Namibia is amazing. Go there. Take me with you.

Friday 28 January 2011

An early start - on the road by 6 heading north out of Cape Town. Miss the N7 turn off and drive around for half an hour before finding our way back to Edgemead and on the road we needed to be on, eventually waving goodbye to table mountain in the distance behind us.

We got as far as just before Citrusdale, south of Clanwilliam, where we met road works and a long queue of cars.

We stopped and turned the engine off and when the traffic was allowed through again we tried starting the car to no avail. There we sat until the road workers towed us off the road to a little cafe, which conveniently had bathrooms and WiFi internet access.

A tow-truck eventually arrived and dragged us on to Citrusdale where the mechanic started the car first try… Not satisfied, we made him check it out and it turned out that the carbs were flooding due to bad timing. Or something. Either way, we were on our way again.

The rest of the way up was uneventful, and we arrived at Springbok fairly early so we decided to keep on going - to Namibia!

Crossing the border was a … relaxed affair, which was nice really, and we were soon in the start desert north of the Orange River.

We arrived at the Norotshama campsite to find a lovely place, almost finished and with some damage due to the recent flooding. A lovely swim and dinner followed.

Saturday 29 January 2011

The road north to Fish River Canyon was beautiful - so dry and barren. As we had made so much progress the previous day it was only a short drive and we were soon at Hobas camp site.

It turns out this was one of the areas Raleigh had been working in previously (As was Sesreim at Sossussvlei).

We got comfortable, had a swim, had some lunch, had a swim, lazed about, had a swim (it was HOT) and just generally relaxed. At about 6pm we headed to the Canyon viewing point about 10km from camp. Apparently sunset is a poor time to see the canyon.

Back at camp we moved to another spot to avoid the huge (talkative) group who parked next to us. Boerie for dinner!

Sunday 30 January 2011

Up early to see the canyon again in the sunrise, in case we really had missed out the night before, but I don’t think so. It it a beautiful place and very large.

On the road again at about 9am, before going over a fallen over sign (marked road closed it turns out) resulting in two very flat tyres.

We managed to get hold of the AA who put us onto a tow truck operator who brought out another tyre. We followed him to Keetmanshoop (a bit out of the way of where we wanted to go) where we had our rims banged back into shape and the tyres re-inflated - good to go!

On our way again - heading to Luderitz. The geography of Namibia is massively varied and changes quite suddenly at times with Luderitz being an extreme example of going from a fairly vegetated area (around Aus) before suddenly being in stark desert.

The camp site was very dramatic, but windy. We managed to find a nice out of the wind spot and settled in with some dinner.

Monday 31 January 2011

Wandered around Luderitz in the morning…

…before heading out to Kolmanskoop.

See: Kolmanskoop for the rest.

Northward bound, we headed back into the ‘lush’ interior and through the incredibly dramatic pass down to the drier lowlands. Difficult drive. We passed by a private little game park where a friendly, rickety old giraffe was hanging around.

In the distance there was a lot of rain, and some very hairy (dry) river crossings. This required a certain amount of offroading and 3 maimed shrubs, but we arrived at Sesreim in good time.

We got a camp site, bought our passes and decided to head out to Sesreim canyon for the sunset. We got about half way before the car decided to not work, so I walked the two km back and wrangled some friendly dutch fellows in their 4wd to come save us (We had seen them previously - they were doing cape to Cairo/Algeria/Netherlands over about 6 months). Safely back at our campsite we had some dinner and just generally tried to relax.

Managed to wrangle ourselves a berth on a tour bus heading in to the Canyon the next morning though, which was a relief.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

See: Sossusvlei{.clickme}

See: Sesreim{.clickme}

Wednesday 2 February 2011

We headed out at first light, aiming initially for Keetmanshoop. We took a longer road than we came in on, but a much better road - less stress and would rather get there slowly than get stuck! It was a beautiful drive regardless!

Arriving at Keetmanshoop, we did a Spar shop and decided to push on to Grunau. We arrived, but the camp site was a bit of a dive, so we decided to try the next big town. We arrived to find no campsite whatsoever, so decided to aim for the border. No camp site there either. We crossed the border back into SA (after a watermelon break in the no mans land) and finally made it to Upington where we camped on the shores of the flooded Orange river. Long day…

Thursday 3 February 2011

Woke up on the banks of the swollen Orange River - an interesting start, but the facilities were good and we were soon on our way (after being towed out of the drive as it was too steep).

Steers for brunch, for me anyway and we were on our way to Augrabies - our host for the night told us of the alternative route on the other side of the river, not affected by the flooding. The road wasn’t terrible and we were soon there.

The falls were truly spectacular in full flood, I will let the pictures do it justice (hopefully!). The spray was rather drenching and a lot of the park was closed off due to flooding.

Friday 4 February 2011

Up early again - off to look at the waterfalls one last time before heading off.

We decided to call it quits and head for home - all a bit tired an lacking the enthusiasm for three ore big days of driving, so decided to do the garden route another time as part of the Stellenbosch/Franschoek/Hermanus bits, with a bit of a break in between.

Wrap up

All in all, the Combi went well, only really letting us down once (the other times were human error or excusable after a rough days driving). We pulled out of the camp site in Upington, managing after three tries to reverse up onto the drive, only to find that it was far too steep (it was not that steep) for the combi to handle.

Namibia is beautiful and everyone should go there. The landscape changes so often and suddenly, but ideally you would be in a 4wd car I think, just to make life that little bit less stressful.

I think the fact that we went at the wrong time of the year made it all the better, you remember these trips for the challenges and the rewards, and both were great.

The butterflies were immense in number - the front of the combi would literally be plastered with butterfly (and occasionally dragonfly, large beetle and other) remains, which incidentally are made up almost entirely of a runny liquid (though with enough force I’m sure anything would turn into a runny liquid).

We lost the front numberplate on the first few days, not sure how. As we were heading south out of Namibia we got pulled over by a cop who didn’t seem all that keen to talk to the ladies. I managed to get us off with an infringement notice though, and not the R500 fine (equivalent to R500 or about NZ$100). At the border to SA we had similar issues, but once they saw the inside of the combi they were much friendlier and sent us on our way.