Northwards - into Nambia

Trip Start Aug 17, 2003
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5
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Trip End Jun 04, 2004


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Friday, August 29, 2003

We headed out from Upington into Namibia.... A clear sign of the isolation and lack of population density (remember I come from London!!) was that the only signpost for miles simply said "Namibia 160km" - there was nothing else to write!!

After clearing customs fairly smoothly, we headed to one end of the Fish River Canyon (one of the biggest canyons in the world) - Ai-Ais. This is grandly named as the "Ai-Ais resort" because there are themal springs there. But that's a bit of an exaggeration, although the hot baths were quite nice to soak in after a couple of days of travelling.

The following day we drove to our campsite at the opposite end of the Canyon, at Hobas, and had most of the afternoon to chill (and sunbathe!!) before heading out to the viewpoint at sunset. It was pretty impressive to see the size of the canyon and the colours created by the sunset were cool... But I was quite disappointed - it felt like we didn't really see the canyon - there was the opportunity to take a walk into the canyon, but it was only really touching the edge. I guess this is the downside of an organised tour - just being bussed from viewpoint to viewpoint without really being able to choose what you want to do. If I'd been on my own, I think it would have been nice to do the 5 day walk through the canyon - probably would have got much more of an impression of the size of it.

The following day we continued north and out to the atlantic coast, staying in Lüderitz, a very German town on the coast. It was quite odd to see German architecture amongst sand and bright blue sky. It was nice to have a wander around, but again there wasn't all that much to see - adding to the sense of frustration I'd had at Fish River Canyon.

But the next day restored my faith! We went to Kolmanskop, and old diamond mining town which was abandoned in the 60s and has been pretty much a ghost town ever since. Slowly, bit by bit, the desert is reclaiming it, with sanddunes taking over the buildings. Pretty eerie! There was a tour which was really interesting - finding out about how diamonds are mined, and the life of the town (which started up at the turn of the 20th Century). Unfortunately didn't find any diamonds (despite looking pretty hard at the ground!)

And then we drove on to Aus, which really isn't much to write home about, but the campsite was beautiful (very german!) and we did a hike up over mountains to an amazing viewpoint over the plains...
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