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We spent exactly a month in Namibia, entered on 18th July left on 18th August. We spent our first night in Rundu with a nice view across into Angola. The roads were very straight and the scenery was very monotonous but we continued onwards to Grootfontain where we went to see the largest known meteorite in the world. Nicely preserved by Rossing mines for all to see. From Grootfontain we headed up to Etosha National Park. There we had an amazing time watching the animals. They have lots of waterholes that the animals come to, so if you sit then generally things arrive. We did that just before sunset and a white rhino came out to drink, accompanied by a thirsty giraffe.

We spent the evening watching the floodlit waterhole at the campsite and along came two black rhinos and two lionesses. The next day we saw lots of elephants, oryx, zebras and much more, two wonderful days.

     

From Etosha we headed south to Windhoek, via Gross Barmen hot springs. In Windhoek we met John, of Roverland Namibia, who bought a scrapped 101 so we could have two new front springs, ours were quite saggy again, and two rear shock absorbers, ours were leaking. He’d been thinking about getting the 101 to break up for parts anyway, it wasn’t just for us.

Photo 2554 Icicles
We also met up with Anita and Stephan of the Namibian climbing club and they took us to Harmony crag to climb amongst the icicles, a very rare occurrence in Namibia we were assured.

After Windhoek we went west to Spitzkoppe, an amazing place. Great for climbing and lots of bits have been bolted, which is almost essential since the granite has few cracks for natural gear. We did some climbing on the boulders near the base, we could have belayed from Nelly if we’d wanted. Next day we climbed up a long section of Pontok Spitz but didn’t quite get to the top.

Photo 2590Spitzkoppe

The walk in was quite tortuous and we didn’t fancy ending up having to do it in the dark so we retreated early. The climb was most memorable for its chimney, one of the first I’ve climbed that has not been damp and slimy. Anyone going to this area of Namibia should definitely make a detour here.

 

After Spitzkoppe we went to Messum Crater, home to the welwitchia plants. Here were some of the worst corrugations we have met. They shook us so much that we had to laugh, unfortunately the spare wheel holder was not happy with them at all and broke off.

Photo 2622 Broken Spare Wheel holder
 
 

We escaped the barrenness of Messum crater by driving to the Atlantic Ocean. After another very corrugated road and another puncture we arrived at Mile 108 Campsite. It was blowing a gale, not the typical tropical beach at all.

 

 

photo 2621 Messam Crater

After a rocky night we drove up to see a shipwreck on the Skeleton coast before driving south.
Photo 2640 Shipwreck
 
First stop was to see the seal colony at Cape Cross, lots and lots of seals and they sounded just like a flock of sheep.
Photo 2647 seals
In Swakopmund we went in a beach buggy in the sand dunes, a very fun morning’s drive. The best thing about the buggies is that when they get stuck you just lift them up and out of it.
Photo 2657  

Next stop was Walvis Bay and some maintenance work. Nelly was backfiring and it was getting worse. The silencer was broken but instead of a new silencer we decided on a whole new stainless steel exhaust.
With the backfiring cured we moved inland to the famous sand dunes at Sossusvlei. We had more problems with Nelly on the way out of Walvis Bay though. She overheated like mad. We traced the problem to a radiator full of salt, dust, sand and numerous other things and the berg wind, it was 40 degrees C outside and the wind was even hotter. In Solitaire we used the air line at the garage to blow out the radiator and problem solved.
We got up in time to see the sunrise from the sand dunes but the fog had come in. We walked up the dunes in the fog and waited for the fog to lift.
Once the fog lifted we had spectacular views of dunes all around us. After lunch we drove on to Helmeringhausen for another windy night. The roads were all gravel, well maintained, and, every so often we crossed a cattle grid and had to remember how to go round bends.
   
photo 2726
Next day we rejoined tarmac, we left it just outside Walvis Bay, and reached Luderitz. We spent the afternoon at the seaside, a bit of bouldering on the granite outcrops and lots of kite flying in the sunshine. Next morning we went to visit the ghost mining town at Kolmanskop. It was interesting to see how the dunes have moved around and into the houses.
   

Photo 2818 House in the sand

     

From there we moved eastwards to Keetmanshoop to see the giant’s Playground, the road was tarmac this time but not very interesting, still not much traffic or many bends, lots of uphill and no overheating. We had hoped that there may be some climbing but there wasn’t. After a very calm night, the first for ages, we moved on south again to Fish River Canyon. This is the second biggest gorge in Africa, after the Blue Nile Gorge in Ethiopia but much smaller and much less impressive. We visited another hot springs, at Ai-Ais, beautifully warm and relaxing.

Next day we moved southwards and left Namibia. The main impression of Namibia is one of space. We drove for days and days on very straight roads, through no towns or villages. The ground is very, very dry and most of the countryside looked barren, unfertile and dry.

The statistics explain it very well, Namibia is about four times the size of the UK and has 1.8million people.

 

 

 
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