The drive started with grey, rainy skies, heightening my fears of camping in the rain. However once we left town and hit the middle of nowhere, the sky cleared up, the sun came up and we sat struggling in the heat once again. Our first stop was Spitzkoppe, the giant granite formations of Namibia. Our local guide didn’t have quite enough enthusiasm for his job so we suffered through the walk, getting a bit bored of his commentary and very sick of the heat. We cheered up upon return to the truck when lunch was ready and laid out for us under the shade of a big tree, sustenance to get us through the next block of driving until we arrived in Brandberg, our home for the night.
The campsite instantly became one of my favourites. There was a view of the Brandberg mountains ahead of us with the sun poking through, making it look more like a wallpaper you find on a computer, a digitally altered image of something that surely could never be that beautiful to begin with.
After doing some washing in the tiny excuse for a sink Lisa and I made our way over to the pool back at the reception area of camp. There was a sign on our way in saying to be careful of elephants, something we felt mildly unsure about. This is definitely Africa. Walking past and through to the pool area felt like we’d suddenly entered a resort. There were two pools, grass, beach chairs and sitting areas and a bar, surrounded by the mountains. A quick swim cooled us down and we all sat around the pool talking until the sun slowly made its way down. We rushed back for a shower before dark, making sure to avoid the baby scorpion in the cubicle, and sat down around the fire for dinner under the stars.
Rising early the next day we made our way to the Brandberg mountains themselves to go for a 2 hour hike, which ended up being a fairly relaxed walk with breaks along the way for our guide to explain different elements of the walk to us. It was hot and some of us were losing our patience having expected a more exciting hike with a little less education about what we’d learned on our walk yesterday. Piling back onto the truck I think we all fell asleep immediately, thankfully immune to the smell we’d become because if everyone smells, technically no one notices. Just after midday we stopped for a roadside lunch under a rare tree, most people still groggy from our truck naps and not as loud as we usually tended to be.
With further naps on the truck after lunch it didn’t take long to arrive at our next campsite in Kamanjab where we stopped at the reception to have a swim for an hour or so before continuing on to our campsite, another 3km away. Despite the heat the water was freezing and it was funny to watch everyone as they jumped in and see how they reacted. It was a short lived swim but the refresher we all needed before lying in the sun until it was time to go.
Our campsite was empty and secluded, fitted with nice trees and a few different areas to sit which was a nice change. The ablution blocks were small and I was unimpressed when I went to shower and found the water to be off, not to mention the geckos I found in the bathroom, a fear I still haven’t overcome since being in Africa. Within half an hour the water was back on and the line for the shower filled up quickly while the collective smell of the group became a lot more bearable.
Geoffrey rewarded us with pancakes the next morning, nothing to do with our begging the night before with the last five standing postponing bed. It made for a perfect start to our drive towards Etosha, game drive time again.