8 Feb 2010 Fish River Canyon

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February 8th 2010
Published: May 15th 2010
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We started our day with a nice breakfast (the choice is great at the lodge). We walked around the lodges, climbed the boulders. The landscape is absolutely incredible. We walked around and I came across a 'living plant', they are very small and difficult to see as they look like little stones. We also followed a small dry river bed and imagined what it would be like after the rains. Although we were visiting in the rainy season we had not seen much rain, just a couple of rain clouds.

We spent a few hours at the pool by ourselves. The pool is very cold and salt water, so it was quite relaxing. From the pool you can admire the landscape. We had lunch and then did some more relaxing.

We visited the tourist shop and made friends with Selma in the shop. She's a lovely girl from Namibia and we talked about cultural differences, about countries, tourists and all sorts. She's a really nice lady and if you are at the lodge, say hi to her!

Later early evening, we had booked ourselves in for a private Fish River Canyon excursion. We met our guide in the reception and he took us in a small mini bus to 5 different viewpoints over the canyon. He told us the history of the canyon, of the Gondwana desert collection lodges (now a private nature park) and we chatted about football (the Namibians love football and support English teams!), the weather, the roads, you name it.

Fish River Canyon is out of this world! The view is incredible and unbelievable. The guide told us that they actually do hiking walks up and down the canyon and I could not imagine trying to get down to the bottom. The guide lent us binoculars (I left mine behind) and pointed out plants growing in the hills/canyon and told us what animals live there. It's the second largest canyon in the world (slighly disputed) after the Grand Canyon. It's the largest one in Africa (although this is debated). Nevertheless, there was no fence so you could stand right on the edge, and there were no people, no mass tourism here! It was fantastic. I could imagine doing a balloon ride over that canyon. A mountain peak on the other side is fascinating and we heard how the Germans used this as a signalling post in the war.

When we reached the last viewpoint, the wind suddenly blew up and a sand storm came towards us. The mini bus was shaking all over the place and sand was flying in. We were having a sundowner drink (G&T) and some vegetarian buffet that the guide had brought along for us. Most of all we loved the homemade feta cheese, made at the lodge! I started getting worried about the sand storm and a couple of minutes later the guide said we'd better go. The sky was turning black and you could see lightening further away heading towards us. Rain. I really thought the bus was going to blow over the edge of the canyon! So off we went. Very slowly in the strong wind. The thunder and lightening was getting closer and closer and soon a few rain drops fell. Our guide was very worried. He was paying attention to the road ahead,I can only guess that in rain the animals run all over the place and into the road. They were expecting rain any day and now it was finally coming. (I appreciate rain more now.) I drank my G&T for courage. :o)

We arrived back at the lodge in the dark and wanted to have a quick shower before eating. The thunder had knocked out the generator!! We had no electricy in our lodge and it was hot and muggy. We told the lodge owners who promised to look into it whilst we had dinner. I have never had dinner sitting in clothes full of sand and I had tons of mosquito bites on my ankles. We walked back to our lodge using our mobile phones as light to see the path as all the lights were out. As we got to our lodge we had lights but the air conditioning didn't work. Chris set off again to find help. Apparently the generator cannot cope with too many guests (the lodges were fully booked) and you can either have light or you can have air con... fortunately we had two fans in the room and we used them to create a cross wind (aren't we clever) in the room whilst trying to sleep.

In the middle of the night, the rain came. It sounded like heavens opened and God created rivers and rivers of water. It stopped briefly. In that break, I turned to Chris and said 'The animals have stopped singing'. Usually, from what I know, if all animals go quiet it means something bad is about to happen. The rain started again, heavier than before. At any moment I was expecting a knock at the door and guests being evacuated due to flooding. I think I slept about an hour that night.

The next day came and when we looked outside there was hardly any sign of it having rained. What a relief! We thought we'd be stuck at this lodge for days and days, not being able to drive our little car out of the area. The roads have many dry river beds that you must cross, and if they were full of water, there's no way of getting across. But it was fine!!!

It was time to leave Canon Lodge and head back to South Africa.


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