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Here, there, everywhere... A modest attempt at chronicling my around the world adventure over the next year (or so).

Dirt roads and drop outs...

NAMIBIA | Saturday, 28 February 2009 | Views [746]

(this is back to Michael)We drove across the South AFrican border without much fuss and turned off for Fish River canyon. We quickly realized that our trip in Namibia was going to be mostly on bone jarring, car wrecking dirt roads. As I hauled ass down the dirt road going towards Fish River we started to realize we should have rented a 4WD truck and time would prove this correct. We made it to Fish River and barely made it before dark after having gotten bad information at our first stop. WE quicky set up camp and ate our usual peanut butter and honey sandwiches before toing to bed.

We were awoken to a major, major thunderstorm and quickly learned that we had not staked down the tent well enough as one of the rain fly sides came loose and the tent almost blew over. We spent the next hour huddled in each corned keeping the tent down as water channeld underneath. We awoke in the morning to find a wet campsite but most things intact. We headed down the dirt road to Fish River Canyone. The Canyone is much like the Grand Canyone but smaller and after paying the overpriced entrance fee and taking a few photos headed back down the road to leave the camp. Again we were on a gravel road that seemed to really beat up ou rlittle Toyota Yaris with every bump. I have since learned there are 5500km of sealed roads in Namibia and 37000km of dirt roads that are used as regula roads. No wonder we kept getting passed by Toyota 4WD trucks and old Land Rovers. We had made it about 70km out of the park when a nice Namibian guy going the opposite way stopped us to tell us the river had flooded the road up ahead and we would never make in ours. We weighed our options and turned around. About 15 minutes into our turnaround the gas gauge started to blink like we were running out gas. It did not make sense since we had plenty when we left. we opted to pull over to save what we had left. Had we sprung a leak with all the rocks we had hit or something else? Remember we were on a road where we saw a truck every half an hour. So we waited, and waited. Finally a couple stopped but they only had diesel but said they would send someone from the next town. A Swiss couple named Dennis and Kim stopped and while they had no gas offered to go get us some, a mere 80km round trip. We were saved, sort of! So we waited about 5 hours for their return and sure enough they came back with 12 liters of gas, enough to get us o the next town. Did I mentio nwe had no Namibian money so we gave them South African Rand which is also accepted in Namibia. After a celebratory beer for everyone but Jessica we were off with Dennis and Kim behin djust in case. We made it to the next town and filled up. Funny thing it only took half a tank, something funny is going on. We said goodbye to our Swiss saviors and made our way 140 km for th enight. Again we topped off the tank and it did not take much money, we started to think the gas gauge was broken.

The next day we set out for the coast again at Luderitz, our destination from the day before. Again some bone jarring, car wrecking kilometers down to the old german town of Luderitz. We were going to report the gas gauge problems with Yaris and do some internet time. The town was a bit small for most things including the Budget Rent A car office which out of a woman's home. We did find the internet and a great campsite right on the coast. As we were seeking out a site guess who we saw?? Dennis and Kim, our Swiss saviors! We invited them over for a beer after dark and Jessica and I went into town to get some dinner. One thing about Africa is everything closes early like 6 or 7pm. We made it late and the only thing open was a window in the side of a building named JJ's takeaway. The burgers were premade but the conversation was nice. We made it back to the campsite to enjoy the sunset and a beer with Dennis and Kim.

The next day was a big haul of over 500km for Sossuvlei to see the famous red dunes. We made it right before sunset to an over priced camp with no water. But not before getting stuck in a sandy, washed out ravine in the road. I made th emistake of driving into the sand too much without enough speed. After 15 minutes of digging with no luck and bus load of Germans came along and it took 8 guys to help push it out. We were saved again!!! It was definetly time to pay it forward for us!! After finally getting to Sossuvlei we quickly set up the tent but missed the sunrise because I was focused on other things. It was also Jessica's birthday and I kind of blew it. However, we got up at 5am the next day to make the 6:30am sunrise in the dunes. We drove the 60km to the parking area where we had to walk the last 5km because we had a 2wd car. As we were walking Andy and James stopped to give us a ride in Andy's 1987 Toyota Landcruiser that he was driving through Africa. I rode on the front bumper because there was only one seat inside for Jessica. He had been here before so he went straight to Big Mama, one of the highest dunes in the world at over 300m. We made our way up the spine of the dunes, it was grueling but the view from the top was well worth it. I have great pictures not posted yet but keep checking. After spendin some quality time taking pictures and relaxing atop the dune we made our way down across a dried up lake bed. Andy and James dropped us off at ou rcar and we joined them back at the pool in the campsite. After saying our goodbyes we packed up and headed to Skawkomund on the coast. This was our stop to take care of business and plan the rest of our trip since we were a day behind from sitting on the sid eof the road. We also traded in our Yaris for a new ride hoping to escape some damage costs. I will let you know....

Tags: dunes, fish river canyon

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