A Travellerspoint blog

namib Desert and Stelenbosch

We continued our journey after the adrenaline fuelled sky dive and headed into the desert, this was an environment I had not visited before and I was keen to see it and experience it for myself. The famous dune 45 awaited and as a group we eagerly looked forward to trekking up it. its harder going then it looked to be perfectly honest, sand is not easy to walk in much less climb in. I was some what disappointed that the powers that be impose a strict curfew on the area. I suppose one too many retarded tourists getting lost after dark have spoiled it for all of us, regardless it was a great experience even if we did miss what looked like some of the best photo ops for a mixed sunset and moon rise photo I've ever seen. I drank it in with my eyes, leaning out of the truck roof top and just enjoying the ambience.

We repeated the trek the following morning for some great sun rise photos but I decided the best shots were too be had from a lower view point, as the sun rose over the dunes the light was fantastic. I won't lie I'm so behind now in this blog its reached the point where I can barely remember the details and I'm half tempted to ditch all further african entries in favour of something more recent. I don't want to do that in the hope that even the barest written record will spark some distant memory in my befuddled mind during my twighlight years but these entries will be less than stellar.

after sun rise on the dunes we hit the "student" town of Stelenbosh. What can I say, clearly this town has a "beautiful people" rule, its a student town with an average estimated age of 19 and despite our best efforts it was a town with one real attraction.....bars bars and more bars. Two nights of extremely hardcore partying ensued. My stalwart drinking partners being Mike, Keely, and off course my favourite scotsman the G man! night one we got wasted and hit up a local club dancing the night away to around 3 am. The following day vowing that old age was the better part of valour we made it obvious we weren't going to drink as much......that is until we started to drink. Me and G man made it to about 5 Am utterly wasted, pounding whiskey, springbok, tequila and other assorted alchohols. Im pretty sure at one point I paid for a round with a 100 US bill, I'm also fairly sure I stole a litre of water from a local all night garage. I vaguely remember some guy attempting to mug me of my mobile phone but I was so drunk I had no fear and the guy left me in peace. As it was it a was a drunken night I can barely remember the following day. Much less now almost 4 months on........

stelenbosh a great town to party in and if you can stay sober enough probably get laid......

Posted by cd108 05:43 Comments (2)

SpitzKoppe and the Swakopmund

big rocks huh?

On the way to the Namib desert we stop off for the night at Spitzkoppe, a huge rock formation in what is basically the arid part close to where the desert begins. Climbing at least part way up this thing is possible without ropes and other gear (I can attest) but be warned the climbs are not easy in places and I'm told (although I didn't see any) that scorpions and snakes do like to live in the rocks here. We have a beautiful Sun set here and a very relaxed evening over a BBQ. Up early the next day to see if sunrise is even half as good as sunset was but it was eerily misty around the top of all the peaks...

We move on towards Swakopmund and what is without a doubt the most westernised city we've seen since leaving Nairobi. These guys have KFC!! Swakopmund is an old German Imperial Colony and this is still reflected in the architecture. Indeed a lot of germans seem to still be leaving or at least holidaying there. There are german book stores and coffee shops all over town and given that it is in fact basically a beach resort (albeit on the edge of the desert) it has very few touts. The few touts there are how ever will try and rip you off, case in point one of the group allowed himself to be pressured into buying what was basically a giant acorn with his name carved into it for 20 USD. I was approached by a similar tout and it went like this "hello whats your name" "hello I'm Chris" out of the corner of my eye I can see this guy is already carving C H into his giant nut, "woah woah there mate, unless your selling that to the next chris to come along id stop there because I won't be buying it" "where you from Chris" (all the usual tout spiel eh), "I'm from England and no I don't support Man Utd" at this the guy laughs admits defeat and off he goes so fair play to him. Tout number two approaches me a few moments later 'Hello whats your name? "hi my name is chris and I don't buy nuts with or without my name on them" this guy also laughs and heads off. Tout number three approaches me "ahh never mind I've heard about you Chris" In all honesty id of bought the 3rd guys nut just for that comment but he was already on his way!

So im In Swakopmund and we have already discoverd that on this trip Ive decided to have no fear! Better sign up for a sky dive right? about 8 of us from the group agree to this crazy activity and again I'm picked to go first along with Chris (US). The worst part is probably the 40 minutes it takes for the plane to reach 10000 feet. As Chris said to me during the flight in fluent american "fuck dude, why can't this guy go vertical?" I can honestly say I felt a good deal more scared before the Gorge swing but I'm fairly used to flying and have been in light air craft before. So whats sky diving like? Well its the closest I've ever been strapped to another man in my life! but when the door opens at 10000 feet its the last thing on your mind. You scoot up the drop on your knees with your guide in tandem behind you. One last check to make sure everything is tightly secured (good call) and you basically sit on the edge with your legs dangling out the plane. Now is not the time to regret your decision because moments later that guy strapped to your back launches you into thin air and for the next 30 seconds or so you have the most amazing sense of acceleration, it takes just 3 seconds to reach 50% of terminal velocity (thats a staggering 122 mph) or roughly 40 mp second! Time to admire the view comes after the shoot has opened and if your nice to your guy (I was) they will do a few spins and tricks to keep you amused on the descent. Chalk that one up to a Must do again!

Posted by cd108 06:36 Archived in Namibia Comments (0)

Namibia and Etosha National Park

One last game drive anyone? Perhaps we can spot a retard?

Our frist port of call in Namibia is the Etosha national park. I wasn't expecting great things from this park since its in no way as hyped as the other parks in Africa but boy was I wrong. Almost as soon as we enter were treated to a whole pack of cheetahs lounging by the side of the track. Photo opotunitys aplenty arise and I snap some great shots of the Cheetahs as individuals and interacting with each other as a group. Barely minutes pass when our driver spots a Leopard! Sighting Leopards is hard work since they are about as rare and reclusive as wild animals get, not only have we found one but its stalking antelope! we may get to see a kill here. An hour passes as we watch this amazing ambush predator stalk ever closer to an Impala. We notice two of the herd are limping and appear lame. So great is the skill of this cat that we actually loose it twice in the long grass despite knowing where it is. Excitedly we move the truck closer to prevent our view being obscured by scrub and trees. The moment closes in, the impala is actually moving towards the Leopards location, its almost as if its going to walk right into his mouth! At this moment some retard pulls up behind us in a car and gets out, starts to shout at us "what can you see?" of course the impala scatter and the hunt is off. Seriously dude, if i had my way id of tied that guy to the back of the truck and dragged him through the park till we had twenty Leopards eating on him but such is life. Moments later we see the Leopard has intact still made a kill but on the far side of the trees and is now dragging its meal back into cover so it can feast without fear of other cats interfering. I still feel privileged to have seen a Leopord with a kill but that guy........

We spend the night in the park and in the morning we have to drive fairly hurriedly to make out next destination, no one really expects to see much today and most of us are still buzzing about the Leopard anyway. We come across a group of Lions lazing in the grass. From the looks of it there mostly Juvenille males with short manes. Probably not yet old or strong enough to claim there own pride. Out the come cameras again. All of these lions are perfectly relaxed lounging in the sun when along comes retard number two. This guy also gets out of his car with his partner (wtf is it with people in this park walking about in front of big cats). They both proceed to stand on the roof of there little 2 door car but have they not noticed ALL of the lions are now looking very active! One of them has even gone into a stalking pose. We have a quick vote in the back of the truck do we warn these muppets or do we attempt to capture a lion killing a man on film. The vote goes for a solid capture a lion / man kill on film and we settle back down to line up the shots. Sadly a park ranger also arrives on the seen and gives this couple a sound telling off for being so bloody stupid. To my amazement that bloody guy from the Leopard is back and out of his car behind us as well!

People please, if your on safari for the love of god stay in your vehicle and don't interrupt other peoples viewing!

Posted by cd108 06:20 Archived in Namibia Comments (0)

Botswana

We move on yet again

sunny

We have travelled into Botswana and again the locals are some of the friendliest we have yet met, even the border crossing is relaxed and full of humour. The guys are not taking life too seriously. Our camp site for the next few days has a pool! I Decide to skip any optional excursions, needing a break from the hectic schedule and in truth just time to myself. I spent the next few days relaxing by the pool and popping into the small nearby town and checking out the stores. Theres a very relaxed atmosphere here, no touts at all and I stock up on some new T shirts for bargain prices (no more than 3 GBP) after a lot of my gear is now pretty trashed from the rain and mud up north to the blistering sun down south. Coupled with the lack of hot water and washing machines (cold hand washes) Africa is not kind to clothes so don't waste money on expensive stuff prior to coming here just buy cheap crap you can replace on the road (exception being a good rain coat and if your camping a decent air mattress or thermorest). Talking of Air mattresses mine has developed a leak, I wake up on the ground every morning! With only a few weeks left on the truck and with the local town being sparsely stocked in basic items I don't hold out much hope for picking up a new one. I make do with an old thermorest of the truck. The days here are very chilled out and in truth not that exciting but after 2 months of non stop schedule its what I needed.

Next stop were going to Namibia and a first for me we enter into the Namib desert!

Posted by cd108 06:13 Archived in Botswana Comments (0)

Vic falls the smoke that thunders and falling off the edge

Adrenaline capitol of Zimbabwe

sunny

We left antelope park and the wilds behind and headed down into Vic Falls, Truly a tourist trap town if there ever was one. Nothing here but travel agents and agents to book the various adrenaline activities through, Net cafes a few bars and well tourist souvenir shops. It was here was said goodbye to two of my favourite all time aussies from the trip. lou and Gilly were departing for Cape town early and then heading home. Gilly had been a great guy to get on with and we both shared a keen interest in photography, we would often spend an hour or two on quiet evening browsing through each others albums and commenting on what we liked or didn't like. Lou had been great fun as well she liked to party a bit more than Gilly so on less quiet nights I had often kept her company during some of the more boozy sessions!

Vic falls proved to be a big night out as we said good bye to our friends that were leaving, Manola the crazy italiono and Cordelia (favourite canadian quote "ill give you a blow job if you get me a water"). Stupidly we had booked white water rafting the following morning. After heading to bed at around 5 Am myself and Chris (US) were rudely awoken by Alex at 7 Am "the guys are here to take us rafting" Holy shit! dash out of bed throw on some clothes and rush to the bus. What a day, 5 hours in the blistering sunshine paddling hard on the mighty Zambeze river without any water. Guys and gals seriously do not drink the night before you do this at least not to excess and certainly not till 5 Am. To my delight there was a 50 minute hike back up the gorge to look forward too at the end, just when you were most exhausted! Honestly It felt about the closest i have ever come to dying and truth be told about half way up the gorge id would of welcomed a merciful death! I still enjoyed it, a first for me white water rafting and Suprsingly hard work (given the circumstances) We had all our heavy guys on one side at the start and all the skinny girls on the other side. No surprise we flipped the raft really, going into both sets of the first rapids. Things got a little easier when we averaged out the weight but I still managed to get washed clean over board during "the washing machine" luckily I grabbed the raft with one hand and held on for dear life. In fact the raft kept pushing me under as it sped towards me (I was at the front). Finally mike hauled me out and saved me from certain doom. Majority of the rapids we saw were 4's and I'm told this is because of the amount of rainfall further up river. More rain makes the water level higher than the rocks and in some cases at least pacifies the rapids a bit. Other rapids including the "washing machine" were a 5 grade and considerably more violent.

Day two and another first for me, Ive signed up to do a gorge swing and truth be told I've worried about it ever since. A gorge swing is similar to a bungee except at the end of the fall you swing out rather than sit there bouncing. Ok doesn't sound so hard right well its 110 meters up and you have to stand on a tiny little wooden platform. Never one to give in to fear I agree to go first. Im still worried ill get to the edge and wuss out but I'm determined to get this done.....I approach the ledge and hail the guy with the rope "hi there, how do we do this thing then?" "easy he says ill buckle you up and on the count of 5 you just jump up and out". Ok sounds a piece of cake right? Duly buckled up I am and now standing on the very edge of the platform trying not to look like I'm scared. the count down starts 5, 4, 3 and the bastard shoves me right off the edge, screaming like a girl as I fall 100 odd meters. I don't know if it was the adrenaline or the appreciation of being alive but afterward all i can remember is laughing and laughing, even as I was half towed half climbed back up I couldn't stop. My only comment on reaching the top? "what the fuck happened to 2 and 1 mate?".............

On the last day I took in the truly impressive natural wonder that is Victoria Falls itself, The sheer volume of water that must pass over this drop every day, every minute is an order of magnitude that words probably can't describe (and I don't know). On entering the area close to the falls your first thought is "oh its started to rain" but no that is just mist and splash back coming from the falls which is still a good 20-30 meters away, and thats just the closest edge!

Posted by cd108 05:45 Archived in Zimbabwe Comments (0)

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