Before leaving Botswana, we spent a leisurely morning swimming in a disused local quarry. With typical disregard to health and safety, we all piled into the back of a jeep and hung on for dear life as we bumped and bounced our way along stony tracks. Several bruises, lots of laughs and a flat tyre later, the quarry appeared in the baking hot, barren landscape and we braved a dip in the icy water. To top off a relaxing day, I decided to ‘upgrade’ my accommodation for a change, paying a few dollars for the privilege of having my own traditional straw hut. Unfortunately I failed to inspect it closely before handing over the cash, and found that the door was mysteriously half the size of the doorway, leaving a lion-sized hole by my bedside! So although it was nice to have a bed for the night, I slept with one eye open for intruders of the human, animal or insect kind.
Hut with deficient door!
The following day, we set off for Namibia. By this point, we had perfected our daily ritual of annoying the guides by asking ‘What time will we arrive?’, to which the equally frustrating response was: ‘T.I.A.!’ This is Africa – impossible to say! So we were left to watch our surroundings and spot clues as to our whereabouts. I found the Namibian landscape intriguing and almost as spectacular as any since Tanzania. It is easy to see that Namibia is the second least densely populated country in the world! We drove for hundreds of kilometres without seeing any other vehicles, traversing flat, open plains with vast mountain ranges to either side of us. All this began to change as we neared the country’s capital, Windhoek.
From what we saw of it, the capital didn’t look particularly picturesque but it was certainly the most developed place we had seen so far, with Westernised shopping centres
and a very different feel from previous countries. It’s Germanic influence was in evidence from street and shop names to German being widely spoken (not just by the numerous German tourists.) As the city’s industrial skyline unfolded in front of us, I felt a mounting excitement at reaching the civilisation of Southern Africa, with only just over a week to go until we would arrive in Cape Town.