We were held up for a couple of hours at the Namibian border for no valid reason – just Africa things. On the other side the scenery changed; it became more vast with rocky mountains and not much else to look at while we sat on the truck for hours at a time. We were aiming for the Fish River Canyon and stopped along the way in Ai-Ais, a place with a hot spring to view, not swim in, and a pool that could almost be counted as a hot spring as the water was so warm. With only a few hours in Namibia under our belt we learned that it’s a ridiculously hot country and we were in for a very warm couple of weeks. It’s such a contrast to the cold temperatures experienced in the evenings, waking up to see our breath in the tent and attempting to get changed within our sleeping bags so as not to get too cold. Knowing that in a few hours’ time we would be struggling in a pair of shorts and a loose t shirt while wearing fluffy bed socks at the time was almost unbelievable.
We arrived at our campsite that night just before dark and we rushed to put our tents up with what little light remained. I was ready for a shower only to find out that the hot water had run out at the same point that the heat of the day had run out, so I wasn’t prepared to jump into the cold shower. Thankfully hygiene standards drop while you’re in Africa so I was pretty happy to put it off for a day, assuming that my swim counted as a good enough wash.
Waking up the next morning before the sun did was very cold and we made sure to layer up before jumping on the truck to head to the Fish River Canyon in time for the sunrise. Our timings were a little off so we watched the stars for a while until the sky slowly started to light up, allowing us to see the Canyon in all its beauty and watch the sun come up over the mountains in the distance. I couldn’t believe how stunning the whole setting was and found myself speechless, something that doesn’t often happen to me. We took a walk on the border around a small section of it, coming back to fresh pancakes on the picnic tables overlooking the view.
That afternoon we continued our drive and stopped off at the Quiver Tree Forest and Giants Playground, a must-go for any geology enthusiasts which we evidently were not. The estimated time to walk around each was half an hour and we did both in about 5 or 10, probably aided by the fact that it was almost 40 degrees and there was no shade to seek refuge under. The reception area had about 7 dogs for us to play with and upon a second glance, I noticed a cheetah just beyond them in a large, fenced in area. I was so shocked to see one in this environment and couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing, confirming with a friend to make sure it was real. We were told it had been rescued, it was unable to hunt so couldn’t fend for itself in the wild. I’m unsure how much I can believe when I hear this type of thing but hope that the animals are being taken care of.