Our ‘return to civilisation’ celebrations were slightly spoilt by an unpleasant exit from Angola. The car was clearly not as impressed with 2 tanks of the cheap ($0.3/l) Angolan diesel as our budget was and shook like a rattle snake every time we tried (unsuccessfully) to accelerate past 60km/h.
To add to our grief the Angolan customs chap refused to sign out our carnet on the basis that ‘Angola is not part of this treaty!’. When I pointed out to him that it had already been signed three times by Angolan officials (twice in Cabinda and once on entry to Angola proper) he helpfully suggested we head back up to Luvo, our point of entry 5 days drive away and ask them to sign it for me. Hopefully the AA will be understanding.
Namibian border formalities were pain free although it took a while for the border guards to understand why as South Africans entering from Angola we didn’t have Namibian exit stamps in our passports.
Due to time constraints we spent only a night in Etosha at Okaukuejo. Its a phenomenal game reserve.. lots of game, excellent infrastructure and great service. The camps were also completely chocka with Saffers with new Prados and double story tents on top of their trailers enjoying the extended school holidays and we started to miss the delapidated, shot out, disorganised and deserted West African parks.
On day 3 the Engen diesel began to kick in and we hit 100km for the first time in a while so our scheduled stop at Toyota was cancelled and we headed into the Waterberg instead. We camped at one of the three secluded sites at ‘Anderson camping’, definitely the nicest camp site of the trip, ably assisted by some good South African wine and Namibian steak on the braai. Throughout Namibia we were impressed with the quality of the accommodation at all levels which I suspect surpasses even the high South African standards.
After a night with very hospitable friends in Windhoek we collected my brother and niece at the airport and headed west to the Skeleton coast. Xaragu made a fantastic relaxed 2 night stopover with petrified forests, ancient rock engravings and lots more to keep us entertained. From there we moved into the heart of the Skeleton coast and stayed at Terrace Bay. The scenery was epic and the dunes as impressive as anything we had seen in Morocco.
On the way back to Windhoek we enjoyed Cape Cross (home to 200 000 seals), Swakopmund and a fantastic farmhouse at Etusus Lodge. In Windhoek we were reunited with Chippy who had taken the easy route down from Morocco. We spent our last night of the trip on the banks of the Orange river with South Africa squarely in sight.