Namibia Roadtrip Day 3 & 4
DISTANCE: Tar road 560.8km, gravel road 18.5km – 7 hours 45 minutes.
WEATHER: Hot sunshine during the day, rain in the evening.
We woke up just as the sun was rising this morning. A quick breakfast, shower, and then it was time to hit the B1 again for a long drive North up to the Etosha National Park. Just like our first day we saw hardly any traffic and the road was very straight, so easy in fact that even I managed to drive without incident! We stopped off for lunch at one of the picnic spots. Jeff is known for always wanting a ‘proper’ lunch, and as we also had a fridge onboard out came everything, we even cooked up an excellent cup of tea.
We arrived at our next campsite in the park, Namutoni, at 4pm just before….the rain! This time it was not just rain, thunder, and lightening accompanied by terrific winds. The wind was so strong that after only being up for half an hour we decided to collapse the tent in case it broke, and so another night of eating our evening meal in the front of the truck.
DISTANCE: Gravel/Dirt road 87.5km
WEATHER: Overcast/Hot sunshine during the day, rain during the night.
The overland trucks and some of the other campsite occupants left early this morning, around 5am. We on the other hand did not. We left the site after breakfast at around 7.30 and within ten minutes came across a heard of Zebra with their young, Impala, Oryx, and Kudu. The park was virtually deserted as most of the other vehicles were long gone, we continued and came across four lions, 2 male, 2 female in the long grass. We sat and watched them as they watched us and then moved on to one of the smaller side roads towards a watering hole known as Chudob. During the dry season the watering holes are where the best sightings are found, but of course now there had been plenty of rain so we as we weren’t expecting to almost run into a Leopard!
Leopards are illusive animals and are rarely seen on the ground in the daytime, let alone by the side of the road stalking an Impala. How exited were we? This was the most incredible experience. We sat and watched as both animals looked at each other, but the Impala knew that the terrain wasn’t right for the Leopard, so continued to graze. How many times can I include INCREDIBLE in a day! After half an hour the Leopard gave up and walked straight in front of the truck and then off into the bush… incredible. We were pretty much on a high, and it didn’t matter now whether we saw another animal or not. We had just witnessed an extremely rare sighting, and were full of it!
After all that excitement there was a great need for a toilet stop, and after what we had just seen, there was no way I was getting out of the truck! After all, leopards can be extremely dangerous animals. The park has designated toilets, so after locating the nearest one on the map we were off. However, dirt roads and rain make…mud and the route to the toilet was impassable for us. We stopped and turned round only to see a confident young Belgian in a Land Rover put his foot down and swerve his way through deep mud almost up to the drivers door whilst looking particularly cool with his wavy blonde hair, tan and dark sunglasses. “Not in a rental truck” I warned Jeff as his eyes lit up, eagerly wanting to follow the intrepid young driver’s path. “We’ll find another stop”.
We never did find another stop, just lots more mud, so we made our way to the next rest camp Halali, just in time for lunch.
One lesson we learned very quickly today having lunch and then putting the tent up is something you only do once. The combination of hot sun on metal ladders on top of the tent roof rack, make a very painful combination! So we cooled our burnt hands in the camp swimming pool and bought a very expensive ice cream and water from the camp shop before heading off to the water hole, which was deserted, but we didn’t mind. Tonight, we ate outside for the first time, and content we went to bed before being rudely awakened by a polecat who knocked over our bin in search of scraps.