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Hello from Walvis Bay quay
10/05/2013

Leaving CJ and the flamingos behind I took the coastal road down to Walvis Bay where I spent the morning wandering around the quay, chatting to quizzical pelicans before their limited vocabulary turned me away in search of the route to Sossusvlei. A wrong turn here and a photograph there meant that by lunchtime I was yet to make it out of Walvis so I took a break and joined the flamingos for another car park lunch. By 2pm a feisty breeze had picked up and I felt a familiar itch set in. Knowing that it was a prime windsurfing spot, with speed week held every year, I went in search of board rental, figuring I would spend the afternoon on the water and take CJ up on his offer of another night in the campsite at Swakopmund. It was not to be as the lady at tourist information assured me that there was no place to hire equipment in town.

Dejected though staving off the feelings of annoyance by convincing myself that I had no commitments and it really didn’t matter what time I got to Sossusvlei, I turned inland onto the C17 and into the desert. Besides it was only 300km to go and sunset would be at 6pm, I’d easy make it before dark.

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Flamingos at Walvis Bay
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Heading into the desert. 

Sunset came as I drove through a mountain pass, still 200km from Sossusvlei. The road had been so atrocious, cut up by countless heavy vehicles carting salt to Windhoek and Keetmanshoep, that my average speed could not have been more than 50km/h. The slow pace did afford me the opportunity to take in the dry landscape, dotted by skittish Oryx and the occasional Spring buck, but now the sun was gone and my speed dropped to a crawl, still 80km from the nearest town. By 7:30pm I could not take the chattering of my teeth any more and blisters had started to form on my hands from the vibrations in the steering wheel, I turned off at a sign Oase 107, thinking I’d just park up on the side of the road and continue at dawn. It is a strange thing, driving at night through and empty landscape on dirt roads at night, maybe it was my inherent fear of the “dangers” of Africa, but I couldn’t bring myself to stop. Finally I came upon what looked like an empty house, with the sign Oase 107 painted on the gate. Just as I had resigned to the fact that I’d be spending the night just outside the gate, a torch shone in my direction.

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A safe place for the night.

Stephen and his family (Suzan his wife, Sean and Yoalandi his children) were spending the weekend on his uncle’s farm, Oase 107 and invited me to park up and come in for dinner. I found a cold beer in my hand, the promise I’d made to myself not to drink till reaching South Africa giving in to the appreciation of hospitality, and relaxed in the company of my hosts and the comfort in knowing I had a safe place to spend the night.

In the morning Stephen took me on a game drive, the farm’s purpose nothing more than enjoyment and its bordering on fenceless nature reserve providing a superb environment to experience the Namibian wilds. To top it off they saw me off with a caffeine kick and directions to the next town via the farm roads to avoid the horrendous corrugated roads of the night before.

A short while later I was sitting in Solitaire enjoy the famous apple pie as enjoyed by the likes of Angelina and Brad, when I heard a grating sound and felt a sharp pain, like biting on a stone. I fished around and spat out an old metal filling, the vibrations from the journey had obviously caused more damage to me than my vehicle.