Eine deutschsprachige Version dieses Eintrages gibt es hier
We had been looking forward to visiting Namibia for a very long time ... But, is Namibia really on the same continent as all the other countries we have visited during the last few months? As early as Zambia we had recognized that the appearance of the streets was much more cleaner and that life seemed to be following a more "organized" pattern than in many parts of East Africa (surely, this "order" is a two-edged thing!) ... But this impression definitely is topped in Namibia - right on the first few kilometres in the road: nearly "typically German", "fastidiously accurate" many roads and towns seem to be at first glance. Especially so Windhoek and Swakopmund (we will describe these two towns in detail soon). No, no matter how you look at it, Namibia cannot deny that between 1889 and 1915 it was a German colony. In contrast to Bagamoyo in Tanzania, the houses from that time are being maintained and smartened, roads bear German names, but also African ones; alongside South African and "traditionally" African dishes in many places you can get real German food. Even though to us non-colonialist Germans this seems really strange, still our daughters are especially happy about this ... finally, they can enjoy "Spätzle", "Apfelmus", German "Bratwurst" and so on.
But even Mischa is very enthusiastic, because in Namibia - apart from German "Weizenbier" - you can probably get the best meat worldwide ... at incredibly reasonable prices. The barbecue-season, Sorry!, "Braai"-season is there finally! And when we are on the road we nibble delicious "Padkos" such as "Biltong", the famous dried meat, and "Droewors", a really delicious dry sausage made from game and beef. Lekker!
But how were our first kilometres on Namibian roads? From the Victoria-Falls near Livingstone in Zambia we enter Namibia in the so-called "Caprivi-Strip", named after the German chancellor Graf Leo von Caprivi. This stretch of land was planned to become part of a landbridge from German South West Africa (now Namibia) to German East Africa (now Tanzania), and when the European powers sat over the map to divide the "African cake", this stretch was one of the "cream puffs" the German chancellor could snitch. Today, this part of Namibia is officialy called "Zambesi-Region". We stop at the N'Kwazi Lodge situated a few km out of Rundu, directly on the banks of the Okawango River.
As since shortly after we had crossed the Tanzanian-Zambian border our front prop shaft had made strange twittering noises (by the way, this is an after market part and not a Land Rover one!), we are very happy to have reached this place ... By chance, the owner of this lodge is also a Land Rover owner and advises us to take out the prop shaft and have it sent to the experts in Windhoek ("Propshaft Engineering") instead of driving there with a prop shaft we know is not working properly ...
We follow his advice and do exactly this. After only 47 hours after taking out the prop shaft, we have it repaired and back in our hands. Anouk and Mischa take care of removing it and fitting it back in. Pieter, the owner of the lodge is an immense help in organising all this! Thank you, Pieter!
The "waiting period" we kill by going on a boat trip on the Okavango which is marking the border between Angola and Namibia, but we also have a great and delicious "Braai"-evening (while it is raining cats and dogs) together with the Danish globetrotter and journalist Hugo Gaarden.
This again is one of these chance encounters which might be the beginning of great friendships. But on the following morning, we have to part with Hugo again - after having planned a meeting in either Germany or Denmark for this autumn.
After nearly a week at the N'Kwazi Lodge, another place we can only recommend to all overland travelers, we set course for "South-West" ... driving a "Nyati" which is running smooth and silent again.
"The French" have spent their last five years working in Cape Town and now travel trough southern Africa and South America for the nearly two years ... a family of six with a Toyota and an impressive offroad trailer made by the company Metalian from Cape Town.
We are impressed and this trailer will be our plan for our next trips when our Land Rover will not provide enough room for us two adults with two elder daughters. We definitely want exactly this trailer!
We spend two wonderful days together, burn the midnight candle talking the night away and the kids play with each other boisterously so that in spite of differently planned routes we decide to find another camp for a couple of days together.
At "Zum Potjie" near Otavi we enjoy a lot of sunshine and impressively tender Oryx-Steaks from the Braai, relax in the pool ... and seem to have left the rain that had been following us for ages behind us finally. But sadly, this is where we part company because the "Six en Piste" plan to go up north to "Caprivi" and we want to go south and to the coast.
At an impressively great supermarket in Otjiwarongo we stock up on provisions to be able to wild camp several nights. But after only a few kilometres we find out that our alternator is not loading our battery any more. As around us there is only bush and small villages, we have to shift the helm and go to Windhoek full speed ahead because there we will definitely find somebody who can help us with our new car-problem. Our solar panel now is our rescue (in cooperation with the sun and the double battery system) and enables us to easily make the roundabout 270km (!) to Windhoek even without the alternator. But the backpackers that was recommended to us by other overlanders is completely booked out; something that so far on this trip has never occurred! But we have a contact in Windhoek we can call to find out which garage can help us fixing the Land Rover and maybe also find a good accomodation nearby. Stefanus van der Merwe, a Land Rover overlander from Windhoek, whom we had met at the Jungle Junction in Nairobi, had invited us to his parents home in Windhoek. We call ... and - as so very often on this trip - are recieved with great pleasure and warmth and are invited to stay at their home.
Debbie, Stefanus' mother is nursery school teacher and has her own small play group in the courtyard of their house. Thus, our new "home" turns out to be a real "children's paradise". Because father Adriaan, also a real "Land Rover-Fan", is on a business trip, Debbie persuades us to stay longer until Adriaan is back to then look for a solution for our problem with the alternator ... and spend the next following weekend together with them on the family farm about 110km south west of Windhoek.
Until then, we can use one of their "Bakkies" to discover Windhoek so that our Land Rover full of equippment is safe in the courtyard. This impressive warmness makes the decision making process easy and as a return, we try to give our best in doing culinary conjury tricks in return and prepare favourite dishes every evening. Ah, by the way: since we are in Windhoek our alternator miraculously is working without any problem ... we finally are not able to find the problem but still buy a spare alternator just to be on the safe side.
Very relaxed we can discover Windhoek, shop at "Cymot", a real paradise for overlander, anglers and other "bushies", and we also have our "manes" tamed. The German-Namibian (or is it the other way round?) hairdresser Sonja knows exactly what is happening in Germany, the home country of her great-grandparents, knows what weather is to be expected and what is on in politics.
This diversity of the people in Namibia and the origin of their families really fits the unmistakeably charm of this beautiful and diverse country, Namibia!