Namibia – Part 1

[Namibia tour 2000]


[Adapted version hereof published in Leisure Wheels, November 2010.]



[Source: Map data ©2014 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google]

Cape to Okahandja


Border crossing

It can be considered a strategic error to embark on a Namibia tour on the day after the Western Cape Schools have closed for the winter holidays. This was our folly.  The whole of the Western Cape (and half of the other provinces, it seems) are there.  It’s like a church bazaar on the platteland, (rural area) only there are even more cars.

Our convoy of three vehicles arrives at Vioolsdrift with a queue of cars of way in excess of a kilometre long.  As law abiding citizens should, we join the back of the queue.  We get out our samies and start nibbling away, expecting some forward movement in the line of cars.  After a while we realise that this is not how it works.  No, you’re supposed to walk to the front of the queue with your papers, and join another queue of pedestrians at the administration office.  And we soon notice that the guys in the queue are not as amicable as guys queuing for pancakes at the church bazaar.

In spite of it being mid-winter, the sun starts tugging at exposed skin where we stand in the queue for more than an hour.  Frikkie laments the fact that he had his bakkie serviced before our tour.  If he knew he would have so much time he would have come and serviced his car whilst waiting for the immigration officials.  Frikkie does things like that.

Once at Noordoewer on the Namibian side we are now a lot wiser.  Even before we came to a proper stand still half of our touring party is out of the cars and heads for the immigration offices.  Only to be shooed back by the Namibian official in charge of the logistics.  Here you wait at our car until it is your turn.

The Noordoewer side does not boast a PC to speed things up.  Everything is done by hand.  This whole South African cavalcade is dealt with by two immigration officials.  Two officials also deal with the (non-existing) stream of vehicles leaving Namibia for South Africa.  They have nothing to do, but clearly do not see the value of assisting their hapless colleagues on the other side.  It therefore takes a cool two hours before we are done with the paper work and able to hit the road again.


We set our watches an hour back and set out for Ai-Ais with what seems like another hour’s daylight left.    We arrive at Ai-Ais after dark.  The camp site is chock and block full.  It seems like all those who were fortunate enough to be at the border before us also headed for Ai-Ais and got all the good spots.

Following floods in the previous moths we find the facilities no yet fully repaired.  There are also fewer camp sites available.  Those with roof top tents simply make camp in the road.  The best we can do is to gate crash on the personal space of some other campers.

The next day it becomes clear that most people used Ai-Ais simply as a stopover, as the park is considerably less populated by noon the next day.  We stay for two nights.  In spite of the facilities being in a state of repair we enjoy our stay.

On our second night we find Colin starting to experiment with alternative ways to pack his plastic table into the back of his Nissan double cab.  For the rest of the tour this became a routine pasttime of Colin each evening.  I can report, however, that by the end of the tour Colin was still unable to find a more effective way of packing his plastic table, but definitely not due to lack of trying!

We leave Ai-Ais en route the view point at the Fish River Canyon to take the “been there dunnit” pictures before we head for Hardap.

For the sake of the children we limited our travel distances per day.  However, upon reflection it would have been better to have travelled to Windhoek in one day, rather than to interrupt the day’s travel to stay over Hardap dam.  That is, especially since we used Hardap only for a stopover.

At Keetmanshoop we stop at a shop to replenish some stock and to eat hour picnic lunch.  Two locals suddenly walk right into our circle and starts checking out what’s for lunch.  Two car watches arrive virtually simultaneously and chase them away.

Hardap dam

At Hardap we are unfortunate enough to arrive after all the camping sites with some lawn have been taken.  We end up in a dusty part of the camp where we apply our West Coast style roll-on lawn in the form of anchovy net and set up camp.

The next morning it takes a while to get all the duwweltjie thorns out of our stuff so that we can pack.  We stop at the Kalahari Bar, the apparent entertainment centre of the Kalkrand Hotel.  With difficulties we fend off the unsolicited windscreen washers.

Just outside Windhoek we are stopped at a road block.  Passports are checked, and we are waved through.  We take the Western bypass from where we turn off on the C28, Westward, to Daan Viljoen.

Namibia second leg

[Source: Map data ©2014 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google]

The facilities at Daan Viljoen are in tip top shape.  The temperature, though, goes to extremities, causing us to have a rather bad night.  To add to that, it turns out that Hardap’s duwweltjies (nasty three-pointed little thorns) have done their thing to our double air mattress.   After a few sessions at pumping up the mattress we give it up, pull out the plug completely to stabilise the mattress and try to make ourselves comfortable.  At dawn we find ice on the tents, with everything that was left outside frozen solid.

Just outside Windhoek we are waved through at the last road block for the tour.  At least by then we are relatively defrosted.

Just as we enter Okahandja there is a large crafts market where we spend some time.  I am notoriously bad in resisting aggressive sales people and rather keep my distance.

Frikkie met up with some locals, though….


Part 2 to follow


5 Responses to “Namibia – Part 1”

  • 1PG.Relating to the trip Nabimia,1 looks to me all dessert, with plenty of supplies needed in case of trouble, not to forget plenty of liquids first aid equipment . A challenge of a life time, not easyly forgotten. This would be an experience for our young teens today. Looks like an area for plenty of wildlife also. I guess lions and plenty of scorpions and snakes(rattle) Africa is so big an beautiful.Reminds me of the Lima dessert in Peru.
    Sorina J.

  • No, this part is pretty civilised. No need for carrying supplies along. And no, fortunately no rattle snakes in this part of the world!

  • PG! Does South Africa offer Boreal forests, which are preserved? So much forestation has been used for business purposes, that we now have protection from the Federal Government to protect our Boreal Forests in Britisch Columbia. Too many have been cut down for the purpose of human uses. We do have a very active replanting program in place. Sorina Jonker

  • No, we don’t. Had to consult the dictionary to find out what ‘boreal’ means. We do have a Department of Forestry that looks after conservation and so on.

  • QUOTE FOR THE DAY; We as a people must play by the rules life has dealt us, no matter how it makes us feel, for sometimes the things that we feel are the worst, are the stepping stones, that help us heal. Sorina J.