Saturday, August 06, 2016

Thakadu, Ghanzi to Tsumkwe in Namibia.

Over night was really cold, as in 0 degrees and there is no heating in the Meru tents which are built for scorching heat not bitter cold so it was a very cold night.  We tried to sleep in the single bed but came to the conclusion that a single bed is just too small for us to comfortably sleep in, we aren't teenagers anymore after all.  Nice and warm but just too cramped so Caron evicted me at 03:00 to the other bed which was like hopping into a fridge and I never really did get warm again.

The breakfast at Thakadu was very basic but nice and at least they had filter coffee from bodums available.  I made the first round way too strong but we have now learnt that when it is available, double up and we made a second pot somewhat weaker.  We met the guy that warned us about the fridge at the border and got chatting.  A retired single guy, either divorced or widowed, we didn't ask so he occupies his time traveling, this particular trip being to Namibia to search for gem stones.  I can't really imagine how that would be very interesting but each to his own I guess.

The lodge was running their restaurant on Revel software which runs on an iPad and does their ordering and stock management uploading the days movements to a server somewhere.

The road up from Ghanzi was unremarkable in that it was a great road with lots of "P" stops, I think that they meant it to be P for Parking or Picnic, I choose to interpret it as P for Pee break.  About 90km before Maun we turned off the main road and onto a dirt road which was splendid to begin with but soon deteriorated because it is being upgraded and sometimes we had to ride on the middle mannetjie and move the odd rock that I couldn't go around but all in all, not too bad. 
I think that we possibly traveled the road in the best part of the year because at the beginning of the road works there was a sign nailed to a tree "Trouble tree, shit for the next 11km" and it really wasn't that bad, maybe a lot worse during the rainy season, if they have one here.  It looks like they find a deposit of clay like soil and then mine it to use for the road surface because where the road was finished, the road is definitely not the same as the surrounding soil.  Thank goodness for tracks4africa ... there are no sign posts in this part of the world and we would definitely not have found our way without it.

Arrived at border post which, on the Botswana side was literally a tin zozo hut under a tree. 
Did both emigration and customs in the same room, differentiated by the two desks facing each other.  Very nice, don't even have to move an inch to do either formality.  Very pleasant and very efficient, it literally took us about 10 minutes to get through.

The Namibian side was the complete opposite, nice shiny new offices being built on a scale which will swamp the Zozo hut.  The border officials were also efficient and friendly and in no time at all we were off.  It left us with the impression that Namibia is getting its act together to create such a nice border post as well as staff accommodation in what is clearly a tiny border post.  We were the third car through at 15:30 just 30 minutes before the border closes for the day.

Arrived at Tsumkwe and noticed the aroma of overheated brake pads and was just thinking the poor sucker in the car next to mine is going to have problems when I realised it was my car. I'm not sure what the actual problem is yet, the tyre temperature was at 66 deg on the right rear and 42 deg on the left rear and the rim on the right was too hot to touch.  I think that the brakes must just be ill adjusted but, not having any idea as to how to fix this, I have to hope that it will get us through Grootfontein where, we believe, there is a Toyota dealer.  First time I have had any real problems and, of course, it is with the one repair that JDS auto performed.

We had a very palatable supper at the restaurant, it is impossible to be a vegetarian here, there is literally nothing on the menu that doesn't involve meat unless you would consider chips to be a meal.

The night sky is really beautiful here with the milky way in full view but unfortunately it wasn't as peaceful as one would wish for.  The whole town runs off a solar farm which uses a diesel generator at night, so solar by day and diesel by night which means the drone of a large diesel generator all night.

It took us 7 hours to drive from Ghanzi to Tsumkwe which included the border crossing which means that Tracks4Africa were spot on with their calculation as to how long it would take us.

The bungalows at Tsumkwe which look suspiciously like they might have been an army camp at some stage.

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