so after a night in Zambia, I decided that as I had to get out (visa ending) I might as well get the bus to Windhoek, with Rags……so a quick booking for Intercape buses on the ‘net and 2 hours later we’re sittingon a Mainliner bus…..on a 20 hour bus trip!
We managed to see 2 ellies on the way thru the Caprivi Strip (corridor belonging to Namibia between Angola and Botswana) …these proved to be the only ellies I saw in Nam :^( Me and Rags also had a bit of a moment at an Animal Disease checkpoint: basically you have to get out of the buis and walk across a pad impregnated with some kind of chemical – however no-one had explained that you needed your passport too, so we jumped back on the bus to get them….JUST as the bus drove across its chemical pad and thru the checkpoint…bit of a dilemma now: do we get out, explain to the man with the gun what happened, or just sit tight on the bus?……..we stayed where we were <no problems, phew!>
anyhoo, 20 hours later and we arrived in Windhoek (capital of Namibia) jumped in a taxi with an Irish couple (John and Orla) and proceeded to the Cardboard Box hostel, …where the taxi driver proceeded to drive off with our money before giving us our change!…welcome to Windhoek, eh? anyhoo, the ‘Box’ is a REALLY nice place run by some really nice people too (yes, including Desree <sigh>) I stayed for 3 nights – only one of which included Rags as she met up with her Norwegian friends (as planend) and did off on a trip and then back to her studies in RSA…WITHOUT ME!!!, anyhoo, I met up with some more Norwegians (what is it with Africa and Norwegians????) and went out for a meal and drinks with my 6 new wives: 3 norwegian nurses, a german kind of teachery thingee, an ozzie and a girl from Salford. We had a great meal at a curry hoos, and then went for drinks at Joes (seems to be the best place to drink in town)…we then gatecrashed a 21st fancy dress birthday party at a nice hotel somewhereorother…which was strange (very strange, actually) anyhoo, I eventually got to bed at about 4am, to we woken by John (Irish fella) at 7 to be told we were off on a 5 day tour in about an hour!
well, man!…what a joke our new ‘guide’ turned out to be: we never actually caught his name, so we renamed him Bob (well actually Orla did) he also had a sidekick called Stephan, who was a nice fella. we off’d in quite a nice smart Toyota minibus to a place where they rehabilitate cheetahs (www.africat.org) and also have areas with a leopard and WILD DOGS!!!! got a fabulous view of the leopard and great photos too! Then we off’d to Etosha Park ..where we didnt see a whole lot and nowt really happened….apart I guess from almost driving over a lioness then scaring off the Wildebeest she was hunting, then driving off-road and getting bogged down…in front of the lioness (who wasnt exactly happy with us by now) we refused to help to dig us out (there was just me, John and Orla on the trip) as the guide had been stoopid enuff to get us in the mess, HE could get us out…2 hours or so later, a bakkie turned up and towed us out. we had a nice trip for the remainder, seeing Twyffelfontain, the Petrified forest, the Organ Pipes, Burnt mountain and a trip around a himba (or Ovahimba) village, where the women are topless!!!!EEEK!!!! this village was an orphanage set up by a Namibian fella we met, who also has the most beautiful lodge for visitors to stay at: it was part of a film set a few years ago and is built in a a marijuana influenced stylee into the huge boulder/rocks of a koppie (he also has an African wild Cat as a pet!)
Back to Cardboard Box and I manged to hire a Bakkie with long range fuel tanks, roof tent, camping gear and spare wheels for £30 per day (normally £60 per day just for a basic bakkie so I was well pleased with that!) and toddled off for a trip around namibia: 1st stop was Swakopmund (so german its unbelievable!) then back to the desert for a night under Bloedkoppie (blood mountain) then off to Walvis Bay & Dune 7, followed by a trip up the Skeleton Coast, thru the SC park, to Palmwag for the night, then to Warmquelle (crossing a raging river with a truck stuck in it enroute) and to Opuwo (watching completely wild giraffe, zebra, Wildebeeste, Sprinbok and Gemsbok on the way) stayed at a lovely lodge there (Opuwo country hotel) then as the roads were washed away I changed plans and drove to the Angolan border to see the Raucana Falls (crap) then to the Kunene river lodge for the night followed by Opupa falls (nice) and then back to Opuwo (getting extra fuel en-route from a traditionally dressed Herero woman in a township along the way) then down to Etosha, where the guy on the gate walked around the bakkie and asked what had happened to me car (it was in a bit of a state by then)
Again, not muxh to see in Etosha (too much rain just lately) then off to the worlds biggest meteorite and then to Tsumkwe to have a day with a San bushman -which was REALLY nice (I’d been looking foward to seeing the San people for months) you know, even in the 21st Century, they still hunt food with a bow and arrow (poison tipped) and eat what they find in the bush (literally). Next was down to the Erongo mountains to see some dinosaur footprints and more bushman paintings and engravings (stayed in the beautiful AiAiba painted rock lodge) then off to town to borrow a nice ladies husbands pc to burn some DVD’s. Next it was off to Philips Cave to see MORE bushman paintings and the Bulls Party rock formations . That night I stayed at Spitzkoppe mountain rest camp – RIGHT underneath the mountain which was VERY chillin and atmospheric. up early and a trip to Sesriem canyon (in the rain) ready for a trip to Sosussvlei and Deadvlei in the morn. 5am start and out of the camp as the gate opened at 5:30. an hours drive later and I was in Sosussvlei to watch the sun rise over the dunes (after climbing the wrong <read STEEP> side of a dune only to realise the error of my ways as I got to the top!) then after sitting there for an hour or so, I moved over to Deadvlei to see the calcified trees in the valley (FABULOUS PLACE) . straight after that I drove down to Ludicrous (I mean Luderitz) and had a Luderitz salad and cappucino at Ritzis cafe, then styaed for 2 nights at Shark Island campsite…with the craziest security man in the world (pished with a sawn off Russian shotgun) . didnt do much here, but need to rest after all teh driving (I did go to Kolmanskop ‘ghost town tho) Next was down to Rosh Pinah to get into the Fish River Canyon…cept the road had been washed away so I had to drive the 250km BACK along the road and then drive another 300km to go ALL the way around and into the park from the other side!..I wass so knackered when I got there that I stayed at the Canyon Mountain Camp (lodge) overnight (which was nice) then did the Canyon proper the next day …fabulous place and the 2nd biggest canyon in the world (to the grand Canyon, naturally). stayed at the Canyon Road House the next night and then off to the Quiver Tree Forest and giants Playground the next day, stayng at Gotchas that night. Next day was the end of my 20 day tour of Namibia…but I think I did pretty well: saw most of the sights and travelled for almost 6000km!