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Published: September 11th 2011
K - It is 4 weeks and over 8,000KM since my last blog as Namibia and Botswana are not the easiest places to get connected - at least not when camping. It has been a great few weeks and we have really enjoyed the long drives through beautiful, remote countryside and our camping adventure. We quickly got in to the rhythm of setting up camp and cooking al fresco and disasters have been few - OK, so we flooded a campsite on our second night with a 10 foot water spout but hey, they should put the water pipes lower than a tent peg depth right?!
The campsites we have stayed at have all been amazing - whether in size and facilities (posher bathrooms than we have at home!) to basic sites in beautiful, isolated locations with just us and the sound of hippos. The only negative was that it was very cold and windy at night in Southern Namibia which restricted our enjoyment a little - one night I ate dinner in the car because it was so cold! This meant we sometimes didn't linger as long as we might otherwise have done.
The car has also been
very well behaved - an alarming rattle that developed just as we drove to the Kruger National Park last weekend turned out to be some sort of bearing that was replaced the following day by a Nissan garage for about USD40 and a 2 hour wait. Phew! There were far worse places to encounter car trouble.
I can't really squeeze 4 weeks of travel in to one blog so I am starting with Namibia where we spent just over 2 weeks. Namibia is a very beautiful, very empty country - it is four times the size of the UK but with only 2 million people! This meant miles and miles of solitary driving through empty landscapes and we also often had campsites nearly to ourselves. There are many highlights - not least the red dunes at Sousselvei that Mark has already blogged about - and of course Etosha National Park where I developed a (well based) phobia about elephants. However our visit to a Himba village deserves a special mention.
If you have ever read anything about Namibia you have probably seen a photo of a Himba woman - they rub a rust colored body butter into their
1980's football thug
An improvement on the mohican!
bodies every day and knot their hair and smother it in a red clay and then add hair extensions. This process can take up to 2 hours a day - these are seriously high maintenance women. The result is however beautiful - they look like gorgeous, burnished bronze statues adorned with necklaces, belts and ankle jewelry.
The village we visited is basically set up for tourists - we buy jewelry in exchange for photos but this time the tables were slightly turned when Mark admired the haircut of a young child. Through a series of events and much laughter and in front of most of the village Mark underwent a pretty radical transformation in to a Himba man - bald except for a blond/ grey mohican! And all of this performed with a Gilette razor blade by a guy with a very steady hand!
A good time was had by all but the result gave Mark a very alarming appearance - sort of 1970s, psycho, German wrestler. He of course did not have to look at himself very often but watching other peoples reactions to him was pretty comical / embarrassing. Generally a double take but no-one dared
smile too much - after all who wants to annoy a psycho wrestler! After 2 days however I persuaded him that it had to go and he shaved it off, transforming himself into a 1980s football thug which yes, was a better look! Thankfully it is now growing back quickly and in a week or so I should be able to wake up without jumping up in fright at the view next to me!
I will explain why I now hate elephants in another blog!
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