March 23rd, 24th, 25th: Into darkest (wifi) Africa

Ok so you’re all wondering where we’ve disappeared to…. (or maybe you’re not). We have gone a few days without posting, not because we have lost enthusiasm or haven’t been having amazing experiences. But the further north we have gone in Namibia, the worse the wifi service has become. And cell networks seem completely inaccessible. But we have now headed back south, and as of March 25th we are staying at a lodge near Okahandja, not far from the capital city Windhoek. And wifi here seems excellent (and free). Other places in the last few days have varied from wifi that would work erratically and slowly to those that simply refused to let us connect at all. It is hard to see grown men experiencing withdrawal symptoms from missing hourly updates on Brexit and the Mueller report. But some things must be endured…

March 25th: Etosha to Okahandja Lodge

Today was an uneventful ride on paved road of about 330 km, with more traffic than seen elsewhere in Namibia. But a surprising amount of wildlife bordering the highway: warthogs (cute in an ugly sort of way, especially the babies), wildebeest, and a flock of Marabou storks. These three creatures are all members of the so-called “ugly five”, but in our opinion have their own attractions.

There was a magnificent aspect as we rose to a peak as we approached the Namibia Escarpment, bush stretching out as far as the eye could see. And finally arriving at the lovely lodge with real wifi and real beer!

Warthogs (full grown)
Wildebeest
Marabou storks

March 24th: Etosha National Park (Don)

Today was a much anticipated visit to Etosha National Park, famous for wildlife. And it did not disappoint. We were up at the crack of dawn to meet our guide Joseph. We headed into the park, and soon saw the benefit of the early start when we got to the first waterhole just inside the park. A few springboks were sipping delicately at the hole, but soon moved away in alarm. Why? Stalking slowly out of the bush came eight magnificent lionesses. Nobody else drinks while they do. (Pictures will come later).

Joseph drove us from one waterhole to another, and was wonderfully knowledgeable about all the animals. I won’t add any more text to describe, as the pictures show it all.

Female kudu
Spotted hyena
Giraffe
Termite hill (very common, up to 10 feet)
Elephant cooling his sweaty parts
Ostrich not sticking his/her head in the sand
Impala, distinguished by the Golden Arches on their rear end
Thirsty oryx (gemsbok)
Zebra, springbok, and oryx

Allen writing about our ride From Uis (Brandberg Mountain) to Etosha National Park, March 23rd

By now we have pretty well mastered the “look right-ride left” concept of being on the wrong side of the road. We learned from Andrew that choosing the right “line”on tricky gravel and sand roads contributes to the learning curve related to staying upright. Sometimes this may take you to the right (wrong) side of the road, but that’s OK, providing an sharp eye is kept in the rear mirror for traffic bearing down in a thunderous cloud of dust.
The first approx 100 k’s today was on gravel, and even the trailing riders were able to maintain a steady 70-90 kph without too many “moments” or wobbles. The land while still dry and barren was greening up as we moved out of the Namib desert. We rounded a corner in a deep gully to see the lead riders pulled over and beneath the bank of the road were 2 adult elephants feeding on the trees and bushes- a mere 50 meters away. We stopped to take in the spectacle. African elephants have huge ears that they use as a form of air conditioning -very impressive to see them flapping. The male also had one tusk broken off, as we learned later the result of a disagreement with another male. The pair moved closer and seemed unconcerned with us, enjoying their greenery lunch. Then we also noticed a huge male on the ridge above the Valley. Andrew warned us to be ready to ride, as the giant beasts can be unpredictable. But although they gave us a good looking over, they were more interested in their lunch.
King of the Road and Kings of the Jungle
Mr. One Tusk checking us out!
It was soon time for Gary to jump back on his bike and enjoy the hiway for the final leg to our camp with a quick stop for Apple Strudel. 
The Eldorado Camp is a pleasant spot a few miles from the Etosha Park entrance. Nice facility with swimming pool and it’s own private Game farm (which we decided not to visit).

March 22nd: Morrie’s impressions of the day, Skopupmund to Brandberg Mountain (Uis).

We started the day with a leisurely morning after another long and dusty ride the previous day. Making camp in Uis at Camp Brandberg. Having the morning to attend to things like laundry and a trip to Morrie’s barbershop for Allen…

After
Before

Then we were off to Brandberg Mountain, a holy place for the local indigenous people for millennia. It is the sight of over 50,000 discovered petroglyphs. The most famous is one called the White Lady. We hired a local guide to lead us to the site about an hour’s hike in. It was worth the hike as the attached photos will attest to.

White lady (actually a man) followed by shaman
Polychrome etchings at Brandberg Mountain (2000 years old)

Two eras of petroglyphs were visible at the site. The monochromatic ones date to about 6,000 years ago and the polychromatic ones are about 2,000 years old, and represent the end of the petroglyphic period in this area. On the hike out we were entertained by Seth our guide about the local flora and fauna. Exhibit A being the damage done by grazing elephants, below.

Damage caused by elephants during food shortages

It was then back to camp for a well deserved beer and dinner, then early to bed. Once we got Gary out of jail….an hilarious or stressful end to our day (depending on your point of view)!

2 thoughts on “March 23rd, 24th, 25th: Into darkest (wifi) Africa

  1. By now you blokes are seasoned veterans of the track and trail. I imagine you sleeping with hyenas and shooing away lions as you drink your evening beers. I’m vicariously enjoying your journey from my living room recliner, improving my fitness as quickly as possible. Keep up the good work! TG

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