Repairs - Hippo Pool - Day 31

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Africa » Namibia
November 14th 2008
Published: November 20th 2008
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Ruacana DamRuacana DamRuacana Dam

Ruacana Dam - Border with Angola
It was a delightful camp and we were sorry to leave it. But nobody found us there, despite our hearing someone chopping wood nearby and, much to our surprise, nightclub music when it got dark. When we drove away we found we had camped within half a mile of a little village which, yes, had a night club!

It took us about an hour to reach Oshakati as we had to go via Ondangwa, a rather circuitous route. Ondangwa had a shiny railway station and many, many car spares outlets and auto repair shops. Judging by the number of wrecked cars parked there, they had a roaring trade! Oshakati was quite sophisticated and even had a sizeable Toyota garage - not surprising as 9 out of every 10 cars one finds here is a Toyota. Ian’s silencer was making horrid noises and he really had to have it seen to. The Toyota people were very helpful but had no spares. They found someone in Ondangwa (30 miles back) who could fix him up with something or other so Ian came to look for me. I was at the Dunlop outlet trying to replace my burst tyre. The very helpful people there, especially the manager Derek Burne, Could not supply a BFG Mud Terrain to match my other tyres so I ended up buying a BFG All Terrain - the next best thing. Derek was very knowledgeable about where we are planning to go so spent much time giving us advice and info. When he heard about Ian’s problem he immediately took us to a local repair shop he knew of who fixed Ian up with a replacement silencer in 3 hours, having to manufacture most of the fitments themselves. They are obviously used to these sorts of problems.

I tried to withdraw cash from a bank using my plastic but none of them worked here, despite my having informed the card company in UK before we set off. Something I shall have to sort out when we get further south where communications will be better. Anyway, we didn’t get off till 4 pm so made a bit of a dash towards Ruacana, some 100 miles away, where there are good camping facilities.

It was through flat and rather boring country so we went lickety loop until, just before we got there, we suddenly came upon a huge valley ahead of us, with a great dam in it. This dam is on the river marking the boundary between Namibia and Angola and provides hydro electric power for both countries, and supplies half of Namibia’s needs (so the guide book says). Downstream of the dam lies Hippo Pool where there is a very nice Community Campsite where we spent the night, luxuriating in hot showers, decent loos and wonderful views over the river - but no hippo or crocs that we could see.


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