Sunday, March 21, 2010

Good bye (0363)

Time to say good bye. I fly tonight to Europe because I have a meeting on Tuesday. Thomas stays for another day in beautiful Cape Town. He will load the car tomorrow into a container. It was a great trip.

Cape Town (0359)

We spent the last two days at a wineyard in Stellenbosch with an friend from my years at the University. Perfect chill out.

South Africa (0358)

We reached South Africa....800 km of good, tarred roads ahead. Piece of cake.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hot water (0356)

There is a hot water source in Ai-Ais. What a pleasure to dive in 37 degrees water when its 42 degrees outside....and sip a real cold coke in the pool.

Canyon (0354)

There is a huge canyon in the south west of Namibia. We decided to spend the night there, in Ai-Ais. It is a very hot, desertic and beautiful place. The landscape takes your breath away and ther is no one around. On the 490km we drove today we crossed may be a dozen cars.

Landscape (0353)

Stones and heat (0352)

We spend the night on a farm, and had a brief talk with the wife. The next neighbours are 10km away, her brother in law. The next grocery is 260km away, i.e. 520km to get some milk. Well you have to love your cattle to accept to live her.
In the morning we wanted to cross the border, but South Africa did not let us in at the Mata Mata border post. There is a National Park on the other side, and we would have had to spend teo nights there. So we backtracked and drove south west towards. The heat is now at 42 degress in the shadows.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kalahari (0350)

Carscape (0349)

Landscape (0348)

It's the Kalahari and it's hot (38 degrees in the shadows)

Mad Max citiy North (0347)

This is Stampriet looking North.

Mad Max city South (0346)

This is Stampriet in Namibia (looking South). On the map it is indicated in big letters like a major city. Actually there areb two pump station, a police station, a grocery store,a kiosk (where we had lunch) and a post office. All buildings are along the road, except for the church which sits on a small hill. It's not the first time that we cross such a Mad Max city. There are just not enough people living in Namibia to populate real towns....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Landscape (0345)

Circles (0338)

Thomas is creating some circles of extra terrestrial significance into the salt-sandy ground.

Aminuis (0337)

In the very western part of Namibia we found some salt lakes.

Buvette (0334)

Looks like a good place to drink a cold coke. This morning we looked at some land plots for sale in Leonardville. You get 1500sqm in the city center for roughly USD 1'000. It's quite tempting. There is game here, a golf course, a swimming pool, a 4x4 trail for quads and a cavern system. Ok, most of it only exist on paper...but the potential is there. Our Swiss friend is trying to develop the area. Late morning we said good bye and drove off towards the south.

Cute little guy (0333)

Sheep Farm (0326)

Namibia does export quite a lot of meat (next to diamonds and uran).

Sheep looading (0325)

For once I am in the back of the car. We are going to a farm to load some herds of sheep into trucks.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Leonardville (0324)

We stopped in Leonardville to get some diesel and were greeted by a Swiss. He came to Africa 1978 and now owns farms and houses.... and he loves cigars. So I left him one from my travel humidor. We sat on his veranda and listened to his incredible interesting life: hockey player in the swiss national league, lost a finger to a snake bite, owned a farm in South Africa, loves hunting (a lion's trophy is in the living room) etc.

Heroe's acre (0321)

Namibia only got independant 20 years ago. Close to the capital city is the memorial for those who fought for the independance.

Windhoek (0319)

We spent the night in Windhoek, after some troubles finding a place to stay. All hotels were fully booked. Finally we found a place for a reasonable price in the south. This morning we tried to charter a small plane to fly to the north an visit the Himba people. Unfortunately it was not possible. The planes were also fully booked. Seems to be an attractive place. So we went in the city center, drunk a cup of espresso (the first real one in the last two weeks...usually they serve a concentrated Nescafe brew) and drove South-West towards Leonardville on small roads.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Trans-Kalahari Highway (0318)

We are driving on the Trans-Kalahari highway to the capital city Windhoek. The road is an intermiable strait band in an absolutely flat area (except for the slight hill where I took this picture)

Gobabis (0316)

Gobabis is the first larger namibian town we are driving though....looks fairly european to us...or may be american because there is so much open space, shops and large roads.

Namibia (0314)

We arrived in Namibia. The road from Maun in Botswana to Gobabis in Namibia were perfect and we drove an averag of 110km/h. There were virtually now villages as Botswana and Namibia are very sparsely populated - only about 2 inhabitants per sqm.
I forgot to mention that Botswana is the african country with the highest AIDS infection rate. A third of the population is infected. The disease lowerede the life expectancy from 60 to only 31 years. Similar figures are found in pretty all countries we travelled through. I don't think that we get the scale of this disaster in Europe.

GPS navigation (0310)

We drove some time on very small path, navigating only with GPS and when back on the main road, there were these giraffes on the track...

Animals, animals, animals (0308)

Animals again (0307)

Driving south (0304)

We drove south through Botswana. The roads were bad, but actually more slow than challenging.

Elephant dung (0303)

At the campsite Thomas is shoveling away the elephant dung.... They are huge, but don't smell.

Boredom sunset picture (0302)

Bug infested camp site (0301)

Fed up with seeing animals (0299)

Thomas just can't stand seeing more elephants...

More and more animals (0298)

Even more animals (0292)

May be I shouldn't have flashed this one in the face. An angry elefant can easily overthrow a car...and then don't exit your car. You will be inevitably trampled to death. I am still using the flash. Pictures are better as the flash lowers the contrast to the bright sun.

More animals (0290)

More animals (0286)

Animals (0280)

The unfriendliness of the people were somehow compensated by the incredible number of wild animals. We saw so any elefants, antilopes, giraffes, buffaloes, zwebras that I even stopped taking pictures - which happens seldom to me.

Zimbabwe (0276)

We only spent about two hours in Zimbabwe. But it was a good and friendly experience. Then we crossed into Botswana...and the unfriendliness and bureaucratic ways reminded us of Mocambique. First payment at customs is only accepted in local currency, the Pula. But you can't exchange at the border crossing. So we had to drive 12km into Botswana without custom clearance to find a bank and go back to the border to find a fee. But be reminded, it's Africa, so this isn't unusual. The unusual part was really the unfriendliness. Later we learned that you have to register for the parks, in some places you are only allowed to camp in state owned camping places etc. So we spent the night on an assigned spot. Original wording from Thomas: 'Never since my service at the army has some told me where to sleep...not until here in Botswana'. The spot was actually on the border of a river and absolutely bug infected. We used all chemical weapons we had and still it was a lost battle. So I spend my time cooking potatoes and fishing out the bugs falling into the pan. Proteines.

Zambezi river (0275)

Mist (0272)

Behind the mist are the Vic Falls... The picture was taken from the bridge over the mystic Zambezi river, leading from Zambia to Zimbabwe. You can do there the 3rd highest bungee jump in the world: 110m. We politely said 'no thanks' and crossed into Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls (0271)

From Lusaka we drove south to the Victoria Falls, one of the 7 natural world wonders. The chopper ride was lame, but the falls are impressive. The area is very touristic. We spent the night in a backpackers camp. A lot of fun people there...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

City centre (0268)

We drove to the city center and dropped of a german traveler we picked up at the Luangwa river camp and are now driving south towards Livingstone.

Another supermarket picture (0267)

After the supermarket I tried to buy some local art work and antiques. But I found nothing nice. So I settled for a couple of armrings for Naomi. On the table of a sales man I saw a 20 trillion dollar bill from Zimbabwe. Greetings from hyperinflation. That what we will experience tomorrow after visiting the Victoria falls.

Chutney (0265)

Various chutneys, in particular mango chutney seem to be popular here. There is quite a selectiojn.

Back in the civilization (0264)

We found american style malls and supermarkets at the entrance of Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. We bought some food for the next days and drove off to visit the center.

Luangwa river (0260)

Spar Supermarket (0266)

Nothing beats the feeling of an air conditionned supermarket after days driving under the hot sun.

Hot water (0259)

It's morning and here is the hot water boiler.

Across Zambia (0258)

We drove 670km today. From the border of Malawi to the Luangwa river in Zambia. We found a very nice camp site.... with hot water shower. The water from the river is stored in a barell and below you light a fire. It takes 30 minutes and the water is warm. While taking the shower you can smell the smoke from the burning wood. Its of course a pleasure you share with some locusts, spiders and other unidentified insects. Tomorrow we try to drive to Livingston. Another 650km. But the roads here are very good and there is little traffic, - and more important - few people on the border of the street (Zambia being very sparsely populated). So we will be able to drive fairly constantly 80 to 90 kmh.
By the way it was pretty hot today, around 36 degrees. Its because we left the plateau. Instead of being at 1500m to 2000m altitude we are now at merely 400m. The difference in temperature is striking.

Roads (0255)

The roads are better than expected we will exit Mocambique in early afternoon to enter Zambia.