A year ago our Australian friends, Erich and Wendy asked my advice on what to do and where to go in Namibia, a place they have wanted to visit for many years. Earl and I decided that we wouldn’t mind another trip to this amazing country so we decided to go ourselves and asked them to tag along. Our itinerary of 26 days included Ai Ais, Africa Safari Lodge near Mariental, Sossusvlei, Windhoek, The Waterberg Plateau, Etosha National Park and then on our way home we spent 9 days in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
We are now back and what an adventure it has been. I am in the process of sorting out the hundreds of photographs and will try to publish one episode per day but forgive me if I fall behind 🙂 Some of the trivia and information mentioned in my posts are taken from park pamphlets, brochures, books on the area and Wikipedia.
2 June 2015 – Cape Town to Ai Ai
Finally this day has arrived. I love the excitement of the pre-dawn start to a long journey. I settle down in my seat – pushed far forward so Erich has space for his long legs behind me. I scribble down our departure time on my pre-prepared chart – 4:30 am – The kilometerage registers 119632. What will it be when we return? I know my neat chart with its recordings of costs and stops will look the worse for wear when we return too! Cape Town is cold and rainy and we look forward to warm, dry weather and the healing waters of the Ai Ais hot springs. Perish the thought – the cold and rain continues. Our first stop is a freezing Klawer and our hot Wimpy breakfast and coffee is sooo welcome. It is strange to see pelting rain soaking into the dry Karoo earth. The weather only improved around Springbok.
Earl is not at his best at border crossing so I make sure that all the documentation is ready and hand my list of items to be taken across the border to the grim-faced officer at Vioelsdrift. Within minutes he has dismissed most of them as unnecessary and pins my list to the form he has filled in – no problem! The whole procedure is over in 40 minutes and by 2 pm we are in Namibia!
It is interesting to see wine farming taking place on the banks of the Orange River. Aussenkehr is such a farm. It is planned to develop Aussenkehr into a town. 6,000 erven have been surveyed and water and sewerage systems have been built.There is less than 50 millimetres average annual rainfall but the farm includes 15 kilometres of riverfront and has a government-approved quota to draw water for irrigation from the Orange River.
We arrive at Ai Ais at 3 pm Namibian time, taking the new dirt road which is a tad quicker. The weather is overcast and there are a few drops of rain and it is really cold.
The local Nama people call the springs Ai-Ais which means ‘burning water’. This lovely natural hot-spring is situated at the southern end of The Fish River Canyon, in the Karas Region of southern Namibia. It is part of the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.
We have room A3 and A4 which lead onto the indoor pool area. We have a swim and then a rest before going for drinks and then to supper at the restaurant. We all have eland steaks which are rather nice. They are served with rosti, butternut and green beans. Then its off to our comfortable beds decked with down duvets – so welcome after a hard day’s travelling.