Quad biking on the dunes in Lamberts Bay
The sun rose to reveal a beautiful dawn with just a few clouds in the sky proving the old adage correct. There had been talk of cancelling the morning’s itinerary if it was wet but now it looked certain that we would get to do what was probably the most anticipated activity of the weekend – quad biking on the dunes in Lamberts Bay. We did first have a two-hour drive to get there but we had Piet, a West Coast Tour Guide, ride along with us who was a font of information on the area. He explained how the dunes in the WCNP are moving inland at a rate of 3 metres a year and may one day cover the R27 and how the trains on the Sishen-Saldanha railway line that are up to 4km in length, including 10 locomotives and 342 cars, are some of the longest production trains in the world.
By the time we got to Lamberts Bay the weather had closed in but it wasn’t raining so the quad biking was still on. At West Coast Safaris and Quads, we were greeted by Johan who gave us a quick demonstration on how to operate the quad bikes, which were fully automatic so even a complete novice would have no trouble. Then a safety briefing and we were ready to go.
I had been quad biking before but this was different. As we crested the first rise all we saw before us were rolling hills of sand stretching out in every direction. Johan explained how these dunes are actually classified as a desert and in fact this is one of the smallest deserts in the world measuring just 3km x 2km. We started out slowly as we were given instruction on how to handle the bikes going up and down the steep slopes until we all had the hang of it and then the tour really began as we rode up and over dune after dune. After a while we stopped at the top of one of the dunes just to admire the view and find out a little bit more about them from Johan.
Someone asked what effect the quad bike activity has on these dunes but as Johan explained, in addition to them following strict guidelines, the dunes at Lamberts Bay are not that environmentally sensitive and in fact, the winds overnight would shift the sand to cover our tracks such that in the morning it would be as if we were never there.
I, for one, could have ridden all day on the quad bikes, or at least until the fuel ran out, but the others deserved to have a turn so after touring around for a while we joined up with the rest of the group who were having an adventure of their own. On top of one of the dunes they were with our other guide, also called Johan, who was busy applying Cobra polish to the underside of a board before looking up and asking ‘who’s next?’ Yes we got to go sand boarding down the dunes as well which was awesome fun. We all started out lying on the board and then the more adventurous amongst us tried standing up with varying degrees of success.
All in all it was an amazing adventure that we all thoroughly enjoyed and I can highly recommend if you are ever in this part of the world. With all the adrenalin from zooming around on the quad bikes and the exertion from climbing up the dunes with the sand board we were exhausted as we made our way back to the Green Bus with everyone contemplating a nap on the journey back.
We had all been having so much fun quad biking and sand boarding on the dunes that we had lost track of time somewhat and so it was quite late by the time we got back to the West Coast National Park, but we had also built up quite an appetite and I don’t think anyone had trouble finishing their chicken curry or bobotie lunch options at the Geelbek Restaurant both served with pumpkin pie which was the unanimous favourite.
That evening we were supposed to have a ‘Potjiekos Cook-Off’ back at the Duinepos Boma which I was both looking forward to and nervous about because who doesn’t like a challenge and some competition but I am not the world’s best cook. However, we decided to cancel the competition because we had eaten lunch so late and the clouds were starting to look menacing which would have made cooking outside over a fire not so enjoyable. Instead we voted to let Geelbek Restaurant cook the lamb potjie for us and simply deliver it to our chalets later on that evening – perfect. This gave us the rest of the afternoon to sit back and relax which was just the ticket after such an energetic morning.
The next day we had a guided tour of the park to look forward to with a SANParks ranger who was in fact born in the park and this, we were to discover, was just the beginning of his fascinating story…