Day 35

September 23, 2012 - Vioolsdrift, South Africa

We weren’t looking forward to the long drive to the border today, but it went remarkably well.

Leaving Windhoek we travelled through glorious grassland - lush and yellow with lovely African Acacia trees with their green umbrellas of leaves dotted around. As it is Spring, everything is in flower, so there were white, yellow and mauve blossoms all over the place.

As we travelled off the plateau the trees became greyish green bushes as the climate is drier, but still there was this beautiful thick grass everywhere. And then we noticed that the grass also was becoming shorter and sparser as it became drier and drier. Now the colours were amazing - grey and green bushes with white and yellow flowers and in between the earthy colours of the soil. This part is very flat and the road goes straight as far as the horizon. We were now in the Kalahari and the soil takes a reddish hue.

Eventually blue and purple hills and mountains could be seen in the distance and as we got closer, we saw the most amazing rock formations. Great outbreaks of granite and huge flat-topped koppies. And the horizon became jagged and we could see where layers of sedimentary rock had been upended and what were horizontal layers now were lying at all sorts of angles, some of them vertical, some of them folded. What forces there must have been to move these great slabs of rock! And what a magnificent sight it is!

The further south we moved the drier it got and we were now in a desert, with little vegetation except the occasional dry white bush which looked dead. The ground was black and shiney and the outcrops of rock were black (I think they are basalt). The road started to move downhill and suddenly we were in the Orange River valley and there were green fields next to the river. The Orange River is the boundary between Namibia and South Africa.

In total we travelled just under 900km today, mostly in a dead straight line. Because the land is so dry, most of this part of Namibia is very sparsely populated and we only passed through 5 little towns. It is really indescribably beautiful and we were reminded of the vast size of this great continent.

We arrived at the border just before 5, so decided to cross today, and camp on the South African side. The border crossing was a breeze. We were through in less than half an hour and then found this lovely campsite next to the Orange River. Bushwackers Camp (Fiddlers Creek)is well worth a visit. Each campsite has a boma with table and benches as well as your own washing up area and sink. The campsite is beautifully grassed and has a hedge around it, so we have complete privacy.

We leave early tomorrow morning and hope to be home by 5.

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