From the veldt – green beyond for miles stretching out ahead of us. Springbok and huge beef ranches.
Apparently tomorrow the countryside will be so impressive that the last few weeks will pale into insignificance – so I’d best remind myself of the tremendous time we’ve had since leaving Windhoek a couple of weeks ago (almost):
– geology and veldt that changed with each escarpment or cutting through rock as we made our way along roads;
– roads that went from sealed tar roads to wet sand, to gravel where the grass grows from the edges in towards the middle, with the spoor of various wildlife having left their mark. And then as we headed from near the Botswana border back to the west coast we drove across desert – with no one else – and then on to the (somewhat bizarre) salt roads from north of Henties Bay to Swakopmund.
We spent almost a week on Bospoort farm (between Gobabis and Summerdown) where the giraffes came daily to feed in the (350 hectare) ‘paddock’ next to the homestead; where Manie presented the boys with their own handmade catapults, where the boys learnt to shoot rifles and where they fell in love with the working sheep dogs Max and Moritz. Oscar rose early each morning ( long before anyone else) desperate to be out there ‘doing farming’; driving out with his Uncle Fanie to check fences and water troughs and then helping Julius and Manie fix broken fences. He was in his element and at his happiest – busy and with animals, who don’t judge him but accept him for his quirky ways and most of all for his generous love and kindness. We listened to jackals at night and ‘go-way’ birds during the day; had Easter egg hunts and did obligatory egg decorating/painting; we rode quad bikes and travelled in the back of the ‘bakkie’, we ducked from camel thorn trees and hunted for dung beetles – and then we left and headed on more amazing roads across country and made our way to Erindi Game Reserve: the most impressive campsite ever! From there we saw game, African Wild Dogs, elephant and hippos and searched for lions (I found lion when in desperation I went on a game drive one afternoon). And then by chance we headed to the San Village for a tour one morning – fascinated with this nomadic tribes way of life. By chance the big storm came later that morning as we drank coffee at the Lodge and watched hippo and crocodile move through the water and respond to the massive electric storm overhead – and then by chance we were entertained by three elephants who arrived at the watering hole – an experience for us all. The elephants knocked crocodiles out of the way and into the water. Then the elephants pushed each other into the water and continued in some ritual which was either playful or in order to decide the pecking order – we were never sure which.
The rain poured that night, with lightning everywhere around us – so much so we pulled the boys out of their damp tent and popped them in the back of the land cruiser to sleep – which really pleased them – another ‘first’ on the list of experiences. Gerhard and Fanie attempted to keep the braai burning so that we could cook the meat for dinner (fuelled by alcohol to keep warm); we ate dinner perched on chairs in the shower and toilet (with plenty of wine!).
From Erindi we headed into the desert and onto Swakopmund – which despite clearly being a significant town (second largest in Namibia) I found it rather odd. There’s a constant cloud/mist that hangs over Swakopmund. It’s on the edge of the desert with the most fabulous dunes (including the infamous Dune 7 – well done Hugo for scrambling up that hot one bright sunny morning).
Swakopmund was very German (as per colonisation) and so many of the houses have a very German look and there are some fabulous restaurants serving humongous size portions of delicious food (put off the diet for another week then…and let the belt out another hole!). But it all looks a bit dishevelled and in need of some tlc. I was assured that it shines during the summer months when it ‘buzzes’ during the holiday season …it is Namibia’s only coastal resort….but I still felt a bit intrigued by the place.