Namibia

Caprivi Strip

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We crossed the border into Namibia at about 11.30 and unexpectedly , it was a very emotional homecoming for me! The first question I was asked by the Border official was if i am family of Anton's . So I first shed a few tears and then we were on our way to Ngepi camp.

What a stunning country..(I am being totally honest!) I just felt so proud to be a Namibian by birth as everything is so well maintained, the vegatation stunning and green, the roads excellent, the people friendly and to top it all, just as we entered Namibia, two elephant casually crossed the road right in front of us!

A true Namibian welcome!

We then proceeded to Ngepi camp and it justifies all the raving reports we received from this place. Our campsite (at R150 per night good price after exorbitant Botswana) was right on the river bank with a view to die for. So we replaced the sound of the waves with the sound of the Hippos!! We promptly set up camp and proceeded to take a dip in the famous Hippo and Croc pool

Our site at NgepiSwimming pool Ngepi Style

If it is your thing, the birldlife here is amazing and the "ablution tour " is the thing to go for!!! the owners obviously had a tremdous amount of fun with the building of the facilities and to see the loo's is truly an experience!!

one of the showers!Some of the loo's

Ours was the best though , out in the open with a perfect view of the river,and as the sign says, if you get a surprise by people on the river, just cover your eyes with 2 blocks of loo paper!

We also met fellow Capetonians, Jo and Cheryl who now live in St Helena Bay and had great fun discussing the beauty of life in the bush. Good luck to you guys with the rest of your trip and we are looking forward to keeping in contact.

The last evening we had to do some proper planning as we decided to drive the 938kms from the camp to Windhoek in one go. We needed an extra day in Windhoek as Stan needed some care and attention, firstly due to the lady drivers connection with the tree in Xai Xai!!!!! ( The bent hinge is now causing the tent to be totally out of balance) and Stew also thought it a good idea to give Stan a service before we go into the bundu proper. The plan was to pack everything before it is dark, but as we are getting too used to not being time bound, we had to grope around in the dark to pack. At about 8.30 Namibian time(They are on daylight savings and an hour behind SA) I realised I never paid for the camping and we rushed off to reception!! And of course, there was a bar and of course you cannot just stand there and not use it!! We had a few and met up with Chris and Lara now from the UK.in the middle of their 6 month trip through Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique. Chris is originally from Escourt, Lara is an attorney fromLondon! Another one that we met on this trip!! It seems that all the attorneys worlwide are escaping to the bush!! Thank you to them for all the info and also the article on Angola, will keep you guys updated on the trials and tribulations of our trip. We also met Mike and his lovely wife, so it was great to compare notes and interesting that they had the same complaints about the unfriendly Botswana people!

We spend a sleepless night and got up at 4.30 to finalise the packing and finally left the campsite at about 6 in the morning.  

Windhoek for the 1st round

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How strange is the human race!!! We are never satisfied, once agin, the road to Windhoek was worldclass, but it is VERY straight and soon we were complaining about it!! I however did not allow Stew to do too much of that as it is after all my home country and everything WORKS, it is sparkling clean and such a pleasure to travel here, the 958 km stretch took us only 8hr 30 min so we had lots of time to explore..to those ofyou that think Stan is slow.....think again, good time we had I would say!!

As far as the countryside is concerned, Nam is green, green and lovely. If any of you guys decide to travel here soon, the loo's at the petrol station in Rundu is the cleanest public one I have seen in years!!

Stew has a new love in his life, Mr G , his Garmin which he finally got to work, so now instead of looking at the road while he is driving, he is looking at the machine and continously offers updates on our height above sealevel (why??) In any event, Mr G is wonderful and took us straight to Puccini House in Windhoek where we decided to stay for 2 nights(6 Puccini Street, Windhoek West.) Just for an intersting bit of news, we struggled a bit to get accommodation ,which surprised me. Upon further investigation, we were told that due to the problems in Kenya, the recent upheaval in Zim as well as the ( perceived by the foreigners) problems in SA, Namibia is being flooded by tourists. I for one am glad as they deserve it.

What a great place Puccini House was, for R375 for the room per night including breakfast, it was the nicest and best value for money accommodatrion we had on this trip. Christelle and Jaco, the owners are doing an excellent job, and Jaco even offered to fix the damaged hinge so the tent can last a bit longer and yeah....updated our Garmin maps for us AS well as gave us lots of tips on Angola, Thanks guys, you were stars and we are looking forward to keeping in contact. They also suggested a stunning restaurant for the first night we were there. It is a training school for chefs, BUT, the smartest decor in a restaurant you will find anywhere and great food. Nice, the place was the brainchild of a couple who converted their family home into the school/restaurant and the sales of the restaurant funds the school. Please have a meal, it is worth it.

Windhoek is stunning and the development has been amazing since we were last here about 7 years ago.Only thing though, no bussiness here for GHD's!! The air is so dry that my hair is straight, not even a hint of a curl, girls as long as straight hair is in fashion, it is cheaper to stay in Windhoek!

We also met a truly great couple, Mark and Nancy at the guesthoue. They are from Holland, Nancy is a social worker and Mark is in IT , they have been backpacking through Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania and Namibia for 4 months! They invited us for supper and we had the greatest Sweet and Sour chicken dish made by them!! Just to let you all know, we admire them so much, they love Africa and continued travelling even after experiencing a horrific armed robbery at a lodge in Zambia! Guys we wish you all the best with the rest of your travels and please do not give up on your dream of travelling through the rest of Africa(in your LANDY of course!!)

Unfortunately we also had a very sad and emotional time as Rudolf's dad, Willem passed away unexpectedly and our hearts were and are still broken for our darling son. It was very difficult not to cancel our tickets to the UK to visit Zack and to rather go to them in Cape Town, but both Ruds and Chrizel would not hear of it, so we leave these two beautiful souls in the hands of our other beloved friends and family in Cape Town, we know you guys will all take good care of them.

Our next update will be from Bristol in the UK!

 

 

Windhoek - The second time

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Arriving back in Namibia was a weird experience, with African skies, dry air , and miles and miles of bushveld, in stark contrast to the greenness and civilization of England.Thank you to Onkel who fetched us form the airport despite him being very sick.Also thank you for looking after Stanruza whilst we were gone, you are a true example of Namibian kindness and hospitality.

 Anton Lubowski Street

After having seen Zack again and being touched by the uncanny resemblance to my dear brother, Anton, both in looks and character, I took Stew to see their house and took some pics of the street now named after him. At times I miss him so much, specially being here in his beloved country but I do know that he would have been so proud of all the development in Namibia,

 Mark and Nancy  The girls

Stewart wanted to see Etosha, so after a day spent shopping for essentials, repairing the tent, and repacking to send all the UK clothes, as well as the clothes we brought back for Zack, back to Cape Town, we settled down to a “last supper” with our Dutch friends, Mark and Nancy, as well as Marieke, who was visiting Windhoek for a month,and can you believe it….another laywer!!! Now the Dutch legal fraternity joined the Brits and the Africans in the “bush disappearing act” We had a great time and they made our first night back joyful despite us missing our sons terribly.

 

The next morning, after a few unplanned detours, we left for Etosha Pans.

 

Etosha and Ruacana

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We spent the night   just outside Etosha, as we has been warned that even camping inside the boundaries of Etosha had become very expensive. Although the grassed camping area at Etosha Safari Camp was overrun by overlanders, we found a good campsite, had a great swim in the pool and and an even better meal in the beautiful restaurant. Yeah to Jagermeister as everythinh just seems better after a shot of that!!

The next morning we drove through Anderson Gate, and were deluged with vast numbers of springbok and zebra sightings. We also saw wildebeest, rooi hartebeest, giraffe, gemsbok by the 100s, impala, ostrich and the best of all, 4 lions, who wandered across the road about 50 metres in front of us.A truly magnificent sight as you realize the size and power of these kings of the jungle once you see them up close. One of those WOW moments never to be forgotten.

     

The pan itself was full of water, looking like a dam, I have never seen it like this, unbelievable and surreal as it looks like I suppose Lake Malawi looks like, with water as far as the eye can see.

 The pans like I have never seen it

As we drove towards the northern exit, we spoke to Zack and Rudolf, using the last of the connection at one of the camps. Our day was made and we had fuel for the soul to carry on. On our way out, we were greeted by about  30 ostrich, waving their wings and dancing, as if to say farewell

 A very wet Ovamboland

As we had decided to exit Namibia at the Ruacana border post, we still had a good long drive ahead of us. We drove through an Ovamboland virtually underwater, with huge pools of water on both sides of the road. Although the road was good, the many settlements  made for slow traveling, and  our anticipated stopover, chosen via the Garmin, failed to materialize. We decided to push on to Ruacana itself, and arrived in the dark at the wonderful oasis of a hotel, Eha Ruacana Lodge, where we were treated to television, en suite bathroom, and a cooked supper and breakfast, served by the ever helpful Emma.She was a joy to behold and served Annaliese the most delicious dessert with no name!! We were even treated to a bottle of Nederburg wine!!

 

 

 

Stats and Helpful Info

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The following are some stats as well as some info that might be helpful to future travelers:

 

(Please note that the prices are relevant at the time that we traveled and should therefore be adjusted. The cost of the accommodation does not include some “freebies” like staying at friends or bushcamping, and the amount reflected is per couple per night)

 

Country :                  Namibia

 

Dates:                        18th April to 20th April 2008 and

                                    3rd May to 5th May 2008

 

Exchange rate:       1 Namibian Dollar = R1

 

Number of Nights: 6

 

Distance traveled: 2991 km

 

Average distance per day: 498 km

 

Cost of Diesel:        R9.21 to R9.31

 

Average fuel consumption: 7.47 km/l   

 

Diesel used:                        400 litres

 

Worst Road/s:         None just too straight !!

 

Best Road/s:           All even the gravel roads

 

Favourite new destination:N’Gepi Camp in Caprivi Strip

 

Average cost of accommodation:R350 per night

 

Number of Bushcamps:   None

 

Cheapest Acommodation:Camping at N’Gepi R150 per night

 

Most enjoyable:      Puccini House , 6  Puccini Street, Windhoek