16 June Daan Viljoen – Getting Lost in Windhoek
Windhoek is not the biggest city in the world. No it is not even ‘big’ by any average standard. Yet we managed to get lost. How do we manage this? Well it’s all to do with not following your instincts. Its paying too much attention to robotic machines who will possibly take over the world one day!
The day starts well enough. We have a delicious breakfast at our fancy B&B – smoked salmon and a variety of cold meats and cheeses are on offer with the usual yogurts and cereals. OH and who can resist fig preserve with Camembert – so in spite of my Banting Diet I indulge in the tiniest little piece. My total carb allowance for the day.
This is followed by eggs, bacon tomato and mushrooms. Erich has an appointment with the dentist at 3 and we want to do our shopping for Kgalagadi — so we set off at 10:30 fill up with fuel and find all the places we need with ease. Armed with a new torch, flask, taser and meat – the latter from a stunning butchery called Trans Kalahari Meat – we make our way to the Dentist where we plan to have coffee at a nearby supermarket coffee shop. As we near I say -“I really would prefer a better place with nicer coffee,”
So we do a search on the “Car Wife” and find a mall 2km away – The coffee is somewhat better and Erich indulge in a slice of cake.
Then a miracle happens – Earlybird agrees to leave Wends and me to shop while he takes Erich to the Dentist! Bliss – but I am warned to have my cell phone at the ready so that my guardian and protector can find me on his return. I discover that I have run out of Namibian air time so find a cell shop and quickly top up. I leave Wendy to browse while I do this and some Chemist shopping. Then the two of us go to Checkers to do our grocery shopping. This is almost complete when The Boys return – tooth successfully repaired by a charming dentist who Erich thinks undercharged him = It would have cost twice as much in OZ.
The boys help complete the shopping – mainly by adding beers and wine to the trolley and then we try to make our way home.
Earlybird enters the destination and for some strange reason the thing gets us lost! You’re mad he tells his car wife – that’s not the way to go – but still he slavishly obeys her instructions. After meandering around WIndhoek for an hour while he and “Greta Garmin” argue. I finally intervene and say let me speak to her. Well she’d lost satelite reception hadn’t she!
Go back to town and find Sam Mojoma Street says Wendy so we do and then we manage to reset satellite contact and head into the blinding sunset.
We have pre-dinner drinks and then go to the lovely but chilly restaurant again. We are the only guests in the vast, high ceilinged room. We are the only chalet dwellers but there are some campers who brave the cold and have outdoor braais.
Earl has game steak but the rest of us order two starters – delicious tomato soup and then calamari with a wonderful aioli sauce.
For dessert we decide on the cheese platter to share – R80 – well – it is enough for 10 people so we take the leftovers in a doggy bag – well worth the money.
When I booked at this venue I saw the rate as over R1000 per person and didn’t want to take it but Early bird told me to go for it as we’d visited Daan Viljoen as day visitors 20 years ago – it was stunning then as the dams were full of water and the bird life was prolific. This time it was dry and so I felt a bit cheated after paying a fortune to stay there. Everything was lovely, though, so I didn’t fret too much. But on checking what I actually paid I had a pleasant surprise – There are 2 rates – one for rich overseas tourists and one for Africans – Hooray – I paid the African rate – only R795 per person per night. That made me feel much better! Also the food was excellent and cheaper than the buffets in Etosha!
We could have braaied at our chalet but we opted for the restaurant as we will be self-catering fro the next 9 nights.
Another tip for potential travellers NWR resorts – get an NWR card for about N$700 and all accommodation will be 25% less.
17 June Kalahari Tented Camp
Daan Viljoen to Kalahari Tented Camp
Earl is worried that we won’t make it to the Mata Mata Border Post by its closing time at 3:30.
“What’s the worst that can happen?” I say.. “If we don’t make it we can check into a B&B” and I find one 14km from the border post which puts him in a better frame of mind!
Of course we do make it – with an hour to spare.
We check into tent 4 and 5. After unpacking we go for a short drive and find the usual gang.
We get back by quarter to six and start the braai. It is chilly sitting outside but Wendy and I have knee rugs and warm jackets so we aren’t too fussed. We sit in the kitchen to eat.
But when we go to bed it was freezing. We put two extra blankets on each bed but it takes ages to warm up. I find sleeping with my beanie on helps. If ever you go here in winter – take a hot water bottle!
18 June – A Lion Day
We rise in freezing temperatures – when we got into the car at 7:30 we find the temperature to be -2 and it went down to -5 as we drive toward the waterholes. Brrrr. We turn the aircon up to 24 and soon warm up. We welcome the sun streaming into the car too.
There is very little at each waterhole and we when we get to 13th we stop to watch the red-headed finches darting in and out of the water.
We are the only car there when we notice one reversing at speed toward us. He rolls down his window and says “Stay here – there are 10 lion heading this way”. Another reversing vehicle is right behind him and he reports seeing 11.
Wow – we find ourselves in the prime position without any effort at all. Here they came yells Wendy and sure enough 4 adult females and 7 cubs appear and begin drinking right next to us.
Other cars have gathered from both directions and jostle for position but we are right where the action was – right time right place! We see the moms snap at the cheeky youngsters and chase them to their own spot.
They all lap happily for a while and then the cubs begin to play. Soon the moms head in the opposite direction to which we are parked. We decide that we won’t turn around to follow them. But just as we start the car Wendy says – they’re coming back and they give us another half and hour’s entertainment before heading toward the trees and over the ridge. The babies remain behind playing and climbing the tree until one of the moms has to come and demand they follow. It is so much fun.
We are chuffed with our first day and continue on. We stop for breakfast and Earl cooks scrambled eggs, bacon, banana and cheese. Our starter is banting muesli and yogurt. A chap from another group comes over to chat and see whether our brekkie is better than theirs. Of course it is! He tells us they’d seen the ion but also a leopard and cub at another waterhole – how had we missed that!! Wrong place at the wrong time.
Nothing else too exciting happens the rest of the drive and we arrive home at about 3.
some of the creatures we see besides lion.
Erich and Wendy go to their tent to do a few things, I wash up the brekkie things and prepare for the evening meal before having a short rest.
Earl is sitting on the deck when he suddenly yells – lion – he runs to fetch Wendy and Erich and we watch a male and female come down to the water hole.
The springbok run when they see them then stand perfectly still watching them. A wildebeest some way away is also on high alert. after a few sips they head across the veld and we dash for the car to see where they come out. Other residents have seen the action too and are heading in the right direction to follow the lions. We find them and get some close up shots before heading back to camp.
Jan has seen us all dash off without our permits and comes to check up on us and to ask what we have seen.
Supper is chicken casserole and dessert peaches and yogurt. After tea we pack up and have an early night. It’s off to Nossob tomorrow.