Aus to Ais Ais – 303km
The last stopover in Namibia – and it’s for 2 nights!
We will visit the Fish River Canyon which is situated along the lower reaches of the 650km Fish River – the longest river in Namibia. The canyon is variously claimed as the second or third largest in the world – the Grand Canyon in the USA being the largest. The guide-book is coy about the identity of the other candidate for second largest!
Day32 Aus to Ai-Ais -360km
Well! A day full of incident and emotion, high drama and all’s well that ends well.
First 160km on tarmac, but due to a lack of communication between our driving team (me and Jan) we did not fill up with fuel at our departure point. This turned out to be unwise, as we only had fuel for about 300km and there was (allegedly) no filling station before our destination. However, first thing, we were not aware of this having missed the previous evening’s briefing to do our sunset walk.
Stopped by the police after 100km. They were extremely pleasant and wanted to check our documents. All in order so they let us go, but became somewhat alarmed when they learned of our fuel situation and destination. Suggested an 80km detour to refuel. Well, we knew better, didn’t we! After a further 50km turned off the tarmac onto dirt but the realisation was dawning that there was a possibility that we would have insufficient fuel. Fortunately we then saw a sign for a hotel which sold diesel & petrol. Went 1km down a 1 in 4 dirt track and sure enough were able to purchase fuel from a gravity fed overhead tank. Hotel itself quaint with v friendly and helpful staff. There was also an old rusting steam engine built in Ipswich in the mid 1800s. Back up the hill to the main dirt road we were travelling on. No problems! Later that day we discovered that the group had been specifically warned not to go down to this hotel as it would not be possible the get the motor homes back up the hill!! So what do they know!
Carried on 100km of increasingly tedious washboard dirt roads which require constant concentration to avoid potholes and sharp stones. Relieved to reach the very magnificent Fish River Canyon where we stopped to admire the views and have lunch.
You can imagine our disappointment when we realised that we had not avoided all the hazards and had a flat tyre. Very hot and dusty, but managed to change the wheel using the barely adequate, and in my opinion potentially hazardous, equipment supplied by Bobo.
A further 60km of dirt roads to the camp. The magic of the Namibian sand/ dirt road has worn thin, but the camp at Ai-Ais is very pleasant. The final two members of the party came in quite late as they had also suffered a puncture. Only one of the 8 motor homes has now not had a flat! Had a very pleasant group meal in the camp restaurant. We all get on very well, I think. Jan & I had Kudu steaks – don’t look at a picture of a Kudu, they’re lovely, but the chef can do that Kudu that he do so well!
Day 33 Rest day at Ai-Ais
Availed ourselves of the comfortable (spa) facilities of this site to recover from the rigours of 5 days of dirt road driving and to prepare for the 3-day dash to Cape Town.