It has been an amazing 6 weeks. Over-landing in Africa is hard work. Long days, rough roads, heat and dust. Physically, we are glad we went when we did, rather than putting it off for a few more years. Having said that, over-landing lets you really see the country warts and all. Something that flying from place to place doesn’t allow you to do.
Africa is a rapidly developing land of contrasts. Most of the people we spoke to are optimistic about the future of their country. Some not so much. The future will be interesting to watch unfold. Kenya and Tanzania were Carol’s favourites. Mine were Botswana and Namibia. We both loved South Africa.
Many thanks to everyone who followed the blog. The trip was a life changing one which we enjoyed sharing with you. Hope to see you all soon!
It began in a roundabout way. Our first revolving door at a bank in the town of springbok refused to open until we figured out that it works backwards to North American doors. Gave the locals a good laugh anyways. Down the road, using a private pay toilet became an adventure when the metal revolving gate shut behind me on the way out and I was stuck.
The ecology slowly changed from dry desert to mountains to the first vineyards around Clanwillian. It became lusher and lusher as we travelled further south. The SA vineyards and fruit growing areas are immense.
The last stop before reaching Capetown was a wonderful historical and educational site about the San Bushmen. We had an excellent tour by a San tribe member which included a San language lesson, a detailed tour of the art garden and an introduction to the ethnobotany of the San. We finished up in a San village watching music and fire making demonstrations and learning more about the culture and day to day life.
On the road again, Table Mountain and Capetown appeared in the distance. What a gorgeous setting. We have a day to explore tomorrow before catching our flight to Amsterdam at 11 pm.
Another dawn departure got us to Fish Creek Canyon in southern Namibia by mid afternoon. The drive was a beautiful one.
Fish Creek Canyon is similar to the Grand Canyon but not quite as large. The basement sediments here are over 1 billion years old. Tectonic movement began the formation of the canyon and water continued the process. We arrived at the canyon just before sunset and enjoyed a sundowner on its rim. – the colours were spectacular.
The area around the canyon is part of a park where depleted/extinct wildlife populations are being established again with introductions of the native species from other areas of Africa. the program is working well and we saw evidence of various types of antelopes, zebra and kudu.
The first part of our travels took us through Walvis Bay – the main Port along the coast of South West Africa. The coast just north of Walvis Bay was covered with seaside developments that had been built in anticipation of the tourism that the Africa Cup was anticipated to bring into the area. This didn’t occur and the developments are like ghost towns – lovely properties deserted for the most part. Walvis Bay itself has an upscale area along the water and a walkway that goes for miles along the sandy beach. It could be Vancouver or Victoria – just a different beach and pink flamingos are the shore birds – not ducks.
As we drove deeper into the desert the coastal moonscape of dunes and kopjes changed to flat land and then gradually to mountains. The drive was stunningly beautiful. The rocks are old and the stratigraphy evidence of the great uplifting that occurred during the plate tectonic activity which led to the break up of Gondwanaland in the Cretaceous about 120 million years ago. Our lunch was at a road side stop called Solitaire. It used to be the one stop along the road for gas, groceries and lodging – a graveyard for old cars was fun to see. The car headlights have energy saving bulbs in them that are turned on at night to light the courtyard of the Solitaire lodge.
After lunch we started to see evidence of the famous red dunes of the Namib-Naukluft park. Our evening is at a desert camp just outside the park – the sunset was gorgeous and the air is like warm silk. We can hear hyenas in the distance and the southern stars are out in all their glory.