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Published: November 26th 2018
Day 6: Up at 6am to enjoy the cool of the morning. Really enjoying that new Mumford and Sons album. Top notch stuff. Jumped on the Safari bus to begin the first errand to the distant attractions. Full bus, so plenty of people to yarn too as the hours of gravel roads passed by. Still getting called every name variation under the sun, but I can't claim I'm doing a better job in return. Especially with the African 'click' languages.
I will no doubt repeat this, but there's something quintessentially beautiful about the Southern African landscapes. A bit like NZ, I get the sense the journey to places is half the adventure. We arrived in Soussouvlei after 6 hours on the road and set up the tents before a relatively early night. I get the sense this place is special. Comfortably consuming over 5 litres of water a day.
Day 7: Will be hard to top this day. Started at 4am to hoon it down evermore gravel roads to get to Dune 45 for sunrise. Something I've wanted to climb for a few years - admittedly I did have a solitary moment as I made the first tracks of
the day to the top. And it didn't disappoint for the 45 minutes at the top as the sun came up.
Too put it bluntly, from about 8.30am I was sweating my balls off. It's no surprise buggar all can hack it in the environment. We then headed to Big Daddy, a bigger, sexier dune with the iconic Deadvlei at its base (the Microsoft default wallpaper with the white clay salt pan, the dead tree and orange dune behind). Travelling through a sand storm was also a notable experience on the way.
About 380m tall, it felt like 760m with the old 'two steps forward one step back' terrain. One of the most rewarding climbs, I spent about an hour at the top with 360 views of the Namib desert - the oldest in the world. I then proceeded to have a right old hoot running down the entire thing on its steepest edge which led into the iconic white pan of Deadvlei.
Hiked another set of dunes to enjoy the sunset and moonlit plains to cap off the stellar day. Went up barefoot, and had an old French tourist come up to me in a panic
and proceeded to show me a recent picture of a scorpion he saw and said I would die in 5 minutes. Easy to say I kept my wits about me on the way down.
Day 8: Woke up to appreciate my first dose of wind burn (courtesy of Big Daddy's summit). Checked out a nearby canyon which felt rather primal knowing how high a flash flood gets, that baboons live within the caves and catfish in the tiny pools.
Jumped back in the Safari bus to take on another gravel 'highway'. However this one was more like private logging/quarry road by my judgement. Nevertheless, driving through the arid mountainous environment had me grateful I was able to look at it and have a free game drive than drive on the endless straight roads for hours on end.
Definitely already piecing together the next adventure as I learn more and talk to more people. But one thing at a time. Today is also around halfway sadly. Definitely need about 3.5 weeks to do things properly. I'm also the youngest person I've met to date which is surprising. And the only Kiwi.
Day 9: A bit more around the
Looking up at big daddy - should see the people running down for scale
Windhoek region, learning more abouts its recent independence. Beautiful museum. Black Friday is huge here. Never seen crowds like it. Also a chance to clean the clothes after the sweaty conditions and activities. Learned to triple check the month of car rental bookings the hard way, big difference between a 2 day and 32 day order funnily enough. The people and live music make it some of the best nights out also. And the number of dance styles continues to impress.
Everything is lined up for the coming week as I go a little more solo into the wops. Did I mention beer is $2...?!
Day 10: Blasted through the northern countryside on the way to Etosha National Park. Some awesome wood carvings of animals along the way...maybe ill add to Mum's and Dad's new garden zoo...
Set up camp and went straight on a game drive before sundown. Very spoilt with lions, hyenas, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, zebra and few varieties of deer. The campsite also has a watering hole under orange lights. And given the lack of rainfall, it's a hive of activity at night.
Still can't get over the vast expanse of the plains.
The herd of elephants
Sunrise's and sunsets just add to it. Furthermore, there are storms on two horizon's this evening, with the lightening and rumbles adding to the overall effect of the starry night. Also have 8 of my favourite creature (rhinos) currently infront of me. Serenity reached.
Day 11: A herd of 25 elephants to start the day. Not bad. Covered around 160km to the next campsite, travelling through the plains of the national park. Due to rain (first in months) animals dispersed from watering holes, but exciting to see larger herds of wildebeest, zebra etc. migrating as well as some rhino's. Watching a swarm of a million flying insects around lights and stars was a strangely serene scene.
Rain meant a drop of about 20 degrees also. Used my first jumper in weeks. Still have cheetah and leopard to tick off the list...but overall a good haul nevertheless.
Day 12: Back to Windhoek, with little game seen on the way back. Must say the mining operations here are enormous. Relatively little to add, apart from I've seen one All Black's jersey. And the American accent will forever irritate me at a scale of slightly to moderately.
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