Hello!! Finally reached somewhere with internet and signal! Wow! What an amazing few days.
Having moved to the Hotel to start the trip I discovered I was sharing my room with the Girl, Pamela, I'd met earlier. Had a bit of a bag shuffle and wondered into town - everything was closed coz its sunday but they were filming some action movie with Densel Washington in it so that was interesting. I wanted a new bag but there was only one stall open and they didn't have what I wanted so I explained that and left, about 1/2 hour later a man came running up to me with a bag like I wanted! He must have been looking for me through all the streets - luckily I liked it so brought it! Went down to meet everyone at 7.00 for our intro meeting. Its a full group so there's 22 of us plus our guide, Mia, our driver Adrien and a trainee Kat. They're all lovely. The groups a really mix of ages - youngest 21 and oldest 60 from all corners of the world. We only have one couple from England who's english isn't so great but they're so lovely. Some of us went for food after the meeting but had an early night as we were up at 4.00! I go to bed then but couldn't convince anyone to stay up!
Monday we headed off in our Truck. It looks like a normal trunk on steriods! All the storage underneath then the inside has lockers under the seats and looks like a normal coach but with loads of head room. Its only done this trip 4 times so is in really good condition but it has no aircon. It was a long driving day but the veiws were amazing! Everyone else slept or read - I practically had my head hanging out the window looking for things! I saw Springbok, Oryn, Osterich and various birds. We couldn't stop as planned at the Orange river as the site had flooded so we went straight on to Namibia. The border crossing was fine but the temperature has soared! Pamela got called back in by the boarder office - turned out the guy thought she was cute and wanted to see her in person - it was rather tense there for a minute! We arrived at our site in Namibia then were introduced to our tents! I'm sharing with a girl from the Netherlands, Hebe. She's done 8 Gap Adventures before and has used these tents before so I thought that was a good choice! I was right!! We had our tent up and was in a gorgeous pool over looking the River in 15 minutes! Had a good night at the bar trying to convince Adrien to let me drive the truck one day - think I actually might get a go!
Tuesday we had the morning off while some others went canoeing. Back on the road after lunch and very quickly the tarmac roads ran out and we were bouncing off our seats in hysterics - Its worse at the back and theres been some close calls with knocking yourself out on a table and some fractured elbows!! Its very bouncy and very hot - 38C in the shade on the truck! Got to the campsite - set up then went to Fish River Canyon. We were dropped off and walked along the ridge of the canyon arriving back at the truck to find cheese and biscuits waiting for us. We sat and munched, had a drink and watched the sunset over the canyon - it was beautiful.
Wednesday up at 5.30 - been eaten already - there are so many beautiful and disgusting over grown bugs that don't know how to use their wings flying into you constantly - I've already stopped squeeling it happens so often! Pamela and her tent partner had a very scary incident at about 3.30am that woke the whole camp up with there screaming - a flip flop was discovered at the bottom of one of their sleeping bags!! Another long driving day today - stopped a few times for drinks and lunch by a massive weaver bird nest which was fascinating - their nests can weigh up to 5 tonnes and pull trees down. The site we got to was gorgeous - right in the middle of the Namib Dessert but we had another pool so it was a refreshing relief! Early to bed again as up at 4.45! THIS IS NOT A HOLIDAY!!!
Thursday we hit the dessert. We walked up a massive sand dune ( Dune 45) The most photographed sand dune in Namibia and stands 115 meters tall. That nearly killed me! If I wasn't going to die from exhaustion is was from falling of it! It was sooooo steep and we were walking up the ridge in our socks! It was well worth it when we got to the top to watch the sunrise. We hadn't realised we were surrounded by dunes as far as the eye could see. We had breakfast when we came down then drove further in to trek through the dessert to a place called dead flay which was a basin full of water that suddenly dried up and now is full of 800 year old dead trees! We saw a jackel running around but from a distance. Had a lazy afternoon then headed out to another canyon we could walk though. A storm was brewing but it missed us luckily. The canyon was stunning and had water in places so we could walk through it. There we loads of swallows buzzing around - I now see why they migrate so far - not so sure why they bother coming back! Had a fun night playing spoons ( but with bottles - which was alot more dangerous and messy we decided in hindsight!) with 13 of us although it got a bit heated when it got down to one player representing each nationality on our trip!!
Today more driving but we stopped for lunch on the coast where loads of flamingos were, and we saw a seal playing in the surf. Finally in civilization we are all going out tonight for dinner then clubbing!! So far loving every minute! See loads of animals everyday and the views are spectacular - its been a bit more deselate today but I managed to spot the lesser known ostrich burnt bush, the nearly extinct goat burnt bush and the more common burnt bush! Its all so beautiful under clear blue skies! I'm also now known as Peanut ( thanks to my lack of being able to eat them) I haven't been called Rachel for 5 days!!
Running out of time so got to go - take care and I'll blog as soon as I can.
Much love R x