Sunday, 19 March 2017

Johannesburg - Bloemfontein - Upington - Windhoek - Swakopmund

From Monday 27 February to Thursday 03 March we drove from Johannesburg to Swakopmund - a bit like this ~2500 km.
Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 20.32.18
We stayed in Bloemfontein the Monday night and met a couple of clients on the Tuesday morning.  And then our road trip really got going.  First stop, Superspar, to fill up the coolbox.  This, being Africa, wasn't the size of a British cool box where a few cans of drink, bag of fruit and some rolls fill it up - this was a proper cool box which we loaded full of water, iced tea, Coke Lite, fruit, snacky vegetables and Babybels. Service stations were in short supply ahead of us so we went prepared.

Driving in this part of South Africa involves long straight roads with little traffic.  Get cruising at 120 kph and the key thing to look out for is animals on the road.  The skies are big, the scenery vast and there is little visual distraction (unlike in the UK where roads tend to have lampposts, buildings, trees, hedges etc alongside).  This meant I was able to work on my Mac most days for a couple of hours before feeling car sick: a real bonus.

Anyway, the first of many road pictures.
2017-02-28 Bloem to Upington 4.05.16
I remember these amazing bird's nests from my road trip a few years back in this area. The weaver birds start a small nest on the telephone pole fittings and build it up from there.
2017-02-28 Bloem to Upington 6.17.55
And these windmills are everywhere - pumping up ground water to the farms.
2017-02-28 Upington 4.44.19
Wonderfully stormy, square-edged clouds ahead of us.
2017-02-28 Bloem to Upington 4.19.22
The strong light reflecting off this tower was quite distracting as we neared Upington. The mirrored tower is part of the Khi Solar One farm Martin's team surveyed some years ago and which we flew over in 2014 (see here).
2017-02-28 Upington 7.37.41
We crossed the Orange River on the way to our lodge where we stayed on an island near the Orange River Cellars.
2017-02-28 Bloem to Upington 6.13.41
Blimey - I think this bedroom is the size of my flat!  Shame I was only here one night.
2017-02-28 Bloem to Upington 8.02.02
It was a prompt start on the Wednesday from Upington and we left as the sun rose.
2017-03-01 Sunrise Upington
This way to Namibia.
2017-03-01 Upington to Nambia  07.59.27
We crossed the border easily.  I was amused by the cleaner sweeping up a pile of leaves at immigration.  Actually, it was more a pile of bugs she was trying to pile up and every time she created a heap it flew off again.  Very Harry Potter-esque.

We stopped to buy sim cards and I loved this painting on the garage wall: it was the only map we had for a while. Although Martin knew where he was going, I appreciated having this to refer to (any map is better than none).
2017-03-01 Upington to Nambia  10.13.42
The Nambian side - the road at 1030.
2017-03-01 Upington to Nambia  10.33.33
These control towers are left from the days when South Africa occupied Namibia.
2017-03-01 Upington to Nambia  17.14.23
It was a long day of travelling as we had nearly 1000 km to cover.  This was our view at 1700 - still long and straight, with a few more clouds - trundle, trundle.
2017-03-01 Upington to Nambia  17.08.11
And then, major excitement, the Tropic of Capricorn.  I've never driven across this and it was kind of Nambia to point it out for me.
2017-03-01 Upington to Nambia  18.13.04
Photo op time.
2017-03-01 Upington to Nambia  18.13.51
11 hours after beginning the journey, with sunrise, the sun set whilst we were still on the road.
2017-03-01 Upington to Nambia  19.16.46
We arrived at our lodge in Windhoek in time to grab some food and drink from the bar. Facebook popped up a memory on my timeline and it turned out that more-or-less a year to the day I was staying at this same lodge.  Memories.

Thursday morning we saw a couple of clients.  Unless you eyeball folks they forget you exist so it's important to maintain these conversations to secure potential work.  And then we set off towards Swakopmund on the Trans-Kalahari Highway.
2017-03-02 Trans Kalahari Highway   3.05.13
And gradually, over the next few hours, the greenery faded and the sand took over.
2017-03-02 Trans Kalahari Highway   5.07.38
Next blog Swakopmund...

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