New Year relaxation

After the excitement of the run up to Christmas, we needed some down time to recover. We headed back to Outjo to the nice campsite we stayed at before our trip to Swakopmund. We spent 2 lazy days there. They have Dik-Dik and Bush Babies visiting/living at the site. We saw a small Dik-Dik during the day – very nervous and no time for a photo. We went looking for the bush babies after our evening meal, but sadly couldn’t stay awake long enough to see them – that’s the wonder of nature – no guarantees unless you go to a zoo.

We left Outjo for a wonderfully smooth tar journey to Kamanjab. We were told about Oppi-Koppi by a charming Dutch couple we’d met in South Africa, Ilva and Martin, as well as by Johann and Colleen and at Amanzi. They have an offer that if you are an overlander and have non-African plates, you can use the campsite for free. As it was over the New Year period, we didn’t want to take the mick, so didn’t mention our plates and booked 3 nights. When we got here Melissa, the daughter, showed us to our pitch. As she left she noticed the reg plate and our slowly-increasing collection of national flag stickers on the side-window showing where we’ve taken the Landy and said it was free – result.

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In the words of Eddie Izzard, “Do you have a flag?”

It’s a nice, friendly and clean campsite and we took a dip in the pool. There were shaft-tailed whydah, masked weaver birds and love birds around the pool, which drew Ang’s attention for a while. One of the weaver bird nests had fallen down and he was starting to rebuild it. They weave the most beautiful nests using their beaks and feet. They start with a few loops of grass tied onto a tree branch (or reed depending on the species) and go from there. Each species builds a different shape nest, with a different shaped entrance, some with long tunnels, some short, some just a hole. I couldn’t do this with my dextrous human hands so how they manage with beak and claw I have no idea. The keen eyed amongst you will notice the pics are of two different nests but you get the idea.

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Weaver nest under construction

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Here’s one I made earlier…

For New Years Eve, it was thundering and raining, so we ate in the restaurant, tracking down those elusive T-bones again. At 9 or so, they put a load of food waste out and we were visited by a Hyrax (Dassie) and a Porcupine family who were all arguing over the food, bristling their spines at each other irritably (very much like dinner time when we were kids, perhaps without the spines, although come to think of it I do remember one occasion when a knife was wielded around….). The porcs held Ang’s attention for many a minute and Gareth was forced to chat to Johann in the bar for a while Smile It has the feel of an après-ski bar and they have ice cold Jagermeister on tap!

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Who knew Porcupines like pizza?!

Later in the evening we met Marian and Vital, the Belgian owners. A great night was had by all and we even managed to stay up until after midnight (12.30 for Ang, 2:30 for Gareth) which is a record at the moment as some broken sleep and early rises usually means we’re usually in bed by 9.

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New Year celebrated in style with an Amarula-based  ‘Don Pedro’ (we shared this, honestly!)

The rain has highlighted a shortcoming in our extra living space. We have an awning that opens up 270degrees around the passenger side and back of the car. We also have sides that go on this awning to give us shelter if it’s windy or raining. The sides don’t fasten to the ‘roof’ sections, which means that when the roof collects too much water it sags and then pours down inside the tent. Not ideal. A bit of duck tape will do as a temporary measure for this but the sides are also too long and we can’t tension them properly. They flap around like sails, letting the wind and rain in and putting stress on the frame. So we are staying here at Oppi for another day to see if we can talk to a textile and canvas place after the public holiday. Hopefully they can do some modifications for us. If they can, then we head back east (again!), if they can’t we head north and will look for a place in a bigger town.

Also, we’ve taken the chance to tidy up where things are in the car, as it has got a bit out of hand, and to install a new tracker. You may have noticed that our position location has had us stationed in South Africa since late November, so the new one, which was sent to us out here from Gareth’s work colleagues in the UK, should eventually sort that out. It doesn’t cover Namibia so you may pick us up when we reach the Angolan border; otherwise it will be in Zambia around the end of the month.

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