Julie drove Matilda today.....OMG (in true teenage style)
She drove exactly 100 Km..... of the 50,000Km we've driven so far. In honor of the event I decided to start messing around with the camera (as she does) and also cut my nails, pick all my bites and generally fidget all day. I still didn;t manage to get the lions share of the water we have in the cab for when we get thirsty. I conclude its not sitting in the passenger seat that makes you thirsty, its just Julie has a big mouth.....
Not exactly a film/movie but its got a pilot movie.
There you have it. We've done it. We've finished. Thank goodness!!
The last animal to tick off the BIG five. Leopard has been spotted (LOL). We also manage to get a better shot of some lions. Only a little closer this time.
Rhino (white or black)
OK so it wasn't obvious but its not far off. Julie says the top has shrunk in the wash. I think she's feeding triplets....
OK so its 20,000 leagues but today we passed 50,000km. 10 Months into our journey and not even half way round or half way through.
We've started preparing for a trip home to do Administration. Dentists, Doctors, Tax Return, Visit Family, Buy Spare Parts...the list is growing.
We've yet again arrived at a Game Park. Will we never learn??? We've already had the "you're sure to see" - "leopard, Lion" at X position off two differnet groups of people. The lions "only moved 200meters in 2 days" was one comment. So we shall see,,,, or we won't. Which do you think is more likely? I know what i'm going for.
We actually came here to see Meerkats. Already seen Mongoose so another tick there. Since Meerkats are "cats" its unlikely to happen. They will run for cover when they hear us coming. Are you expecting photos ? You may wait a long time so try Google Images. Its more reliable than us.
Can you guess why the title is the famous Metropolis ??
Anyhow some pictures of Fish River and a few other places. Today we camp at Upington and the reasonable price of 60rand pppn. Two other Landies in the camp, both Pumas. Last night we stayed at Grunau at the Country House and we met a 200Tdi. A 1993 so just a year older than Matilda. The country House was a nice little camp and had an excellent (cheap) bar. Camping was 50N$ and beers were 10N$ as was wine. Just superb!!! How it should be and if they arn't on trip advisor I will add them and make a special effort. We enjoyed a night of beer and wine in the bar and made my Mothers Birthday special by sending a video of us singing Happy Birthday. We were not drunk when we shot it.....Julie was half way there however. (Message to Mother the blog doesn't need a soppy comment, you've already emailed me one). Happy Birthday again.
Message to other travellers. Cheap charcoal is cheap for a reason......if it says its green charcoal its more of a reason to avoid it. Go for carbon emissions. I suppose my Green Charcoal was rather like green wood, rubbish for cooking.
Its not quite the Grand Canyon (but its a good film) although Fish River Canyon is better to look at in my opinion. The river shows its curves more and so it gets a thumbs up. Its typical NWR prices at 80N$ per person and 10N$ for the car. Its not too bad really. We'd stayed at the Canyon Roadhouse the night before and this was over our maximum and 240N$ for us both (120N$ pppn). As it turns out we'd have been better at the NWR place in Hobas inside the Canyon Park. I wish the NWR had some type of uniformity in their charging. The Hobas camp was 100N$ pppn and since it was in the park we imagined as with the other parks that the entrance of 170N$ would need to be paid on top of the camping for both days, not the case. This park has a 24 hour policy on the entrance! Rather unlike all the other NWR parks, except Ethosha which has this policy if you are camping. Its bloody annoying as we ended up paying more.
The Canyon Roadhouse is a strange place and filled with old vehicles and all sorts of car bodies and junk, a little like you'd imagine an old garage would be. The campsite was immaculate and the ablutions were also good. They had even provided an separate block for the overland buses with many toilets and showers for the tribes that arrive on them.
We went to the hot springs at Ai-Ais and wern't impressed. Enough said.
We also found out the walk from the Canyon viewpoints to Ai-Ais inside the canyon takes 5 days! I want to walk it but we haven't got the gear with us. You walk down a VERY steep entrance to the canyon floor and then at the river until the hot springs at Ai-Ais some 80km away. Something we may come back to do one day. We did see some overweight people on their way down and at the speed they were walking they may finish in 10 days. There's only one way in and out of the walk but they have provided an emergency accent at half way. So once your in their you are in for the trek. You have to go with a guide.
I'll post some photos when we have more bandwidth of the canyon.
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We took Matilda into the Land Rover place in Namibia. The very same place Mike advised a few weeks ago. The owner, Johan was too busy to do the work but not too busy to take a look (and charge me for it). I got my aux belt tensioner bearing replaced as I suspected it was knackered ( It was ). I got myself some more oil for my gearbox as I've not been able to get any since Uganda. So I now have 3 litres of that. I also got my self a new seal for the trans box intermediate shaft. This one is made by JCB and according to Johan Straus (the Land Rover man) these are much better at sealing the hole. A liberal coting of RTV sealent will also be used this time. I will do that in Cape Town. (Des, I'm going to get your drive oily!) He also checked my turbo and although its working fine is not "new" by any means so I will get another in the UK. I will also replace (or refurb) all the injectors. These components all have a limited life and mine have done a lot plus 50,000. Did i mention we pass 50,000km in a day or so! He also had some very nice tyres but I need six if i'm going to swap brands. These were "Michelin 4x4 OR" as they are now called and very hard to get in the UK. They used to be called XZL. They are muchcheaper here than the BFG ones I want. Well, everything is cheaper that the BFG ones in want. I could buy new car for the same price.......
Matilda got a thumbs up from Johan as everything I asked them to check was OK for her age and nothing serious. I still have my work cut out for me as I need to drop the transfer box again !!!!!
As Johan lives in the middle of his 140 square kilometer farm there was no coverage on the internet and where we are tomorrow might not be great either.
Firstly i'd like to say its NOT a volcano rather a rim/crater made by an explosion underground and not by flowing lava,,,etc..Its described as a volcano but its not by the more learned accounts. So there....
Its cheap to get in but like pulling teeth finding out how much it was before visiting. Many numbers were tried....and may excuses heard. The entrance gate was empty and a loyalty box to pay based on scrap of paper saying "please leave your money, I'll be back tomorrow". We witnessed at least one car full not paying. Its 30pp for day visitors and 50pp for over nighters. We were going to stay overnight but after the walk to the rim we wanted a shower and the camp has no water let alone showers. So we came back to Keetmanshoopdoggydog.
The campsites were OK actually and had we stayed we would have saved quite a bit...It was almost as cheap as a wild camp. My advice is visit now as no doubt the money grabbers will put the price up a lot very soon. To go there without the walk to the top is pointless. You might as well look at it from 50kms away. We walked to the top and its not too difficult but sometimes a bit loose under foot.
I've upped the resolution on the photos a bit as the previous setting was a bit grainy. Also some revisions of the sand/trees for Mum. Any bigger and the tree get cropped. They are at full res.
We've been to a few places since my last post. Most significant is Sossusvlei (pronounced Sossifley). This is a place where they have filmed quite a few films, surprisingly. One of them being a film with Jenifer Lopez and we couldn’t remember the name. So there you have it, The Cell. The recent Mad Max is also filmed here and in Namibia as I’ve mentioned. Anyhow you can see from the photos what it’s like. At least you can see the main attraction with its dead trees and lake.
Those with a bit more time and energy can climb Big Daddy and you can see the intrepid French on their way down (about 2 hours up and down). We took some photos that we will Email to them. We didn’t have time and due to the fact they charge 170N$ to go in and then a fortune to camp (150N$ pppn) along with another days entry on top (so 470N$ or ~£36) we decided to go in one day and wild camp that evening. The campsite outside the gates being 415N$ was also too expensive. Thanks to the “safari on foot” man who we met at the petrol station we were told (I asked) about a picnic spot 30km down the road which is fine to camp. He’d also told an overland bus the same info the very same day in Solitaire so no sooner had I set up my fire than an Overland Bus turned up. They asked permission to squeeze in with us and of course I said yes. How could I turn down another vehicle named Matilda! The Aussie driver was filling in for a driver who’d done a runner and although the bus says otherwise they were part of African Trails. The same company we met in Luxor all those months ago and Mark the driver. The driver Suzie gave us loads of info on South America as she’d been there the four years previous. African Trails really are the nicest bunch of overland people and both buses we’ve met have been filled with nice guests and nice staff. We’ve only met a few other bus companies whose drivers would even give us the time of day and the guests are ignorant, usually. (Apologies to the other two nice drivers we’ve met who were great but had ignorant guests, one in Dar and one in Malawi).
So there you have it another few days on the road. Henning is winging his way down to meet us. oOer the next few days we will likely end up in the “Land Rover Hospital” for a check up.
We also met a nice German in Windhoek with a 110 Puma and a pop roof. He’s been on the road a long time and has a long time in front of him. He seems to do a lot of partying as he was usually out till 6am each night. Either that or he’s a vampire.
We also bought Dash a new bed. Being in his chair all day was making his back sore.
I nearly forgot to say we went to Luderitz. Thats all there is to say about that dump. (Typical seaside off season and not good). Apologies to Mr. S French as the kite surfing world record is in October.....no photos.
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