Namibia 2017 tour – part 5

Day nine

Tsauchab River Camp

At Sossus Oasis the sun now caught up with the moon, and was up before the moon disappeared.


In the early morning we could see two air balloons rounding the mountain south of us.

[Source:  Imagery © 2017 Landsat / Copernicus, Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO, Map data © 2017 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google]

We took our time decamping and packing.  We only had a 77km drive to get to Tsauchab River Camp today.

What an interesting, stunning place.  As you drive into the farm, you are greeted by a number of very old vehicles, humoristic welded iron artworks, and a neat erf.

Johan and Niki were our hosts.  There is wi-fi and a pool, but once you leave the reception you have neither wi-fi nor cell phone signal.

The camping sites are all exclusive, with virtually unlimited space.  Our site comfortably housed our 4 tents, each with relative privacy.   Close by is an open toilet that faces away from the campsite (no, really).

Built in a big tree close by was a donkey to heat the water

with a basin and the shower built inside the tree.

Some 50 meters away there are two built facilities, one with a shower and toilet with also a separate toilet, and one with only a shower.  So we had access to three heated showers, and three flushing toilets.  There were no electricity.

Before dark we walked out a koppie that overlooks that farm.

The koppie that is visible about a third from the left, middle of the picture, is where our hiking of the next day took us.

Our dinner consisted of roosterkoek, butternut, baked potatoes and sweet potatoes, salad and chicken stirfry.

The moon was now full or nearly full.  Watching the glimmer of the moon approaching over the koppie was like watching the headlight of a train appearing.  It was just so bright!


Day 10

Hiking and driving

Guided by maps provided by Niki, we drove out to south of the lodge where we took a stroll along a spring with old fig trees.  The lush green surrounding seemed totally out of place in the dry area.

There is a 4×4 route that ranges initially zero, escalating to 3, before you reach the ‘no beginners’ part with a 5 rating.  There is a further hiking trail that would take you from the one leg of the 4×4 route to the other.

[Pictur:  Mariki Stassen]

Those who wanted to do the hike, did so, and Johnie and I drove around with the vehicles.  We did not go beyond the 3 rating part.

[Picture:  Mariki Stassen]

Steep inclines necessitated low range from time to time, and one rocky and twisting part caused a rear wheel to lift, but it is not the stuff that should hurt your vehicle if you do it slowly.

We were somewhat more rested than those doing the hiking trail when we met up again.

[Picture:  Mariki Stassen]

From there we visited the Neuras wine farm for a taste of wine.

Dinner consisted of spagetti, viennas, leftover butternut, sweet patato, salad and chicken of the previous evening.  Thereafter we baked a bread to round dinner off with bread and coffee.


Day 11

Solitaire, Rostock Ritz

Heading to Rostock Ritz from Tsauchab River Camp on the C14, we travelled on the best gravel road this far.  At places it was as good as tar, up to Solitaire.

[Source:  Imagery © 2017 Landsat / Copernicus, Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO, Map data © 2017 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google]

At Solitaire I filled up, we did coffee and some of us had the obligatory apple strudel.  We also bumped into the Swiss cyclist whom we have met at Betta.

Just as we were at the point of leaving, I saw my rear left wheel has lost air.  I pulled in at the wheel repair shop, where the front bit of a roof nail was dislodged from my tyre, and patched from the inside.  Within a half-an-hour we were on our way.

This was by far the most pleasant puncture I’ve ever had.

From there the road to Rostock Ritz was not as good, but surprisingly wide.  At places the width of a double carriage freeway, only not as good or busy.

We arrived at the imposing entrance to Rostock Ritz.

The hotel was even more impressive.

It was really a place of great splendour, and the biggest and most luxurious of the establishments we have visited thus far.

They also had a Meerkat rehabilitation project there.

After reporting at the front desk we were directed to the camping site some 6 km’s away.

The camping site was markedly less luxurious.

We arrived there in the heat of the afternoon.

Die Klippen, sie sind von der Sonne verbrannt
Und scheu sind im Busch die Tiere                                   -Das Sudwesterlied

There were five camp sites, each with a braai and workspace and electric light.  The braai and workspace had partial cloth shading against the morning sun, but there was no shadow for a tent.  Up against a rocky outcrop was a large built kitchen and braai and an area for socialising.  There were electric light but no plugs. We decided to first camp out at the kitchen area.

We were a bit disappointed with the camping site’s lack of shadow.  Given the heat, and given the rather nice kitchen and dining area, we decided we will just make our beds in the kitchen area.

We soon realised that this might not be a good idea.  The huge crickets that abound probably would not allow for peaceful sleeping, although one could probably survive that.  However, when a large black scorpion casually trundled across the floor, our minds were made up.

[Picture:  Mariki Stassen]

We decided to stick to convention and rather pitch our tents.  That we did once it had cooled down substantially.

[Picture:  Mariki Stassen]

As Toit and Christine would leave then next day, only Johnie and myself and our families would remain.  We decided that this might be a good time to leap into the lap of luxury, and to rather upgrade our stay for the next night in the Ritz itself.  Unfortunately only the VIP suites were left.  Fortunately we qualified for the “South Afican” price.  The non-SADC price must be truly scary.

However, things then took a bit of a turn for the worst when first Johnie, and shortly after him, our teenager became ill from a stomach bug.  That prompted us to decide to rather start heading home, instead of staying for another night. It seemed unlikely that there would be much interest the next day for a trip to the Kuiseb Canyon, given prevailing health conditions.

Christene and Toit, though, came up with what turned out to be some wonder cure.  Brandy, heated up and then set alight to burn out the alcohol, became the medicine of choice for the evening.  What remained after the alcohol burnt out I cannot say, but it certainly was not grape juice.  However, whatever it was, turned out to be truly the end of the stomach bug.  Christene herself fell ill later that night, and following the same routine, came out tops then next morning.

However, by then we already cancelled the booking in the VIP suite, and managed to book a space in the Grunau Country Lodge for the next evening.  So we decided to stick to the plan to return home a day early.

A German couple, Georg and Sabine, straight out of Germany, arrived with their rental 4×4.  They later joined us in the kitchen, and we had a grand evening with them.  They were both professionals (lawyer and engineer respectively) who would be spending time working as volunteers with educational NGO’s in Gobabis and Rehoboth.

During the course of the evening Johnie paid a visit to the ablution.  In the dark he did not see the open corrugated lid of the donkey, and had his forehead cut by the iron.  He stumbled back to the kitchen, bleeding impressively.  The short version of what then followed is that he got the blood wiped off his face.  He had to close his eyes for the disinfectant that was squirted on his forehead, but he did not.  Then eye drops were administered to his burning eyes, but as he then preferred to keep his eyes shut, it was very difficult.  He then got a plaster to his forehead.  In the end, he lived.

Click on the link below for partr 6 (final)


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