Feeling the cold in Upington

Fish River Canyon Travel Blog

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A birds apartment block!

The fuel pump arrived from the UK, had it fitted and also an oil leak.  A Land Rover with no oil leaks has no oil inside I’ve been told.  Down in Upington, close to Namibia border down in the south west, we stocked up on supplies and engine oil for the next service.  These were a couple of colder nights together sleeping in the roof tent and we used every sleeping bag, some spare cloths plus the material hammock to cover us.  It was so cold that there was ice on the inside of the tent, -5 degrees!!  We used large coke bottles filled with boiling water to take the edge off the cold but they only last a few times until they start to deform and leak!

Going back into the dry Namibia the landscape reminded me of Morocco and it felt good.

  The border crossing was simple but we had a late start so soon after crossing we had to find a place to camp sooner than where we wanted.  The problem down here, compared to North West Africa, was everywhere was fenced off so it meant bush camping was impossible in a 4x4.  We saw a sign for a camping place, open the gate closed it behind us and drove about 5kms down a track until we came to the place.  We meet a guy in his early 20’s was wearing blue coveralls and a wide sun hat with his long wild blond hair flowing out round the sides.  He told us he would go and fetch his”Mooom”, give him a surf board and he’d look right at home or in the next Bill&Ted movie.

The wind blew across the desert and whistled around us in the tall trees that night.

Firewood time...
  We had the place to ourselves and they lit a fire under the donkey, not the donkey with long ears but it’s usually an old 45gallon oil drum on its side with various pipes connected to it that supplied hot water heated by a fire underneath.  This system for heating water with fire is common in remote areas. 

The next morning we set off for Fish Rive Canyon and as I paid for that nights camping a guy said “Welcome to South Africa”.  Namibia in very recent times was all part of South Africa right up to the Angolan border in the north, Botswana in the middle had South Africa almost circled by them.  In the north there is a strange strip of land the Caprivi Strip that cuts a channel of land between Angola and Botswana.

  My guess is this ruler drawn strip that reaches to the borders of Zambia, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia it was known back then) and Botswana was taken so the South Africans could control a longer northern border along Angola.  There was much fighting back in the day and the South African army had a very difficult task to patrol this large area.  They became experts in rapid deployment of a relative small number of highly skilled parachute troops which could cause a lot of damage.  I’m not sure of the politics that lead to the forming of Namibia as it is today but many white people living there still think of themselves as South Africans.

We found ourselves in a nice place for camping in Fish Rive Canyon, not expensive and had hot thermal springs that kept the large unused swimming pool warm, our private pool. For Paulina the best camping in all Africa because she loves the water, while I enjoyed, after long time, some pages of my book beside the swimming pool.  People mostly used the spring inside and it was a nice place to go once the sun went down.  People walked for a few days with backpacks along the canyon but we didn’t feel the love for that but we walked up the canyon a bit and back to our camp site instead.

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A birds apartment block!
A birds apartment block!
Firewood time...
Firewood time...
Fish River Canyon
photo by: Biedjee