Day 6 – L: Brrrrrrr – wow it was cold in the ground tent and only 3 degrees C as we got up this morning at 7 am and then our neighbour had the audacity to be in shorts! As it warmed up to 5 degrees, he took off his shirt too……!
We packed up and had coffee and made our way through the park for the last time towards the Mata Mata gate on the Namibian border.
By 10am it was 17 degrees and went up to about 30 so we thawed. The Malamoo tent was a breeze to pack, but also very breezy…..The design is not ideal for cold weather as the front and back have only the mesh material while the rest is solid nylon with the outer cover being solid nylon too. Quick and easy though pretty flimsy and really cold is how I would describe it.
Well today we saw a Suricate, Black-shouldered Kite, Martial Eagle and a lot of other birds.
I must add that we are so fascinated by the swarms of Grey-headed Sparrow that fly as if they will go right through your open car windows and in and out of their apartment-like nests all joined together on a lot of the tree branches. We have a photo of them previously, but need mention again. There are several times where you see the still active nest has dropped to the ground because of the sheer weight of all the nests and birds together.
I photographed a Namaqualand Dove today and they are just lovely.
At the picnic site today we got chatting to Alan and Dalene from Bothasig and a tour operator from Richters Safaris. It is so nice to chat to people and they all wish us well when they get the answer to why we are so packed.
Yay!! ( no……no lions yet), but we saw a family of giraffes. The one, grown female, was so close that I could not fit her in one frame and had to wait for her to move on before I got a full photo – she was lovely. That was on our way to the end of our Kgalagadi trip, about 20 kms from the gate at a place called Dalkeith.
S: At Mata Mata we checked in at reception as they keep track of all the visitors in the park. Every morning before you go in to park, you have to go fetch your permit at the gate and let them know what route you will be taking for that day. When you return, you hand the permit in at the gate L: to show that you are safe and sound.
S: After reception we drove through the Namibian border gate and went through Border Control and Immigration which cost us N$ 220 which is the same as our rand value.
Then we made a quick stop at Sitzas Farm Stall where we were able to purchase some well priced meat to stock our little fridge/ freezer.
A further 20 kms down the road, we checked in at the Kalahari Farm Stall and Accommodation for the night, camping. We are very impressed, plain and simple, but nice and clean and modern. We had to buy firewood as you are not allowed to bring wood over the border.
L: They light the “donkey” for hot water. This varies from place to place, but is mostly a metal structure much like a geyser cylinder with a fire burning under it, we have seen paraffin or oil ones too.
Steve suggested that I take the opportunity to have a warm shower while he started supper. I had already managed to get our weeks washing done as they had a clothes washing basin in the ablution area too.
So, Steve set about getting everything that I suggested for supper with a few instructions here and there. I said that the couscous was in a box in a plastic bag and to find some veg to make with it. You simply add the boiled water, salt and oil and after allowing to stand for a while, heat through with the veg, add a table-spoon of margarine and it is ready to serve. All this, while braaiing the meat.
When I came back from the shower, he asked me to taste it. I said yuck, it has no salt and is cold, so he added the salt and warmed it and then gave me a spoonful to taste. I was so confused as it tasted like coconut and had tinned mushrooms in it………..??. Then I spied the empty Jiffy bag that read coconut. Soooooo we had Springbok sausage, lamb chops and……you guessed it, coconut with butter, oil, salt and mushrooms………Well now, let us just say, that is maybe not the recipe to include in any outdoor cook book, but it was edible at least! We laughed so hard that the Germans camping next to us couldn’t help but laugh too, even though they did not get the joke. (It reminded me of home when our daughter made cheese sauce without the cheese…..). S: In my defence, as little as that may count, Lesley did say that the couscous was in a jiffy bag in a box. What she should have said was that it was in a jiffy bag, in a box, in an ammo box. Then maybe I would have got it right. Lesley sometimes cannot remember where things are so when I found what looked like couscous right at the top of the box I did not think twice. Or maybe I did not think at all ………
Our German neighbours are retired and they have come over from Germany for a two month holiday touring Southern Africa. They store their Land Cruiser in Windhoek and just fly in. What a life!
L: So now we have eaten, caught up on all our notes for the blog, expense sheets etc and since it is getting chilly – it is time for bed.
Goodnight to Namibia – the country we have grown to love on our previous visits, sure it will not disappoint.
Day 7 – L: You guessed it, we froze again last night, but this time we were in the rooftop tent with all the blankets and 2 mattresses. It was hard to get out of our cocoon, but when we did, it was still 3 degrees at 8am (26 degs at 10 am).
We thawed out with coffee and rusks and a hot shower and took our time so that the washing could dry in the sun. Not sure if I have mentioned before how soapy the water at Kgalagadi was, you cannot seem to get the soap off you, this water was a lot better to do the washing in. I believe it is Bicarbonate that they add to their water. Meanwhile Steve was having hassles with the compressor to get the tyre pressures back up for the gravel roads. When he started fixing that, the pump for the water tank shorted out, oh dear, one of those days……later in the car the reverse-camera also has no signal.
Our phones also don’t get much signal and no Facebook comes through. So now, we only have the satellite phone which we turn on once or twice a day. It is very expensive for us to call out, but I decided to send out a text message and luckily I did that as we discovered that the company that we had bought the airtime from had not loaded it so we had to get that rectified and it is up and running now.
We had to change plans, oh wait, we didn’t have plans – so that we could drive in to civilization to look for a new switch and fuse to fix the water pump and the switch for the compressor.
We were sent to find Riaan in Gochas and after a long afternoon, Steve has everything back up and running. S: Fortunately the water pump was only a pressure problem as the valve was closed too much.
From Gochas we drove on the road to Mariental, looking for a place to stay. Along the way we came across what we think is called a monitor.
A little further on we came upon an oasis in the wilderness called Lapa Lange Game Lodge. It looked like a 5 star establishment and we wondered if it was affordable…..The camping here has only cost us N$ 290. Our site has grass!, lovely, lovely grass. L: No really, you don’t understand, we have had sand since leaving home, starting to long for the green green grass of home.
S: The ablutions are neat and clean and the water is pure. It is 35 kms from Mariental. The best part was the ice, ice cold Windhoek draught beer which had ice on the glass after a long hot sweaty afternoon unpacking the bakkie and fixing the electrics.
Happy Birthday, Elana and Mandy – not getting the signal for FB so can’t always respond to all the messages, but so enjoy hearing from you all. We can receive SMSs though. Thanks so much, Elana, for the map on FB of our daily progress.