post

Namibia Part Two

1st December 2013 What a day it’s been. Yesterday we saw the rock carvings of Twyfelfontein, six thousand years old but you could identify each animal quite clearly, and again, almost had the place to ourselves. Judy almost fainted, once more, and I’m beginning to think she can’t take a temperature over 45 degrees!

So today;

We started off by going to see the “Living Museum” of the San people, but, no one there, so we strolled through the village huts and souvenir stalls, all stocked, and left. Next the Petrified Forest and then on to Khorixas where we were well and truly conned by the “Mayor” of this town, who sold us some trinkets at an exorbitant price. He was good, though. His technique was to casually start a chat with Judy, whilst I was at the garage, and within the conversation asked her name. Next he showed one of his carved balls and turned it around to reveal the name “Judy”.  I came back and he had already carved the rest of the family. I fell into the trap and added the grand children. AUD$35.00 thank you. I did haggle down from $50.00 but somehow I don’t think I won the contest.

We had lunch at Outjo at the Etosha Hotel and were greeted at the door by a young Namibian man and woman who explained to us the buffet on offer. They were very charming and the meal was sumptuous, comprising ten or so courses. We explained that we only required a light lunch, upon which they offered us the light buffet.   We chose this at AUD $8.00 each as opposed to the full buffet at AUD$17.00. We received a, huge, four-course meal and a demonstration of the Click language of the Bushmen by our host, whose father was a genuine “Bushman” who could speak the seven click language. His mother was from the town and could speak the four click language. He explained that he had grown up as a Bushman but had started school at the age of eleven and so, now, he can come to town and put on some western clothes to work at the hotel or go back home and wear his traditional clothing and become a bushman once again.

We arrived at the Etosha National park finding our campsite to be next to a waterhole, and so, we went down at dusk to see if any animals would appear, but, only a rhino and five lions. Oh well!  Better luck tomorrow.

2nd December 2013 Travelled the length of Etosha National Park and saw various antelope, wildebeest, giraffe and zebra, but no lions. We will go down to the westernmost waterhole at Namutoni tonight and try our luck.

No luck.                        We must be hungry for lions……….or is it the other way round.

3rd December 2013 Motored on to Rundu in the far north of Namibia and the last stretch from Grootfontein was absolutely beautiful, green and village after rustic village all kept very clean with fire wood stacked neatly, goats and stalls by the side of the road with plenty of people milling about or strolling along. They all seem to be active, many still working the fields at 6pm.

This last leg of our Namibia section will take us through the Caprivi Strip starting at the Okavango and taking us through to Victoria Falls in Zambia.

4th December 2013

We took the “preferred tourist route” east. This was a good dirt road that took us through rural villages running parallel to the main road heading toward Livingstone. We stopped for the evening at Ngepi Camp, just out of Divundu, which had been recommended. The owner of this establishment has a good sense of humour and there are many quirky and funny signs all around the campsite. As an example there was one at the front gate, at the start of a dirt track, instructing drivers of 4×4’s to “Engage four wheel drive, select low range and lock all diffs- all other cars drive normally” and, at the bar “We accept cash”.

We arrived at about 4pm and found that the canoe tour would start shortly so we enrolled and were treated to 2 ½ hours of adventure on the Okavango. This included many hippo which at times got a little too close for comfort, even for our paddling guides, and crocs, literally six feet away (in the old money).

We ended the evening with dinner at the riverside restaurant, all very good.

5th December 2013

Judy is about to cook “Toad in the hole for breakfast”. I must have done something right. Eggs were off but! Had modified French toast instead.

5pm we are sitting in Namibia on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, looking into Botswana, with a loose lion hanging around here somewhere. The drive into this camping area was a challenge, it’s the start of the rainy season, but on arrival it turned out to be a boutique, glamping resort with huge tents as taut as a snare drum, clear windows, timber panelling and silver service, Judy wishes she was there instead of our campsite, which, I might add does have running hot water. What more could a girl need?

By the way, I just heard the roar of the male lion across the river. I hope he’s the one they were talking about. Can they swim?

8pm we are sitting in our van with our Scott of the Antarctica roof tent up, the wind is howling and its raining but we are snug.

post

Namibia Part One

23rd November 2013 Left Cape Town and headed north to the Namaqua National Park. I thought I must have missed the last left turn and ended up at Oodnadatta. It was a bit basic on first impression, however after settling in had a nice braai in front of a rural panorama.

24th November 2013 In the morning we took the back road to the town of Springbok and practiced our orienteering in the remote parts of Namaqua, which has a sparse beauty. This was practice for Mongolia. We reached Namibia mid afternoon with brief formalities. Small anecdote coming up. We had received our visa and had the Carnet stamped and were informed that we had to pay a road levy. Small problem. No money. “That’s OK,” said the customs man, “I will come with you to the garage down the road to an ATM”. He wanted to get his lunch and so we drove to the garage to find the ATM. “Out of order” on the screen. No money available at the checkout and the cashier informed me that the nearest ATM was 300 kilometres away. “Oh no”. My customs man stepped in and it turned out that the aforementioned ATM was in fact 300 metres away. Got the money. He got his lunch.

We and continued to Ai-Ais National Park. The temperature was 50 degrees centigrade outside but by 8.30pm had decreased to a cool 36 degrees. Judy fainted into my arms in the restaurant from heat exhaustion, but came around quickly just as I was about to clear her airway, recovered, and we continued the meal as if nothing had happened.

Approaching Ai-Ais was stunning. Firstly 80K,s of desert, excellent dirt road, and then huge rock formations that resembled gigantic gravel quarries, very not of this planet.

 

29th November 2013 I am now sitting looking out across the desert of the Skeleton Coast. We arrived at the gates of the Skeleton Coast National Park half an hour after they closed for the day, 3pm. The officer who mans this outpost has allowed us to camp here, thanks to Judy’s powers of persuasion, next to his house overnight, until the gates open tomorrow at 7.30am.

Namibia has been 99% desert so far and I mean desert. Very little grows here, not like the Simpson Garden back in Oz.

Backtracking now just a little. We have been to the Fish River Canyon, which was spectacular, being the second biggest canyon in the world, I always thought it was Glen Davis near Newnes back in NSW.

We stopped at Sossusvlei and saw huge dunes at sunrise with unbelievable colours. The big one was as big as a sixty-storey skyscraper, which we climbed    not. We did climb a smaller one though, named Deadvlei (vlei means marsh).

The Hollywood of Namibia

The Hollywood of Namibia. At Luderitz we tried to see the abandoned German town but could not even get out of the car due to the sand storm. I wonder why they abandoned it?

Limped into Walvis Bay having experienced a really bad stretch of 800 Ks. One tyre almost bald at 6000 K’s of its life and a flat on the other side. The basic wage here is 5 Nabimian dollars per hour or 50 cents in our money, so to fix a puncture and change another wheel cost me 55 cents.

Onwards to Swakopmund, a top tourist destination of Namibia, with luxury to be seen everywhere. Our campsite had it’s own on suite, even had grass.

The last 230 K’s to get up here to the Skeleton coast has been sand and a grey, green Atlantic ocean with a constant haze which sometimes makes it hard to discern the horizon, and, it is only about 20 degrees. Surprising to me, as we are quite a way north of the Tropic of Capricorn. This stretch is bleak and I can imagine a shipwreck survivor would have had no chance. There are many shipwrecks here.

We came upon a colony of seals at Cape Cross during birthing season with lots of young already flopping about. You could walk along a fenced boardwalk where the seals were all around, literally at our feet. There was even a seal on the boardwalk but I think it was dead, didn’t want to get too close to it though, in case it woke up. In fact there were quite a few dead ones amongst the 100,000 or more of them. The stench was stupendous and I could only take it for a few minutes. Sitting here in the warm afternoon sun has turned into quite a chill now at 6pm:        that’s a desert for you.

css.php