Total KMS travelled so far: 5,883
First things to be said about Namibia (at least southern Namibia) are:
- The roads are great! Mostly gravel but well graded and little traffic to mess them up. But we stick to 80 – 90kmh on the gravel despite the temptation to go faster -as rolling Tin Can is not on the agenda. Besides the fuel economy improves a lot at this speed!
- It’ is bloody hot! 41C during the day the last couple of days, dropping to only 31C at night. Tonight near Aus is cooler at 25C.
- Distances are long – it’s a big country and a lot of diesel goes into the tank! Roads and countryside are desolate – with only 4 or 5 other vehicles per day passing by and the odd farmhouse sighted. You are on your own here to a large extent!
- The countryside is every bit as dry as the heart of the Australian Outback – only 50mm pa falls on average apparently at the Fish River Canyon and most of the southern Namibian country where we have been. (Although exceptionally good rains this year in December and January have freshened up the landscape a bit).
- The landscape is beautiful in it’s own way and ever changing- from flat dry plains to impressive mountains with boulders, crags and canyons. Outcrops of the strange Quiver tree from time to time provide an ethereal look.
- The people are friendly and wave most of the time like crazy– and there are not too many of them compared to other places in Africa we have seen so far!
First night in Namibia was spent at the Quiver Tree Forest near Keetmanshoop GPS 26”28’32 S 18”14’16 E USD$35 (but this included watching cheetahs being fed and entry to the boulder strewn “Giant’s Playground” with its strange rock formations. Not a bad place to camp – and we met up with Frikkie and Fiona again and had a great “braai”!
After stocking up with supplies in Keetmanshoop together with seeking out a MTC NAM data sim card for the laptop’s mobile modem (USD$40) (the South African one has stopped working), Fish River Canyon was an easy drive and an impressive site in the following morning sunlight. This canyon comes close to equaling the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The campsite at HOBAS NP GPS 27”37’07 S 17”42’56 E wasn’t bad either but camping at USD$26 plus NP entry fees at $22 seemed a bit expensive for the night to us?
Ai Ais hot springs resort GPS 27”55’11 S 17”9’19 E 70km down the road at the other end of the canyon there is a great set up – with restaurant, bar, hot mineral baths in a cool indoor setting and a beautiful swimming pool fed by the springs. The water temperature Is a balmy 30C. (The hot springs water comes out of the ground at 65C).! Pity the air temperature on the day was 38C and all we really wanted was cold water! Wintertime here would be good methinks! The camping at Ai Ais is good also with plenty of shade and the whole thing at USD$35 seemed good value?
The next day saw a very scenic drive through some stark mountainous country and along the Orange River again bordering on South Africa to the diamond mining town of Rosh Pinah and then on to Aus (Klein Aus Vista camping GPS 26”39’08 S16”14’40 E (USD$20). Next stop is the old diamond-mining town of Kolmanskuppe and the port of Luderitz -where we intend to spend a couple of days giving driving and Tin Can a rest for a while.