L: Last night’s sunset was amazing at Lapa Lange.
I am just sitting on the grassy bank of the little pond, thinking how privileged I am. Steve is in the lounge doing the admin on the computer, but nothing could keep me from watching the sun set with giraffe, eland, kudu calves, ducks, coot, fish and frogs around me, oh, and a full moon shining down on the water. I can’t even feel the mosquitoes biting me or my tummy grumbling……….thank You, Lord.
Meanwhile Steve, after finishing the admin and not finding me in the dark, went back to the campsite where he bonded with the tame-ish kudu ram, ewe and calf roaming around the bakkie. When I got back he had the rooftop tent set up and everything ready for me to make supper. It was a fire less night with pasta and coffee, nice and easy.
Day 8 – L: Eight degrees at 7am so the night was much better.
I wondered off to see the sunrise and catch whatever was at the watering-hole. Not as active as last night, but still some ducks and geese and a blue wilderbees. Steve came and joined me eventually and we were astounded by the one luxury cottage that they are in the process of building. It has a lounge with open plan kitchen and a guest bathroom and then the most amazing bedroom with huge bathroom with all the trimmings, a jacuzzi on the patio and a look-out deck upstairs overlooking all the veld around where the animals roam as well as the watering hole. Wow, I would love to know what that “honeymoon suite” costs for a night.
Lapa Lange has a really low electric fence which they say keeps the animals out as they know not to touch it……hmmmmm, I just worry about the first try.
We saw the two Caracals in an enclosure, but hurried away when we realised that the gate had no latch and they were snarling at us.
We had some breakfast and packed up shortly afterwards. Everything was really quiet around camp as they are an hour behind South Africa. What a lovely find this was.
L: Coming in to the town of Mariental I asked Steve to stop at a quaint little house with garden gnomes in the grounds. Thought especially of Elana, but sorry cannot post one to you as “Kiewiet”, the owner, makes his own moulds and then casts them out of solid cement. They are really sweet when painted – Snow White, 7 dwarves, toucan birds, fish eagles to name a few.
S: In Mariental, we refueled, did a bit of shopping and got connected with a MTC SIM card and data bundle for my phone. We then headed out of Mariental towards Maltahohe. Lesley was wishing for a proper cappuccino on the road and as we were driving through the town I saw a sign advertising cappuccino and free Wi-Fi so I decided to stop and treat her. I had a Marula juice which you have to wait 20 minutes for it to defrost or you get a bottle of the juice frozen as it will carry on fermenting if not. It is a first for me and it tastes a little like Timjan which is a bitter aloe and grape mix (which is sold in Bonnievale). It is not as strong or as bitter. L: But still yuck!! No, it will never be an “acquired” taste……. My coffee was good, but still on the hunt for the perfect cappuccino – watch this space!
S: Then off towards Sesriem, where we have been before, but so enjoyed Sossusvlei that we wouldn’t miss it for the world. Actually last time we did not get to see Dead Vlei and I wanted to do so this time. There has been no rain here so Sossusvlei should not be as wet as our last visit and the expectation is for a totally different view.
We decided to stay within the Naukluft National Park where we stayed in 2011 when we were last here. The camp was full so they put us into “overflow” which is the same price even though there is no electricity, or water or dustbin, or braai or campsite for that matter – just a very large gnarly tree on a sand-dune!!
The ablutions are more rundown than last time and the fact that we had just been at Lapa Lange for the same price was a dismal contrast.
I cooked supper, under supervision this time and we had a Springbok sausage stew in the potjie with roast potatoes. It was great.
Day 9 – L: On the way out to see Sesriem Canyon, I stopped off at reception to pick up our receipt and managed to negotiate with the manageress, an extra night’s stay for free to make up for the lack of facilities.
Sesriem Canyon was as lovely as we remembered it, but not much water this time so some different shots for our collection. It has been quite a while since we have had the opportunity to have a good walk.
Then it was the long drive to Sossusvlei. We briefly stopped to see Dune 45 which is so called as it is 45 kms from camp. It is really steep yet a lot of people climb it, though this time Steve said that once was enough and last time was the “once”!
We drove on to the entrance to Sossusvlei where we let down the tyre-pressure for the last stretch through the soft, thick sand. This is the only section that needs a 4 by 4 vehicle, but there is a guide who will take you in if you don’t have a 4×4 or assist you if you are not used to driving in sand or get stuck……!!
We had a late lunch under the trees for shelter as it was in the high 30’s by now. Then we set off for a walk in the sand-dunes and out on the now, dry vlei. Also a totally different view from our last visit. It is so tranquil. The “lean to” ablution was awful, Michelle you would cringe 😛
We sat in the shade for a while doing the blog while waiting for the sun to go down a bit before tackling Dead Vlei. Steve spotted an older man, all alone, walking out in this terrible heat and headed over to chat to him and make sure that he was alright…..? Where his vehicle was, nobody knows……
Turned out he had asked a guide to leave him for an hour to walk the distance over the sand-dunes and back which is a really arduous walk of about 1.1 kms, according to the board, not sign-posted and in that terrible heat. Anyway, he was ecstatic to have made it at 77 years of age. (Personally, I think that the guide was very irresponsible to have left him alone).
We decided to return to the entrance as I wanted a better bathroom and it was a good job that we did as Steve then jumped in to assist a young lady, Tammy from Drifters, an overland company, to put on two new wheels on her truck since the one was totally gouged by a rock on one of the roads being graded. It was quite a battle and in the end she needed a lot of help lifting those huge wheels back into the vehicle. We had a lovely chat and have bumped into her several times since. Go Tammy….. S: By the way, she is driver, cook, guide, mechanic, bottle washer, etc. Tough young lady!
In the car park one of the park’s drivers pointed out a couple of baby Southern White-faced owls in the tree. Absolutely gorgeous.
We then went through the thick sand again and once again stopped to help 2 ladies who had not put their tyre-pressures down!! and had got themselves stuck in the sand. Once we had let down their tyres and dug out the wheels we got them on there way and we could finally go back to do the long slog to Dead Man’s Vlei ourselves. Quite a hike, but thankfully a bit cooler. What an amazing thing to see where a lake used to be in amongst all the dunes……
By the time we got back to the bakkie it was getting late and there was still the hour’s drive back to the campsite which we needed to make by sunset yet there were a lot of people still lagging behind…….We found a slightly nicer spot for our “free” night, but now no electricity in the bathrooms.
We decided to try the soya mince and even Steve said that it wasn’t toooo bad, a good standby, in case……
It was great to climb into the rooftop tent and zzzzzzz