Cape Town to Vic Falls Tour - days 1-7
04.03.2011 - 10.03.2011 35 °C
[Sorry the internet is rubbish - i'll upload photos later on. ignore the numbers within the text ]
Day 36, 4 March 2011
It was a later start today. One of the travelers had their luggage left in Adelaide (well done Qantas) and there was delay in it getting to us at the hotel. We tried to get the last minute errands taken care of, ie post cards and essentials as we realised we are now heading back into the bush and leaving civilisation as we recognise it.
We loaded onto the truck/bus and then headed north.
We arrived at the campsite late in the hot afternoon. It was pure luxury compared to our previous camping experiences. There was very spacious tents sitting on FLAT grass (Wendy likes the flat bit), a swimming pool (which was actually a bit brisk) and a bar. The dinner was a ‘Braai’( I am bringing this fantastic barbequing method home, it consists of multiple meats cooked 10cm above hot coals in a mesh cage- sheer brilliance!).
Just when you thought it could not get better, we had a wine tasting. W and I are still of the opinion that the white wines are too sweet, but the reds are great.
Day 37, 5 March 2011
It was a 5.30am wake up as the tents had to be down by 6am. Breakfast was at 6.30am, and the truck was moving by 7am. Love the good early morning starts!
We are driving towards the border today. You can see the change in vegetation and feel the raise in the heat. We’re getting closer to the desert – the rocky hills along the horizon are beautiful.
After a stop in a town called Springbok to do some grocery shopping we went stopped by the side of the road for lunch then left South Africa and entered Namibia. Our camp is a bit beyond the boarder on the banks of the Orange River. The river is not orange but it is very full and running fast as it was flooded a few weeks ago. We had a swim in the camp pool, did a bit of washing (which dried within 30 mins), set up our tents and had dinner.
The name of the camp is ‘felix unite’, good flat grass to set up on. However we will be setting up our tent further away from the camp kitchen in the future – some people stayed up chatting.
Day 38 6 March 2011
New insurance policy day!
We had a later start today so we lazed around the pool, hiding in the shade. It was an easy drive to ‘fish river canyon’. We set up camp and then went for a swim. The pools seem to be decreasing in volume, size and filtering capacity as we progress north. However the sight of a pool in the warmer weather is still appreciated.
Afterwards, we headed off to the Fish River Canyon which the Namibians claim is the second biggest canyon in the world. On the way we got to have a go in the roof seats of the truck – we had some Abba playing so it was a very ‘Pricilla, Queen of the Desert’ moment! The canyon was very spectacular. We opted not to do the 80km, five day trek, but rather walked about 1km from one view point to another.
The sunset was pretty amazing, there was a thunderstorm beside the setting sun which was beautiful.
The view from the toilets were one of the more spectacular I have ever seen.
Whilst we were away, some spits of rain had started dropping at the campsite and our master chef ‘mash’ had managed to cook an awesome roast chicken dinner and also get all the rain covers on the tents. After about 15mins, we took the covers off but kept them nearby. We had to eat dinner under the cover of the main building because there was a lot of lightening and thunder around.
Day 39, 7 March 2011
C- Kitchen duty day.
Today I was on kitchen duty so we had to get up a bit earlier - the early wake up for 5.30, gear packed up by 5.45 and I started kitchen for breakfast. Wendy got most of the tent down and then we had to roll it into the bag together. They are good tents to sleep in, with great big netted windows, but they’re buggers to get back in the bags.
It was a very long day of driving. I read the ‘Dan Brown novel the ‘lost symbol’, good book and W finished the first of the Stig Larsson book (luckily no car sickness). It was very interesting to see the characteristics of the landscape change. There has been a lot or rain here (more than usual) so it is very green – it looks like green velvet up to the big red mountains.
We stopped at some little roadside town, where everyone was interested in the apple pie for some reason.
Eventually we got to camp and set up tents, carefully checking for scorpions and ant holes before doing so. Apparently, the smaller and clearer the scorpion the more poisonous it is.
The pool was a mile away! W and I headed straight there after setting up the tent. We had a quick cool down and then I had to go back to prepping food for dinner (Sunglasses help when cutting onions).
We had another nice dinner and then showers and went to bed. Tomorrow is bush camp, no showers!
Day 40, 8 March, 2011
It was a 4.30am rise, tents down by 5 am. We had to drive into the dunes to climb up ’Dune 45’ for sunrise. Dune 45 is 45 km from the gate of the park. It is 200m high and made of that fine red sand that gets into all your clothing. We climbed all the way up and sat back and watched the sunrise. It was pretty spectacular.
Then came the regular dares of running down sand dunes the hard way, straight don the flat sides, no the gentle ridges.
I went first, and W followed. They forget to tell us that sand builds up in your shoes! You start your own little tiny sand dune with the contents of your shoes and socks!
We had breakfast at the bottom of the dune and then drove up to Susslevly. Vly means river in some language and sussle means swamp.
We entered this national park and were driven along a sandy track in jeeps. The ride would make a killing if it was theme park attraction ride. The only problem being you are in real life and there are no seat belts! I loved it.
The jeeps dropped us off and we walked about 1km in through the dunes to Dead vly. Apparently there is a river that runs through the desert, but has changed course over the years. There are these trees in the desert that lived where the river was, but as the river moved they died (over 300 years ago). However the moisture content is so low that the trees have not decomposed, but kind of become standing fossils that sit in the hardened mud.
They look very stark against the red dunes. Most interestingly, I walked up an adjacent sand dune (which was bloody hard work), and there was a lake there from the most recent rains. (W- he also had a great time running down the dune again.)
We drove on to the town of Solitaire, where there is a well renowned bakery that produces 200kg of apple pie each day. The apple pie is bloody good but would have been better with custard and ice cream. Wendy and I had a piece each, before lunch. The idea of apple pie before lunch is a bad one. No room for lunch.
We drove a little further to the ‘bushmans camp’, which is a little oasis in the middle of the desert. The pool was ok, but there was no filter, lots of bugs and the rocks on the sides were very hot. We chilled out for the afternoon and W fell asleep in the hammock.
Dinner was served and then we had a talk from the ‘bushman’ – a white Namibian guy who is very passionate about where he lives and the native people who are called the bushman (remember the people in the movie ’The Gods Must be Crazy?). It was a very interesting talk about some fables, the history and the future of the bushmen people. It was very thought provoking – there are similarities between those people and the aboriginal people.
Day 41, 9 March 2011
Another early morning rise, W is on the kitchen duty! Away we go to greater civilization of ‘Swakopmund’ which considered the holiday capital of the country.
After an easy 4hr drive we arrived and were shown a DVD to see what ‘adventure’ activities we wanted to do.
After lunch and settling into our small hotel room W and I freshened up, sorted out laundry and wandered along the beach into town.
The Initial sights are funny as it seems to be a mixture off old English and German heritage buildings. There is a great deal of accommodation, but it is all empty. We are back chilling out and catching up on duties.
We had a group dinner at an Italian restaurant. C and I shared a ‘kudu’ steak (type of deer looking thing) and a ‘game’pizza. Way too much cheap wine and beer was consumed. We caught up with another overland group at a bar later on. They were unhappy that they only had 6 days left of their tour from Nairobi. I’m not sure if we’ll feel the same at Vic Falls, we’re happily going through the motions, but it’s also a lot of work always on the move, tents up, tents down, hot long drive days. We’re a bit spoilt because we’ve already seen a lot of the animals – others on the bus are still at the ‘wow, there is a Zebra’ stage – we’re like, pffft, another bloody Zebra. Still, it’s beautiful a landscape and the dunes are amazing.
C and I escaped around 11pm.
Day 42, 10 March 2011
Today was a later start, we buggered around and went for breaky at about 9:30, then went to the internet and unfortunately spent most of the day catching up on emails.
Later in the afternoon we went to the beach and C went for a swim. It looked quite rough and there were no life guards to be seen so I opted to stay on the sand. We then went to an awesome bar over the beach and got optimum seats to watch the sunset – just a few hours early. We persevered with the beautiful, but hot view, saw a few nice dogs (yep they allow smoking, dogs and children in bars over here it is quite strange) and watched the sunset over the water. It’s hard to believe that we’ll be on the other side of the same ocean in a few weeks (from BA).
We went home and cleaned up before going out for a really good dinner with a few other tour people.