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Saturday 29 Nov
Namib desert, Namibia

Etosha cape cross and namib desert

The miles were now clocking up and the excitement of getting home was building. We spent our days listening to all sorts of music ( the aussie songs my favourite True blue, duncan etc) and reading all sorts of crap books. We were to meet the san people who speak in clicks and a young bare cheasted coloured woman came to greet us who showed us how to make water from underground fruit, light a fire and all sorts of things we would never figure out - I certainly wasn't going to take a walk into the kalahari desert  in the 40 degrees to see how much I had learned. That night the endless blue skied horizon turned into a stunning star lit sky with numerous shooting starts on show. Howver rather then Scorpio on show it was scorpions. Eventually we tore ourselves away from it and dodged the many prowling scorpions back to our tent. There are no  more lions in the kalahari but it still has the endless sky and warm winds....

We were now in the north of Namibia in Etosha on our last game drives of the trip. it was so much harder to see animals here as there was a lot more scrub then the plains of East africa. Nevertheless we kept our eyes peeled spotting Mongooses, giraffes and zebras all with different patterns, Onyx, prancing springboks but the biggest highlight was the jackals fighting the vultures. Initially a jackal tore a huge piece of meat and ran. Vulture after vulture swooped in and in the distance you could see two other jackals racing in to claim the carrion. They chased and snarled for the next 30 minutes sending panic into the aggressive vultures, the jackals were so small compared to them. On the way back Anna spotted an old lion between the trees staring at us sleepily through fierce yellow eyes. He had scars all over him but just like the other males we saw he was only intent on sleeping. We were back to camp to stunning sunset and the many jackals that skulked round the tents and hoping for an unguarded barbecue or bin. A huge storm smashed our tents that evening which didn't help our chances at the watering hole. We staked out the watering hole hoping a white rhino would come like the night before but we had no luck so off we went to bed.

 The next morning we were promised a game drive for 2 hours instead they drove us straight out the gates. Seriously pissed off I asked what happened the game drive and they said they forgot - I hate when guides do things like this - it was clearly in the itinerary and we would only be heading to sit round a camp for the afternoon. They turned around and drove us back into the park - we asked them to go to a particualr spot and their was a huge battle scarred male lion beside a twisted zebra carcass, rolling on his back huge paws on show, sheer muscle and power right beside the truck. It was a fantastic moment and I was so glad we complained about not doing the game drive. Our last game drive finished with this amazing moment. This is why we were in Africa after all and not county galway.

We left safari territory and found oursleves back in Australia. Ancient 28,000 year old red mountains and red stones had us looking for kangarroos. We had a gorgeous walk round spitzkorpe, as our guide taught us his click language we took in fatal cactuses  and climbed up high onto the rocks for sunset. It was a gorgeous campsite in complete wilderness and isolation looking at the stars we drank and slept soundly. It was stunning in the morning red rocks against blue sky but it was time to continue to Cape Cross. As we packed up our tent we crushed a scorpion accidentally - that 'll show them!

Cape cross was chaotic. 1000 of aggresive snarling seals with tiny black pups. Bodies of the pups were littered everywhere. They were not only being killed by wolfs,  Hyenas and Jackal prints that told its own story but by the aggresive charging bulls and female  seals themselves who attacked straying pups or ran over the pups in front of them. It was horrific but it was natures natural selection process. Fighting snarling males and females were evrywhere... babies called for mothers, mothers called for babies, live pups snuggled up to dead pups. At night time the predators would come and take their pick of these defenceless pups.

We left the smell and the chaos behind and stepped into what Anna called a stepford wives town. I have never seen it so maybe it was. Swokupmund was one of the few places we had seeen where whites and blacks were intermingling and they played together on the beach which was wonderful to see harmonious race relations - actually everywhere we went the Namibians were so hospitable and eager to ask about you which was lovely. It was here we did possibly the best activity of the trip , yes even better then the rafting, Quad biking. It was wow, I initially went off piste and nearly lost control of the thing but recovered. I had it full throttle from then on, Anna no slouch either we quaded through the most stunning sand dunes beside the coast. You really felt you were in the sahara, desert 360 degrees untouched and the quad biking was simply thrilling...

We rose early to climb the red sand of Dune 45 at sunrise. We were in the ancient red sand of the namib desert and it was gorgeous, untouched curves of dune sands heading into the distance inhabited impossibly by Oryx ostrich and Spring Bok - how on earth did they live here? The temperature was creeping up over the 40s and I was starting to suffer in the heat. I was told that I would not be suitable for a bushman as I'm too tall as was Anna - I had figured that out already sweating into my Indiana Jones Hat unable to walk more then a couple of metres at a time as she showed us trap door spiders and scorpion tracks. We left the worn striped red sanded mountains and headed towards remarkable fish river canyon.

We broke our journey with a kayak on the lovely orange river where we all splashed each other with water for reasons of scorching heat as well as fun. Floating down the lovely river flanked by ancient worn mountains spotting herons and egrids. We supped on a roasted pig  on a spit that night. We were getting closer to civilisation every day and therefore Dublin and home.   

 

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