Day 132: Namibia, at last!
John & Jenny
Wed 16 Mar 2011 18:48
Day 132: Wednesday 16 March 2011. Namutomi camp, Etosha National Park. S18 48.371 E016 56.485
Just look at that latitude - I have been driving almost due south for the last 9 days and covered nearly 3,000 km and 14 degrees of latitude. It has become much cooler and much less humid, in fact I was cold in bed last night - a first since Morocco!
By getting up at first light and away by 0630, I was having my Wimpy breakfast in Oshikango. Namibia, by 1015. The road 100 km to Onjdiva was fast tar and then the final 40 km run to the border was pretty rough, but nothing like as bad as yesterday. It was pretty straightforward going through both borders, but very busy. All the way this morning on the Angolan side I was travelling through low-lying marsh land, all badly flooded with cattle up to their noses in water. Outside, on the Namibian side in Oshikango it was an amazing scene, like a flooded strip mall. It was like a shopping city with all the SA banks, supermarkets, discount stores and fashion stores with the main street a sea of light grey mud and cars driving through it splashing all the shoppers!
I had hoped to leave Angola with a tank full of cheap diesel but there was none available from Humbe to the border, so I had to fill up in Namibia and was shocked to have to pay N$9 a litre, about 85p.
It was a great relief to be able to speak English and relax over a huge breakfast, although I realise that I was very stressed and when the waitress got my order wrong for the third time I lost it and reduced her to tears. Next job was a haircut at the London Barber Saloon, a hut in a pool of water where the sole equipment was electric clippers and two paint brushes. One was to dust off all the hairs and the other was to apply methylated spirits to the face after the job was done! I declined this step, but in spite of the lack of facilities I got a good cut, the first since Accra, 8,000 km away!
Leaving the border, I realised that I had no plan. I had been so focussed on getting out of Angola that I had given no thought to Namibia. I should say, at this stage that I am temporarily on my own since Sunday when i dropped Jenny off in Luanda to fly to Johannesburg. She had to return to deal with a planning application problem and is attending a meeting tonight. The applicants had refused to delay the meting until we got back in early April and I think this was done deliberately to exclude Jenny. I didn't put anything in the last few blogs about this as we wanted to maintain an element of surprise.
From the border I drove SE to Etosha and entered the park from the east, driving through to Namutoni. The park roads are in a bad state with many sections flooded, but the water has brought out the animals and it was a stunning run. With a storm brewing over the pan, the colours and the marsh landscapes were stunning. Without really stopping to look I saw, elephant, giraffe, a male lion, buffalo,wildebeeste, lots of eland and gemsbok all looking wonderful and birds galore. I am installed in a luxurious room and am now heading out to the hide to watch the animals collecting for their evening drink. Then for a beer, a steak and 12 hours sleep!
Since leaving Pointe Noire in Congo, we (or I) have driven nearly 3,000 km in 9 days without a day off and the strain is showing. I intend to stay put for a day before moving on.