Participants returned to field base over the weekend looking tanned and healthy, albeit a little scruffier as another phase took its toll on their expedition kit. There were lots of hugs and kisses as friends reunited to tell tales of the past three weeks and exchange gossip and photos of their time away. With two phases down and just one remaining they are now a hardened bunch and expert fire lighters, porridge makers and long drop constructors.
We wave goodbye to five more Explorers who swap expedition for home life and welcome two new faces for the final phase.
As before, we hear now from those out in the field who have put pen to paper to share their experiences. Once again, there were enthusiastic responses to the messages sent via the blog, so thanks to all those who got in touch with their loved ones. Alpha 2 - Onameya School. By Helena Lamb and Mary Gee
The Official A Team got off to a great start at Onameya. On the first day we de-anted the area and made an impressive long-drop, complete with homemade (jerry can) toilet seat. After, we got to know one another
with a few games of mafia around the camp fire.
Our first day on the building site was eventful due to Will M killing a snake and the group getting to grips with becoming brickies. That aside, we made really fast progress and were allowed a morning off to play with the school kids. Lee taught some football skills while some of the other children danced and sang songs for us.
We were fortunate enough to be invited along to the local church, where we were welcomed and were able to experience the local culture.
Along with killing a goat and two chickens, we ate extremely well and had chocolate cake three times and fresh bread every day. On the last day we completed the roof and left Onameya tired but with a sense of achievement and new skills in building walls and plucking chickens! Alpha 3 - REST. By Saul Hardman
The Rare and Endangered Species Trust was set up to prevent the extinction of a fantastic (but not so fluffy) creature. The Cape Griffon vulture is slowly being killed off by quick-fix measures taken by farmers to prevent their livestock from being hunted
by large cats. Before anyone knew it there were just 12 in existence in Namibia. Our inspired project partner Maria set up the organisation to prevent the species dying out completely. The new site for the vultures was where alpha 3 made its mark. Our group consisted of 10 venturers and two PMs.
The camp site was amazing, much to our delight - a green savannah located in the middle of nowhere. It was overlooked by a huge natural structure, going by the name of Baboon Rock. The numerous tracks provided amazing morning run routes and the views were breath-taking. A few of the guys took to guinea fowl hunting as a new form of entertainment and their continued empty-handiness after their daily hunts made the team laugh.
We had plenty of work to do - the first few days proved very productive but some planning problems led to a few days when activity was thin on the ground. But we had such a fantastic group that we kept each other amused with multiple games of football and rounders as well as hilarious conceptual evening. We had everything from cross-dressing nights to a full-on Scottish Celeidh - never
a dull moment, that’s for sure. The nearby rock also doubled as an awesome campsite for the two nights we slept under the stars in just our sleeping bags - an unforgettable experience.
Our hard work resulted in a bird bath and partial wiring of the aviaries high ceiling, a painted hide, a newly constructed log walkway and one gigantic trench. Alpha 4 - Cape Cross. By Jim Norton and Astrid Branum
Thirteen members of Alpha 4, 5,000 jackals, 250,000 seals and 200,000 kilometres of nothing. Looking down the never-ending road to Cape Cross, all that we could see was a big cloud looming over the camp site. As part of our home for the next three weeks stood a broken monument, a camp site in shambles and a sorry-looking viewpoint.
Enduring the pungent smell of seals and traipsing through numerous seal bones on our way to our work didn’t put us off our challenge. With our enthusiastic attitudes, a few licks of paint and a lot of cement, we quickly managed to turn around Cape Cross and make it far more pleasing on the eyes of the numerous tourists who visit from miles around each
Back at the camp site we spent several laborious days shovelling sand and moving rocks for a new camping area to ensure the visitors of the National Park were ready and rested to snap shots of one of Namibia’s unique sights.
When we had time off, we turned to our ‘holiday reps’ to keep us entertained and amused. Aerobics and yoga kept us flexible and there were plenty of eventful nights of ‘truth or dare’. Quiz nights stimulated our minds and Dave’s short shorts helped in other ways!
It was back to school for some as we competed in primary school olympics and rounders matches. Our creative minds were kept occupied by designing cards and presents for two memorable birthdays and our appetites were satisfied with superb camp fire cooking. Culinary magic such as ‘Daniel bread’, curry, flapjacks and luncheon meat burgers were the highlights but cooking was not without its mishaps. When waiting hours for the kettle to boil took its toll, we turned the nearby lodge with its filling food and hospitality.
Overcast days reminded us of the British coast but fortunately the sunny days soon turned Cape Cross into an exotic location.
Our colourful group had a great time mixing with play to ensure we had an unforgettable three weeks. Alpha 5 - Trekking. By Rebecca Hocking
Twenty days, six girls, six guys, three PMs and our knowledgeable Namibian guide Bernard left field base to begin the trek of a lifetime. Our journey began on a remote goat farm in the middle of nowhere and led us through a river bed, a canyon, across an open plain to a ‘pyramid’ and finally to the ocean of the incredible Skeleton Coast.
On our first day we were lucky enough to see a mother and baby giraffe as well as a family of baboons, springbok, jackals and snakes. We saw parts of the country few people have seen or will ever see and things we’ll never forget. We were rendered speechless by views we never thought possible and scenery that took our breath away.
There were injuries along the way but not even a scorpion sting (non harmful!) or inner thigh chafing slowed us down. We celebrated Lucy’s birthday on a day which coincided nicely with us sharing a camp site with the other trek group and had a rest
day the next day too so nicely timed! Open showers at the Save the Rhino camp site will be remembered for a lifetime as will the goat dinner most of the group enjoyed that night.
Three horrible days began at ‘death camp’ when we had radio trouble and had to set up camp off route, ending up with two days of bees which had many of us hysterical, bearing the 50 degree heat in our tents to escape them! Few got away without stings.
Our trek support, Michael, and chocolate saved the first day and group morale and banter got us through the last. The trekking has been tough - we lost one of the team for a few days due to an ankle injury - days were long and challenged each of us in different ways. There were times when I wanted to give up and times when I never wanted it to end. I will never forget this time or the people I met and I can’t believe we actually did it!!
I’ve now come to the end of my seven weeks and will leave Raleigh for the UK in a few days time. As
CD Jim said to us at the beginning “You came for the experience of a life time and you will leave with a life time of experiences” I will certainly leave will loads. Good luck to everyone for phase three. I miss you all already! Alpha 6 - Trekking. By Jimmy Bruce
On April 22 a group of lively, young, enthusiastic bobby dazzlers came together to form the legendary ‘Alpha 6’. From that day forward the Namibian desert would never be the same again. Let’s hear their story: Our epic journey started north of The Brandberg where, under the blistering sun, Alpha 6 dressed as pirates and took part in a GPS assisted treasure hunt. We proceeded to find treasure of mechanically de-boned wieners and pork-free meatballs in a rich gravy sauce. After a few days with a combination of hot and spicy chakalaka with added peri-peri prepared by our saucy PM Mandy and lack of ‘5 tucker 1’s’, hearts were racing and love was in the air.
Each male participant took it upon themselves to escort there ideal woman for a romantic night out for two. Secrets were not revealed but suspicions were arisen, especially between
Alex and Louise. From that day forward Alpha 6 re-united as one, even sharing sweat pools under tarpaulin in the flat desert plains. Alpha 6’s endurance was tested with numerous swarms of bees but was later comforted with rather too many cups of tea.
Naughty nights including games such as ‘Never have I ever’ along with ‘Truth or Dare’ where we saw some very revealing sides of the team. Sarah, Daisy and Laura once again comforted themselves with yet more cups of tea. A grand finale to what has been a memorable trek started off with a ‘school disco’ night where we all busted our moves south of The Brandberg. All that was left now was the crunch race between the two trekking groups Alpha 5 and Alpha 6. Preparations started early where those precious bikinis were burnt to lighten the load. The final day was the highlight of the trip where we woke up to Blur’s track ‘Song 2’ and then started carbo-loading and donning our animal costumes before day break. Accompanied by music, adrenaline and high spirits, Alpha 6 were just beaten by Alpha 5 by a matter of metres. A big thank you to everyone in
the group especially to PMs Sarah, Phil and Mandy for all their hard work. We all had the time of our lives. Alpha 6 trekked further than any other Alpha in history, thus making them the strongest, fittest and funnest group of all time. Phase three allocations and photos of the new alpha groups as follows: Alpha 1. Onakasino playground Participants: Matt, Nguyen, Owen Ensor, Lucy Martin, Annie Turner
Sarah Seymour, Fiona Wynn, Maximillian Taylor-Smith, Imogen Ainsworth, Victoria Payne, Brendan Cavanagh, Daniel Williamson, Jimmy Bruce. Project managers: Linda Fenner, Joanna Harvey, Stuart Everitt Alpha 2. Onameya School Participants: Thomas Rice, Richard Lewin, Claire Smith, Ali Scarisbrook, Iain Macleod, Kate Whalley, Sam Picton, Saul Hardman, James Norton, Daisy Faulkner, Astrid Branum, Nicola Harney, Billy Bambrough Project managers: Sophie Pell, Toree Weller, Rosie Jones, Stuart Everitt, Lenny Alpha 3. REST Participants: Daniel Boyd, Nicola Good, Trevor Ferros, Louise MacMillan, Laura McGuire, Susannah Larmont, Alexander Maxwell-Scott, William Morton. Project managers: Phil Duma, Sarah Walters, Stuart Everitt Alpha 5. Trek Participants: Alexandria Fair, Thomas Erikson, Imaan Petra, William Reed, Richard Thomas, Alexandra Smith, Josephine Close, Hannah Young, Sean Paterson, Amy Meza De Paz, William Balfour.
Project managers: Alex Ridyard, Stuart Everitt, Monica Babb, Louise Powell Alpha 6. Trek Participants: Nicholas Reid, Lee Daley, Gemma Doherty, Ben Priest, Christine Johnson, Mary Gee, Rachel Smith, David Williams, Rosie Willmot, Kerry Usher, Chris Spencer. Project managers: Mandy Talbot, Simay Adil, Lucy Kentish
At the beginning of June we'll be hearing from participants about their last leg of the 07D journey. We'll also have one or two photos from 'wash up' which will include the participant party, an awards night and various other activities.. So, until next time, thanks again for reading and please keep your comments coming!
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