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Sunday 25 September

Ai-Ais - Fish River Canyon - Hobas

I didn't cook the breakfast this morning since I was feeling lazy. Melissa however did a fine job of scrambled eggs on toast instead. Instead I went for a walk around the resort the highlight of which was seeing the mighty Fish River, a small puddle in the river bed. Left the campsite and headed towards Hobas. Stopped to photograph Quiver Trees (Kokerbaum) which are a speciality of this part of Namibia.

The name comes from the San's use of the branches as quivers to hold their arrows.

Reached the campsite at 11.00 and found that not only did it have grass, but we were also allowed to pitch our tents on the grass, for the first time on the trip.

The swimming pool here was not so good, being small, cold and full of insects. The cook turned the water sprinkler on and got me, and some others wet. Therefore we had to swear at him a lot because he is a 'devious little prick'. Sat around all afternoon not doing very much. The kiosk selling cold drinks was closed all afternoon, unless of course you asked the guy in charge to open it, in which case he did.

Later on a sand storm occurred and for the first time on the trip it rained. This forced most people to retire into the truck for a while, but it did not last long. I had a cold shower (not voluntarily) before dinner, something to eat and then to bed fairly early.

Monday 26 September

Hobas - Fish River Canyon - Bethanie - Bush Camp

Got up even earlier than usual this morning (5.45) and piled into the truck for a trip to see the sunrise at the canyon. Drove to the viewpoint at the top of the canyon and had a champagne breakfast (well white sparkling wine actually) in honour of Jose's birthday. Gave her an extremely tasteful present (luminous plastic jewellery) and a birthday cake, which had been superbly iced the previous evening by Kate, Geraldine and Marine.

We also sang happy birthday to her in Spanish, the words of which we had been given the night before to memorize. We did indeed watch the sunrise but it was not very good because there were clouds in the sky.

After breakfast (at 7.45) it was time for a walk into the canyon. There only 7 takers for this, including me. We descended the steep path until we could see the water in the bottom of the canyon but couldn't go all the way because of the time constraint. There is an 85km walk all the way down canyon to Ai-Ais but you have to book this about 18 months in advance so we had to give it a miss. Finding the way back was a bit more difficult and even I made a little mistake. This was pointed out to me by the screaming crowd up at the viewpoint and was quickly corrected. Unfortunately Kate and Geraldine made a massive mistake and missed the path by miles. They tried to follow a suggestion that I had made on the way down of walking around the base of the cliff. This was however much steeper than it looked from above or below and they took ages to get back, even with the helpful calls of 'Go Left' from the top. They took 75 minutes to return while I had taken 25 minutes. When they finally arrived they were given a massive round of applause.

We then went back to the campsite, packed the tents away and headed off. We drove, had lunch and drove onto to Bethanie (aka Gumpsville) a town which appeared to have some sort of in- breeding problem.

We waited here for the shop to open at 3.00 and found that it didn't sell a great deal except ice-lollies. Continued on to a bush camp somewhere south-west of Maltahohe. As usual drank beer, had dinner and went to bed.

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