Fish River Canyon and the Orange River

Feb 16

We’d all had breakfast, packed everything up and were ready to go 15 minutes before departure time and then…..the truck wouldn’t start. Despite Matt’s best attempts, nothing worked so we had to wait for a mechanic. Some went to play cards and some of us used the time to sort, edit and back up photos.

A landcruiser showed up, gave the truck a boost and we were on our way, only an hour behind schedule.

We drove South out of the Namib desert. The scenery changed to mountains, then flats and then table top mountains. The road was dirt and very rough. Matt drove like a crazy man, apparently trying to make up time. We stopped quickly for bushy bushy and the occasional cow.

After quickly setting up the tent, we headed for the bar for a beer and some wifi. When you’re dripping in sweat, there’s nothing like a cold beer to appease your thirst. The wifi was pretty bad so I didn’t get much done in the hour we had before heading off for our canyon walk.

Fish Canyon is the second largetst in the world (Grand Canyon, USA is bigger) and very impressive. I would have preferred to see it in the morning as the sun set behind it which didn’t make for the greatest pictures. Oh well. The pictures are in my head.

Feb 17 Namibia to South Africa, The Orange River

We got to sleep in till 6 am. Nice!

Heading South towards the South African border the scenery was beautiful. Table mountains, piles of rock and desert flats covered in scrub brush lined the road. We stopped for a herd of zebras, spring bok and the occasional ostrich crossing the road. The rough road felt like a roller coaster at times. As we approached South Africa the terrain changed again becoming green vineyards. For a while the left side of the road was desert and the right, lush green grape vines. WE passed an area of basic huts where the workers live. They’re picked up in the morning for work and sometimes dropped off. We saw many walking miles along the road. It appeared there wasn’t much work today.

The border crossing was uneventful. We’d filled in forms to exit Namibia, got the passports stamped, drove to the South African side, got the passports stamped and were on our way. Once on the other side of the Orange River we arrived at our campground, Fiddlers Rest, set up tents, ate lunch and relaxed for an hour before our canoe trip which really wasn’t a canoe trip. They were inflatable kayaks and we used kayak paddles..

It was stinking hot but it was great fun. I periodically took my shirt off, dipped it in the water and put it back on. That kept me cool. I could have jumped in to swim but KNEW there was no way I was getting back in that boat. We passed herds of goats, a jackal standing in the water, lots of herons, kingfishers and other birds, the odd fisherman with Namibia on one side and South Africa the other. Later we got out at a sandy beach area and went for a swim. I took NO photos as I lost my waterproof camera somewhere in Etosha. 😦

It’s interesting how they’re converting desert into rich farmland here. They scrape off the layer of rocks, soak the soil exposed with water from the Orange River for a month and then plant. It’s working as they’re now growing fruit trees like mango and lots of grapes.

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Kayaking down the Orange River. Photo courtesy of Wendy Tan, world famous photo bomber

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Just chilling for a bit. Photo courtesy of Wendy Tan, eater of very large burgers.

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Fish River Canyon. I’d recommend visiting in the morning for better photo opportuniities

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Lone ttree at the Fish River Canyon

Dinner was kuku steak, peanut butter cabbage, pap an sauce which was really good. I enjoyed an after dinner milo with a bit of ricoffy as it was only 8 pm and I was ready for bed.

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