Last night we were camping again. It was really good to be back in the tent and, as we'd camped on sand in the Cedarberg mountains, the night was cool, but not cold.
At 05h30, Maxwell walked through camp waking everyone up. There were moans of disapproval from the French camp but generally, everyone was awake. Up and out for a shower and then back to the tent to start packing the bags. By this time, there was usually enough light to make do without the torch however, here, in the mountains, it was still dark. The sun had not managed to get above the peaks.
Once packed, I lowered the tent and went off for breakfast. This was the first morning camping for all and our guide was intending to teach the others how to pack their tents. Unfortunately, the French were going at it hammer and tongs and making a right pig's ear of doing things their own way. Once my tent was packed, I guided Andrea (the German) in the best way to pack the tent and, despite the fun and games, we were only three minutes late in leaving the camp site.
the hill, the door still on the roof, we returned to the main tarmac road and continued northwards. Scrub spread either side of the road, red sand peering through the grey bushes. A windsock indicated the presence of a private landing strip in the sand, its white gates looking out of place in the bleak scenery. The long straight road led northwards, undulating through the countryside.
An hour into the trip, the sun was beginning to climb but the temperature was already in the 80s. Vineyards spread out along the road, their neat rows providing some form of order in the otherwise haphazard rocky landscape.
We had a quick coffee stop during which the door on the roof was checked before continuing ever north. The landscape changed into semi-desert and began to repeat itself with telegraph poles stretching as far as the eye could see. The nests of Pied Crows occasionally perched on the pole whilst every so often, the birds themselves rested, their brilliant white vests gleaming against their black feathers in the sun.
At Springbok, we stopped to buy provisions. For some reason, the French decided to change their Euro into Rand rather than use
an ATM but were surprised when there were no banks open (it was Saturday). Even though money is available through the ATMs, they are not willing to use them.
Continuing northwards, without money, we stopped at a solitary tree just short of the Namibian border for lunch. It was here that we received news that our replacement truck was just a few miles behind and so, in the heat of the desert sun, we stripped the truck of everything we owned and piled it all under the tree.
To much relief, our new truck arrived some 30 minutes later and we set about transferring all our belongings and groceries. A check revealed that we didn't need to worry about tents and bedding although we did need to get some fresh water.
Running slightly behind schedule, we made the Namibian border and went to get our passports stamped (the 10th on this trip). Returning to the truck, we then drove the mile or so to the Namibian side and received the 11th stamp. Sadly, our guide's work permit hadn't arrived and so he had to revert to being driver, with Maxwell as guide.
After a wait, we
managed to get the appropriate approvals and headed into very different countryside. Desert was clearly around us and the only tarmaced road was that on which we were driving; all the roads leading off were gravel. After only a few miles, we pulled into Felix Unite camp and set up our tents by the Orange River. The green lawns of the camp site looked very out of place amongst the red desert rocks.
With darkness falling, the temperature is not falling in sympathy; it's looking to be a very hot night indeed.
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