Monday, March 23, 2009
...is a total dump.
It was dirty, smelly, and surrounded by what may be one of the rattiest chainlink and barbed wire fences anywhere. With crystalline ocean just out of reach. The campsite, right beside the town, smelled of urine where there were windbreaks, presumably from campers who could not be bothered to go to the ablution block, it had ancient plastic bags clinging in rags to the barbed wire fence, had foul-smelling old coals and debris in the fire places, and had an air of deep disappointment and apathy about it.
In Afrikaans? Die plek was eenvoudig vuil. Goor. Die eienaars behoort hul te skaam.
After the well-maintained sites at the green-grassy Abiqua River Camp on the Orange River, the raked sand, clean braais and camel thorns of Aus and wide open Sesriem in Namibia, and the barren and hot but honest site at Tweerivieren in the Kgalagadi, the Lambert's Bay campsite was very, very sad.
I couldn't do it. It was too depressing.
Vince got on his white charger, found a B&B nearby, the Sir Lambert (painted in hard-to-miss large letters on its side) and carried me off to it. He recounts this part of our trip here.
Described in some places as a quaint fishing village, I'm afraid Lambert's Bay is neither quaint nor a village. It is a very ugly little town, a hardworking factory and fishing town maybe, with a stunningly beautiful bay whose beach is flanked on one side by the fish factory and the other by a row of incongruous, salt-bitten palm trees, and fronted by ugly grey-brick townhouses. With rare exceptions, the town suffers from the worst of Afrikaans seaside architecture, dominated by grey, shiny beige and maroon brick. I saw two beautifully preserved old houses, incongruous islands amongst the thick-skinned awfulness of many of the others.
Apart from the Muisbosskerm, see next post, I see no reason to visit Lambert's Bay unless you really, really like gannets. Or fishing. The beaches beyond it are beautiful, but not beautiful enough to make me want to stay in town. I did see an interesting bird hide situated above the river that opens onto to the beach, so perhaps distraction is available there, too.
As an alternative, camp at Paternoster, at Cape Columbine. Paternoster itself is self-consciously pretty and uniform in a forced way, the summer home of many wealthy Gautengers and Capetonians. But the reserve is quiet and the camping stands were very clean and very, very beautiful. And the kreef on our braai were delicious.
6/24/2010: Please check out Heinrich Wiese's comment to see another view of Lambert's Bay.