I am sitting on the covered deck of our “room” at the Okonjima Bush Camp. I see a springbok out in the field in front of me and there is no fence, nothing, between him and me. A weird feeling. We have come here to see the leopards, which are in a different and fenced part of the reserve, and we saw one yesterday evening. His name is Mawenzi, 14 years old, and he had just had supper so was lolling with an overstuffed stomached. A beautiful creature.
This afternoon we are also lolling as tomorrow we drive back to Windhoek, where the next day we fly to Cairo. Here are some random thoughts about our time in Namibia.
We have eaten a variety of game here. Springbok, kudu, red hartebeest and oryx. I don’t think any of them had a strong flavour and they were all tender, more tender than most of the beef we had. We have also eaten salmon (frozen) and sole. The places we stayed were very touristy and served westernized food, which is too bad, as we would have liked to try Namibian cuisine. The spices used on the sole and on chicken we have had are a different flavour than at home though.
The people of Namibia are wonderful. Most of the folks we meet work in the hospitality industry so being friendly is part of the job, but the ones we encountered were happy, chatty and willing to laugh. At the Desert Rhino Camp, the staff also sang. And they sang with joy. They probably have been singing all their lives and it is an important part of their culture. It was enjoyable to get a taste of local music.
Many of the roads in Namibia are gravel. Roads that go for hundreds of kilometres. What impressed us was the maintenance of these roads. Everyday we would encounter a grader at work on the road we were driving on. They roads get very corrugated and the grader smooths them out again.
Tire pressure in the vehicle is a mystery to us. The normal tire pressure is 2.4 bar (34ish psi) but the rental companies want us to keep the pressure at 1.8 bar (26 psi) for the gravel roads. They want us to get the tire pressure checked every time we fuel up. They say that the vehicle will handle better and we won’t get a flat tire as easily. Murray strongly disagrees with this concept. Although giving a softer ride a soft tire is more likely to flatten (maybe from driving over a rock). He is also not sure the softer tire handles any better. (Mur note: I am sure off road rally drivers use low tire pressure and it would be hard to argue the fact the cars handle better but we were not driving at excessive speeds.) We have had few problems with the roads but we drive on gravel roads frequently and some folks from other countries may have never driven on gravel.
We have met other travellers from all over the world. Switzerland, England, Germany and the United States. We met C&N, from the UK, at our first lodge and then met up with them again where we are now. It was like seeing old friends. Half the fun of travelling is meeting new people, comparing travel stories and learning about them and their countries.
I am sure the temp is now over 30 C so I am going to leave the deck and retreat inside to the AC. Will be back out side later this afternoon to watch the sun go down.