Feb 2014 A Very Wet Botswana – Central Kalahari

Not a walk in the Park !4×4 extreme for the uninitiated –

map 1

Oh it will be such fun ! – said Claire – yeah right. – After the event, I recall Roger saying to me once “You just don’t know the amount of crap that Claire has got me into over the years” 🙂

Yawellnofine – Roger and Claire are a couple that we love to travel with as we all just get on with it – so Claire said last October “Oh you’ve done almost exactly what I want to do; except I want to do it when its wet and green – lets go in February, It will be such fun”

And in a way it was, if you like mud and water and getting stuck. Me, I don’t really like water & mud but given that we would be travelling with good friends I convinced myself that it would be “such fun”.

We put a lot of thought into the preparation for this trip; even to the extent of replacing the drivers side torsion bar support arm assembly on the grounds that the passenger side one broke on us in Namibia in 2010 just before we were about to go into the desert; and, but for a great guide, Kosie, who welded the part, we would not have been able to complete the trip. Also another friend of ours had recently had the exact same problem and it would appear that this is the most under-engineered part that Toyota make for landcruiser and that they do not hold stocks, readily available, in Southern Africa. So we ordered for the drivers side as that had been in the car since new in 2007, fitted it, and checked the passenger side one at the same time. Good preparation and forethought, or so we thought – read on for what happened later.

map 2

We left Cape Town and headed up the R27, to miss the roadworks on the N7, to our usual first night stop over at Port Nolloth – Self catering Cottage at Bedrock – overlooking the sea. Nothing fancy but quiet & clean. On the way up we were surprised to see, at Elands Bay, at the entrance to the Railway Toll Road to Lamberts Bay, a new sign saying that this was no longer a Toll Road. The chap at the boom came forward with the book, didn’t say anything, so I filled it in and didn’t say anything either and he let me pass. No one stopped us and at the other end the boom had been taken down and again no one stopped or questioned us. Clarification is needed here as this stretch of road, like the next section to Doring Bay, is a very nice easy drive and is much shorter than going all over the place on sometimes poor gravel roads.

Doring Bay
Doring Bay

The next day we crossed into Namibia from Alexander Bay to Oranjemund and took the mine road out to Rosh Pinah and thence to our favourite destination, Klein Aus Vista, where as usual we were welcomed back like old friends. We had requested the Geisterschlucht hut – all on its own in a secluded valley – and were happy to be able to have it. It is a bit primitive and self catering but the solitude and the natural beauty of the surroundings makes it an ideal place to unwind from the trip up from Cape Town. Our previous trip reports give more info & details on Klein Aus & Port Nolloth.

Klein Aus Vista Farm Aus Namibia
Klein Aus Vista farm

At the Geisterschlucht
At the Geisterschlucht

In the Valley at the Geisterschlucht
View of the Valley from the Geisterschlucht

Moving on the next day we went across country via Helmeringhausen, Maltehohe to Kalkrand and thence Windhoek where we stayed at a new, for us, B&B. Afrika Sun – Eghard Visser – www.afrikasun.com 00264-61-226073. Situated up in the hills of Eros and very near to Joes Beerhouse /Steakhouse. A very convenient location. Eghard was most welcoming, offering wifi even before we had unloaded. This B&B is good value for money – R740 – but the rooms are a little small and the carpark, which is on a steep slope, is not very big for large Landcruisers. Fortunately there were not many people there but I would think that the carpark could become a problem with several large 4x4s parking at the same time. We went for dinner, as usual to Joes, and had excellent game steaks. Always a reliable venue.

The following morning some last minute shopping was done and then we went down the road to Gobabis, passed a speedtrap – no worries – and then the border crossing into Botswana. Being a Sunday the border was very quiet and we were through in no time at all – everyone very pleasant on both sides. The weather had been getting progressively more and more cloudy the further North we went and we could see that we would be in for rain in the not too distant future.

We headed for Ghanzi and stayed in the Tented Camp – #1 – Tautona Lodge. The info for all the regular places we stay at are in previous trip reports.

At Tautone Ladge Ghanzi Botswana
At Tautona Lodge Ghanzi Botswana

Tent #1 is right down at the far end and is totally secluded, it is very nice but the tents are overdue for maintenance. There is electric and full ablution facilities and I think they offer good value, just too lazy to put our own tent up.

We had arranged to meet up with Roger and Claire and another couple who are relatives of theirs at South Camp Nxai Pan which was a drive of 459Kms plus a Vet Fence to negotiate.

We had arranged to collect vacuum packed meat from the butcher – Christa – Artok Butchery, in Ghanzi: 00267-713-03216 or giel.christa@gmail.com which we duly did and they very kindly prepared a huge piece of rump that we had been given by a client that we had visited in Gobabis on the way through, so we were well stocked up with meat. Christa suggested that we visit the Dept of Veterinary Services just down the road to get an “Animal Movement Permit Within Botswana”. Lin went in to do this and apart from the fact that it took a full 20 minutes with the official fighting with his carbon paper and labouriously filling in just about everything that he could think of in all five pages, it cost nothing and we were happy in the knowledge that we would have no issues with the Vet Fence. We had not known that you could do this and frankly I think its worth the effort. Lin says she could write a Monty Python Sketch for this experience.

map 3

So we left Ghanzi and headed up to Maun to fill up, including long-range tank and piling braaiwood onto the top box, and then carried on towards Nxai Pan National Park. We had some rain at this point and everything was a bit overcast but it was warm. It has to be said that Botswana is a very wealthy country so it amazes us to see just how the roads have been allowed to deterioriate over the last few years, there are serious sections of pot-holes on this road and the situation is not helped by the numbers of donkeys who just stand all over the road and refuse to move out of the way for traffic, along with goats & cattle this does not make for a very restful journey as one always has to be careful when avoiding a pothole that a local does not fly past you at speed with no consideration for your problems. Not a nice stretch of road. At the Vet fence we showed our permit to cross with our meat and all was in order, they didn’t bother us with anything else at all.

Arriving at the gate to Nxai we had no documents as Claire had done the bookings but they allowed us to fill in the book and proceed. We had not been looking forward to this stretch of road either as when we did it last Septemeber, in the dry season, the deep sand was very very deep and the road quite tortuous. With the rain the road was transformed and whilst there were a few slow sections it was not a difficulty at all to drive it. On this route our friends arrived behind us and so we were all able to enter camp together.

Entance to South Camp Nxai Camp
Entrance to South Camp Nxai Pan Camp

Nxai Pan
Nxai pan

Nxai Pan
Nxai pan

Nxai Pan
Nxai Pan

Clouds Gathering Nxai Pan
Clouds Gathering Nxai Pan

A maintenance crew had been there ! Rejoice ! and the ablutions had been repaired and the water restored. The Elephants still come there but they are not so determined as there was plenty of water in & around the pan. We had been allocated site #2 which is a tad on the small size but it is very sheltered with good trees all around. The parks staff were very kind and helpful and there were not many other campers at the pan. Site #3 is the best one there in my opinion.

We set up camp and built a fire and managed to eat before the mother of all storms set in. The wind was fierce & wild and it was a wonder that the tents survived. Man did it rain, on and on and on. In the morning we found that the ground all around was flooded and Rog & Claire were in Venice with their ground tent. We cleared up as best we could, had breakfast and went for a drive.

Nxai
Nxai Pan Clouds

venice
Venice in Africa

Nxai
Nxai Pan

Nxai
Nxai pan

So Nxai Pan in February in the wet. Yes its VERY green and the grass is VERY high but its not a time for much viewing in my opinion. The animals stay far out of the way as there is no need to visit the various water holes. It was good to go back and see it like this but I don’t think I’d do it again. It’s not a favourite spot for us. We spent two nights at Nxai and on the morning we left made the trek down to Baines Baobabs and it was very nice to see everything there also looking so fresh and green. The pan was very soft and I would not have liked driving over it to get to the campsites on the other side.

Rd to Baines
Road to Baines

Rd to baines
Road to Baines

Rd to Baines
Road to baines

Baines
At Baines pan

at Baines pan
At Baines Pan – Photo McNairs

Baines pan
A Very Wet Baines pan

Leaving Baines we exited the park and headed for the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. At Nxai they had told us that there was a quicker route to Njuca Hills but this proved to be false and we went well out of our way. Also at the entrance to Makgadikgadi they had informed us that the ferry was non functional out from Khumaga so we would have to come all the way back from there in order to get to Rakops & CKR and that there was a cut road across to Njuca. Well we didn’t find it so went all the way down on the dreadful road to Khumaga and then turned left to go back to get to Njuca. Miles out of our way.

Lin tree
Talk to the trees Lin 🙂

on way Njuca
On Rd to Njuca Hills Camp

sunset
Njuca Hills Sunset

Njuca
Njuca area

Njuca
Njuca Hills Area

njuca
Njuca Area

Njuca is very small but rather nice – the usual CKR set-up. Nice position but not much to see animal wise. In the morning Rog & the others had decided to go in search of a pan but we elected to do our own thing and had a drive on our own eventually arriving at Khumaga and setting up camp. Wow what a transformation from the dust of September to the lush green of February – we barely recognised the campsite. Khumaga is a very nice place to stay with good abultions, we had enjoyed being here last year and we were very happy to be here now. The fact of the ferry being down was a pity as it was really nice crossing the Boteti River on this basic african ferry. We were amazed at the amount of water in the river in the dry season and to us the river looked about the same now in spite of all the rain. Making enquiries we learnt that the ferry had gone for repairs and that the ferryman was in Maun and that it had been expected to re-open the day after next, March 1st. It was very obvious that this would not happen. Pity, had we known we would have arranged a different route.

We went out along the riverbank and saw hippos and elies and birdlife but preditors none. It is a very beautiful location and I think worth spending some days there, preferably when not so wet.

Boteti
Khumaga

Khumaga
Khumaga

Khumaga
Khumaga

Khumaga

Khumaga
Khumaga

Khumaga
Khumaga

Boteti
Boteti River

Khumaga
Khumaga

So back up the dreadful road to the top gate and a long detour on the pot-holed A3 tar road until we could cross the boteti at the single lane bridge on the B300 just past the Motopi airstrip. Be warned – Mrs Garmin tells you that there is a crossing before the airstrip, this is not so !

Rakops
Rakops

Little did we know what would be in store for us this day. Having crossed the river we headed for Rakops to re-fuel, pick up some water and of course a hot fresh loaf of bread from the amazing bakery at the far end of town, Hot fresh bread, butter & marmite – heaven. 🙂

Leaving Rakops we encountered a hastily set up speedtrap (had someone told them there were 3 4×4’s in town ?) – old fashioned Radar gun. Boy was he disappointed when we waved as we passed doing all of 35kms per hour 🙂 Nice try guys.

Back to the main road and left onto Central Kalahari dirt road direction Matswere Gate.

We were in front with Ian & Jenny in their Landrover behind us and Roger & Claire in their EFI 4500 at the back. Radio contact only between Roger & us and I was the only one with a Satelite phone.

The road was the usual, nothing great but not too bad, bit wet. A small incline, huge bang from under our car. Lin & I look at each other, all seems fine, was that a large stone I hadn’t seen ? Anyway we carry on and after a bit I start to think, hang on I’ve heard that noise before and the passenger side front does seem to be a bit down. So we stop the cars and I get out and under only to have my worst fears confirmed, Yep the bloody passenger side torsion arm support has broken. This was the one that Toyota replaced under warranty in 2010. Oh shit and blast. This time however the broken parts are not there – they must be lying somewhere back on the path that we have come on. I know that unless we can find those parts we cannot continue, as Toyota will not have a spare in stock – thanks Toyota – hold your collective head in shame – what to do ? – the others decide to have a tea break – sensible move, whilst I get on the phone to Cris Ingram at R&D Offroad in Cape Town for the usual good advice. Lin heads off back up the road with Roger and as luck would have it about 2kms back where Lin, sort of thought that this was where we had heard the bang, Roger manages to find the two broken pieces in the sand. What luck. Last time the previous bracket broke in two, this time we now had three pieces, this did not look good.

breakdown
Landy arrives on the scene to tell us how bad the terrain is – photo McNairs

teabreak
Signs of trouble put the kettle on ! photo McNairs

Ok so everyone wanted to come with us to Maun which was very nice of them to offer but totally un-necessary. Having had this problem before we knew not to panic but that being a friday, after lunch, and at the end of the month, we needed to get to Maun before shut up time.

We said to the others that if we could get sorted we would meet up on the other side, maybe at Kang. Obviously we could not make contact with them again until they were back in cell phone coverage. But we could send them updates via sms from the Sat phone that they would get once they had cell coverage. Sat phones are not a luxury – had one of the others had one we could have all been spared what turned out to be an even more interesting development on this trip. Watch this space !

arm
White lines show where arm broke

re-inforce
Illustrates how we re-inforced after welding

with attachments
The other bits that go with this – not well engineered me thinks 🙁

So very long story short we made it back to Maun by 4.00pm, firstly going to Delta 4×4. It has to be said that there was little interest or enthusiasm for our problem. The owner was away, the receptionist half-heartedly phoned the local scrap yard (Transworld – remember this) to see if there was another 100vx anywhere and was happy to say no there wasn’t. A mech put his head round the door, looked at the parts I held in my hand, laughed and said no way can you weld those (remember these words) – basically they had zero interest in us or our problem. So not willing to waste any more energy on them we went up the road to Ngomi Toyota the main dealers. Same story except the staff were really kind and helpful and pleasant – but at the end of the day all they could offer was a new part ex japan maybe three weeks !

I had been in touch with other friends to see if maybe we could get a s/hand part in Windhoek but everywhere we were drawing blanks and Cris in Cape Town had confirmed, as expected, that Toyota had no spares of this anywhere in Southern Africa. And we drive Toyota why ? (Has to be said that all the others are probably just as bad).

Walking out of the dealershp with a heavy heart thinking oh well its gonna be a very long slow drive home back down the tar to CT I suddenly thought to ask if the DP was in office. The DP turned out to be a very nice and helpful Afrikaans lady who grasped the seriousness of our situation straight away and in a flash had phoned Gabriel at Transworld 713 02729. Come to me said Gabriel and the DP said “look, no promises, but if anyone can help you it will be Gabriel”. So off we trek to the industrial side of Maun. 4.30pm Friday afternoon end of the month. What chance ?

Well, goes to show you just never know. One Gabriel turned out to be a star, he was convinced that he had a s/hand part here “somewhere” but it eluded him. He had received a 100vx a while back and had sold it on but he could not contact his friend so in the end he decided to get one of his chaps to CO2 weld the arm and then at my request re-inforce it with angle iron in the way that Kosie had done the other one in 2010. No one looked at their watch, no one complained, we eventually got out of there after 7.30pm – 600 Pula charged. What an absolute star. We were back on the road.

We headed up to the North side of Maun to Thamalakane Lodge where we had enjoyed staying before only to find that the campsite was being altered and they were not accepting guests unless we took a room at 1400 Pula for the night ! The receptionist could not be swayed, very pleasant but no authority. The Manager was away for the night but I managed to get the duty Manager to come down and fortunately for us she remembered us from last year and with some persuasion relented and said that we could park down at the end on the grass. We set up camp quickly and then went into the restaurant for another of the Best pepper steaks in Africa – a true Hollandse biefstek – why is this so difficult to get – Thamalakane get it right every time. Having had a good meal and unwound a bit we plunged into the swimming pool for a shower and hit the tent.

In the morning the Manager was there, nice bloke, he would not accept payment for our stay and wished us the best of luck so we headed back out of Maun in the direction of Ghanzi and Kang. The weld seemed to be holding up fine so the decision was made that we would re-join our friends and enter CKR from Kuke and Tsau Gate and that either we would stay at Motopi pan and wait for two days for them to arrive or maybe go on to Passarge Pan where they would be staying that night.

fence rd
Fence Road Tsau Gate before the storm

Getting to Tsau Gate about 10.30am there was no one there, the office was open but no one was in attendance. There had been a fair amount of water on the road coming in and it was raining. We hung about for a bit and in the end just filled in the entry book and carried on up the 40 KM fence road to the turn off to Motopi Pan.

The fence road was sand with fence on one side and bush on the other, it was mildly flooded in places but perfectly passable. I was not concerned. At the turn off the track was a bit overgrown and there was more water but even so nothing to get concerned about. At Motopi Campsite we stopped for lunch, the site is very small and the grass seriously overgrown all around. I wasn’t wild about this – 3 cars 6 people a fire and noise would probably be OK but 1 car two people you wouldn’t see the lions until they were licking your dinner plates as an Hors d’oevres. It was raining. Still. We decided to carry on. Bad move !

Driving down to Motopi pan itself the water was becoming a bit more serious but I rekoned oh well, its a pan, of course there will be more water, it will be fine on the other side I’m sure. At the pan we encountered another 100VX, basic, Bots plates, with an african driver and at that stage all we could see one large Gentleman. We waved, they waved, we carried on.

The road was very wet, in places there was no road merely a river but there were tracks alongside which we followed, the car was going well, I was keeping a watchful eye but still not overly concerned. Arriving at the outskirts of Passarge Pan we encountered deeper water and a multitude of tracks, checked Mrs garmin who was not much help, looked at the tracks and out of a choice of five took the one which to my eye looked best. 10 yards, ground to halt, car leaning down 45 degrees up to rocksliders in cotton mud, exhaust under water. Oh SHIT !

Well in retrospect I am so glad that I have read and watched so many videos about what to do in such circumstances and that I carry the sort of rescue kit that I do. I had the presence of mind not to turn the engine off. Rain hosing down big time. Get out, drop tyre pressure. Get back in, engage rear diff lock and low range. Back-forward several times – we are going nowhere. Stuck fast.

Say to Lin well you are dry so you stay in the car there’s no point in us both getting soaked. I get the spade & the high lift jack out and start to dig. This is the sort of mud that when you take a step in your slip slops they stay behind and you end up on your face in the water. Dump slipslops get thorns in feet ! What Joy.

At this point the other 100vx appears, can’t believe my luck. He is probably thinking Oh hell can we disappear before they see us – can you blame them ! In the end they approach cautiously and the driver, a man called Option, approaches. We discuss problem and he agrees to try and pull us out. At this point the large Gentleman, one Willy, a German, also gets involved – he has a sense of humour and seems completely impervious to the pouring rain. Thunder and lightening show going on too. At a time like this cost doesn’t seem to matter, so we get out the snatch strap and connect it to the tow rope and they try to pull us out. We are way heavy, we are going nowhere. So we jack up the car and put branches etc under the wheels and eventually with much pushing and shoving by Willy, who is incredibly strong; I go backwards at a rate of knots, back to the safety of the “road”. Job well done. Laughs all round. Pack up gear, put highlift jack back up & spade, get into some dry cloths.

One Option tells us that he has been in touch with his base camp and that some other people on the other side of Passarge Pan had to be rescued so we presume this must be our friends. He says there’s no point in trying to get through this and that we should rather follow him back to Desolation valley where they have a base camp and a fire and food will be waiting for us. I don’t know about this. I reckon we should just retrace our steps back to Motopi camp and take our chances there but he insists that we should stay together and given that he has just got us out of the dwang I reckon I’d better go along with his plan.

So Option says follow me ! I look at Lin and say I think we’ll just hold on a bit and see what happens. Off Option goes, not twenty paces, and he is in the mud all four wheels on his belly. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it.

So we sit and watch for a bit. Soon it becomes blindingly obvious that the rescued now becomes the rescuer.

rescue
The Rescued becomes the rescuer – the only photo we have – far too busy !

I go down to his car and now realise that they also have a terminally ill person, wheelchair bound, in the car and a woman – he’s on his last adventure. They have no rescue kit nor compressor nor tyre gauge no nothing. In fact they also have crap road tyres. What the hell. It gets worse.

I extend my winch – I’ve never used a winch before, only practised in the carpark at R&D offroad – once – what to do ?

Out comes all the kit again. I attach the snatch rope to the end of the winch and then the tow rope to that (yes I know – reality is a great leveller) and inch forward gingerly until I can make contact with the rear of his Cruiser. He has no rescue hooks !!! He had a tow ball !!! I KNOW that you NEVER attach to a tow-ball. I read the book 🙂 – what to do ? – I have no choice, so I attach to the tow ball, open my bonnet, throw a now very wet blanket over the cable and hide behind the driver’s door whilst I operate the winch. The car barely moves. Have you let the air out of your tyres Option ? Yes ? After the 6th attempt at winching where it looks as though my car is going to fly through the air and the winch might burn out I march down there with my tyre gauge to find that the Wally has his tyres at 3 bars. Trying to see the funny side – Oh yes ? – I tell Option to let the air out of his tyres and whilst he is busy with his rear right I get the others down to 1.2 bar. I then discover that he has let his one down to .5 of a bar ! Oh boy. Anyway 7th attempt at winching and his car now flies backwards to the “road” !!

Happiness reigns in spite of the fact that it is still absolutely hosing down and showing no signs of stopping. I decide to take charge and say OK we are going back to Motopi or the main gate and you’d better follow – keep up, I am not stopping. We put everything away, change clothes yet again and head back the way we came. Its dark. we’ve been four and a half hours trying to get the hell out of there. I can see his lights behind me but he is lagging a bit.

The “road” back to Motopi is bad, the water levels are high and rising but we push on and keep the momentum. We think about stopping at Motopi but Lin vetoes that idea and decides that it would be way better to get back to Tsau Gate and camp under the thatch of the entrance gate even though its another 20 KMs to the fence and then a further 40kms. We are averaging about 40kmph.

We get to the fence and turn for the gate. The nice little semi flooded sand road that we came in on is now the raging orange river in flood and heading against us.It is still pouring down with thunder and huge lightening shows. I set my go-pro to record this from time to time only to find out afterwards that I have a great soundtrack but I had left the lens cover on ! Can it get any worse I ask. At times I simply cannot go faster than 15kmph and the water churning out the front fenders is flying higher than the RTT – unbelievable.

Eventually we get to Tsau Gate, never has a thatch roof looked more attractive and we stop on the concrete right in front of the office door. The land off the concrete is so soft that you sink to ankle depth if you walk on it – it is still raining.

We set up camp and I get the compressor going and manage to get three of my tyres back up to the right level and then the Arb compessor goes bang. Oh crap what else. The other 100vx now arrives on the scene – they are going to continue to Maun, its about 9.30pm – so off they go. I assume they got there. We eat and crash into bed listening to the storm still raging. Have I said that I hate water at any stage ! I am totally & utterly exhausted.

scott1
Meanwhile on the other side of Passarge Pan this is what our friends were dealing with – pretty accurate pictures of what we had to contend with – Photo Scotts

scott 2
Photo – Scotts

scott 3
Photo – Scotts

scott 4
Photo- Scotts

scott 5
Photo – Scotts

scott 6
Wheel 4500 EFI – Photo Scotts

scott 7
Severe rain ! – Photo Scotts

scott 8
Well, the natural order of things 🙂 Photo Scotts

The morning dawns, it has stopped raining. It is too early for parks officials so we decide to pack up and get out of there before anyone comes – too bad about the exit book ! We take the flooded sand road back to the main Maun-Kang tar road without further incident except that I am aware that my rear right is under-inflated. I am also absolutley knackered. We try contacting our friends – no joy – decision time. I look at Lin and say So ?! – where to ??? HOME ! says she, I’ve had enough of this. I don’t argue.I agree.

We drive slowly to Ghanzi where we fill up and put air in the tyre. Amazingly the car looks OK. We take a leisurely drive back up to the border – pass a speedtrap on the Bots side and pass back into Namibia through a very quiet border post – its sunday again.

Arriving in Windhoek we decide that we would rather go back to Vagabond B&B – Stein Street – barbaras@afex.com.na 061 22 55 00 (Formally The Guesthouse) as we know what to expect and there is more than enough space there. It turns out that the B&B is now back in the hands of the owner Barbara Storm and we are very lucky to get a space at all. We are so exhausted that we decide to stay for two days in Windhoek. We really needed the rest. Went back to Joes for supper one night and self-catered the next. Went to Greensport who very kindly got my Arb compressor working again. The weather was better so we started to feel better.

Whilst there we hear from our friends. They are in Kang, why don’t we come down and re-join them ? Sadly no, that was not going to happen. They both got stuck and rescued each other but the car that was rescued by Bots Parks was yet another VX that had total electrics failure due to the water. As things turned out our friends continued with our itinerary and went into Khutse and coming out the LandRover ended up having to go and stay in Gaberone with electrics failure also. By all accounts Rog & Claire REALLY enjoyed this trip- me I think Jhb people are strange 🙂

So from Windhoek we retraced our steps back to Klein Aus Vista where we stayed another two nights – the first at Eagles Nest – Desert Vista – Wow what a great cottage, we had never stayed in ths one before and it is really top notch & super. The next night it was booked out so we stayed up at the main inn but self catered.

desert Vista
Desert Vista – Klein Aus Vista – Aus

view
View from Desert Vista Cottage

cottage
Cottage Desert Vista

meat
Waiting for the braai fire to be ready – best Gobabis Steak 🙂

sunset
Sunset Desert Vista

view
Desert Vista View

view
Desert Vista View

horses
Klein Aus Horses

Feeling better and with the sun shining we decided, although Lin was not that keen, to take a day trip down to Luderitz, which it has to be said was a dump the last time we went there several years ago. The railway line is still not completed but they are getting there. Money is being spent and there is a lot of building & restoration work taking place. The town was much cleaner. A whole new tourist centre is being planned for the land next to The Nest Hotel. All in all it was good to see and we are glad we went.

rail line
The constant battle with sand on the railway line

luderitz
At Luderitz

railway
Will they ever finish this railway ?

bay
Luderitz Bay

More Photos at: CLICK HERE FOR OLD BUILDINGS OF LUDERITZ ALBUM

So we cross again at Oranjemund to Alexander Bay and for the first time encounter a stroppy customs bloke who wants to look in all sorts of places – makes a fuss about my braai wood still on the top but in the end lets us go. Looks like the days of easy crossing here are numbered now that the mine road is an open public road.

It’s too far for one day so we stop over at Daisy Lodge info@daisylodge.co.za +27 27 712 3335 in Springbok where we have never been able to get a room in the past. This time we get lucky and I can see why the place is so popular. Pleasant & well run – good value.

lodge
Daisy Lodge Springbok

lodge
Starting to feel better !

Last day we head down the N7 but this is the friday before the Cape Argus Bicycle Tour there are lots of cars with bikes strapped to their backs. The road works are horrible and they are pulling cars off at Klawer & Moorreesburg – this adds about 45 minutes to the trip but we get home before the rush-hour and glad to be home.

So all’s well that ends well. The welded torsion bar support survived as I expected it to and I am not going to replace it with a new one I am rather going to look at getting a replacement and re-inforceing it – ditto the drivers side and keeping spares – more weight !

The car has to go for service and will need serious checking for water damage and obviously I will change all the diff oils etc etc.

Looking back with hindsight it was never going to be good time for us to go to Bots. It was great to be with our friends, it always is, but water & mud I just don’t need. Things could have turned out far more seriously. Lesson learnt.

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