The first night in the roof tent was an ordeal. I guess I didn’t sleep much after midnight. It certainly didn’t help that the temperature dropped closer and closer to 0° as the hours went by. Fortunately, my dear wife was only centimeters away. Her presence gave me comfort.
In the morning we get up at dusk and enjoy a hot shower to warm up – feels great. Again, I’m surprised how good the infrastructure is. Soon after we prepare a wonderful breakfast starter – papaya cuts with sugar and Greek yogurt (plain yogurt). Tip: always look for Greek yogurt in Namibia! Akiko is incredibly helpful and cooperative preparing and clearing breakfast, I’m sooo proud of her. It’s important to have people like her when you travel with a group.
The way back to the main road from the Waterberg Plateau seems never-ending, but I will get used to gravel roads over the course of the next three weeks. It certainly wasn’t worth it coming out here for just this one night.
We head north-west. Thomas and Stefan both run over a guinea fowl (each). They linger in herds on the shoulder of the road and if their escape strategies are absolutely unpredictable.
Wherever we stop, kids and teens try to sell us jewelry, “crystals” (usually polished white stones) and makalani nuts. It’s a little uncomfortable because we’re not (yet) used to that but we learn quickly how to say no. After all we want to be friendly and nice and yet we also don’t want to fill our baggage with stuff we might throw away at home. I feel sorry for the kids and teens. The idleness in which they seem to be caught is overwhelmingly sad.
In Outjo we stop in front of a super-market. Side note, I recommend using the one at the south-east end of the village. Before we even get out of the car we’re surrounded by a group of kids who all want something from us. I feel a little uneasy and queasy. Again, I have to learn quickly to deal with situations I’m not comfortable with. In the west we’re not used to being imposed on. One guy carries a wooden stick, he seems to be the leader of the pack. Marga asks him to watch our cars and we’ll bring hime and his deputies something to eat from the super-market. Although I’m happy to hit the road again that experience will prove to have been important for me in terms of “letting the African culture in” i.e. dropping some of my guards.
In Kamanjab we stop for gas. Although we carry spare cans on the roof of the Land Rovers we make a habit out of pumping gas at each gas station along the way. That’s certainly not un-wise in Africa. Kamanjab is dreary and bleak. At the gas station a few herero women in their traditional dress sell jewelry. Friendly teenagers try to sell makalani nuts. They’re a lot less touting than groups in other places. Of course, one of their first questions is “where are you from”. We don’t tell them right away that we’re from Switzerland but engage them in a little chat about what they know about Europe. Quite a bit, we learn. When we tell them that our country lays between Italy and Germany they’re at loss. When we finally unveil the answer they all yell “Hopp Schwiiiz!” (“Go Switzerland” in Swiss German). Now it’s our turn to be speechless! We burst out with laughter.
After another 70km we finally arrive at Hobatere campsite. The camp is an naturalist’s dream – simply marvelous! There’s hardly any information about this community campsite on the Internet and I don’t know how you’d book in advance. The Hobatere Lodge is 1km away, they might know. The campsite is very basic and luxury at the same time. There are regular toilets aaaaand a hot shower! To build them black canvas is wrapped around trees and bushes. The foundation is made of concrete but there’s no roof – the star-laden African sky acts as the roof. The water for the shower is heated up by a fire that burns underneath an old gas bottle turned into a boiler. When you wait taking a shower until the sun has set it feels like warm rain falling from the starry sky.
We also try to fix the fridge built into Thomas’ Land Rover. Unfortunately, we have to learn that the tools the car is equipped with are lousy. Another lesson learned: make sure the tool set is complete when you take over a rental car in Namibia. We also notice that we weren’t given spare fuses for each appliance. With fuses from Stefan’s and my car we manage to get by…