Four thousand kilometers in search of animals, nature and peoples. Short stops in the heart of Namibia concentrated in Etosha and in the Namib and Kalahari deserts. Caledoscopic scenarios that nature never stops changing, in breathtaking views that the mind and spirit photograph as a sort of purification. Africa is rediscovering its roots and the very nature of man still not completely conditioned by the stereotypes of the Old Continent.
Friday? 9 August 2013
We leave Rome Fiumicino at 14 pm with a stopover in Cairo (? 1400 round trip). The short flight to the Egyptian capital gives us the first taste of the hardships we are going to face. The stopover? six hours long. The small international airport is eviscerated in every corner in search of some souvenirs. The comfortable boarding halls open only shortly before the departure of the flight, we still have the bar-restaurant to sit and rest. We find out that? a meeting point for? Adventures in the World ?, we meet the groups of tourists who meet to undertake the last stop in African or Asian destinations. We stop to talk to them, c ?? who leaves for Madagascar and who for Thailand. Are we the last to board, our flight? at 23.05 in the direction of Jo? sburg.
Saturday August 10
We arrive in Jo? Sburg at 7.15. An airport that we know, South Africa? been a stop on other trips. It seems almost a waste to stop here and not be able to visit it. We try a desperate boarding on the flight of 9.30, but? full and we stay on the ground. Another 6 hours stopped waiting for the flight. A visit to the huge shop that sells souvenirs from Africa, here we reconnect with the world by purchasing an internet connection, the power adapter? what we had previously purchased and what will we need? also in Namibia, but we realize that there are also sockets like ours. Departure for Windhoek at 13.15 (? 650 round trip but you can also find it for less) and arrival at 14.20 (for the first time we change time zone, -1 compared to Italy). We collect the rental car, not before completing the thousand practices that require here. Attention the car? covered by an insurance with deductible,? it is always better to make another one that covers all risks. They give us a VW Polo with 10.800, white, then we will realize that? the color of almost all the cars that circulate, little equipped but with air conditioning (inevitable in their summer when the temperatures rise). We reach Kalahari Sands Casino (? 94), a luxurious hotel in the center of the capital. ? on the second floor of a building that houses a shopping center in the heart of Windhoek, we chose it precisely because? it could allow us to buy what we needed to make the journey. Instead, with great regret, we realize that? already? after closing time and we find a city? dead. We are also closed in the restaurant and bar area. The sun sets quickly in Namibia in August, it's 18 pm and? dark. After a refresh we go down the street, on Independence Avenue that cuts through the capital, there are lights on a terrace, they are from the Grand Canyon Spur Restaurant, we decide to stop for dinner (? 16). The girls we serve are kind and nice, ready for conversation and joke.
Sunday August 11
After having rested, at dawn we set off towards the Etosha National Park. Taking advantage of one of the few asphalted roads in the country we have? Ground? the more than 400 km all in one breath. Only the attempts to take pictures of the animals we saw on the edge: first the monkeys, then the warthogs, then Oryx and Springbok. The termite mounds encountered at the exit of Windhoek, like towers in the Savannah, forced us to slow down to be admired, so? like the mountain formations made of granite blocks. But the traffic? non-existent, kilometers and kilometers without crossing anyone, then you notice a? parked car? they are tourists who have glimpsed some animals and you stop behind them to take pictures. The street ? a ribbon of asphalt that cuts nature in two. In Outjo, the last village before our accommodation, we stop to refuel and have a snack at The Farm House. We believe it was a little bar and instead inside c ?? a restaurant with tables in the garden, above the sleeping rooms, next to the tropical plants we decide to have lunch (? 14). We leave full for the Etosha Lodge Safari (? 153 per night +? 37 dinner and extra), after the welcome cocktail and taken possession of the bungalow we decide to do our first safari in the Park. We reach Anderson Gate and then Okaukuejo where we buy the entrance ticket (? 13), we only have two hours to see something. Oryx, Springbok, Kudu and Impala, yeah? glimpsed on the street, in the park they became more and more? numerous, then Zebras, Giraffes and Ostriches, then the meeting with a couple of Honey Badger and at sunset, in the last pool visited that of Gemsbokvlakte the surprise more? great? the one that alone is worth the trip: the King of the Forest refreshing himself. All his movements are immortalized in the shots of the tourists, we put ourselves in the front row to admire him. Imposing, majestic he drinks from the artificial pool and then worthy of his gaze. He sniffs the air and decides that the show can end, then he starts back in the savannah.
Do we notice that? almost closing time, and we could never make it back to Okaukuejo. So we try to cut to go to Anderson Gate in the pi? short time possible, the roads are unpaved and the gravel makes driving unstable. The setting sun blinds our eyes and makes driving even more? complicated. ? now dropped when we get to the door. A queue at the exit reassures us. We return to our accommodation and only then do we realize the luxury. We don't have time to shoot it all. The central complex has a terrace overlooking the endless clearing, with a sort of belvedere where visitors stop for an aperitif. They give us a table outside, but we decide to dine inside, the temperature? went down and even with the sweater and a windbreaker for us it is too cold outside. Dinner ? buffet, hot dishes are served directly by the cook. The choice ? a lot, we decide to taste a little? all, ? all excellent especially the Oryx carpaccio and the roasted Springbok.
We realize that the stars here in Africa seem more? numerous and bright, you can also see them on the horizon. There are no other lights to illuminate the night other than that of the half moon at the head to the top.
Monday? 12 August
Wake up before dawn to return to the Park at dawn. A rich breakfast gives us the strength to face the day. First I meet a couple of Spotted Hyenas that cross the road, the pools of Olifantbad and Aus are full of animals in these early hours of the day an African Wildcat and Coyotes peep out among the stones, even if the temperature? still low. We have to do a dry braking on the dirt, why? after a curve there are a group of Giraffes on the road, we can almost touch them as they are close, so? like a herd of Burchell's Zebbre, while the Wildebeest and Eland keep well away from traffic, preferring the savannah. On the way between Sueda and Salvadora we come across the Elephant, imposing, heedless of the traffic of onlookers, takes the? Strip? of gravel and reaches the pool to dive and drink. Behind him the procession of tourists. We decide to see it from afar, do we see the danger, its bulk? too impressive for our small car and escape routes are not enough. But nothing happens, the procession ends at the pool, when he (or she) plunges. There are so many onlookers that we cannot see it. We arrive in Halali to have lunch (? 11) in the company of birds and a Fork Tailed Drongo accompanies us to our car on the way back. In Rietfontein we see two other elephants getting wet, the temperature? climb on 28 ?. When the day seems to be over, on the horizon among the vegetation you can see a Rhinoceros, the emotion? so much in discovering that? of race? Black ?, we try to follow it with our eyes, given the distance, and we do not notice that time passes and gets closer and closer. the time of closure of the Park. A race to the exit completes the 380 km passed inside in a little more? of a day. Flown, which leave no signs of fatigue but only a mental fullness and a spiritual stillness. We return to the Lodge for a short rest, then dinner.
Tuesday? August 13
We leave bungalow 51 not before admiring the dawn and sunrise over the savannah. In these early hours of the day we admire everything we couldn't see before, as it was always night. Only now do we appreciate our Lodge, its facilities and the scenario in which? absorbed. There are also three swimming pools, but we only see two on the map, isn't there? time to investigate. Then we set out in the direction of Kamanjab (250 Km) where we hope to meet the Himba people. We decide to cut and walk along the D2710 and then enter the D2694, a hole sweeps away the boss, useless trying to look for it. To welcome us to the Oppi Koppi Rest (? 102 +? 20 dinner and extra)? a couple of Ostriches who, hearing the music inside the Bar, improvise a "funny and clumsy" ballet. Let's not waste time and already? in the morning we go to visit the first Himba village on the border with Etosha, in the far south-west (entrance? 23) adjacent to Gelbingen Lodge & Safaris. The beauty of the Himba people is immediately manifested with the walk of a young woman towards us. A proud look, a decisive step and a penetrating gaze immediately put us in a position of ease. Women and children continue, regardless of our presence, to perform the usual gestures, such as preparing a meal. The women pose for the usual photos, then wanting to look at them to see themselves satisfied. Two teenagers and with them a little boy of maybe three years old return with wood on their heads from the savannah. A young woman revives the scene of the extraction of the four lower incisors, takes a stick from the ground, a stone, and brings them to her mouth mimicking what was done to him at an early age. adolescent. We ask why? of this rite, they answer us to make women even more? beautiful and attractive. The pi? little ones try to attract our attention by taking us by the hand? they want to play. The game consists of taking a vertical stone and making it fall by throwing another one. They are too good and precise to be able to hope to win. The harmony of the group? palpable in the small village set up for tourists. The time at our disposal for the visit passes quickly, we steal some more? of time mixing with a group of tourists arrived. Let's go back to Kamanjab to have lunch at Oasisz (? 15). In the afternoon we reach another Himba village (entrance? 38) on the road that takes us back to Outjo and which we had previously seen. Different stories, in this the management? internal, the guides are two boys of the trib? who have studied and speak English being able to translate. They recognize us and scold us why? we had waited too long for the visit, in fact in the morning we had stopped asking for information and promising to return after unloading the luggage. At the entrance a hut that serves as a school, with a clearing in front of it where teenagers graze goats. Inside the play two adjacent villages, the second with the classic fence for animals in the center, the fire always lit in front of the village chief's hut. Visit ? intense, questions alternate with explanations but it is the eyes that feed most. This village too? devoid of the men who are in the north of Namibia in this dry period to graze the herds in the lands bordering Angola. There are women and children, a community? of at least forty people. Are six, between teenagers and women, the first we meet, the most? great ? intent on finishing a young girl's hair, treating the pigtails mixed with butter and ocher powder and fixing the extensions, which derive from cow hair but are now bought at the supermarket. The conventional greeting is mandatory: moro, perivi, nawa. You enter the village and the women want to be photographed while posing. In the faces shines through the pride of the people alternating with the smiles that immediately put on a premium. In a moment you shake off the fear of looking typical of the tourist and focus on their way of being. The old woman smokes a strange pipe, tobacco? the one bought at the supermarket. C ?? who weaves necklaces, mostly made? with natural products, pumpkin seeds stand out above all. The animals, goats, chickens and dogs live in symbiosis with man in the same spaces. They host us in the chief's hut made of cow dung and earth. The smell? present but not intense, sometimes even pleasant. After all, we too lived in the stables and these smells take us back to childhood. The clothes of a lifetime are hung on the wall with wood, even that of the brides for the wedding rite. On the ground the skins of animals, we carelessly sit on it. With a smile on their faces they tell us that we sat on the boss's bed. They show us a strange affair made of wood, a kind of chin rest, they tell us their pillow. There are no openings on the roof of the hut, the door takes care of the area. In front of it the inevitable fire that for the Himba, especially women,? also a source of cleaning, but what? even their altar, the spiritual part. A girl explains to us and shows us how they wash themselves with ashes and smoke from the fire. Handle the glowing embers as if they were extinguished, with grace and lightness so as not to burn. The fire makes it sweat and destroys parasites, the butter mixed with the ocher powder is immediately spread back on the body to cover it. Black skin with this ointment takes red tones that bring out the beauty of women. The child next to her, about a year old, licks the leftover butter to her mother as if it were chocolate. The climate ? lying, it also answers the questions pi? strange, then the young woman changes the axis of the discussion and makes it to us. Curiosity? ? turned on where we are staying, how it was made and the desire to visit it. The answer ? immediately affirmative, only later do the first doubts arrive. In the twenty kilometers, which separate the village from the Lodge, eyes meet. You arrive at the bungalow, and you see the spartan room made up of five beds, bedside tables, a small table with the necessary to prepare a tea or a coffee on top. Sure for whom? used to sleeping on goat skins maybe it will be? seemed too much, we also show him the bathroom where there are spaces for the toilet, sink and shower no furniture, just a spartan shelf. The two boys seem satisfied with their curiosity, the baby in the arms of the mother? too small to realize. The owners of the Oppi Koppi Rest agree with great pleasure to be able to host them at the bar, we sit outdoors in front of the small pool in the company of the dogs. Does the boy read the men? and focuses on prices, perhaps not exaggeratedly different from those of the supermarket. He takes a beer, she takes an orange soda that he shares with the child. The other guests look at them with admiration. The child not caring for the concrete pees on the ground in his mother's arms, nobody notices anything why? all done with the utmost naturalness. Are they the stars of Namibia? a Himba girl with a child. Perhaps more attention than seeing a movie star or a footballer. But nobody thinks they can take a picture, stop our conversations. We only think about storing with the eyes and the heart the most? possible, so you can tell it?
A jump to the supermarket where the two natives take the opportunity to buy basic necessities? and immediately return to the village before nightfall. The children are in the open space that previously housed the goats, intent on playing football.
Let's go back for dinner, there are no aftermath of the experience of a few hours before. Do you order food on paper? of excellent quality, abundant and well cooked, served with the usual kindness.
Wednesday? August 14
With the dark we decide to fill up at the local petrol pump open also at night, they point out that on the roof c ?? the frozen frost of the night. We are among the first to have breakfast, a couple of Spaniards asks us for information about the Himba having witnessed the scenes of the previous day, they had thought of meeting them more? north near Opuwo and they didn't expect to be able to see them there too.
We ask for the bill and only then do the owners thank us for the surprise of the day before and are curious about our experience.
With the Himba in our heart, in the morning at dawn we leave Kamanjab for a long journey (about 500 km) towards the ocean.
Cut through the Petrified Forest (guided entry? 8) with its millenary plants and trunks that have become rock, a visit to the Twyfelfontein (entry with guide? 9) with its cave paintings and graffiti of the age? of the stone, a fleeting glance at the Burnt Mountain and then try to arrive before the sun sets on the coast. With 2573 meters of height the Branderberg shows us the direction to follow but about forty kilometers after Khorixas the road divides. The C35, wide dirt road can? be cut by the D2319 which in Sorris Sorris begins to shrink. Is the sun already down? dropping when there is no time to brake that the car runs aground in the ford of the Ugab river. Useless attempts to get the car out, the wheels don't catch and the sand? too high. Do you immediately think about the coming night? soon, thoughts turn to the path taken, but the last human sign was too far to try to reach it on foot. The sun ? low and does not allow you to see where you are walking. The panic begins to wiggle and the brain starts to go haywire. It is decided to change direction and cross the ford. A herd of cows gives us the hope of finding some shepherds, in fact there are two little houses not far away, but fear? a lot. Voices are heard from the valley, we answer, after a few minutes five figures appear: one young, two elderly and two children. The young woman? sure of herself, she knows what needs to be done and tells us that they have come to help us. They do not waste time, she dedicates herself to the car while the others gather around everything? what can? to serve. Woods, branches, pieces of sheet metal, abandoned plastics. He digs with his hands to pull away the sand, non-stop in a frantic way. The darkness ? the greatest enemy, but also animals and perhaps men. One, two, three, ten, twenty attempts, the car doesn't move even an inch. But the girl does not give up, she knows that you can? to do? on the contrary, he knows that you absolutely see that car removed from that place at any cost. Dig with your hands more and more? in a frantic way, looks for woods more? suitable and to each attempt puts more? energy to push the car out of the way. We are dazed, do we do everything the young woman asks of us? ? our only hope. After the umpteenth attempt the car moves a few centimeters, the darkness? now arrived, but that movement gives us the hope that the situation can be resolved. The young woman? more and more? scary, but also more and more? decided in the enterprise. He scolds us if the given commands have not been respected to the letter, the children cry from tiredness and cold. Ten centimeters forward, twenty back, ten more forward and the car with great difficulty? manages to get out of the ford. The women's face becomes radiant, our salivation resumes. We embrace them, thank them by offering them a perhaps unfair reward. We set off again, 300 km of dirt road await us and we arrive in Swakopmund at 23 pm with our lodge closed. We call the night number, do they come to open us after an hour? only then did we think the day could be over. The luxury of the Atlantic Hotel suite (?
Thursday? August 15
The Atlantic Hotel though? on the outskirts of the city, what? In the past it was the summer capital of the country, it offers all the comforts of a luxury stay.
The breakfast ? for every type of palate, the kitchen? open for those who want something warm. Service ? meticulous.
As Mediterranean we prefer cereals with yogurt, bread with jam, a little? of fruit and at the end we also try a ham and cheese toast.
Various rooms wind through the interior. The fireplaces are lit and warm the atmosphere that already? it seems like a fairy tale. On the ground, goat skins bring to mind the experiences made. In an open room you can see some DIY kitchens, next to another room where liqueurs and soft drinks are in plain sight. On the counter a sheet with the writing? Honesty bar? where to pin the drink, isn't there ?? in a hurry to pay it will? at checkout. Wi-Fi everywhere connects you to the network in an instant. We take advantage of a small armchair in front of the fireplace to reconnect with the world through our PC. Let's go to the city, we spend the whole morning collecting the pieces of the previous day, including the recovery of mental energies. Skip one of the two daily stops from the visit to the seal colony at Cape Cross and the attempted sighting of whales and dolphins along the coast. While we manage in the afternoon to head to Spitzkoppe (entrance? 7), a mountain formation made up of several granite peaks, completely bare of vegetation, which has more? 700 million years old. We return just in time to watch the sunset over the dunes that line the waterfront between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. Back to the hotel for a refresh, then back to town? for dinner. There aren't many places, in the end we decide for a pizza (? 14). Let's go to the Casino ?, but we don't stop to play ,? still too early and the tables are empty.
Friday? 16 August
One more lucullian breakfast and we leave the Atlantic Hotel not before saying goodbye to the young owners, very kind and available to our every curiosity. We skirt the ocean and the dunes overlooking the sea before arriving at Walvis Bay. We go through that for years? was the Colony of the Cape, to head to the Namib desert, distance us 350 km. The dunes accompany us for the first part of the road, we admire and photograph dune 7, but from the Gaub Pass they leave space first for rocks and then for dryness ? of the desert. The mountains are constantly changing color passing from browns, to greens, to yellows, until they become pink and red. The colors are never banal, but they always reserve surprises at every glance.
Let's pass the Tropic of Capricorn with the usual photo, is it time for lunch and the way to go? still long.
In the middle of the desert a sign indicates a refreshment point, we climb up the road and discover a very elegant Lodge immersed in the desert, we decide to stop to refresh ourselves and admire the view from above. We have lunch at the Rostock Desert Lodge (? 16), in one of its cave rooms, inside the temperature? of 23? the humidity by only 19%. We resume the journey in the Namib desert with the mountains that gradually seem more and more? of sand dunes.
We arrive at the Namib Desert Lodge (? 130 per night +? 14 dinner) convinced that we are at the gates of Sossusvlei, the locality? famous for the dunes, but we realize that the distance? of 120 Km.
We also notice it because, with another hour of light, we try to reach the first dunes. Night comes and they still can't see them, not even the town of Sesriem with its petrol pump, so we give up and go back. We booked this Lodge convinced of being close to Sesriem, but the distances in Africa do not have the same parameters that we are used to consider.
Saturday August 17
We wake up at 4.30 to try to get to the dunes early in the day and we decide to skip breakfast. We are the first at the Sesriem Gate (entrance? 13 payable at the exit), although operators can enter an hour earlier.
The scenery ? breathtaking, dunes over 200 meters high are shown in their different colors, from sand to yellow, pink to deep red. After 40 km you arrive at Duna 40, imposing and majestic, but a little more? in l? c ?? the 45, the pi? photographed, and the pi? assaulted, in fact, you can? admire from more? points and you can? climb thanks to its gentle crest.
We decide to continue and we are at the parking lot among the first to get on the shuttle that takes us to Sossusvlei (? 15). Five kilometers of journey through the sand and it goes down a few meters from Big Daddy, the largest dune. high in the world with its 390 meters. We try to climb it to admire the view, but we stop at the first ridge. The sand ? soft and fatigue? a lot. On the sides there are two depressions of white sand Deadvlei, which we photograph from above, but the light of the Pam makes the photos blurry. The sun is getting more and more high and the temperatures rise, we decide to return in the afternoon with the sun setting but first the shuttle takes us to the end of the depression, where the ephemeral rivers are lost in the ground from here the suffix? vlei? (swamp) what in this time of the year? Pam. We have lunch at the restaurant what? at the entrance to the park (? 14), we take advantage of the small market to stock up on water and some biscuits that will be used on the long journey the next day. Our Lodge too? at the foot of a dune, sand what for? over the centuries ? become rock, but which has kept the colors and streaks of the sand. A lighthouse illuminates it even at night. ? It is possible to go on excursions on foot and by off-road vehicle to appreciate the surrounding nature and admire local flora and fauna. We spend the early evening in the company of a herd of Oryxes that? Dance? a few meters from our bungalow. The noise of the horns of the males is heard, in the challenges to contend for the territory.
Sunday August 18
Out of the program we decide to retrace the road of the dunes between Sesriem and Sossusvlei even at dawn the next day, but this time we wait for the restaurant to open at 5 for a hearty breakfast. The sun breaks through the clouds and the dunes 40 and 45 seem a different color than the previous day. We retrace the road quickly, leaving things already? views and dwelling on what we had missed. Like the nearby Canyon that we immortalize in some photos. Full at Sesriem's gas pump, actually? houses we have not seen, in Africa a petrol pump can? alone to make the city, and we set off for Mariental (320 km). Nature does not? never monotonous, the road climbs into the endless Namibian plateaus crossing the Tsarisberge chain. The mountains are made of sedimentary rock, from the top they look like immense canyons cut by the valleys. At each peak you can? see a physiognomy, the imagination associates them with the most? strange figures and the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River comes to mind in northern Arizona, another hemisphere and another continent. But here you can see no human signs, if not the roads and a few caterpillars left in the pitches to be able to fix them, after all how to think of being able to transport them every time for hundreds and hundreds of kilometers. Crossing another car? an event, and it is celebrated with a warm greeting to the crew which is always reciprocated. Carts pulled by donkeys are rarely seen, without stopping we try to photograph them. On the Tsaris pass we stop to admire a lonely house. The view ? breathtaking, you can see the nearby mountains all around, with the Crowagasberg exceeding 2000. Then the road flattens, but does not go down much, towards Maltahore. The stop? short, we decide to focus on the Kalahari for the first afternoon excursion. The desert welcomes us with the typical red sand, the green and yellow vegetation characteristic of this dry season. Three kilometers of dirt and red sand road separate us from the entrance to the Bagattelle Kalahari Game Ranch (? 147 +? 18 dinner). A Springbok welcomes us by sniffing us intensely, the horns have been covered with pieces of plastic tube, to cushion the horns of the animal. The burrows of the Meerkats are visible, even if to see they are more? the little mongooses. The Meerkats come out of the burrows are in the most hours? cold at sunrise and sunset. A huge red cat takes up most of the sofa. Red like the land that hosts it,? he is the master, and only after cuddling does he make us sit next to him. A fence hosts a cheetah waiting to have lunch,? one of the attractions of the Lodge, tourists can attend the cat's meal. But safaris are the main attraction, hunting (hopefully without guns but only with the camera) of animals in the wild. There are also nocturnal ones (? 15).
Shall we have dinner by the fireplace, the buffet? very varied and of excellent quality, let's try to taste a little? of everything. Everyone is kind and smiling in the service. Let's go back to our bungalow, taking care not to stumble into the Meerkats' lairs, from the window you can appreciate the typical sceneries of the area and spot the animals in freedom. Peace and quiet reign, are there no noises? the regenerating spirit benefits.
Monday? 19 August
Wake up when? still night to make the first safari with the first hours of the new day. The red of the dawn mixes on the horizon with the red of the sand. At dawn the colors are more? net. Oryx and Springbok can be seen among the arid vegetation.
After breakfast, meet the Bushmen (? 40). Three adults and two children appear in the cold morning with the quiver with the typical bow of San hunters and their multipurpose stick. They have only a few small skins on them to cover themselves. They retrace the stages of hunting for us, looking for prey and plants to heal themselves. They show us the millenary secrets to living in such an environment. hostile. Do they, nomadic shepherds, know well the priorities? and how to find water and food. They alternate in illustrating the various aspects, in speaking they snap the tongue between the teeth, producing a strange and funny sound. ? the typical talk of the Bushmen that is translated to us by the guide even if the mimicry already? get the idea. Every time one speaks, the others collapse on the ground, a bit? to rest but also to shelter from the cold (bodies sometimes tremble). The first demonstration concerns the hunting of small animals in their burrows. Then they are brought near a plant to enhance the benefits, the leaves as well as for washing the teeth and mouth serve as a laxative in case of indigestion. ? the vault of the undergrowth useful for various purposes, used as a plug, to access the fire but also for the construction of huts. Do they show us how they hunt big prey, with rudimentary bows made of wood and animal sinew, the arrow? composed of two parts, the tip remains inside the prey and? sprinkled with poison, a resin of a plant that they show us, which takes effect in a few minutes. ? the time of the teenager, it shows us a lair of scorpions, the danger? and how to catch it. We arrive at a trap that they wisely built to catch some larger animals. So you get under a tree, the Bushman digs the ground and extracts an ostrich egg from the sand, plugged with scrub, where? water kept. Water collected in the rainy season from bird nests and expertly preserved. Even if they are a nomadic people, they return to their past tracks, leaving precious marks. Together we reach their small village made up of three huts with fire in the center. Around which the rest of the family are waiting for us, two elderly spouses, a woman and a girl. All warming themselves around the fire covered in goat skins. Men smoke from a strange pipe made from animal bone. The highlight arrives, the men in a circle to stage the dance of the? Warriors? San, women to give time with the clap of the hands. On the way back we stop on a hill, the Buschmen pose waiting for the tourists for the usual photo, with the red sand of the Kalahari as a frame. Before leaving we take a tour of the Lodge farm. Goats and donkeys alternate with hens. We ask to see the Meerkats, they explain us that? very difficult in these hot hours of the day, but they accompany us anyway. It is the mongooses that peep through the burrows. The attempt to put some bait, some bits of meat,? useless.
The B1? a band of busy asphalt (so to speak in relation to other roads) that connects Namibia, both South Africa and Angola. In this section it runs parallel to the railway. We stop in Rehbot to refuel, the stop? short we want to get to the city? before the shops close. The road climbs gently up to almost 2000 meters a few kilometers from Windhoek, the descent? sweet. If he meets a roadblock, a policewoman gives us a smile and lets us pass. We arrive in the capital at the time of closing of the shops, when the traffic is more? intense and haste joins fatigue. ? the Protea Thuringerhof (? 76 +? 16 dinner) to host us on the last night in Namibia. We ask where can you? wash the car, mandatory before delivery, we are told that they would have thought of it. We take the opportunity to take a tour in the center, this time we find a city? Viva. Activities open shops and people frantically strolling through the streets. We stop to sip a beer spoiling the comings and goings. You can see the various ethnic groups among the faces of the people, very few tourists. On returning to the hotel a nasty surprise, the parked car had been rear-ended. The damage ? huge, but the management of the hotel assumes all responsibility. of what happened. Hilma, the director, gets in touch immediately to resolve the problem. You go to the police what? in front of the hotel for the complaint. All ? postponed for a few hours we take the opportunity to dine at the Protea restaurant. Only in the late evening do they come to call us in our room to take us to the police. The complaint is made, but must it? wait for the following morning to stamp it and make it official and the office opens only at 8. Our fear? that this bureaucratic process together with the return of the car makes us miss the flight. The airport is 40 Km away.
Tuesday? August 20
At dawn we are already stand up and go down to have breakfast. We await the arrival of Hilma and go to the police even if the office? still closed. Hilma explains the case to the porter's lodge, they let us in and the Head of Department receives us. Kindness reigns, understanding? maximum and the stamp is placed before the scheduled time. We urge Hilma to accompany us to the airport to check the car rental practices in person, she decides to come with us. There are not many discussions at the airport, we ask for all the documents required by our additional insurance and they unravel the paperwork with ease, they tell us that the damage will come? credited to your credit card and we may charge our insurance. We have three days to file the claim online. We leave for Jo? Sburg at 11.35, the arrival? at 14.30 (we lose one hour of time zone). This time we boarded the suitcases directly for Rome, so we have 7 hours to do something in the city. We go out and go to the tour office. The choices fall or on Soweto, the pi? large township in South Africa that played a fundamental role in the history of the struggle against apartheid, where you can visit the Mandela Museum, which was the home of the leader, or on Lions Park (? 115). The choice falls on the latter but only for a payment problem, since we could only do it with a credit card. An hour in the traffic gut of the African metropolis, we pass by the Township of Alexandra, one of the largest. poor and dangerous urban areas of the country, to get to the Lions. The city? can be seen on the horizon marked by clouds of smog. Visit ? immediately in the five lions' cages. In each c ?? the dominant male with the females. The off-road vehicle looks for the lions and approaches them almost to touch them, but the driver? very careful every time to close the windows. He also takes pictures why? sight never becomes habit. Lions and lionesses are heedless of the cars that are close to them, are they just waiting for the one that I will bring them? to eat. They follow her with their eyes, regardless of our presence. The sight ? shocking, lions are mighty, maybe a little bit? weighed down by a sedentary lifestyle. But these parks are born as a recovery of animals and the same then can not be reintroduced into nature why? they wouldn't be able to survive. The number of lions and lionesses? hard to count maybe fifty or maybe more. After the visit we return to the reception, along the way we meet various animals grazing, on the road a Giraffe that stops the previous car and begins to lick it. A surreal scene also why? to do this, the animal must bow its head. We arrive at the cages of the lions, in that of the pi? little ones let us in. We can caress them even if they instinctively try to bite us. Two panthers and a cheetah are inside a circular cage, more? in la the hyenas and the prairie dogs. The driver hurries us for fear of traffic and we get back on the road. At Alexandra's height we notice that her guide? even more? careful, look frantically from the mirrors, the sun is setting and the night is approaching. We take the opportunity to ask him if Johannesburg? dangerous at night. He replies that? very dangerous and that he too tries not to turn in the dark. Now we understand his haste in wanting to take us back to the airport. Once all the formalities have been completed? for boarding, we have time to dine at the bar-restaurant (? 15), connect to the internet and the first thing that comes to mind to do? to open the claim on the insurance website. Then let's try to understand the situation in Egypt,? worrying. We read the chronicle of the previous days, with the attack on the mosque. But the situation at the airport seems ok, they have only canceled the low cost flights for tourism. At 21.45 we fly to Cairo where we arrive the next morning at 5.45, the flight is not? overflowing as there went and allows us to find a better location?
Wednesday? August 21
We land on time and in the transfer area they offer us a hotel to rest. The news of these days? concentrated by the clashes in the City? with the Farnesina which advises against visits to the country. We prefer to stay at the airport, and we prepare to spend the 8 hours of stopover, the airline gives us a vaucher for lunch. Fatigue begins to be felt and the small airport does not have suitable places to rest. We find cos? at Terminal E, which seemed closed, a place to lie down and rest. We take advantage of the? Good? to eat something and then we head to the Gate where at 14.10 c ?? departure for Rome arriving at 17.30 pm
First advice, almost superfluous for those who go to Africa,? always carry an abundant quantity? of drinking water, the supermarkets that are always next to the petrol pump, also sell 5-liter cans (less than? 2) and a torch (? 4-7).
VW Polo Rented Car (? 344 including insurance extension): 4027 km traveled, 248 liters of petrol (price less than one liter per liter, 16 l / km) approximately? 230 of petrol.
Pi? washing, mandatory upon return (? 7.50).
Money The currency of Namibia? the Namibian dollar (about 13 with one euro) or the South African rand (same exchange rate), but you have to remember when you leave the country that the Namibian dollar is devalued in South Africa by 30%.
Shops The activities? commercials close at 17pm maximum 18pm and you can? also pay by credit card. Speaking of credit cards, banks do not change at the counter, you have to do it at the ATM by typing the card pin.
Climate Temperatures in August vary from 23? -28? at night 0? -10 ?, the rate of humidity? ? always very low, it is recommended to moisturize the skin, lips are the first to crack, supermarkets sell cocoa butter,? very effective at a cost of two euros. ? it is advisable to bring both summer and winter clothing (woolen socks, sweaters and a jacket).
Roads Only the main arteries are asphalted in the maps are red and orange the speed? maximum? of 120 Km / h be careful of the animals (warthogs, monkeys and Springbok) that graze on the side of the road, they run away only if the car stops. The other main roads are dirt (gravel) very wide more? of those paved, let's say 4-6 lanes the limit? of 80 Km / h at times 100 Km / h. But pay attention to the car many times? unstable, you have to be very careful with the fords (you touch over 60 km per hour) and the gravel? pi? thick and makes the car uncontrollable. Are the brown roads also the limit in the maps? 80 Km / h but what if you don't have a 4x4 (and you have a good experience in using it)? advisable to ask the locals if the path? accessible. Many of these brown roads lead to places to visit. ? not advisable to travel in the dark, why? there are no landmarks other than the long white dirt strip (the curves are well marked even if they have no references to land), in August? day from 6 to 18. Running you cover 60-80 Km with an hour, calculate the distances well to avoid running into darkness.
Fuel Get gasoline when you can why? distributors are scarce, try to always travel with a full tank. Many petrol stations are also open at night. Gasoline costs around 12 Namibian dollars, less than 1 euro per liter.
Meals Cooking in restaurants and hotels? very varied, you eat well and? difficult not to be satisfied. Breakfast instead? continental, with the open kitchen for preparing hot dishes. In many lodges you can? camping, but not having done so we can not give you advice (prices drop below? 24).
Insurance Take out insurance covering the damage done and suffered with the car (? 60-100) why? ? easy to puncture, that glass breaks. Even personal insurance coverage (? 100-120). Vaccines recommended as a precaution: antimalarial and antitific.
Caution Even if Namibia does not? dangerous, cover your baggage well so as not to make it visible and take wallets, phones and cameras with you. ? It is advisable to have a copy of your passport with you in case of loss or theft.
And above all, remember to bring your heart back? our ? still there, we left it between Namib, Himba and San
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