Kamanjab to Etosha

April 17, 2011 - Katima Mulilo, Namibia

 “Is that Oppi Koppi?....do you have space for camping tonight? ....electricity?......do you know where we can watch the rugby?!”  A one stop shop, we were welcome as long as we were Stormer’s supporters! This place had character and lovely people. From the dining room it looked like a giraffe was coming in the front door, the whole place was decorated with trophy heads and bottles. George wore his Stormers’ gear, enjoyed the complimentary Jaegermaster’s and steak snacks and had a wonderful time. Oppi Koppi offered great services, free internet and free camping for overlanders - we qualified! I had a wonderful time of catching up with family and some friends, we stayed 3 nights. We met the butcher lady in the pub and had already heard that Kamanjab was a great place for stocking up. We drove away with a freezer load of Oryx, Kudu and beef steaks as well as delicious boerewors all unbelievably cheap!


One of the attractions at Kamanjab was to go and see the porcupines feeding.  At one stage there were five, some jostling for food and reversing into each other with the full prickly treatment. It was fascinating, they had kind of rabbit-ish faces with soft human ears. Their legs were very short and they gripped the corn between their paws as they munched away. Porcupines don’t make any noises - except when eating the corn, it was like hearing popcorn in the making! Their quills rustled as they jostled for the food and moved around but otherwise there was not even so much as a grunt.


On the way to Etosha we went through Outjo and without any planning bumped into the people who are joining us for the rest of the trip – Steve and Paula Thomas. The chances of seeing two Explorer caravans in the main road of Outjo, was next to none! The Thomas’s are from South Coast Durban, they got to know about our trip through the SA4x4 magazine in a section called “Going my way?” George had had many discussions via skype before we left but this was my first introduction. After the first awkward moment of whether to hug or shake we got on easily, like we already knew each other. We camped at the Etosha Safari Lodge our first two nights with the Thomas’s. What a great place, it was full of character with a kind of shabeen vibe and live music that was like having a night out on the town with friends for a change.


We stayed three nights in the park, two in the middle at Halali and one at Namutoni on the east side. Since rains have been heavy game viewing has not been what it usually is in Etosha. The bush was very dense, the grass was high and since there was so much water the animals did not bother to go to the water holes. On the west side we saw vast herds of zebra and springbok. On the more eastern side we had some good sightings of spotted hyena, lions, a cheetah, a leopard, a black rhino, giraffes, zebras, hartebeest, springbok, gemsbok and more. Some days were good others not so great.... if we were bored there were always the puddles! One night I did a short sunset drive on my own whilst George watched rugby, it was magical, so many giraffe watching out over a lion kill and many animals at the pan grazing.


A few stops later we arrived at Popa falls (which are not falls at the moment but more like rapids), there were only a few campsites left above water. We arrived to see a Scotsman in his kilt unpacking his roof top tent, it looked bizarre! Donald, with his cheeky boy face, dressed in a kilt for every border crossing since the interest it caused diverted all attention away from other issues! He had travelled with his wife from Scotland with only a roof top tent, needless to say the maps were pulled out and they all swopped notes. We had an armed guard patrolling as there were hippos and crocodiles around but I slept too well to catch the action.


All is going well, we move on to the Caprivi Strip now. See pics above and please send us a comment or two about the blog, pics or about how you are and what is happening your side. We look forward to it!




Porcupine  - eating, sounded like popcorn-550
Porcupine Backside-550
Etosha Safari Lodge (2)-550


April 17, 2011
Hi G and A

I am sorry that I am not such a great communicator! What an experience you are having - every day an adventure.

Alice - I must compliment you on your writing skills! Yours "bits" are easy to read and CT already but the we are still having summer weather!

All schools shut down again next week with the Easter break coming up. Such a stop-start term - but I am not complaining.

Hope you 2 keep safe!

brigitte parfitt:
April 17, 2011
Hi guys, just read your delightful and interesting report on Etosha. Bringing back memories from about 30 years ago. (I can't be THAT old???) Alice, aren't you glad that your sort of scottish husband does NOT put up his tent in a kilt. If he ever does, please send enlarged photo!!!!! So glad to hear about the Thomas's and that you made already friends with them. I picked up just a different feeling about your trip, Alice. The only way to explain is that you started your trip in new shoes and they have become more and more comfortable. I think it's great. Keep up your writing - you are good at it. By the way I clicked on "more pictures" but didn't get any. Am I just "uncomputerised" or what? Will see what I can do. Love you guys lots, and pray His protection and favour over you.
April 17, 2011
Alice you will have to post blogs more often! we are so interested in your stories. i pass them on to everyone overseas and they cant wait to hear more. I am so glad you are enjoying the trip. I'm glad we haven't seen George putting his tent up wearing a kilt!!!! LOL.
April 17, 2011
Thanks Alice. Very fascinating!!! We spend a weekend near the Popa falls and it was amasing. Enjoy the Scotts and the rest of the Caprivi. Should i forward a Bulls jersey for you.
April 17, 2011
Hey alice
You are a great writer! All fascinatint stuff. Sorry for lack of communication but I really have been bad with glandular fever, wiped out for a while. Now going for a break to the Wild coast Coffee Bay for 7 days and then onto Port Edward for 5 then flying back from Durban. Desparately need the break/rest!Just did a sale today for R2.3m so am very grateful. Would love to be with you in Caprivi. Lots of love
April 17, 2011
And the photos are awesome! :)
Peter and Jacqui:
April 17, 2011
Hi Alice and George.Thanks for update.Sounds like you are having great fun and meeting unusual people.Such are 4x4 campers! We have been hectic last 3 weeks with Phil's wedding, family and visit to Thornybush last week;back now to normal.Look forward to connecting.
Sinclair & Carol:
April 17, 2011
Hi G & A
Looks as if you are heading for the best travel writer award Alice, Your journal is really interesting and makes one feel that we are there, i could totally see what you meant about the porcupines when we saw the pictures. What an amazing coincidence bumping into the Durban couple. Your description about heards of Zebra etc take me back to my school boy trips to Botswana in 69/70 when it wasn't unusual to see 7000 zebra or more in any single heard in the sweat veldt around Magadigadi. So wonderful to hear that these sights have not gone.
Our news: We have had a hectic weekend with Bob he was rushed into Claremont emergency by ambulance in the early hours of this morning with acute abdominal pain due to a blockage in his bowel. We were till 5am this morning slept for a couple of hours then went back to see him and he was a bit calmer due to pain killers and being on an IV drip. They have waited all day to try and see if the blockage will clear but will probably have to take stronger measures tomorrow.
We were supposed to have been on 7.45am church duty, but the team we so concerned and supportive when S went there at 7.45 to arrange cover.
We had an amazing time with the group last Thursday where there seems to have been a shift to another level of intimacy and sharing between each other & God. We spoke about you and everyone send their love.
We are exhausted. Lots of love to you both.
April 18, 2011
Morning! Lovely hearing about your travels from my desk at work. Gives me a few minutes of "holiday". So enjoy hearing about the people you meet and experiences that you have. Plus, just love the photo's. Etosha was one of my favourite holidays as a child. My uncle worked there as a ranger and he took us lion tracking. We found the lioness on a fresh kill.
Had a busy weekend.I had my worse run even in the MAST challange on Saturday. For once the weather was stunning and it was the first time you saw Houtbay in the 3 years that I have run this race, but Jason and I picked up a tummy bug and we felt awful. It was Jason's first MAST challange and I also entered him for King of the Mountain (run & cycle). He got to go up the mountain twice. He was very pale in the face by the end of it. We took some time to gather our energy and children... then went to Yzerfontein for a friend's birthday. Luckily we stayed until yesterday. Will hopefully recover this week in time for Oceans. Take care and have a blessed Easter. Ellie
Helen Brown:
April 18, 2011
Hi George and Alice,
I have been following your journal and it just sounds and looks so amazing and brings back so many wonderful memories. It will be something I put on my to do list for the near future again!!! Alice your photo's are stunning and so is your journal, it makes for lovely readingin indeed. Keep it up. I am off to Nepal on Thursday, so am getting very excited. I will be away for a month. I fly to Kathmandu, then to Lukla where our Trek starts to Everest Base Camp. Some of us will be climbing Island Peak, a 6200m peak which is down the valley from Everest. I have my crampons, harness, warm gear all ready, waiting to leave. Have a fantastic trip further and I look forward to catching up on all your news on my return and I shall let you have an update on my trip too.
Lots of love,
Helen x x
April 18, 2011
Hi George and Alice,

I can only echo what the others are already saying: you have a wonderful way of writing and telling your stories. It also makes it much easier to visualise with the photos that accompany your weekly episodes.
Isn't it amazing that in the middle of nowhere you find this pub and it's filled with Stormers supporters. At least we had a good game and we could shake off the loss of the previous weekend.

I saw Carol's note to you and as I shared on email on Friday morning, that if there were levels of Christianity, we definately stepped one up on Thursday evening. We spoke about the gifts and that we should be more expectant to use them. So lets see what this Thursday will hold in store for us.

Well as per normal we all miss and love you guys very much. We pray for protection over you and that you will enjoy this experience.
Have a blessed and peaceful Easter weekend.
Warm regards and blessings.
April 18, 2011
Wow, thanks for all the encouragement makes me want to write more. Hoping to track down a pic of Donald the Scottsman on his site. I was too tired when he arrived in his kilt so did not grab the opportunity to snap him as king of his castle. He even whipped out a flag pole and erected it on his bumper!

Thank you for all your news love to know what's going on your end. Mary congrats on that house and Ellie - maybe you and your family exercise for us too though have to say we have had a good couple of days with some exercise along by the Zambezi at Katima. Helen - look forward to hearing about your adventures! Sorry we are missing out on new experiences in our home group. Miss you all. Carol hope your dad is doing better!

Have a wonderful blessed Easter break, remember why and celebrate! We listen to quite a bit of worship music and I feel the joy of the Lord, it's wonderful.

Annie - holidays, rest up girl, I know that feeling only too well along with all those other educators!

Thank you again for your comments, most appreciated. lots love alice xxx
Moira Richards:
April 18, 2011
great to hear of your adventures, nothing much to tell you from this end though, Dale my sister is here for Zim for a couple of weeks over Easter, good to have company. weather unseasonally dry and warm, no complaints from me for sure.
take care, continue to have fun and keep us entertained please. Love Moira
Annick Hambleton:
April 18, 2011
Hi guys, it's great to catch up with you and your expeditions. John and I spent 2 awesome weeks in Mauritius at the end of March. I hadn't been back for 11years, first time for J. My heart has reconnected with my little island and we have loved spending time with many of my cousins. The weather was great we made the most of the sea i.e skying,snorkling,paragliding,caneoing,sailing,speed boating and just plain swimming in that warm turquoise sea!It's good to be back home, CT is where we belong for the time being.Keep writing Alice,we love to follow your trip and hear your heart. Lots of love Annick
April 19, 2011
Hey dude & dudette. I am so inspired by your trip and especially your writings Alice. Debs arranged for us to go and listen to a talk given by another explorer who with his girlfriend travelled through Africa over an 8 month period. It was fascinating to watch and listen and the photo's of the Himba or himbi people was so cool. After watching their slideshow I got so jealous of you guys. What an exciting adventure you have ahead of you. Go well
April 23, 2011
Ally, i once heard someone on a train say that this guy had gotten under her skin. And it struck me as a remarkable thought - that someone would affect u so deeply they'd always be a part of u. There's an image that goes with that phrase: something fluid & warm that starts at your heart & spreads all the way out to your fingertips & your toes, carried by the blood. This girl said she couldn't stop dreaming about this guy. She said she wouldn't be the person she was now if she hadn't met him. Under her skin, she said. And i started thinking...that's what you are... Hope & pray you are well. God bless & keep you. Lol
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