Namibia
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Day 12. Namibia (and Angola)

A 4 hour drive took us from Botswana to Namibia and we camped at the river which seperates Namibia from Angola. Well actually we treated ourselves to a proper bed for the night as we could upgrade to a nice little chalet for £10 each. We'd got used to laying on the ground but a night in a bed has made us soft again!


A brief visit to Angola

We took a sunset cruise on the Okavango river and went over to the Angolan side. Apparantly the country is very unstable and it's not safe to visit, so no tourists go there. The local children want sweets - and see the truck as a source of people with too many sweets. The don't harrass you, they dance and sing cute songs to win you over. Namibian children playing at the side of the river

 

Day 13 & 14. Etosha National Park

 

Mongoose trying to attack me. Or yawning...

The pictures say it all. This place is a giant (22,000 sq km) wildlife park with a fence around it. Unfortunately we're camping within the fence so there's nothing to stop the animals coming to visit us in the night.

Springbok

Giraffe. Obviously.

As you can see, we added springbok, lions and zebras to our list of animals that have been close enough to eat us had they wanted to. Luckily al lthe zebras were too busy eating grass to be interested in us.

Lazy fat lionesses

The lions are quite rare and difficult to spot, so we were very lucky to find a gang of them lounging around at the side of the road. Lion just about to attack me...

Zebra at the water hole

One of the zebras we saw had a lions handprint on it's backside where it had had a lucky escape. Friendly lions handprint

Courtesy of Josh and his posh camera!

It's been lightening all around the campsite most of the evening. It's raining now and the tent is a bit leaky. We have to be up at 5:30am tomorrow.

Day 15. Cheetah farm

Animal highlight so far. Unfortunately they weren't properly 'in the wild', the place is a sanctuary that buys cheetahs that are stealing farmers cattle. Otherwise the farmer would shoot them.

Start running and see how far you get...

Sandpaper tongued cheetahWe got to stroke one that had been hand reared. It licked us and purred. It's tongue was painful, like being sandpapered. Then we went in trucks through the compound to feed them a chopped up donkey.

The owner thought it would be funny to unexpectedly throw one of the chunks of meat onto the back of the other truck. Mass panic ensued as 15 people scrambled out of the way of a hungry cheetah. It was hilarious (for us!)

Happy people

Hungary cheetahs Scared people

This frisky beast had some cubs with her. She took exception to me coming too close and pounced at me and took a swipe. (...luckily I was on the other side of a fence!)

I asked the owner if they lose their hunting instincts because they get given food now. He just said 'start running and see how far you get...'

Protective mother

 

Day 16. Temp: Hot, 36'C
Spitzkoppe - bush camping in an area like Ayres rock

A very scenic place with mountains in the middle of the desert, where we again stayed without facilities. This time however there was no threat of crocs or hippo's. Instead it was leopards and snakes. Apparently a month ago, some people took a photo on their digital camera and when they looked at the picture on the back of the camera they saw a leopard in the background stalking them! I guess they left sharpish. And changed their underpants.

We climbed the mountain to kiss 'The Tree of Eternal Life' (as we christened it!) which turned out to be quite challenging and

The tree of eternal life

Eternal life is now secured. Pity I had to have sloppy seconds...

only two of us made it.

The sunset and sunrise the next morning were very nice, but getting up at 5:30am doesn't do much for our sleep deprivation.

Sunset at

 

Day 17. Smelly seal colony. Temp: cool, 23'C.
100,000 seals live at cape cross. None of them wash.
Check out the one by my side trying to get in the photo

Cape fur seals I counted 81,236 of them before I got bored.

Day 18. Swakopmund. Quad biking and Sandboarding on the massive dunes.

Normally quad biking for tourists is rubbish, but this was really good. They were 250cc quads with manual gears and the dunes were massive. We spent 2 hours razzing around and breathing in sand and dust. It was still a bit sanitised. There was no chance of death or horrific injury. The worst that happened was I melted my only pair of trousers on the exhaust pipe.

.

Sandboarding was cool. Just like snowboarding only twice as steep. And sand tastes worse than snow. And there's no lifts.

Obviously if they put a jump there, it has to be gone over by silly boys. None of the instructors would go over it though which was a bit worrying. I didn't want to do it, but could hear Chris' voice at the back of my head saying our classic phrase, "what could possibly go wrong..."

Even better than the snowboard was lying on a piece of hardboard and flying down the really steep runs on your belly. You get up to 80kph with your nose just inches above the sand. It's every kids dream. At the bottom is a jump which was fab until you land face first in the sand with your mouth still open...

Approach at 80kph......

...launch...

...fly...

...keep on flying...

...perfet landing...

...regret not closing mouth.

Extreme Michelle

Video clip (170mb)

Facefull of sand
One guy managed to scoop up a load of sand on his board and when he went over the jump he got a facefull.

 

Day 19. Lazy hot day. Temp 37'C.
Long 400km drive from Swakopmund to Sesriem to camp near the world's most scenic dunes.

 

 

Day 20. Sand dunes & broken down trucks. Temp 35'C
Up at 4:30am to get to the dunes first to be at the top for sunrise.



Like most big or steep things, the photos dont do it justice. It's 150 metres high.


We then went for a walk through the desert with a real bushman who told us how to hunt oryx (desert gazelle things) with poison arrows. He reached randomly into the sand to pull out lizards by their teeth...

It wasn't our lucky day. On the way back from the middle of nowhere the truck broke down. Dirty fuel had

Stranded in the middle of nowhere

clogged the filters. Once our driver fixed that, we went another mile before the driveshaft bearing disintegrated...Luckily we managed to limp the last 10 km back to camp at 10mph.

 

Day 21. Stranded. Temp 34'C

Truck still broken so lazy day. Luckily the campsite has a pool so we invented the fabulously violent water rugby using a water bottle. Pity Josh is as strong as an ox and was never on my team...

I'm still removing water from my sinuses.

Pool rugby

 

Day 22. Fish river canyon. Temp 32'C Fish River Canyon

Long drive of 800km to catch up following the breakdown. Called in at a big hole called Fish River Canyon. Worlds second biggest after the Grand Canyon apparently. Then we headed onto South Africa for the last 2 days of the tour. Another cold shower
The campsite showers overlooked the Orange River and the banks of Namibia.

 

Day 23. Long drive to Citrusdal, South Africa. Temp 28'C

Last night of the tour. A bad night to be on cooking duty as we had to make a meal out of only the food we had left. We had beer, mince, marmite, cheese, chutney and pasta. So we made a new dish called 'beer and mince and marmite and cheese and chutney and pasta taste sensation'. I don't think it will catch on. But at least nobody has died. Yet.


 

Next country - South Africa