Thursday, 23 June 2016

Namibia 5, family!

We  headed to the next big town called Kamanjab were we would meet Achi (Achi2Africa). After hours on the dead straight roads we soon arrived into the dusty town and would meet Achi at the Oppi-Koppi rest camp. This place was amazing as it had been welcoming overlanders for years to camp for free. The Belgian owner was once an overlander himself and I suppose, knows how it is to be on the road and saving every penny so that you can continue to explore.
That evening we went for a quick drink at the bar as compensation for not paying camping fees. The people in the pub were really friendly and we got chatting and getting to know everyone before the pub games came out. One of the local guys took a fancy towards Achi and offered to pay for all of her drinks and food for the evening, even though Achi was totally not interested and gave him no hints. So we would have a great evening playing pub games and getting rather merry, with an incredibly reduced drinking bill.

In the men's toilet there was a large picture of a very beautiful woman and a button on her nipple. Every time a man would touch the nipple an alarm went off in the bar and he would have to buy everyone at the bar a shot. As you can imagine, that buzzer went off constantly and we were being supplied with all name of drinks. Blow jobs and jägermiester for us girls, and 60% ströh rum for Rob. It's clear to say the night was filled with drunken laughter as I chatted to other overlanders, while Rob and Achi were getting carried away with drawing crude words on the pub game cups. 

Achi and I eventually decided to call it a night and we stumbled back to the camp, leaving Rob at the bar. Eventually a couple of hours later Rob arrived at the camp after being escorted back on a buggy as he was wandering around the property aimlessly getting lost, too drunk to find his way back to camp.

The next morning us girls were feeling a little fragile, but not nearly as bad as Rob. He was still drunk and left me to pack up the whole camp while he staggered around not sure what to do with himself. Achi and I did have a few chuckles at him, feeling little sympathy. Eventually he decided to go take a shower. After half an hour of him still being in the bathroom we started to get worried and thought we should go fetch him. He has a tendency to falling asleep in the shower when he's had too much to drink. As Achi and myself were getting ready to rescue him, he resurfaced looking a little more human. Only just though!

There was no time to let him get over his hangover has we had kilometres to kill, we were heading north towards Epupa falls. Driving through Namibia is filled with dead straight roads covering huge kilometres in the process. Along our drive we would spot all the wild animals grazing next to the road; giraffes, ostriches, warthogs, kudu's, dik-diks, steenbokkies, and the list goes on. The land is incredibly dry with little grass or any greenery for that matter. It's a wonder things are able to survive in this barren land. Saying that, it's absolutely beautiful as the land continues to roll on giving us incredible views of untouched beauty.

We eventually arrived into Opuwo, a dusty dirty town that housed what looked like three different types of cultures and people. There would be the European dressed people with all the latest fashions. Then there were the Herero's which wore large ball gown type dresses with big puffy sleeves and large full skirts, with a very strange triangular hat on their heads which resembles the horns of the cattle. It did boggle my mind how they were wearing all that fabric in the baking heat of the day. And then finally the Hemba people with their skin painted with red mud, their hair styled with that same mud and their clothes all different animal skins. The Hemba's  are incredibly interesting people, but because of the drought they are being pushed into the towns as they have little to eat. 

We decided to stay in the Abba guesthouse as it was the same price as the Opuwo Campsite. That night we enjoyed a braai with meat supplied from Jasper and gem squash filled with mielies and cheese (a childhood love). It was delicious!! We had an early night that night to recover from our hectic night at Oppi-Koppi. It was amazing to sleep in a bed again and I slept like a baby!!

We were back on the gravel road the next morning. Achi's confidence on gravel roads was improving after having a few bad falls on her motorbike a few days before. We stopped for a break and she said she was loving it! I felt incredibly jealous as it seemed like riding a motor bike on these unfamiliar roads was an exciting challenge that really intrigued me. I never drive the car as it saves on unnecessary arguments with back seat driving (all us woman know how that goes... Lol!), but this would be you and the motorbike. Nobody telling you how it should be done, but left to you to figure out. I've decided that would be the next adventure, travelling on a motorbike! A new challenge, a new adventure! But that would be in many years time, after saving up more money!

We arrived at Epupa falls and decided we would chill out that afternoon and go check out the falls the next day. We stayed in a really nice campsite called Omaranga which was right on the Cunene River bordering Angola. It was beautiful and incredibly weird to see this full, fast flowing river with its palm trees lining it and it's ever barren land on either side that would suggest there was no water around. That night the three of us feasted once again on amazing minced meat from Jasper. 

That morning we enjoyed a very relaxing breakfast before all hoping into the car to go for a drive along the Cunene. We arrived at a nice point in the river were we grabbed a few beers and sat enjoying the sounds of the river. It was absolutely beautiful. A little while later we decided to head back to the village we had passed earlier in the day and enjoy another drink with the locals at their shabeen. Achi has never been to one before, and she later spoke about the woman who were braiding their hair at the pub sat on the floor, the men who just sat drinking with their broken sunglasses only having one lens and one arm. Something we had gotten so used to seeing, it didn't even feature as being odd. We spoke to them about the land being so barren, but they said they were finally a little happier as the river was fuller than previous years and they at least had a bit of rain. Looking at the land you would never think! We said goodbye to them as we decided a swim would be just the ticket in the heat.

On our way back, Rob decided he'd do a bit of off road driving so we could get closer to the river. It wasn't so tough initially and we were cruising along quite nicely. Achi was in the front passenger seat and I think Rob wanted to show her what Miss Daisy could do. After travelling for a while off road, he put his foot down and tried to edge us up loose rocks to get back onto the main road. Daisy whined and groaned, totally not happy with Rob abusing her. She started making some awful noises, and I shouted at Rob to stop. But he was adamant Daisy could do it. All of a sudden there was an almighty bang! She had decided it was enough in her old age of 20years, and she threw her toys out of the cot. It was the rear diff and she made the worst noises as we tried to reach flat ground so Rob could take a look. Metal grinding and clunking as he slid down the mound.
We eventually got to flat ground and Rob removed the side shafts and diff so we could continue on our journey. We are lucky he knows what to do and we were on the road again within minutes. Driving in diff lock was the only way we would be able to continue. But we were still off-road and the sand ladders where out to help us edge out of some the river beds. We all got stuck in together, and we were soon out and back on the road. While making our way back we stopped to say hi to some of the local kids who were pleased to have their photo taken.

We arrived back into camp and decided a swim would be in order. So we ordered a few drinks and would chill out in the sun while we had a pot of meat roasting for dinner. We decided to go check out the falls before the sun went down. It was absolutely beautiful and we could sit there for hours just watching the vast amount of water tower over the cliff. We called it the mini Victoria falls! Absolutely stunning! This place blew our minds away!

We were planning on doing the Van Zyl's Pass, but unfortunately as Daisy decided to throw her guts out, we couldn't do it. So we headed back to Opuwo where we would try find parts. We drove back with Achi, really enjoying her bubbly company. We arrived and unfortunately found out that the Abba guest house was fully booked, so we headed to the Opuwo campsite which looked over the valley. The campsite was very dry and very expensive at N$180 (£8.50) per person!!! The most expensive campsite in Namibia so far, with its rocky camping areas and little else. But we met some other bikers which was awesome for Achi, as they could swap stories and discuss motorbike's. We had a great last evening together, and an even better morning where we could wish each other safe travels. It's always so great meeting awesome people along the way. 

Unfortunately Opuwo couldn't offer us any spare parts, so we continued south towards Windhoek in the hope we would find something along the way. We messaged Jasper, the incredible farmer we had met through Andi (Wheelie Adventurous), as we wanted to take him for dinner to thank him for our incredible time we had with him the week prior. He messaged back insisting we meet him at his farm, and we just couldn't resist! We arrived and immedately got sucked into his life once again. We agreed to help him set up his hunters camp and get it ready for the hunting season. We had an incredible time.... This man is so inspirational, we wanted to help, any way we could! But I'm not sure who was helping who, really... He was allowing us to camp for free, feeding us the best meat there is, letting us get a real glimps of life here in Namibia as a farmer, and just showing us the best time ever. All we could offer was a spare hand and our crazy company.

We have been so lucky and met some incredible people that we soon learnt would become like a second family. Reneer from South Africa came over to camp and we all just clicked. Day after day, night after night we would laugh and joke until my mouth was sore at the corners from smiling too much! Most of our days was filled with tracking spore, the boys would enjoy hunting, and when we had some downtime, the poker or lie dice would get us all very merry, very quickly!
We played a few Namibian drinking games that really does get you laughing like crazy. One of them was Bok Drol Spoeg which meant you needed to take dung from the antelope which was lying all over his farm, put it in your mouth and spit it out as far as you could. The furthest one would win. Rob was for the most part the undeniable winner, until we played with one of the locals, Dion. We upped the anti and our next aim was to spit the drol into a cup. This would be nearly impossible. The rest of us tried and all failed until Dion spat and the piece of dung landed straight inside the cup. It's fair to say, the rest of us erupted into frantic cheers and shouts as he was now the Bok Drol Spoeg King! 
The next game was with a coin and a cup. You would need to wedge this coin up your bum, stood some distance away from the cup which was placed on the floor. Keeping the coin in place you would have to waddle over to the cup; keeping in mind your spectators laughing hysterically at the sheer sight of you spasticly waddling over to the cup. You would edge over the cup until you could accurately aim the coin to fire out your bum and into the cup. Much harder than it sounds! Jasper was the king at this one and his aiming was impeccable, getting it in every time!

These past couple of weeks have been phenomenal! And even though I will never touch Captain Morgan Rum again (definitely gonna leave that one to the Pirates), the people here are amazing! They will do anything to help out a friend, from putting Rob to bed when he's passed out by the fire, to even helping me to sober up when incredible intoxicated!!!! And the best thing of all, they are there to offer a friendly face and coffee and tea in the morning when you are feeling a little fragile. 
Namibia and its people continue to capture our hearts, and we haven't even been south of Outjo yet. The broken diff has been put to one side, eventually we will get it fixed. But for now Jasper, Renier, Rob and myself continue to have the time of our lives here in the wilderness, surrounded by gemsbok, zebras, leopards, hyenas, duikers and the list continues... 

1 comment:


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