2.08.2017

Adventure Holidays Two by Two

Adventure Holidays Two by Two

Since more than a year long holidays for several weeks are planned and booked for end of February.

At this time I was as tired, nerved and stressed from all those excitements that I rather didn’t want to go anywhere. As a matter of fact I would have missed lots of fantastic experiences which I don’t want to miss.

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First stage was a four day 4×4 Ecotrail with our car, a ranger’s buggy and three other private cars through the Kgalagadi, a part of Kalahari.

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To be completely self sufficient was called for, night stops in non secured bush camps. Dinner around a fire place with roaring lions not too far. Sleeping in a tent knowing that the ranger takes care of us, his rifle next to him.

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Showering behind an open wooden wall with a bucket over ones head, “long drop” next to it, which content was covered next day before start with cold wood ash from the fireplace to prevent unpleasant smell. During the day convoy driving through steppe and veld, through man-high grass and over sand dunes, uphill and downhill.

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Via radio consistency and grade of the next sand dune to negotiate was announced and off it went. Keep distance from the car in front, watch the car behind if he can close up, waiting until our group of five cars is complete, and continue.

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Due to heavy rain falls steppe and dunes are vegetated and blossom in full colors. We see lots of small animals, many birds but unfortunately no lions. In breaks our ranger explains us many small and interesting details.

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Following this four day trail we stay privately a bit more than a week in the Kgalagadi in different camps. First time in our lifes we see lions lying on the road directly next to our car,

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hyenas crossing the road in a distance of 3 to 4 meters,

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young jackals playing around our car,

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And – how could it be diffent: amidst from nowhere a punctured tire:

Next to 9!!! Adult lions, 7 lionesses and 2 male lions, completely pigged out and sleeping or dozing. Thank God!

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We turn around and drive very slowly to a picnic place nearby, which is also not fenced in, and change our on the side slashed tire.

A German couple with a rental 4×4 safari buggy is sitting the whole time at a picnic and gobbling their food. My loud and unmistakable plea that we would appreciate help to lift this very heavy car tire, vanishes in the chewing noise of those both obese Germans. Richard and I feel like being a welcomed entertaining TV show! Later in the camp we saw the couple more often: eating, eating, eating! No wonder that more and more Germans have to fight with obesity.

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As we continue early morning and cross the border to Namibia, I nearly step with my flip flops at the entrance of the customs office onto a small but most harmful and venomous scorpion, that is kicked with the boots of an armed soldier into the next bushes. Whew, that might have easily go wrong!

At Marienthal we get as only guests a nice spot for our tent at a not yet opened camping site next to a farm house. It is wonderful to be again alone for some time! In the morning we walk to the farm house for breakfast, evenings for dinner.

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We can enjoy the pool and sit in the shade a long drink in our hand. A short timeout from the camping slogan “DO IT ALL YOURSELF”.

We love the style of the farm house with 12 small, quaint cottages, its trimmed garden with lovely stone figures and attached fields for own vegetables and own waterhole.

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One afternoon as we come back earlier as planned to our tent, we just come in time: the moment we drive with our car in the camping site our tent is just opened by two young rouges, who spotting our car go on a run over the fence and adjacent fields. We alerted a search team from the farm house and shortly later they returned with the leader of a squatter camp and three youngsters who have been caught close by, next to a river. We cannot identify anybody with certainty

This event makes us change our complete camping behavior immediately:

Inside the tent we store only what’s absolutely necessary for the actual dwelling. We live out of boxes inside the car, which are rearranged accordingly. Leaving the tent all which is not nailed down is stored and taken with inside the car. But this provides us with a not to underestimating security feeling. We learn our lessons! But it is also a pitty that one is forced to be suspicious and to be wary.

Here in Marienthal Richard changed completely frustrated about the permanent tire punctures all six Bridgestone Duellers for BFGoodrich AT tires. Since then no more punctures happened. TOI, TOI, TOI!

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Next stage is for three days Namib Naukluft, a wild mountain area with demanding hikes through boulders and mountain brooks. It is hot and sticky with thunderstorms in the evening.

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In places during our for hours lasting hikes we are accompanied by groups of monkeys, the big baboons, which sometimes come as close that it makes me shiver.

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The ranger tell us that last year during a long lasting drought the baboons rioted the camps to steal food, as they couldn’t find anything in the nature. At no circumstances we should keep food inside our tent, as they would possibly tear of the zip. So we get more and more used to living out of our car’s boot. Lastly all gets natural and every piece finds its explicit place in the trunk.

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At one of our hikes we bath naked in a natural water pool and enjoy in this heat the cold water. A sharp eye is upon our clothes that they are not stolen by some curious baboons. This would be really the last what we need – walking back to the camp, naked!

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We continue after this to Sesriem, a touristy high light at the west coast of Namibia with sand dunes which are reckoned to be the worldwide highest with up to 300 meters.

Some of those you can climb up the crest to the top: an unique experience at sun rise!

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We encounter our first sand storms, which appear out of nowhere and force up to thigh up our small tent like a spiders web and place our evening meal in a split second in the boot.

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After Sesriem we want to drive on the Namibian site through the Richtersveld National Park. We stop at the turnpike of the entrance to the National Park to show our papers. A Namibian and a South African officer on duty want to search our car for weapons. As I assure that besides our knife in the rack between the front seats no weapons are in the car the drama starts. The Namibian officer wants to confiscate the knife because we could be killed with our own knife when being attacked. He wants to send the knife to Windhoek where we could pick it up in a couple of weeks. Now I had enough: I explain Richard that he shell take back the knife and turn round on the spot and not to drive through the park. Now the South African officer relents and suggests to find a safe place for the knife in the side cover of the trunk. The Namibian officer is now “pissed off” and starts to check my backpack, my wallet and several compartments for diamonds. As another car stops behind us he gives in after taking a handful of goodies I offered him.

Wow – this was clearly an attempt to get hold of our knife or have it ransomed for money. We can enter the park and enjoy a marvelous scenery of rugged mountains and wilderness next to an Orange river which leisurely but mightily flows along.

I notice again that Richard is much too soft to oppose against such people and their machinations. I don’t give in so easily.

Following this we spend two days / three nights at Norotshama River Resort in a cozy small one-room cottage with bathroom.

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This small oasis lays within kilometer long wine growing areas which are irrigated directly from the mighty Orange River. We treat ourselves with breakfast and dinner and drive during the day through the landscape. Huge townships are next to the road. The huts are build out of reed and prevent that it doesn’t get too hot in the blazing sun.

At the second day – oh wonder: surprise! The heat killed our car battery. It doesn’t budge an inch, not even the remote for the car doors is working. So we have to look for another battery – Saturday, 11:00. But oh wonder, not even 2 km away in a big hardware store we get an even bigger and stronger battery, which is build in temporarily by very the friendly personal.

After this we start to an offroad trip which has been heartily recommended from the locals and graded as easy to medium. We drive into a gorge as majestic that it makes us completely flabbergasted

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Huge mountain walls on both sides of a gravel road. We are completely alone, not a single soul as far as you can see. But for just in case a picnic site for at least 3 parties to fire up a Sunday BBQ. For South Africans nothing exists to deter them from a braai.

The complete route is app. 25 kilometers long and reaches through different landscapes up to a mountain crest and back again to the valley.

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For me it was a terrible fright as our car reaches stone slabs and no path was visible any more. All my pleas to turn around doesn’t help by my husband. He alights and encounters the next meters in front of our car with slanting massive stone slabs and doesn’t react in the slightest to my clamour that we are wrong and that there is no possibility to drive further on. He comes back, starts the engine and drives very slowly but continuously slab for slab and step for step downwards.

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I don’t recognize anything of this, crying and hands in front of my eyes waiting for the “big bang”. But there is nothing, no bang, no rocking, no nothing. All fine. Driver happy, co-driver a nervous wrack.

We stay another three days at a camping site we know already, next to Namaqua National Park and a private park near Springbok. In both parks we do 4×4 offroad drives and enjoy being again the only visitors, as at this time of season there are no wild flowers blossoming and therefore not so attractive for a standard tourist.

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