Saturday, 16 April 2016


After driving into Namibia from Angola we headed south to our first campsite in the town of Ondangwa. We drove past a Shoprite and other clothing stores that took our fancy. After travelling on the road for almost 6months, our clothes are starting to look incredibly tired. But we arrived at the campsite where we were greeted by a lovely host who told us a little about the place as they were still doing renovations and getting it looking tip top. She showed us the ablution areas and where we would camp overlooking the small dam in the center of the premises. This already was looking amazing as we were so used to camping where ever people could fit us in with limited ablution areas. This was amazing as the ablution blocks were clean, and fairly modern; the camping area had its own braai section and we were loving the more luxurious side to our camping. 

We returned to the bar area to enjoy a cold Savannah and Windhoeks with CHILLED glasses! This was luxury. We sat listening to them all speak Afrikaans to each other and Charles and I were kicking ourselves that we never learnt it. We did enough to pass the subject in school but never took an active interest in learning it. I always thought it was a coarse, unflattering language and therefore stubbornly decided I was not going to learn it. Man, do I regret it as I would love to be able to converse with them. 

We went back to camp, set up our tents and parked our buts in our chairs ready for a lazy afternoon doing nothing. Rob was in his element as he had made friends with the animals on the sight. Very cute dogs and cats and he even got to hold a goat and a duck. That evening we lit a fire and enjoyed meet on the braai with deliciously fresh salad. We were loving our time here, so decided we would enjoy one more night so we could get some washing done in the morning and then wander into town.  

The next morning we got up at a slow pace and had some cereal to get us ready for a lazy day. I decided to crack on with the washing which turned out to be more of a task than I ever dreamed of. Rob had put water and washing up powder into our big washing drum while in Angola. We would then drive along and it would act like a washing machine on the roof of our car. The theory was fantastic, however we had been driving non stop for ages and with the rain we had in Angola, there was no way our washing would dry over night. So we had left it in there.
I joined Cat in the ladies bathroom where we would do our washing together. I opened up the box and we both almost passed out by the stench that came out. The smell was horrendous!!! I emptied the water down the shower as quickly as I could to get rid of the smell and turned the shower tap on to poor over our clothes. This was a disaster!! A normal hour long process to wash our clothes was now going to take over double that time! Poor Cat was mid wash, so she couldn't escape either and had to endure the smell of our mistake. 
It could have just been the fumes, but my mind was a blank. I stood in the bathroom for a moment staring at this disaster, not sure where to even begin. Eventually I snapped out of it and got to work. I took one piece of clothing quickly to the sink, rinsed it until I couldn't anymore. Washed it, then rinsed it, then washed it and rinsed it again for good measure. Unfortunately the clothes still had the unpleasant smell in the fibres, but it was also now ingrained in my senses and no matter what, all I could smell was this revolting rotting dirty water. What I needed was a washing machine!! Where is Andrew and Kristina when you need them.. Lol

Once the washing was all hung up and on the line we decided to stroll to Shoprite to grab a few things and visit some of the clothing stores. We went passed clothing store after clothing store and we all opted for the cheap Mr Price. No point buying expensive clothes when they would just get ruined. So Cat managed to pick up a few bargains, some vest tops, a dress and shorts while I only managed one dress for N$60 (£3), so all was good!

We walked out the shopping centre and immediately stumbled along a KFC, so we decided to stop there for a quick lunch and our first KFC since England. We weren't surprised to hear that they only had chicken or the basic burger in stock. No wraps, no burger deals... This is the Africa we have become accustomed to. Don't look at the menu and order what you see, rather ask what's in stock and then there will be no dissappointments. But we still enjoyed our pig out session before wandering or rather, rolling back to the campsite.

The next morning we had a leisurely start and packed up slowly. This is most certainly a much better way to start our mornings. We had become so used to rushing to get on the road, that we could now take our time and move at a more relaxed pace. We had been watching the resident parrot fly past our campsite the past few days and this morning it decided it would come say hi, disturbing Charles while he tried to put down his tent. He soon got quite familiar while almost climbing into Charles and Cats car, and the next moment he was climbing all over us. This bird was beautiful and we were loving how friendly it was until it tried to steal my sunglasses right off my face. A true African bird...

We said our goodbyes and we were soon back on the road headed to the next campsite which was a community camp where the proceeds go to the Okongo Forest Committee. It was very basic, but we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon while the resident baby would come try steal my kindle from me, obviously just very intrigued by what it was. It tried to even wake up Rob while he was having an afternoon nap, but had no luck as he was abviously dead to the world. But if you had asked Rob, he would say that he wasn't sleeping, just checking his eyelids for holes. Lol! 

Again the next morning was slow going and we soon headed to the next campsite called Kaisosi Lodge. Driving through Namibia is absolutely beautiful. The local villages seem to take more pride in their huts and surroundings. There is very little rubbish lying around and the huts have more structure with neat fencing lining their perimeters. The countryside is absolutely beautiful with bright blue skies and fluffy white clouds above. 
We arrived at a dirt road which would lead us to our campsite. But as we drove down it we came to a massive warning sign and water surrounding us. A security guard came over and said our vehicles would be fine driving through it to reach the lodge. So we waded through it having a great time watching the water surround the vehicles. We arrived at the lodge and it looked absolutely amazing, fancy even. We checked in and found out the camping fee which was N$140 (£7) per person, the more expensive camping fees we've paid on the trip. But once we saw the campsite; which had its own personal toilet and shower with kitchen sink and braai areas per camping pitch, we were ecstatic!! The price of the campsite suddenly became well worth it. We headed to the bar after setting up camp where we sat and admired the beautiful view over looking the river. That evening we enjoyed a braai under the stars and were even able to Skype our friends back at home. What a fantastic day it was relaxing and enjoying the spectacular views.

Our next stop was a place called Ngepi. Andrew from Angola messaged us to say this place is amazing and most definitely a must. So we headed straight there. Like the last place, the rains from up in Angola had flooded all the infrastructure, so one of the guys working at Ngepi got in our car while I sat in the centre console to direct us as to where to go safely. The flowing water blocked all view of where the road would normally be. We drove through deep waters and it started seeping in through all the doors. If you put your hand out the window you could touch the water. Rob mentioned that some areas the tyres lost their grip on the ground, but we were loving the adventure. It was great thrilling fun, but we were glad we had our guide as we would most definitely not have driven through otherwise! We arrived and parked in the flooded parking lot. No shoes needed here and we got out of the cars feeling the water in our toes. Luckily our cars were able to do it as most people had to leave their cars on the banks and get a boat across. 

This place was awesome with funky, quirky signs all over the place. Communal fireplaces, bean bags and hammocks to chill out on while viewing the beautiful Okovango River. You could even take a toilet stop at Poopa Falls; a tower that housed a toilet overlooking the river. Not a bad way to enjoy a number 2!!!! 
We set up camp, ate a quick lunch and made our way back to reception where we booked an afternoon game drive in the Bwabwata National Park. We had a couple of hours to kill before our game drive, so we chilled out on the bean bags with a cold beer. All of sudden, after an hour of chilling out, we were being ushered to move along as we were late?? We looked at our watches and still had loads of time? But little did we know they were running on South African time instead of Namibian time. We hurried along to the boat that would take us across the water to the vehicle. 

Theo was going to be our guide, the same guy that helped us cross the water. We drove through little villages and dropped off a few staff members at their village before making our way to the park gates. We arrived at the park gates and Theo quickly ran in to pay the park fees, before we could set off. We started the drive and immediately I thought it was going to be awful. The car whined like most African vehicles and this guy had a heavy right foot. We were speeding through and all I could think was he was going to chase away all the animals. But low and behold we started seeing one thing after another. I was shocked and had to take back all my thoughts. We saw sable, impalas, zebras, warthogs, kudus, red Lethwes, Buffaloes, hippos, giraffes, tsesibes, ostriches, elephants, duikers, mongeese, and even a quick glimpse of a leopard darting off from a quick drink. In two hours we saw so much! I got incredibly overwhelmed and started crying for some reason. I'm obviously growing a little old, but seeing so much is so amazing, I just couldn't get over how lucky we were. It was Cats first time to see many of these animals in the wild and she was loving it, which made it that much more amazing. We all were having a fantastic time! Such a special day and we were loving spending it together. 

We darted for the parks gates as we were running late after seeing so many animals. The gates were closed but luckily not locked yet and we were able to get through without paying a hefty fine. Theo was amazing, and he too was taken aback by what we had seen in the 2hours in the park. He had his camera out with us and his passion for what he does oozed out of him. We enjoyed a couple of beers with him before saying goodnight and heading back to camp on the boat.

(The sunset during our game drive)

The next morning we settled our bill, while Rob bought a Ngepi t-shirt as a souvenir (which is now his favourite top and can't get him out of it!). We headed back along through the overflowing Okovango river and were having great fun watching Charles in front of us!! We spent the day driving through the Bwabwata National Park heading to Namushasha Lodge. We were lucky to see a few ellies and ostriches on the road. Eventually we headed to the lodge and this looked incredibly posh. We booked our camping for the night and paid the hefty N$120 (£8) per person. In their little souvenir shop, Rob had spotted a little landrover that he fell in love with, it was N$276 (£14 - ouch!!). So he decided to sleep on it before making a decision, and if he still wanted it in the morning, he'd get it! We all laughed at his indecisiveness as it's normally Charles that needs a bit of persuasion, not Rob! We drove to the camp site which was amazing, overlooking a river and grasslands as far as the eye could see. It was stunning! We had a man light the fire so we could enjoy warm showers in the very modern bathroom. We even had a kitchen area with gas cookers provided. Amazing!
We made a bit of lunch, changed into our costumes and headed to the pool where we relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.
That night we had a great time cooking our meals together and enjoying a lovely evening before giving up trying to avoid the mosquitos. So it was another early night fir us.

It was just as well we had an early night as we were all woken up by a 'tik tik tik tik', 'tik tik tik tik tik'. Charles and Cat were obviously feeling a little crazy and got up and went for a run along the river bank. They are very good, while Rob and I are the unfit, can't be bothered type!! I wish I had the will power they do!! But we got up and started putting down the tent when Rob noticed where the tik tik noise was coming from. There was a beautiful African Golden Weaver bird admiring his reflection in Charles's side mirror. This bird obviously didn't like what he saw and was trying his damnedest to break the mirror. 

After enjoying our breakfast and admiring the view, we went back to reception to pay our bill. Once Rob set his eyes on the little tin landrover, he was sold and got it regardless of how much it was. He was a happy boy. We did a quick last minute checking of the bank statements and a quick loo stop before heading off. While sitting there we heard a farting noise every time someone walked through the men's toilets as the door would close. The boys were in stitches!!! They then each would walk through the door and cock a leg up to pretend the fart was there own. Well, actually, I wouldn't put it passed them that they took this opportunity to let rip and get away with it!! This of course was made even worse as Cat and I cringed at their disgusting behaviour in this very snazzy establishment, with very rich people wandering past. Boys will be boys...

We drove around the bowl of the Caprivi until we got to the border town of Katima Mulilo. We headed for the Caprivi House Boat lodge which once again was a real gem of a place. We met the lovely Rachel who was a South African who had moved to Namibia. She was incredibly welcoming and showed us around. She pretty much told us to make ourselves at home, use the kitchen if we wanted and with an honesty bar if we wanted a few drinks. This place was awesome and we did just that! We took our drinks over to the deck again overlooking the Okovango river and made use of the wifi.
That evening they lit a fire for us and we all sat around chatting with the local guys there. Fantastic!! 
We decided it was so good, that one more night here would be just the ticket. 

The next day was bliss. More clothes washing was done, more eating, more drinking, more fires!! Charles even got to have a go on Rachel's scrambler, which is just up his street. He came back with a massive grin from ear to ear that took ages to die. Definitely a happy boy. We got to meet all the resident animals, dogs, cats, and baboon spiders!!!

We headed off to the border the next day after searching for ages to get reflective stickers and triangles for the vehicles. But we had no luck. Everyone had told us it's an absolute must in Zambia and we would be fined without it. But we had no choice but to try our luck.
We arrived at the border and the Namibian side was easy and quick. Passports stamped, carnet stamped and out into Zambia.
This was where things would start getting very, very expensive!!! I tried to use my South African passport as I didn't need a visa on that one, but they wouldn't accept it as the exit stamp from Namibia was in my British passport. This was incredibly frustrating, but not much I could do, even after a bit of pleading. So we had to pay the $50 per visa. Then we needed to pay the $20 for road tax. Then insurance was 300Kwachas (£25). Then carbon tax was 150kwachas (£12.50). Then community tax was 30kwachas (£2.50). That's a grand total of £120 for the border!! It was an incredibly expensive day!! But we were through to the next country! Another sticker day! And soon we would be seeing my mom and Roger, so we were excited to be in!

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