I lived in the desert of the American Southwest for about five years. My first house in Las Cruces, New Mexico was on the edge of town and overlooked a pile of sand that I first thought was left over from nearby construction. I soon came to realise that was just what living in the desert often looked like and that my house viewed a small arroyo, also known in various parts of the world as a wadi or wash, essentially a dry river bed with the water only flowing if there is a flood.
We left our campsite near Sesriem at dawn to make for Swakopmund, a 350km journey that would reveal even more of the incredible desert vistas of the Namib. We hadn’t long been on the road before we had to stop to help out a fellow Africa Travel Co truck that had broken down. It is an unwritten law that overland trucks help each other out in situations like this and as our tour leader correctly pointed out, next time it could be us. It wasn’t long before we were on our way and passing through the tiny town of Solitaire, memorable due to the multitude of vintage trucks and cars half buried in the sand. We didn’t stop and the road was too bumpy for me to get a good photo so I’ve posted one from Wikipedia below. I always admire the way otherwise nondescript towns around the world find unique ways like this to stand out. Continue reading “Namibia Part IV: Into the Tropics”
As a spectacular dawn broke over the vast red desert plain I was making my way back from the bathrooms, toothbrush in hand and keeping a sharp eye out for snakes and scorpions. We were at our campsite near Sesriem for two nights meaning we could take a break that morning from packing up our tents but we still had to hit the road early as we had a couple of hikes ahead of us and wanted to finish them before we got caught in the searing heat.
After a smooth border crossing from South Africa we stopped briefly at a Namibian gas station to stock up on snacks and beer. Our driver had warned that whilst Namibia was one of the more modern countries we’d visit with some of the best infrastructure, the roads would be the worst we’d travel on and he wasn’t exaggerating.
Late on a hot sunny morning our overland truck trundled across a bridge spanning the Orange River between Vioolsdrif in South Africa and the Namibian border checkpoint. We’d been warned that this small border crossing could be slow and had desperately tried to leave our campsite before the other tourists and overland trucks so we could get to the front of the line. Continue reading “Africa Overland: Namibia Part I”
The first two days of our six-week trip would be spent getting to Namibia. This journey took us from Cape Town at the southernmost tip of the African continent through the Western Cape and Northern Cape before reaching the Namibian border late on the second day.
If there is one place on Earth that is capable of simultaneously warming and breaking my heart it would have to be South Africa. Less than 10-years after the first free election in South Africa that marked the end of apartheid and elected Nelson Mandela as president, I was working for Virgin Limited Edition in London and Richard Branson had just opened a wonderful game lodge called Ulusaba in Sabi Sand Reserve, not far from Kruger National Park. In 2001 I was sent down there to fill in for a staff member who was on holiday. I was only meant to go for a week but ended up staying for almost a month and fell in love with the place. Over the next five years I’d find myself a regular visitor to South Africa, spending most of my time in the bush along with many visits to Johannesburg. Continue reading “Africa Overland: Conflicting Cape Town”