We all went for a mix of activities but Kay, Laraldo, Homeless, Sonya and I all put our names down for the tandem skydive which – weather permitting – would be the following morning. That afternoon, we had a stroll around town, found an internet cafe, had a few drinks and did just about anything we could to take our minds of our upcoming death-plunge.
The next morning (Monday 2nd August) we were picked up by the skydiving company’s shuttle bus and went to their HQ where we nervously filled out indemnity forms and waited for the green light...which never came. (Too many jumpers that day meant we wouldn’t all go together, so instead of splitting us up, they postponed our jump by two days.) With everybody amped up and with some adrenaline to make use of, the gang opted for an afternoon doing a go-karting grand prix. I didn’t get involved but from what I gather, Normski had a controversial win to Homeless and Berber Dave’s dismay (Homeless 2nd, Berbs 3rd, Kim 4th, Son 5th, HH 6th...Laraldo came last).
|Laraldo had to change karts as she gave this one a flat tyre.|
|Laraldo: Good-to-go in kart No. 2|
|Revving up and ready to go.|
|Marjane/Normski & Berbs|
|Marjane congratulating Homeless on coming second.|
|Berbs reluctantly stands in 3rd place on the podium...|
|...as Marjane celebrates his win.|
|This guy was doing the scissors to my hair as I plummeted obliviously.|
|Safe & Sound on solid ground - happy days!|
|Laraldo displays her boss-eyed thumbs.|
|The Supergirl pose!|
|Crossing over the Tropic of Capricorn on our scenic drive to Naukluft Park.|
|I know, a bit dark. But it says "Sesriem - Namib Naukluft Park"|
|Laraldo at the foot of Dune 45|
|I took this from the top...Homeless halfway up the dune. (Overland trucks in background.)|
|Son, Berbs & me chilling taking some time to reflect at the top of Dune 45|
|You can’t really argue with the shapes and colours concocted by the African sky, winds and sand at that time of the morning.|
|The view from the bottom of the dune...you can see everybody hiking up its spine.|
The truth is, I can’t really remember what we did for the rest of that day (although I do remember Norm frolicking around the Namib Desert like a female gymnast with a roll of toilet paper) and I don’t have any photos to help me...so I’ll assume it was a long drive day followed by a bush camp to get us to Fish River Canyon in good time for sunrise the next day.
|I don't remember much about the afternoon after Dune 45, but I do have this photo of Norm skipping around like a female gymnast with some toilet paper.|
Ok...I’m running out of superlatives here. Fisher River Canyon? Stunning/awesome/awe-inspiring/breath-taking/marvellous/amazing . It was any and all of these plus more. I had never heard of the place so my lack of expectaion might have helped my appreciation for it. But if you’re lucky enough to have ever been to the Grand Canyon, this is Africa’s own, less touristy version of it.
|Fish River Canyon|
|Check the wee bird in the foreground. He wasn't camera shy...|
|Me 'n' Laraldo - obligatory couple shot.|
As if this spectacle wasn’t enough, Laraldo and I helped Sonya squeeze out her ‘jigger flea’ eggs from inside her toe over breakfast (I had mine sunny-side up). As jigger victim number four (behind me, Karen and Berbs) Son went straight in at the top of the charts with the biggest and most impressive egg-sack. (Little did we know at the time, Homeless was incubating the mother of all jigger fleas in his toe...you’ll have to read about that one in our Zambia blog entry due shortly!)
|Squeezing out Sonya's jigger flea eggs over breakfast.|
Our final stop in Namibia was the Ai-Ais Hot Springs. The springs themself weren’t really much to look at (nothing more than a slightly ornate well with a rail) and the water was too hot to bathe in (as we had done in the awesome Wikki Warm Springs in Yankari National Park in Nigeria) but there was a giant-sized swimming pool within the adjacent hotel complex which we used (for free) as the African sun beat down on our heads.
|Homeless launches Squirt in the pool at Ai-Ais (which was infinitely more exciting than the hot springs).|
Feeling totally chilled, and in reflective mood, we bush-camped with HH, Homeless and Kim’s homeland (South Africa) staring at us from a distance and the next day we finally got there.
|We're coming to see you Mr Mandela.|