Namibia Roadtrip Day 14

on Sunday, February 6, 2011
Day 14.

DISTANCE: Gravel Road 244km
WEATHER: Sunshine/Thunder/Lightening/Torrential rain.

Today’s drive was beautiful. The mountains were green; there were lots of flowers and not a soul around. It wasn’t until we arrived at our next stop that Jeff told me that these mountain roads had been in such bad condition he had been, at times, very worried that they may have simply slipped away underneath us. Not particularly reassuring given there were no barriers between us and the sheer drop to the canyon below. The rain had certainly caused a lot of damage, some of the sides had subsided, and there were boulders everywhere. This was the final long journey of our trip and at the half waypoint the guidebook had mentioned Connie’s restaurant as a good place to stop for coffee and home baked cookies, so when we saw Connie’s sign to turn off, we did just that.

Connie was very pleased to see us. In fact we were the first customers she had had all year. We sat and talked with her and she made us coffee, unfortunately she hadn’t bothered to make cookies as no one had called in such a long time. Connie opens everyday from 8am until 5pm and sits with her cat on the veranda waiting; she loves people and keeps thanking us for stopping. We told her all about our trip and when we said we were going back home the day after tomorrow she offered to take anything we had that we didn’t want. In fact we had lots of milk left over, a pasta sauce mix and a tin of beans which she took from us with the question “can I eat it cold?”. She has a generator you see, and having to turn it on costs money, so keeping costs down was a priority to her. It was time to move on; we paid for the coffee - probably the most expensive coffee of the whole trip but we didn’t mind the surcharge knowing we were probably the only travellers she had seen for a whole month. We waved goodbye to Connie promising to write to her when we got back home.

On route to our last campsite at Lake Oanab we talked over the wonderful time that we’d had, the lovely people we had met, the excellent and diverse landscape and the excellent campsites…..Kiss of death! We arrived at Lake Oanob and were offered the choice of two sites; both looked like they had been abandoned for years. In fact, there was no choice as the trees were so overgrown we could never have got our truck to the second one. We decided to pay for an upgrade to a site overlooking the lake with its own sink, a much better move. We put the tent up for the last time and then realised that although there was a sink the water didn’t work. We also established that the only toilet on the site didn’t flush either, and there was no electricity or hot water. Jeff makes his way to reception and reports the problems to a receptionist that simply agrees, but doesn’t really understand what he was saying. After a switch to very basic English, he gets a response “someone will be down to fix it”. So we have a beer overlooking the lake and feed that cat which has just arrived and won’t leave us alone because it is starving. During late afternoon the clouds start to gather and there’s no doubt its going to rain, so we have a quick shower – a cold shower at that.

Determined not for our last night to be spoilt, we trotted off for the ‘a la carte’ restaurant/bar. Ironically, when we get to the restaurant, there is a conference party in studying ‘project management’ (obviously nothing to do with management on the campsite) and there is a big buzz in the restaurant as they all enjoy drinks with their evening meal. There are no tables free at the moment but it’s early so we don’t mind. Then the storm sets in; thunder lightening, rain and terrific wind, there is no way these people are moving from there seats! We then get slightly worried as I can see the kitchen from my position at the bar. One woman, I presume the chef, seems to be cutting huge amounts of cheese into slices which is funny as nothing on the menu has cheese in it, and the assistant seems to spend most of her time on her mobile phone. The menu arrives and ‘a la carte’ seems a little bit of an exaggeration. There was a choice of steak or game with chips, or chicken with Monkey Gland Sauce. We both opted for the game. Finally, someone decided to make a run for it and so a table became free, and within a few minutes our food was in front of us. Now, for anyone with false teeth this would have been the end of their holiday. Either this meat had been dead for a long time, or it was in fact a mobile phone disguised with same form of gravy. Another odd combination to the game with gravy was the chips, swimming in vinegar and the token salad swimming in some kind of dressing! Perhaps they had opted for a ‘soggy’ theme. We managed to get through the meal without choking, and as the rain wasn’t going to subside we decided to make a run for it. Next problem, the staff had turned the lights off on the way back to the campsite. Can you imagine, a strange place, no defined path back to the campsite, torrential rain, pitch black and no outside lights turned on? Luckily, we had taken a head torch with us, which was little help in the torrential rain. But then the cat, who could hear us coming, started meowing loudly so we were guided back to our truck.


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