondergat and the dirt road delivered a few groups of wild animals. Among others, we saw the first and only Zebras we would see on our trip…


The hole was a bit disappointing, compared to the expectation created by Grandpa Ampie and Aunt Mara’s tales. It was partially closed due to a rockfall and with the rocks in the water, algae starting taking over.

Aunt Mara and Grandpa Ampie made a brave attempt to get close enough to have a look for themselves.

Back in Kuruman, we sat with bare feet and legs stretched out on Aunt Mara’s cool lawn, while we waited to be called in for dinner. The smells coming from the kitchen was mouthwatering.

Aunt Mara prepared a feast! Venison pie, crumbed chicken fillets, baked potatoes, pumpkin and a few salads, which were topped off with fruit salad and ice cream. We ate so much we had to go walk it off after dinner.

After strolling through the retirement village, we crept into bed early for a good night’s rest… It was the eve of our arrival in the Kgalagadi!

For more adventures, have a look at the other daily posts from the introduction. Or click here to go to the next day.

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