We hit the road to start our African adventure on October 8th, tackling the Sani Pass with minor teething issues; a snapped throttle cable and a puncture, with our brakes then beginning to overheat as we descended into Lesotho. We crawled down into first gear at a speed so slow that we got the deck chairs out on the roof to watch the sun set with beers in our hands while one person drove. We spent 6 days in Jan's workshop in Johannesburg and got to know how our brakes work, and discovered that the shoes weren’t correctly set which is why they overheated on the pass.
Our first stop in Namibia
A brief tour through the South Western Kgalagadi brought us into Namibia. The road edged on with relentless corrugation and on to a mountainous landscape of dry shrubs and a sparse layer of crystals of all kinds of colours. It seemed, at some points, as though we could have entered a rift onto another planet. A steep descent down Spreetshoogte Pass brought us to a viewpoint where we set camp at sunset and could hear the soft grunts of mountain zebra on the adjacent ridge; a herd of four. At night, the headlights of a vehicle could be seen approaching from the farthest end of the low lying plateau. That night, we toasted bread on the fire and made rib, cheese and tomato toasties. The most frequently asked question for us is how did we cook; on the fire, every night. One day we caught a fish and cooked it on the fire in a cast iron poitjie pot. The fishing was certainly challenging in 40 knots of wind!
The beauty of Spitzkoppe
We then went from Swakopmund onto Spitzkoppe to do some rock climbing and to link up with some fellow overlanders. The climbing was challenging. Due to the nature of the granite rock, it was all friction climbing. Spitzkoppe’s campsites are breathtaking, and we enjoyed the first real test of our poitjie pots. The landscapes in Spitzkoppe are unreal. We camped between large granite boulders on mattresses next to Agnes under an endless display of stars.
Next, we headed for the Skeleton Coast National Park, stopping at Torra Bay where we met Titos, a Namibian man who maintains the camp by himself year-round until it is staffed for the December season when fishing is permitted. Titos walks a 3km route along the coast to fish for himself but at dusk and dawn, desert lion are drawn to the beach. An increased scarcity of game has caused them to hunt seals. After camping in a dry riverbed near the gate of the Skeleton Coast National Park, we were woken by rangers at 7am. They were tracking rhinos and asked if we’d seen them. Next they asked if we had any cold beer. It was 7am and we watched them walk down the riverbed and out of sight with some beer. Our poison was frozen fruit juice boxes. In the Namibian heat, it was the best slushy!
A change of plan
We stopped in at Etosha National Park next, but became frustrated at the amount of traffic in the park and found that we would prefer to get right off the beaten track. At that moment we ran into overlanders from Wilderness, our neighbouring town. We recognised their vehicle and they told us of their recent trip to Angola. That was it; 12 hours later we were headed for Lluanda, Angola (instead of our original route straight to Malawi via Victoria Falls).
For Agnes' adventures in Angola, stay tuned! For now, you can see what we've been getting up to with Agnes' here.