Namibia

Written by admin on May 4th, 2009

Thursday 26 March

Our border crossing from South Africa to Namibia had been quite jovial with the officials until the final lady who we had to pay a N$160 border crossing fee.  We waited while she completed the paperwork and chatted on her mobile.  Then, finishing her call she handed over the permit and asked Marc for the money, which he had already given her.  However, she disagreed and asked us to please check nicely in our pockets and things.  We did so and definitely didn’t have it, but she continued to insist we hadn’t paid. We asked where she usually put the money and she opened up the till, pointing inside to a stack of 100 and 20 notes, which we had also paid with, so we politley suggested she may have distractedly placed them here.  But no, Mmmm Mmmm, she hadn’t put them in here and we should “Look nicely, look nicely!” and now suggested a couple of times that she should bring the police.  Marc had had enough at this point and strongly agreed that she should bring the police.

At a stand-off she brought her manageress instead, who calmly counted all the money and confirmed it was correct, still to the disputes of the clerk.  No apology was given, just “yes it’s right, you can go,” until Marc stared in amazement for long enough and was just about to put her right when she mumbled a sorry.

Apologies graciously accepted we carried on to Ai-Ais Hot Springs, sadly finding a sign stating that the camp was under construction, so we carried on a little further to Fish River Canyon and Hobas campsite.

We drove to the Canyon viewpoint for sunset, unfortunately Marc with a pretty bad migraine by now.  It is very impressive, but maybe a little over-rated in our opinion as a must-see.  We returned to the campsite to enjoy the house tunes of the Acacia overland lorry and got an early night, only to be woken by Marc needing to vomit out of the tent in the middle of the night!  All in all a very romantic Africa day on our arrival in Namibia!

Friday 27 March

We decided to break the journey to Windhoek with a stop at Quiver Tree Forest near Keetmanshoop.  We spent the afternoon relaxing then went for a wander around the unusually stacked rock formations of Giant’s Playground.  Back at the camp we watched the rescued cheetah being fed and then enjoyed an early braai by the Quiver Trees.

Wednesday 1 April

We arrived in Windhoek on Saturday and stayed at Chameleon.  We spent the few days here visiting a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation project, catching up on emails, and yes taking the opportunity to get Bob checked over by a friend of the Foleys.  Fortunately nothing new and extremely costly was found that we were unaware of on this occasion.  We also gave him a thorough clean, blasting all the dust away (which we knew would last about 30 mins. back on the dirt road.)

Marc’s mum (Cherry) arrived this afternoon and we went out for a drink and dinner.

Friday 3 April

We drove to Sesriem yesterday; Cherry checked in to Sossusvlei Lodge and we checked into Sesriem Campsite, right next door to each other and in a beautiful setting.

After a lot of negotiation yesterday, because only people camping at Sesriem campsite are allowed to enter the park and drive through to Sossusvlei an hour before sunset, we all set off at 06.00 in the dark.  It was definitely worth leaving early to reach Sossusvlei in time for sunrise, climbing along the crest of one of the dunes, perfectly blown by the wind to a razor fine peak, and watching the deep tones of red change in the morning light.  It also meant we could explore Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei nearby before 10.00 when it was already getting very hot.

We had some breakfast and then made our way back to the campsite to relax during the heat of the day.  The last 5km to and from Sossusvlei are 4×4 track only and Bob relished the opportunity to play in the deeper sections of sand and pose in the desert!

In the evening Cherry went to relax at the lodge and we drove 45km back to Dune 45 for a sundowner and a few more photos – again Hilda insisting on being involved in all the fun!

Saturday 4 April

Swakopmund today and we did a tandem skydive with Ground Rush Adventures – Wooohooohoooooooooooo!  Not even going to try to describe what it is like – you either know or jump out a plane at 10,000 feet, freefall for about 40 seconds at 220kph, then spend another 4 minutes spinning, drifting and diving back to earth and then you’ll know.  Flipping wicked to use language suitable for this site.  

This is something we had been saving up for and looking forward to and so worth it.  We had a long wait in the afternoon while the tiny plane took others up in twos and threes and dropped them over the desert.  As the afternoon dragged on the guys we were going to jump with told us that we would be holding on until the last jump, which would be at sunset, closer to the beach over the airstrip and by far the best of the day.  We got a video made of the jump and it was awesome with the setting sun in the background.

In the evening we went out for a delicious, belated Mother’s Day dinner, at The Tug.

Sunday 5 April

We drove to Brandberg Massif today, stopping at Cape Cross Seal Colony on the way.  The latter was pretty stinky, but amazing with thousands of Cape Fur Seals sunning on the beach, swimming and playing in the surf.

At the lodge and campsite we got pretty good service from one of the staff when he learned Peter Crouch was Marc’s uncle.  Even when he told him he wasn’t the actual Peter Crouch it didn’t matter, as according to him in Namibia if you have the same surname then you are related.

We had a braai in the evening and were joined for a short while by a habituated meerkat, which was very cute and kept lieing down on its front stretched out for a stroke.

Monday 6 April

In the morning we went for a walk at Brandberg to see the White Lady (clearly a man from the illustration) and other rock art. Then we stopped off at the dinosaur footprints on the way to Okonjima, home of Africat the predator rescue and rehabilitation organisation.  The footprints were interesting to think of dinosaurs roaming around there hundreds of millions of years ago, but in terms of something to look at you have to wonder how someone actually found and identified them!

Wednesday 8 April

We spent the day yesterday at the volunteer project and getting involved with activities like collecting bones from one of the large cheetah enclosures and hunt the missing cheetah in 8 acres – we didn’t find it.  We joined Cherry for a posh dinner at the Main Lodge.

Today we drove to Etosha and our first night’s camp at Okaukuejo.  Felicity had been stung by a wasp when we were hunting the cheetah and by now her thigh had ballooned to worrying proportions!

Saturday 11 April

We had some good game viewing in Etosha, especially of lion, which we had four different sightings of, including cubs and large males.  The game was maybe a little bit sparse, due to the amount of rain there had been recently, but the scenery is very different to other parks, so we enjoyed the drives and Etosha pan was full of water, which is very unusual to see.  We also saw a honey badger and a porcupine one night at Halali, which was a bit different.

We stayed the night at Roy’s camp en route to Caprivi Strip.

Sunday 12 April

We spent the morning at a San Bushman village, learning a little about their traditions and bushcraft.  We started a fire by rubbing sticks together, which was actually less palm-blistering work than expected.  Then the women were supposed to watch the ladies crush nuts and learn to make jewellery, but soon returned to the men’s activities, learning to make bows and arrows for hunting.  Then after Marc participated in a mock hunt of a ‘straw and stick’ antelope with one of the San guys everyone had a go at shooting it.

We then made the long drive to Nundu Lodge where we stayed, as our original camp had been flooded and we were greeted by the smiliest and chattiest gate guard ever.

Monday 13 April

At Nundu we went out on a morning boat ride along the Kavango to a small rapid and look at the hippos.  We spent the remainder of the day relaxing at the lodge.

Wednesday 15 April

We made the short drive to Kwando Safari Lodge yesterday and then relaxed by the pool and enjoyed the peace and quiet, as there were no other guests.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Felicity today.  We started with a treat of breakfast at the lodge rather than Weetabix and Felicity opened some of her presents.  When the staff caught wind of a birthday the waitress came over and asked how old she was, shortly followed by a second asking how old she was.  The result was breakfast chocolate cake and the staff singing ‘Happy Birtday to You, How Old Are You, How Old Are You!’

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