We left just before 9am this morning as we headed up to Otjiwarongo. It is 530kms and you pass through Rheboth, Windhoek, Okahandja and then there is nothing for 186kms until you hit Otjiwarongo. 530kms of very straight road. As there is very little of interest, when you see anything strange or odd (see photo), it starts a lot of guessing what it might be until you approach it more closely and can actually figure out what it is (in this case a very large communication tower). The other thing that we do on these drives is discuss items of random interest. Today we discussed courts, trials, juries and the judicial systems worldwide, the death penalty, OJ Simpson, Anna Nicole Smith, Bernie Madoff, Nick Gleeson, Ponzi schemes, Pyramid schemes, Arbitrage and a few other subjects of interest. You can probably see the link through all the subjects covered today.
By this stage we had reached Windhoek where we stopped to refuel and defuel. Michael already was the occupier of the front seat by this stage as Helen had needed to have her first morning nap. After Windhoek, Stephen and her had a further morning nap. That left Michael and I to occupy ourselves and we did that by talking about another whole stream of subjects including driving skills (I have a lot to impart in this regard), people’s response to Christianity, driving speeds, overtaking, road signs and the like.
On the 186km stretch into Otjiwarongo, there are numerous warthog on the side of the road. So many that they in fact are constantly warning you about them. The problem is that they are pretty hard to avoid when driving at a speed of 120 km/h (or over). This was evidenced by the fact that as we were overtaking a truck at one point, the car in front of me did not pull back in immediately and I wondered why until I drove over a warthog which was lying in the middle of the road. Now that is a fairly large bump to drive over at 120 km/h but the Beast handled it magnificently (the car not the warthog in case there was any confusion) – I never even had to use my superior driving skills to do anything. Those who were asleep kept on sleeping even. Shortly after this a bird decided to test the strength of the windscreen glass. It hit the windscreen so hard that I ducked thinking it was coming straight through. That put me level with Mrs Blacker (our travel companions) who had managed to kill a bird on the first day of the road trip already. I didn’t even get a chance to ID the bird but there was definitely some crimson involved.
We made excellent time and arrived at Otjiwarongo at 1:45pm – averaging around 105km/h including stops. We are staying tonight at Hadassa Guest House (www.hadassaguesthouse.com/). And once again I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for accommodation in Otjiwarongo. The rooms are of a high quality and the WiFi is much faster than last night. We went to the Spar in Otjiwarongo to re-load our snack bag and also buy food for the next 3 days (self-catering). Quite a nice shop with a mix of SA and German brands. The bizarre thing was that there was no chicken on sale except frozen whole ones. People in Otjiwarongo clearly don’t eat chicken. When we got back to the Guest House, the owners (who are French) saw us birdwatching at the Guest House and told us about the hidden secret of Otjiwarongo. He said there were 10 lakes (read sewerage ponds) where numerous birds could be seen so Stephen, Helen and myself headed there for a quick 30 minutes of birding. Nothing like visiting the sewerage plant at Otjiwarongo while on holiday. But that is what we did and he was right about the bird life. The only problems were the smell (it was so bad Helen got back into the car), the visuals (you could see the raw sewerage being pumped into the dams) and the fact that the sun was setting quickly so we needed to get in as many sightings as possible before it was dark. Given that we did not expect to add many birds to our trip list today, we impressively added 13 new ones including ones that are not very easily seen (African Purple Swamphen – for you Paul). And to top it off we got some beautiful sunset shots (have a look on Instagram under #templetravels).
We had asked about dinner and were told by the Guest House that it was too late for them to arrange for tonight. I asked what is the best restaurant in town and was told Kari’s. When we searched on our GPS for restaurants it only came up with 3 choices one of which was the Wimpy! We went to Kari’s and we were the only customers at 7pm. We took the only inside tables and so we had our own private dining area. No Haute Cuisine expected and none obtained. Stephen and I went for the Oryx steaks (Gemsbok for those of you who are less posh) and they were actually quite nice (either that or I was hungry). The others went for the boring option of chicken (not obtained from the Spar obviously) and hamburger. We just realised how fortunate we are living in Cape Town with all the restaurant choices we have. Some more interesting conversation over dinner including Gini coefficients (Michael can give you the formula of how it is calculated if you would like that) and the population of Namibia and where are they (because we haven’t seen them yet). We did discover that only 40% of the Namibia population live in Urban areas and most of those are in Windhoek. Otjiwarongo (for example) only has 21000 people living in it.
Still a lot more driving ahead and so no doubt a lot more facts to be gained. Until tomorrow – P, H, S (back in his usual spot because he suggested we do the birding thing this afternoon at sewerage plant), M & C.
PS: I was told I have to correct yesterday’s blog – it was oversteer not understeer.