! We went to the seaside at Luderitz. It was blowing a gale and everything was closed on Saturday afternoon! Just like Ilfracombe. We then visited Kolmanskop, a town built for diamond mining which lived and died wihin 50 years. A timely reminder of the vanity and transience of human endeavour as it slowly returns to the desert. We then drove down to the Richtersveld, an arid mountain area bounded on the east and north by the Orange River, tackling some of the toughest driving of our trip. The Orange River is a dream with deep pools, turbulent runs and short rapids. Fish rise everywhere; I think they are bream. With its green waters (not orange), verdant, reed-lined banks and mountainous backdrop, it is a completely refreshing sight. We walked for hours along the banks without fear of crocodiles or hippos! After our nights est in a lovely old Duch farm house we are now en routr for Cederberg and more hiking (much to the dread of our legs, atriphied after five or six weeks confined pretty well to the car!) We haven't said much about the African town we have visited but the overall impresson has been positive with quality a strong factor. Even in Caprivi where the settlements are largely wodde hatched huts, the compounds are well built and clean. The town have at least one supermarket and even villages have well stocked shops. The governments are putting money into infrastructure, schools and hospitals. The camp sites, even the most remote, would put many in Europe to shame. There is a sense of pride in this part of Africa. Mind you, there is a long way to go. The mining town of Rosh Pina has rows of well built , white painted houses with water and electricity for the workers ( all owned by the company.) A few miles down the road, there is a vineyard of hundreds of hectares with exensive irrigation systems with a Spar supermarket and roads and shops owned by the company where the workers live in thatched huts without electricity and water. Many owns have coffee shops where one can get good cake and even muffins!
Well, here we are in Suth Arica - and I am pleased to say it has turned out nice again. After five weeks of battling through the sand and dunes of Botswana, it was such a relief to get back to the wide open spaces of Namibia. The excitement and tension of travelling alone through the wilderness and lonlieness of Botswana was marvellous and the enjoyment can't be overstated but animals aren't all that Africa has to offer. The pans of Botswana give wonderful vistas but they don't have the perspective of Namibia. Here, the glistening yellow grass of the plains, rising up to the pastel ochres of the hills and then the deep blue sky and vivid white clouds are just tyranscendental; I could sit and look at them all day. And the joy of being able to walk more than two yards from the car without fear if impending feline doom is wonderful! We hav really enjoyed walking through the mountains again. As you can tell, we are still enjoying ourselves! Mind you, if anyone knows a way to get concrete made from wax and sand out of the external auditory canal, I would be grateful to know