Monday, 25 July 2016

Mandy and Rob's Expenses

Finances! What will food cost? What will diesel cost? What will campsites cost? What can we expect to pay for border crossing? How much money will we need?

These were always the big unanswered questions I was trying to research before embarking on such a large voyage across the unknown... Africa. There was very little information; and the information I could find was incredibly little and not very detailed. So I made it my mission to ensure everything we spent, and I mean EVERYTHING we spent, would be recorded for the next traveller who was looking for a little guidance. Of course, many people will say that we all spend our money differently and with different budget sizes you adapt and live to your means. So all I can say, is use this as a guide. We certainly did live well throughout our travels, trying all the local cuisines and local beers. But we did it on a budget, buying things we wanted but not splashing out too much. So you could always bring down your costs by not getting merry with the locals at the pub down the road, buying that silly overpriced rug in Morocco, going nuts when you can finally buy that salami and cheese you were craving, and the list goes on. But these were all things we loved to do... so as they say, look at fuel costs, visa costs, accommodation costs, etc. Hopefully this will help.

What I am very pleased to see is that with all the vehicle breakdowns, eating out and visa fees; we are on par with our £50 a day budget for the two of us and our spoilt Daisy! So I am one happy lady!

We still have another month of seeing South Africa before we need to get our butt into gear and start earning some dosh again. The hard reality of it had to hit us sometime, Just cant believe how quickly it has come! Now to try figure out what we want to do with lives..... a hard question indeed!

Full view of expenses

If you would like the full excel spreadsheet to work with, just send me a message with you details.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Namibia 6, Koakoland and Poachers!

Jasper had a few hunters booked in over the next week, so we would help out at the camp and around the farm with Renier. One of Jaspers farmers had found a dead baby zebra up in the hills which was killed by a leopard, so this would mean the hunters would have the opportunity to shoot the leopard, which is a huge achievement in the hunting world. We made sure the zebra was secured to a nearby tree so the leopard couldn't drag it off during night. 
A hunter arrived from England and we made sure the bait was kept fresh to ensure the leopard would return in the night. Rob helped them get the hide set up so it would be ready for their night stints waiting for the arrival of this magnificent animal. 
We all enjoyed keeping the camp running smoothing for Jasper and his hunter. 
It turned out the leopard was incredibly lucky and all the nights waiting for it to get on the bait, the hunter battled to see it during the night and didn't have an opportunity for a clear shot. So the leopard got away this time. 

It was time for the English hunter to leave, and we awaited the arrival of the next. Unfortunately the second hunter let Jasper down and we all scrambled to find another candidate while we had the leopard still returning to the bait which we were replacing every day. We eventually found someone but they would take a day or two to arrive. So that night Jasper asked if I'd like to join him in the hide to ensure it was a male leopard. This new hunter had a mission to shoot the big 5 for trophies. Trophy hunting is selective hunting of wild game, which typically is a male with the largest body size. So we headed out in the dark to see if this poor leopard would fit the bill. 
We arrived and got ourselves comfortable, with our binoculars at the ready. The bait was about 60metres away from where we were sat, so I had my eyes glued to the tree which now had a warthog hanging from it. We sat in utter silence as the slightest noise could scare the leopard away. All my senses were on high alert as all that was protecting us from the leopard was small bushes in front of us  and a green mesh behind us. We sat dead still and for the first hour it was incredibly eerie with not even birds tweeting away. But then we heard hooves clamber up the mountain with little finesse. They were zebras and were definitely noisy buggers making the rocks roll around them, as they grunted and pushed through the trees. There we were being as quite as possible afraid of being heard by the predators and they seemed not bothered at all. 
Just then a massive Gemsbok walked straight up to our little hide out and came to have a good sniff at us. It was curious and you could see it was very confused as to why it could smell us but not see us. It towered over us and my heart certainly skipped a few beats and I was running out breath as I had held in a big gulp of air, but didn't dare let it out. Eventually it got bored and moved on. 
A little while later, jackals started screaming around us. They were incredibly close and Jasper alerted to me that the leopard was close as the Jackals were always hot on its tale in hope to get a few scraps. We watched the bait intently and noticed a brown hyena circling the area before dashing back into the bushes. Finally, the leopard came in! The zebras went nuts around us obviously sensing it was close. The moved quickly grunting, farting and shouting, not happy there were predators around. Jasper and myself laughed under our breaths as we listened to all the commotion going on around us. But the leopard was not bothered in the slightest and munched happily on the poor warthog, making a right racket. At that Jasper informed me it was a male and a rather big make at that. We were in business. 
Jasper then asked if I was happy to leave. My first thought was, HELL NO!!! The leopard was still munching away only metres away from us! But he said everything would be ok, we just needed to move quietly. So we made our walk back to the car stopped every few feet to listen. Was the leopard following us? Or any other predator for that matter? My heart was pounding! But eventually we made it back to the car and I was buzzing from the experience! It was awesome.

Unfortunately, Jaspers new hunter let him down again. It obviously wasn't the leopards time! So Jasper said to the three of us, "why don't we disappear to Kaokoland for the night? A change of scenery?". And of course we were all game! So we headed off to one of the last remaining wilderness areas in Southern Africa. It was absolutely incredible to drive up there with its incredible mountain scenery, with wildlife all around and the home to the Himba people. We arrived in the late afternoon, so the rugged landscape were slowly transforming into amazing shades of oranges, reds with the sky changing colours and shining brightly. We were all in awe at the sheer beauty this country was showing us. On our way to our campsite we spotted black faced impalas, springbok, kudu's, gemsbok, duikers and warthogs. Absolutely amazing.

We arrived at our campsite which had a bit of a surprise for us. The Ongongu Falls! At the bottom of the falls was a beautiful crystal clear pool which so happened to be warm! So we all jumped in and enjoyed having a swim under the stars. We started a fire and enjoyed a delicious braai before retiring to our bed rolls on the floor for the night. 
We woke up the next morning and quickly decided one more night wouldn't hurt! But we had no supplies, so the three of us went into the nearest village to get a few things while Jasper chilled out the camp with a sore shoulder. Once in town, we bought a few things to make a bodged up meal for the night and a chip sandwich for lunch on bread that we all had the utmost respect for as it seemed to be older than all of us put together. But before heading back to camp we went into the local bar to have a quick drink with the locals. We ended up playing pool with them and enjoyed kicking their asses. 

I popped out to buy some flip flops as I had left them back in our car. As I went into the shop a police man came up to me and asked if I was driving the land cruiser. Yes I was and now I had just came out the bar. So my immediate thought was, oh shit, I've had a drink and he's going to pull me up on it. But luckily he was very friendly and asked if we could help him with his flat tire on his police car as he didn't have a jack with him. So I ran to the boys in the bar and asked if they wouldn't mind helping. Rob was happy to help and ended up changing the wheel for him. Just as the policeman opened the back of the car to put the flat tire in the back we noticed a big lump of meat on the side. We asked him about it and he said it was kudu. We jokingly asked him for some and the next moment he was cutting of the best bits for us to enjoy in a stew. FOR FREE!!! Now you can't get better than that! 
The rest of the day we enjoyed lazing about by the pool and enjoying the heat of the day. It was absolutely gorgeous here!

The next morning we took a scenic drive through the area before heading back to Outjo. Again we were faced with more beauty! We were even lucky to see a totally wild elephant grazing in the very dried up river beds. Eventually we arrived at the foot and mouth border, but we were thirsty so before leaving this beautiful area we decided to stop at the shabeen and enjoy a quick drink. 
We could all see Jasper wasn't ready to leave. He had spent many years in this area and was always a big love of his. He was obviously falling in love with it and enjoying showing it off to us. So we ended up spending a bit more time in the shabeen that originally anticipated. We started teaching the locals our Bok Drol Spoeg games, the coin games and I suppose giving them a bit of entertainment. We bought some food from them, macaroni, tinned viennas, and tinned tomatoes for yet again another delicious bodged meal. We had a great time as one drink lead to another, and then another, and then another. Low and behold we ended up spending the night at the shabeen, with our bed rolls laid out under the shelter and all the locals a little shocked!

We arrived back to the farm the next day and it was back to business. But first we needed to gate crash a local party where we sokkied (Afrikaans dance style) the night away! As we were leaving, the guys jumped on the roof of Reniers car and I drove back with them holding on tight. It was utterly hilarious!!! That night was incredible and later we found rocks in our pockets which were given to us from one of the guys staying in Outjo. A souvenir or acceptance, who knows?? 

Back at the camp, it was time for the next hunter to arrive from South Africa who wanted to shoot a gemsbok for meat. Renier made some amazing meals once again, while Rob was the designated barman to keep him busy. For some reason, if he sits by the fire it puts him into a sort of trance and he just slowly drifts off to sleep. His response is always, "I'm just checking my eyelids for holes!", which of course is hilarious!

Our last night together was coming too quick for our liking. But we decided to head out and try shoot some sand grouse for dinner after we had some target practice with the shotgun. Unfortunately we were unsuccessful at finding dinner as we got slightly distracted. We stumbled across one dead animal after another, all caught in snares. It was a poachers camp. We circled the area to try dismantle any snares still hanging in the trees. But unfortunately they all had animals in them. 9 gemsbok and 1 kudu, dead! It was utterly devastating!! These guys are so ruthless and it truly gets your blood boiling! The poachers had either gotten spooked or had too much meat to deal with as most of the animals hadn't even been touched. So sad to see this on Jaspers farm! 
That week he had found out 24 of his cows had been poached, making it over 70 cows this year! Not the news he needed to hear! But he always keeps his head high, and his positivity is amazing to see, always thinking of ways to outsmart them.  

(Rob dismantling the wires where they hang the meat to dry for biltong)

We said goodbye to Jasper as we needed to head south towards South Africa. Our visa was due to end so we had to leave. We packed up our things and felt like we were leaving home all over again. This place would always remind us of Bok Drol Spoeg, Lie Dice, Poker, Brandy, Captain Morgan, Sunsets, Family, Friends, Wild Animals... the list is never ending! We said our final sad goodbyes and hit the road. We have had such an amazing time with Jasper, but all good things must come to an end. 
We will be returning to Namibia to see the rest of this beautiful country after we've spent some time visiting family and seeing a bit of South Africa. Namibia, you are one awesome country!!!!! Thank you!

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 j√§germiester for us girls, and 60% str√∂h 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... 

Monday, 30 May 2016

Namibia 4, Hunting!

As we drove out of Etosha we noticed a sign only a few kilometres out of the park saying Cheetahs. So we decided to go check it out. We drove up to the farm house and was greeted by the farmer who gave us a little explanation as to what they do and how they acquire the predators. As a game and cattle farmer he is constantly fighting to save his animals against the predators who come into his farm and kill, a lot of the time killing for fun, with most killing up to 20 calves a day and leaving them to rot in the sun. They are easy targets and the predators therefore only come to feed on the cows instead of the wild game, threatening his business and the jobs he provides. 
These predators don't come from Etosha, but the surrounding areas, totally wild.
On the Eldorado farm they will hunt these predators and instead of killing them, they will capture them and cage them for the public to view. I suppose a bit like a zoo. 

With our guide and meat in tow, we walked down to the cages. On our way down we saw Eland, Kudu, and wildebeest at his little watering hole. We saw hyenas, leopards, caracal and got to feed the cheetahs. All these animals are absolutely stunning when you get to see them up close. And we were surprised to hear the cheetahs sound like house cats, just with a much larger and louder purr and meow. But I did feel a little sad to see them all caged up.

We headed for a town called Outjo where we would meet Andi, from Wheelie Adventurous. He travelled down the west coast of Africa on his BMW GS1200 and we had met him in Togo along the way. He was staying with a local farmer he had met and said we were welcome to join them. That night we stayed in Ombinda Lodge where Rob could get a bit of car maintenance done (another wheel bearing!) before meeting Andi the next day. 

We arrived onto the farm and waited for them to return from tracking poachers. It was great to see Andi again, who introduced us to Achi (an Israely girl travelling southern and Eastern Africa on her own on a BMW GS700) and Jasper (the local farmer). We sat enjoying a cold beer and all got acquainted. It was almost time for the gorgeous sunset, so we headed of to the camp which was set up on his farm for hunters. We climbed on the rocks and the drinking began. We got to know Jasper a bit and we soon learnt that he was an amazing story teller and had us all hooked on the tails of the bush. 

The next day we set off into the bush for a game drive around his farm. When arriving at a view point, Jasper saw a fire pit with his eagle like eyes, so we headed to the area to track the poachers that were causing extensive disruption to his farms. With rifles in tow, we started making our way through the thorny bush. The poachers would hide out in the bush trapping and killing the animals and drying them for biltong to sell on the black market. We started tracking the bush while Jasper was noticing all the signs. There was no shoe spore, but just a large flat surface that only a keen eye would notice. Jasper explained that they wear bags over their feet to hide their tracks. Eventually we arrived at a camp, but it seemed old, and this was not the one Jasper had noticed. So we marched on. We did eventually find the camp Jasper had seen. With bones lying everywhere, big Kudu horns hung in the trees and stollen wire lying on the ground. Wire was connected to trees where they would usually hang the meat to dry. Jasper was furious! We dismantled the wires and with nothing more to be done, we headed back to the car. 

That night we ate like kings with a huge abundance of meat to keep our energy levels going. Jasper told us about the difficulties he faces being a farmer in Namibia. Ultimately he lived an amazing life, but it came with a number of issues he had to face daily and we had only the scraped the surface by experiencing one of them that day. He explained he had to go out searching for poachers at least twice a week as they were not only effecting the number of cows, but also the game on his land. And ultimately the livelihood of his business.
And then there were the predators, that Namibia seems to have in abundance. Jasper explained that the predators no longer go for the game as they are a difficult kill, but would rather go for the easy kill being the cows, putting a real strain on his business and the welfare of the 50 odd employees and their large families he needs to protect. A lot of these predators, like those at the Aldorado farm outside of Etosha, would kill for fun, killing between 20-30 cows in 1day. They don't eat them, just kill them. As a farmer, this would kill his business and therefore uses his legal right to take matters into his own hands.
Even after contacting the animal conservation companies, alerting them of the presence of these preditors and the need to have them relocated. He gets no help and they are not interested, or arrive months after being alerted, which is too late. So unfortunately he has to hunt them. He explained how he hated this part of his job, but unfortunately it came with the territory. 

The other side of his business is hunting. He is a professional hunter and has all the legal requirements to host hunting experiences on his farm. People will travel from all over the world and pay to have a hunting experience. Jasper monitors the animals on his farm every year with the help of the conservation companies and makes sure the levels of animals on his farm are adequate for the space. If there are too many animals, this too is detrimental as it means there will not be enough food or water and most will die of starvation anyways. Namibia has been in a huge drought for many years and looking at the land you'd never think anything could survive out here. The conservation companies give him a quota as to how many animals he can and should kill. There is no grass, the leaves are brown and there is a real lack of water. So offering a hunting experience serves many purposes. It brings in a lot of money for the animal conservation in Namibia, it helps bring tourism, and it helps Jasper keep the numbers down. 

The next morning he let Rob get a bit of target practice in and shot a 306 rifle at rocks. This was so that if we came across anything in the bush he would know how to use it correctly. He shot well and was really accurate with it. I have to admit as I stood watching I was not expecting such a loud bang and it felt like it had rattled my insides, giving me the fright of my life. I didn't feel comfortable handling it so I left to the others, while I just tagged along. 

That day we went out tracking a lion as Jasper had word that there was one on his farm and already had killed a fair number of his cattle. We found the spore and tracked it for some time with no result. (I have to admit, I was pretty relieved we didn't get to see it). But it was great walking through the bush with Jasper as he pointed out all the different spore and seemed to notice things that we would never. The bush came alive as he explained everything. 
After leaving we enjoyed a lovely game drive and saw all the beautiful animals on his farm. Zebras, kudu's, gemsbok, disk-dik's and steenboks. His passion for these animals was amazing, and it was this part of his job that I envied so much. Part of his job was to drive around his extensive land regularly to monitor the amount of game on his farm, and ensure the levels weren't dropping. Totally amazing!

We continued to be fed and looked after for the whole week, truly getting a taste of Namibia through such an inspirational man. He took us out in Outjo for lunch and we all enjoyed delicious pizzas, wine and don pedros for desert. The locals started arriving at the pub and they all insisted we stayed for a braai. That night turned out to be a very drunken affair. The locals are amazing and so welcoming, and Namibia is continuing to really capture our hearts. 
Shot after shot, drink after drink, we were getting rather mellow! I even found some confidence deep down to start practicing my limited Afrikaans with the locals, and in my drunkenness surprised myself as to how much I actually knew. 
We eventually pulled Rob away from the bar and drove the hour or so back to the farm with Rob snoring in the front seat. As we drove through the night the roads were alive with wildlife! Jasper was doing great at giving me the most amazing night drive as he angled the car so I could see all the animals in the spot lights. Gemsbok, zebras, jackals, kangaroo like squirrels.... Absolutely beautiful!

The next morning we enjoyed a proper Namibian breakfast! Gemsbok steaks, scrambled eggs and beer! All before 9am in the morning. We were having a ball and being treated like royalty! We couldn't have asked for a more amazing experience! 

After breakfast, and in true Namibian style it was time for more target practice. We got to shoot a hand gun and the boys more rifles. I didn't chicken out of the shotgun this time and gave it good go, hitting two of the targets (beer cans!!). It was actually so much fun, and I was buzzing afterward. Then the boys tried the rifles and Rob did so well, shooting the beer cans and sending them sky hi. This time sticking bullets in my ears to absorb the massive blow.

It's safe to say that day was incredibly drunken and we spent the day getting highly intoxicated and enjoying the company and more amazing stories from Jasper. We ended up swimming in one of the boreholes on his farm. As slimy and cold as it was, we were having the time of our lives!

After our swim we headed back out for another game drive and to catch the beautiful sunset on the farm. We even stopped and got to stroke a zebra that seemed to be a bit tame. 

Jaspers meat supply was running a bit low and he needed to supply his workers with food. So it was time to hunt either a zebra or gemsbok on his farm. This was the part Jasper was not fond of, but it needed doing. Rob, myself and Jasper went out to the waterhole just before the moon rose to get us all in position. We settled in a small wooden built hide where we could view the animals quietly and discreetly. We sat incredibly still with the rifles ready. I sat scared and nervous. I did not want to see an animal get shot, but I now had a new understanding of the need for it. I am very squeamish when it comes to things like this, so this was a big deal sat there and witnessing how things are done. 
Jasper made it very clear what could and what couldn't be shot. He would only allow old animals that had been pushed out of a herd and were alone. The kudu's on his farm had suffered rabies and he was trying to increase the numbers, so kudu's were out. He would give the yes or no, making sure the right animal was shot. And if the right animal didn't come down for a drink, it would need to wait till the next day. I liked how strategic he was, reducing any unnecessary killing and ensuring he was not affecting the young herds or reproduction. As crazy as it sounds, he truly cared about the future of these animals and effecting them as little as possible.
In the total silence when you could hear your heart beating, the sounds of the bush came alive. The smallest rustle in the bushes made you jump, and Jaspers amazing eye sight once again caught sight of a lone zebra, an old stallion. It was time to get the rifles ready and as Rob lined the rifle up, he was not comfortable as the scope was not letting in enough light and meant he couldn't see clearly. Jasper had given Rob the low down before getting to the hide and one of the rules was that if you weren't comfortable with the shot, don't do it. Rob whispered that he could not see clearly, so Jasper handed him the 308 with a different, more clearer scope. The zebra had turned to look at us hearing the movement inside our hide. A few seconds later I jumped with the incredibly loud sound of the shot. It felt like my stomach had jolted into my mouth and I was in shock. My body shook and I tears burned my eyes as I tried to hold them back. But Rob had shot the zebra with complete accuracy and the zebra was down as quickly as could have been possible. 
We gave it a few minutes before going to see that everything was OK. We approached the zebra and I couldn't hold back any longer, the tears poured down my cheeks. Seeing this beautiful animal lying motionless on the ground had almost crippled me.

It is something I never want to witness again, but I was glad it had been done quickly and as humanly as possible. I am not a vegetarian, and still, this experience has not made me change and I will forever enjoy eating meat. It's just something me as a person can't handle seeing, but I am glad that Jasper was so professional about it and was strict about how it needed to be done. There was no ruthlessness about it.

After we winched the zebra onto the pickup, we went back to the farmhouse where the zebra would be gutted and hung, before given to his workers for food. Jasper reassured me during our trip back, telling me I should never feel ashamed about how I was feeling. He hoped that I understood why it needed to be done. I truly did! I just couldn't control my emotions. 
Once at the farmhouse, Jasper pulled Rob to the zebra to give him a serious talk about what he had done. Almost like a ceremony or ritual. The blood of the zebra would be smeared on his cheeks, forehead and nose to symbolise his first kill. To ensure he had respect and understanding of what that meant. Jasper spoke to him in a hushed tone, making him really think about what was sacrificed and to ensure he understood that life is a privilege. 
Putting aside everything, this was an incredibly special moment!!
Later, Rob told me he too felt incredibly emotional about what he had done, but that he felt privileged he was given the opportunity to do it and experience hunting in such a controlled manner.

I have a real respect for farmers and even though the experience was difficult for me, I feel it has really educated me about the world of farming and hunting. It is not all bad, if done in the right way.

Our week with Jasper, Andi and Achi, was coming to an end. It felt as though we had all grown together so much over our week together. We had a great time, laughing, joking, chatting, and just getting to know one another. 
Jasper is a truly inspirational man and we were so privileged to have had the opportunity to get to know him. We had a true Namibian experience in the bush with a man that felt like family. I don't know if he will ever know how much this week had meant to us! 

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Namibia 3, Etosha NP!

We headed into Grootfontein where we could stock up on supplies and finally buy Rob a cheap phone as he had lost his in Senegal. It was about time he got one and they had a good one on offer. Grootfontein seemed like a really nice town, but we didn't hang around as we wanted to see the 60 ton Hoba Meteorite that was just west of the town. 

We arrived and bought our tickets to see the meteorite. We wondered up the path and eventually came to this massive block of metal and rock in the middle of stairs surrounding it. At first it seemed like an ordinary rock in the centre of a circular staircase surrounding it, but when looking closely the beauty of it unfolded. The shining colours of metal and rock came alive. It was now not only a rock, but a swirling, molten like metal under my feet as I climbed on top of it. When I started thinking of how impressive this rock was, you could really take in the beauty of it. It is the largest known meteorite (as a single piece) and the most massive naturally occurring piece of iron known on Earths surface.

We then headed straight for a campsite outside Etosha National Park for the night so we could get up early and enter the park with the whole day to explore. It was called Sachsenheim Guest Farm and only 25km outside the park, so it was a good place to stop. It was extremely quiet with us being the only people at the sight, besides a very cute Labrador cross who kept us company all night. It was a old black labby that was so well fed, you could almost use his back as a table, but he was lovely and insisted on cuddles regularly. We decided to whip out the travel monopoly and it all started getting very competitive. It was great fun, but the sun soon went down so we tallied up the scores to start making some dinner. Much to Robs dismay, I won, but only just!!
The next morning we were up early ready to take on an exciting day. After a cold shower for me and hot shower for Rob (lucky bugger!), we headed for Etosha!

I was buzzing as I couldn't wait to enter and see this incredibly world famous national park that would display beautiful views of animals and the Etosha pan. We arrived at the gate and filled in our details before being instructed to go to the Namutoni Camp Site where we could pay our entry permits. It was a really quick process and learned the permits last for 24hours instead of a daily permit like most other parks which was great to hear! It was N$80 per day for Rob as a foreign visitor, N$60 per day for myself having a SA passport and N$10 per day for the vehicle. All in all about £7 a day. We were thrilled to hear it wasn't extautionate like a lot of the other parks and meant we would stay for 3 nights instead of the 2 we were originally planning on. 

Etosha is one of the oldest national parks, opening in 1907, and it was interesting to learn that the 4730km Etosha pan was originally a lake that dried up millions of years ago. The park boasts 114 mammal species, 360 bird species, 110 reptiles, and 16 amphibians. So with those odds, we were hopeful we would see some very interesting animals. 
With our permits paid for and armed with a map, bird book and animal book; we were ready! 

Within moments of entering the park we spotted a couple of steenbokkies hiding in the trees, and it was just the start of what was to come. We drove around the Fischers pan, before making our way to the Halali campsite where we would spend 2nights. Our first day in the park was fantastic and we saw loads of the usual springbok, wilderbeest, warthogs, giraffes, black-faced Impalas, Kudu's, gemsbok, zebras.... The list just continues, and don't even get me started on the birds!

That night we arrived into Halali Campsite, the name of German origin signifying within the parks borders sport hunting and needless killing of animals is over. It turned out to be a very basic setup where everyone is sandwiched in, with pitches being very close together. It was extremely busy and Rob and I discussed how we preferred the smaller parks as they felt more intimate. This large park had perfectly graded, large, gravel roads with a speed limit of 60km. People would bomb up and down those roads, and to be fair we ended up travelling faster than we would normally as the roads almost asked for it. The waterholes were often loaded with vehicles and you had to find a space where you could get a good view. But it was still an amazing experience, but was nice to compare the differences.

After boerewors and mielies on the braai, we walked to the Moringa waterhole which was beautifully lit up with a seating area to watch the game from the campsite. We sat amongst loads of tourists, mostly from Germany, waiting to see what would make our way down. After about half an hour, we heard the distinct chuckle of hyenas, which sounded incredibly close. And then a little while longer we noticed the pack of spotted-hyenas sheepishly running down for a drink. There must have been about 6 of them and they really are beautifully ugly animals! They are expert hunter who have high shoulders, sloping backs and large heads. What a privilege to see them. Unfortunately they didn't hang around for long as we all heard a rustle in the bushes. And all of a sudden a large black rhino wandered slowly, down for a drink. We were thrilled!! 

He slowly spent his time taking a drink and just enjoying chilling by the water. Then out of the corner of our eyes, we noticed another coming down, and then another. Wow, three rhinos blessing us with their presence. But, the original rhino wasn't as chuffed as us to see he had to share his watering hole and soon all hell broke loose and the two males were now having a good go at each other. Smashing their large heads and horns into each other. They were grunting and making quite a large noise, kicking up dust in the sand. This impressive demonstration of brute force carried on for ages. We were incredibly lucky to witness it!

We woke up early the next morning and waited at the gate ready to hit the road as it owned at 6:15am. We wanted to head out early in hope to see what the morning would offer us. We were soon in luck as Rob spotted two huge male lions enjoying the morning sun. They had beautiful bushy manes and wandered around showing us how huge they really were. We sat and enjoyed watching them for a while before they wandered off into the distance. Our next stop was the Rietfontein watering hole where we were once again blessed with lions. A female and a young male who was carrying around a leg and snacking on it when it felt like gave us more reason to sit back an enjoy the view. Even with the lions there we watched zebras, wilderbeest, kudu's, jackals and another rhino come down for a drink.

We spent the rest of the morning driving around seeing more animals. We even got to see a lioness with newly born cubs jumping and playing around her. They were incredibly cute with little spots on their fluffy coats. Unfortunately we were surrounded by cars and tour groups trying to get the best angle. Unfortunately the lioness was a little too far and very weary off all the fus to take a decent pic, so we decided to get out of there before getting totally trapped in by the other cars. 

We decided to head back to Halali camp where we would have lunch and hop into the pool before heading back out for a late afternoon drive. Back at the camp we watched a honey badger strategically open all the bins scavenging for scraps. It was actually a beautiful animal with fluffy paws and came right up to Rob, sniffing his legs. Everyone around us came over saying how dangerous they were and that they had a tendency to munch on men's balls for fun. Well, Rob straight away changed his mind about this animal as he thought it was really cute. Relief seemed to wash over his face as it turned around and left his balls in peace. 

After a lovely, refreshing swim and drying in the sun, we were ready to get back out there and see what else would come say hi to us. We headed back to the Reitfontein waterhole where there had been so much going on in the morning. We got there and watched all sorts of things come down for a drink, even seeing the lions we had seen in the morning. Eventually car after car arrived and we were sharing the waterhole with tour guides and rental cars. 
Eventually we noticed a red car. Now normally this would be no big deal, but in Namibia, everyone drives white cars! So far on our travels through, we have only noticed white cars or the land cruiser olive green... That is it. And now at this watering hole there was a red car, it had to be foreign! With our binoculars out we didn't have them pinned on the watering hole but on this red car. We had turned into stalkers and were now spying on these people. They had an English registration plate, we were now very excited! We gathered that as it was getting late, they had to be staying at Halali, so we would find them there and say hi.
As we drove out of the watering hole we tried to get their attention and give them a wave. They were looking incredibly weirded out at us as we frantically waved at them. 

Back at the camp site, to our amazement they came and found us. We were delighted to hear they had been following us all the way down west Africa and had been reading our blogs for info. They were called 'Can't stop for every Impala'. It turned out to be a very drunken evening as we swapped stories, forgot to cook, but not to drink; and after far too much chatting we had noticed it was 2 in the morning! The camp was quiet and dark, but we had been so busy chatting we hadn't even noticed. They are a lovely couple and we were so lucky to meet them. 

We were planning on getting up early like the day before, but unfortunately we were hanging. So it was a rather slow morning and we were only on the road after 8am. We didn't see to much and arrived into Okaukuejo Camp. Again we headed for the pool area to chill out in the heat of the day. As we were sat chilling out, a man came over and said "are you Rob?".... Weird! But he said he had been following our adventure all the way down and wanted to come wish us well. It always catches us off guard when people seem to know about us. You kind of just assume the family and friends follow us. But he was from Cyprus, and in Namibia for a short holiday. A really nice guy and we should have bought him a drink, but we were a bit shocked and taken a back. People actually are interested in our Africa experience... 

That night we went to the watering hole at the camp again were blessed with seeing beautiful animals. A lion, rhinos, jackals, giraffes and elephants all game down for a drink! It was so peaceful as we watched all the animals enjoy drinking. 
Etosha had treated us well and we absolutely loved it! It's definitely a must if you are heading to Namibia!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Namibia 2

Rob and I were on own for the first time in many years, after living with Robs parents who so kindly put us up to help save for this trip of a lifetime. We were both feeling excited and nervous to see how we would cope, just the two of us.

We decided it would be the end for us travelling in Zambia as it was to date, the most expensive country we had travelled in. Food in the larger grocery stores was the same price as in the UK. Diesel was equivalent to £0.75 and after our big expenses with the car, we were ready to move onto the cheaper Namibia and spend more of our remaining money there. Namibia had really captured our hearts, so we were excited to go back and see the rest of what it had to offer.

We arrived at the Zambian side of the border, had our passport and carnet stamped out really quickly. Then onto the Namibian side where it too took incredibly quick. Had our passports and carnet stamped in and then another fee for road tax at N$242 (£12). It all took about half an hour and we were through. It really does help when the borders are well laid out, sign posted and of course, when know what they are doing!

We went straight to the Caprivi Houseboat Lodge where we enjoyed meeting Rachel and meeting the dogs the first time we were in Namibia. Here we could chill out, get some washing done the next day before heading into town in search of a leisure battery for the broken one we were currently using. 
Our leisure battery had given up the ghost quite early into our travels, so we had bought another ordinary car battery (as we were unable to buy a leisure battery in central Africa) to power our lights and keep the fridge going when we had the solar panels connected during the day. But it would only last a matter of hours, so we weren't able to buy any fresh food, because we couldn't keep it cold in the fridge, and of course that meant no cold beers! A huge problem for the likes of Rob!!!
But recently our actual car battery was no longer keeping its charge, so to start the car, Rob would have to link the main battery to our second battery to get it started. This meant we needed a new battery of some sort, obviously a leisure battery would be the most ideal, where we could replace the broken battery with the 2nd car battery we were using and then hook up the leisure one. 

After chatting to the guys at the Caprivi Houseboat they informed us we should have a good chance at finding one in town. So we headed off in search of one, and to our surprise we were in luck! N$1842.50 (£90) later, we had a battery and seed net in tow. Some how we had survived the whole of Africa without a seed net, but Rob was now adamant we needed one. A kid in a candy store was more like it, and dragging him away was harder than ever! But at least he did finally agreed we didn't need anything else! For now that is! 
We've spent £1500 on parts and maintenance for the car!!! That's a big chunk out of our total budget and some of the reason we've had to eliminate other countries! So we are hoping that's it for a long time!! She's done really well, but gosh she's been expensive!
We got back to the lodge and sat enjoying a cold beer overlooking the river. A fantastic afternoon, with a very happy Rob. Everything was now working perfectly!

The next day we headed for Nambwa campsite inside the Bwabwata National Park in the Susuwe Triangle. After paying the park entry fee of N$90 (£4.50) per person (a much better fee than 25 USD in Zambia... That's before you've even camped there!) we were in. The music was turned off, seat belts off, and speed reduced to about 10-15km so we could try our best to spot animals and birds in the wild! This was awesome. There's something about entering a national park. Immediately you relax and all the normal stresses of modern life just vanish! It's just you, your car, the sound and smells of the wild and the bush. The great thing is it's not like a zoo. The animals aren't caged in, they are wild, so you have to keep your eyes peeled because they aren't going to just jump out and give you a show. These animals are skittish and shy, you have to be quiet and view them in their natural environment. 

We saw elephant, Impala and kudus everywhere. Such beautiful animals. After driving for the morning we reached the campsite and paid our bill for the night at N$175 (£8.50) per person and made some lunch next to the river. We decided to head back out and drive to the horse shoe, which was a bend in the Kwando river where Elephants frequently visit. 
We headed back out and we were soon greeted by a massive herd of elephants and their little babies. They weren't entirely happy with us being there grunting and waving their heads to assert authority! We decided to hang around for about an hour while we waited for them to wander off so we could continue our journey to the horse shoe. But they had other ideas. We were surrounded, with elephants everywhere. You don't realise how big these creatures are until you are right next to them! 
After being sat there for over an hour with us watching these massive destructive animals tear down trees and munch everything in sight. We decided to leave them in peace and return to the campsite. The horse shoe will have to wait for the next day.

That afternoon we spend our time flicking through the bird book and trying to put names to all the different kinds, that were jumping and chirping around us. It was bliss! We went to bed early after being told the hippos come out of the water at night and to be careful of them. We were asleep within moments after our epic first day in the park. All through the night we were woken by the rustling of the trees around us, and as we peered out of our tent, there was nothing. We were then woken for the last time at about 4:30am and this time when we peered out, there was a great big elephant wondering around our car picking and breaking the leaves of the tree next to our car. It was literally within touching distance of us, and because we were in our roof tent, we were at eye level with him. We sat incredibly still, hoping he wouldn't hear us or notice us watching him. The last thing we wanted to do was upset him. Our hearts were racing and we were in total awe of this fascinatingly massive animal! What a great thrill that evening was!

The next morning we woke up early and headed straight for the horse shoe where we would enjoy our breakfast observing the morning activities. There was only a few birds pottering about and Impala enjoying the morning sun. We drove around the rest of the park and decided we would return in the afternoon before heading out the park. We saw loads of impalas and Kudu's, and the odd elephant. We arrived back at the horse shoe, but there wasn't much going on. We decided to have some lunch and hang around for the next hour to see if anything came down for a drink. But just as we were about to get ready and leave. Elephants started descending on the river. We were shocked as to how many there were. 20, 30, 50, 70, 100..... Over 100 were all drinking, swimming, playing and just having a great time enjoying the water in the sun. We were amazed and sat there feeling like the luckiest people around. Eventually we had to get going as we needed to start heading out the park to find somewhere to stay for the night. We edged passed them as quietly as we could, but they were still not happy with us. The little ones were around and they were being very protective. The road was a sand track and the only way we could drive was in low range, so if an Ellie decided it was gonna have us, we were going nowhere quickly! We edged more forward and this one Ellie was not happy. Flapping its ears and waving his trunk around. I think it's the first time I've ever seen Rob scared! Our beast of a car would be no match against this larger giant! Eventually Rob just put his foot down and quickly (well... as quickly as you can go in low range) drove past him. And all of a sudden we both breathed out a sigh of relief. We made it out alive, and Daisy was still in one piece! It was awesome!

That night we stayed in Kwando Lodge, very close to Namushasha were we stayed last time we were in Namibia. Well, it definitely wasn't as nice as Namushasha, with its green grass, personal ablution block and braai stands, but it was more a large space that big overlanding groups would utilise. We still enjoyed a drink overlooking the Kwando river before heading back to our very basic campsite were we enjoyed yet again a lovely braai and chatting the night away. 

After leaving the campsite the next morning, we passed the Namushasha heritage village and decided to go check it out. The guide would show us around a typical village setting and explain how they did things then and now, and the trade they would specialise in. The ladies would learn how to weave baskets and the men would make tools, weapons with metal or learn how to carve wood. It was incredibly interesting but something was tickling the people that worked there as they were all laughing and giggling as they demonstrated some of the things they do in their villages. 
They demonstrated a court hearing where people would bring their issues to the elders. They re-enacted two ladies that had disagreements with an arrangement they had made for one to look after some chickens. It was supposed to be a serious display of how it would be on real life, but their acting skills weren't that good and everyone was laughing at how the elders were pretending to reprimand these ladies. It was hilarious! 
They then demonstrated some of the local songs as they played their traditional instruments while signing and dancing. And then the medicine man started doing his dance, climbing the trees ad circling the others. The giggles and laughing continued, and eventually they had us laughing as well! We ended our tour with the medicine man telling us we were of good health and that we would continue to have safe travels in Africa. 
Totally weird tour and not sure how much of it was true as they all laughed while doing all their demonstrations. But we had got to laugh at them laughing, so all in all, a happy experience!

We headed towards Divundu where we would find a campsite after stocking up on food and drinks. We arrived at Mobola and was pleased to hear camping was N$90 per person, on the river front with braai, sink, electric and shower. Perfect! It was absolutely stunning here with birds chirping, hippos calling at night and just total tranquility! We ended up staying two nights here and enjoyed exploring the island across a swinging bridge. A beautifully set bar on the island opened at 5:30pm, just in time to watch the sun setting over the river. The sunsets are just more and beautiful every time we see them.

We headed for Rundu where we wondered around town and enjoyed the Namibian feel! Definitely falling more and more I love with this country! The people are so friendly!
We found a campsite in town called Sarasungu, but unfortunately this was really not that nice. There was great grass and electric and braai grill, but there just was nothing amazing about it. The bathrooms were far away and then they didn't flush!!! Can you believe I had to use a bucket!? In Namibia!? 
Rob and I laughed as it was actually quite a nice place in comparison to what we had settled for in central Africa. The bathroom was even clean, there was a toilet, running water, and a shower... And I still moaned! We had been seriously spoilt while being in Namibia! We had so easily just slipped back into the normal luxury camping we were used to at home! We laughed and reminded ourselves how lucky we really were! It's those crazy, unglamorous, unpredictable times that made us truly love this experience. 

Our next stop was Roys Camp, but on our way down we were stopped at the foot and mouth road block. I was the typical stupid tourist and told Rob we will be fine and wouldn't be stopped for our meat. Well, we were stopped and a Rob was able to do a 'I told you so!'. But luckily the guy said he was happy for us to cook our meat on the side of the road and could then continue travelling onwards with all our meat in tow. So there we were, in the baking sun, cooking all our meat; a little sad we wouldn't be able to braai it! 

We eventually arrived at Roy's Camp which was a quirky place with junk used as decoration and revamped to look authentic. It was a great place! There was a little pool with an old bathroom tub as a water feature. There was a really cool vibe about this place so we decided two nights it had to be! 
While enjoying a beer, we noticed an old Land Rover pull into the parking area. It was definitely an overlander! And then we noticed the foreign number plate... It was British as well! We got far to excited for own good and called out to her asking if she was from England. Her name was Amily and she had been travelling with her dog along the east coast for the past 18months and now starting to make her way up on the west. She was so brave doing it on her own! She was lovely and we enjoyed chatting with her and getting to know her a little. 

The next morning we chatted a little more before she hit the road again. 
I decided that the best way to fill my day was to transform my African dress I got made in Congo, that turned out nothing like what I expected, into a skirt. It did take all day, but I'm pretty happy with my invention as its so easy to wear around camp. Yip, I'm pretty impressed with myself and my new skirt! At least it's not sitting there gathering dust anymore. 

That night we met two travellers guiding a group of French tourists around Namibia. They were brilliant to talk to and we got to know a little about how they got into the tourist game and even more amazing; that they were still loving it! They enthusiastically told us about things to go and see in Namibia. Their passion and love for their country oozed out of them. It was great fun while we swapped stories and chatted about how people that haven't travelled to these countries, can't quite grasp being in the bush, with wild animals around. They had to convince them over end over that these animals are dangerous and going for the routine morning or evening jog in the wild on your own was probably not advised. And of course African time always drives people mad! To be fair, sometimes it still drives us mad! They told us how they loved educating people on African life and show them how different life is here. Fantastic couple, with incredible jobs.