Saturday, February 5, 2011

Road Trippin (part 1 of 2)

Warning: LOTS of photos follow.

Friday 28 January
An early start - on the road by 6 heading north out of Cape Town. Miss the N7 turn off and drive around for half an hour before finding our way back to Edgemead and on the road we needed to be on, eventually waving goodbye to table mountain in the distance behind us.

We got as far as just before Citrusdale, south of Clanwilliam, where we met road works and a long queue of cars. We stopped and turned the engine off and when the traffic was allowed through again we tried starting the car to no avail. There we sat until the road workers towed us off the road to a little cafe, which conveniently had bathrooms and WiFi internet access.

A tow-truck eventually arrived and dragged us on to Citrusdale where the mechanic started the car first try... Not satisfied, we made him check it out and it turned out that the carbs were flooding due to bad timing. Or something. Either way, we were on our way again.

The rest of the way up was uneventful, and we arrived at Springbok fairly early so we decided to keep on going - to Namibia! Crossing the border was a ... relaxed affair, which was nice really, and we were soon in the start desert north of the Orange River. We arrived at the Norotshama campsite to find a lovely place, almost finished and with some damage due to the recent flooding. A lovely swim and dinner followed.

Saturday 29 January
The road north to Fish River Canyon was beautiful - so dry and barren. As we had made so much progress the previous day it was only a short drive and we were soon at Hobas camp site.

It turns out this was one of the areas Raleigh had been working in previously (As was Sesreim at Sossussvlei).

We got comfortable, had a swim, had some lunch, had a swim, lazed about, had a swim (it was HOT) nd just generally relaxed. At about 6pm we headed to the Canyon viewing point about 10km from camp. Apparently sunset is a poor time to see the canyon.

Back at camp we moved to another spot to avoid the huge (talkative) group who parked next to us. Boerie for dinner!

Sunday 30 January
Up early to see the canyon again in the sunrise, in case we really had missed out the night before, but I don't think so. It it a beautiful place and very large.

On the road again at about 9am, before going over a fallen over sign (marked road closed it turns out) resulting in two very flat tyres. We managed to get hold of the AA who put us onto a tow truck operator who brought out another tyre. We followed him to Keetmanshoop (a bit out of the way of where we wanted to go) where we had our rims banged back into shape and the tyres re-inflated - good to go!

On our way again - heading to Luderitz. The geography of Namibia is massively varied and changes quite suddenly at times with Luderitz being an extreme example of going from a fairly vegetated area (around Aus) before suddenly being in stark desert. The camp site was very dramatic, but windy. We managed to find a nice out of the wind spot and settled in with some dinner.

Monday 31 January
We headed into town first thing to take some snaps of the odd little town before heading out to Kolmanskoop - a ghost town, which was amazing.

Northward bound, we headed back into the 'lush' interior and through the incredibly dramatic pass down to the drier lowlands. Difficult drive. We passed by a private little game park where a friendly, rickety old giraffe was hanging around.

In the distance there was a lot of rain, and some very hairy (dry) river crossings. This required a certain amount of offroading and 3 maimed shrubs, but we arrived at Sesreim in good time.

We got a camp site, bought our passes and decided to head out to Sesreim canyon for the sunset. We got about half way before the car decided to not work, so I walked the two km back and wrangled some friendly dutch fellows in their 4wd to come save us (We had seen them previously - they were doing cape to Cairo/Algeria/Netherlands over about 6 months). Safely back at our campsite we had some dinner and just generally tried to relax.

Managed to wrangle ourselves a berth on a tour bus heading in to the Canyon the next morning though, which was a relief.