Having got the awning sides sorted we headed off to the Waterberg Plateau, a government-run National Park south west of Otjiwarongo. It looked like the Lost World, and to a certain extent I guess it is. The protection that the plateau affords had led to various conservation successes with rhino and other rare species. The rains had made the local gravel road really bad so we had a slow and very shaky drive to the camp site. As we got there at about 7pm the park reception was closed and some friendly rangers told us to camp and pay in the morning. It was a bit late to get the braai on so we drove the 1km to the restaurant for dinner and then set up camp in the dark. It was a large campsite but there was only one other group t here so we had plenty of choice, albeit in the dark. On our way back from the ablutions we saw a small pair of red lights in a tree near our camp and realised it was a Bush Baby. The gorgeous little primate sat for a while looking at us and then decided to move on. It was incredibly fast and agile, leaping through the trees, upwards, sideways, anyways. Apparently they can leap 2m vertically and 5m from tree to tree. Brilliant little critters.
As we headed to bed some German campers arrived and set up in the pitch next to ours, despite the rest of the huge site being empty! Grrr. They then spent hours setting up their tents, talking loudly and slamming doors more times than the manufacturer’s door durability tests must have included.
In the morning we had Warthogs, Damara Dik Dik (a tiny little antelope no higher than your knee) and a family of around 20 Banded Mongoose bimbling through camp.
Damara Dik Dik chilling in the shade
Then sudden uproar in the German camp alerted us to the presence of Baboons, who were making off with the contents of their larder. Shame…. I think that’s called karma…
We went to the reception to pay for camping and find out more about the park. The camp site was expensive (especially considering how poorly maintained it was) and the receptionist couldn’t have been more unhelpful and unfriendly, treating us like we were a nuisance while she inspected her eyebrows in her mirror. We had thought about staying 2 nights but her attitude completely put us off. We’d paid the park fees so decided to explore the park for the day, walking/climbing up the beautiful rock face to the top of the plateau, and headed off somewhere else for the night.
View from the top
Somewhere else turned out to be a farm / lodge on the road to the north-east. For considerably less cash than the basic camp at the National Park we had a site with our own private ablutions under a large shady roof. The rough roads had not just taken their toll on our tyres but also on some of the fittings we’d installed. In particular we’d made a shelf to take the heavy duty solar panels which provide us with power when the camp sites don’t have charging points (which so far hadn’t actually been that many). To fix this we had to take everything out of the car including the shelf and some of the interior plastic trim. This site was the perfect place to do it, as everything (including us) was protected from the elements, be it sun, wind or rain. We’d bought a load of new brackets, screws and bolts in the local town and set to fixing the shelf. It took a whole day of drilling, screwing, bending and fixing and Gareth has multiple grazes on his hands (including one from an electric drill) to prove it. Nevertheless the now reinforced shelf was fixed and the car put back together.
We spent 3 days here, doing this and catching up with various other chores. Ever since the turbo had been replaced we’d had little power before it kicked in. Gareth did some research on the Landy forums and the first fix to try was replacing the fuel filter. He had expected to change this during the trip so had brought a couple of spares, one of which he now fitted with consummate ease.
Meanwhile Angela was doing other repairs. Some of these involved sewing, which it has to be said is not her forte. With the exception of a pair of sofa arm covers, of which she will be eternally proud but which still evade explanation, Angela has never been a great seamstress. Not really surprising given the needlework teacher she and her sister had at school. A tiny but vicious little nun (the teacher, not Angela’s sister), she tyrannized her pupils with threats and punishment, stabbing pins into the back of their hands if they failed to use the pin-cushion they had so joyfully made in a previous lesson. With no such supportive guidance now, Angela got out the needles and thread she had bought in Cape Town for just such an occasion. Sadly the thread turned out to be elasticated, despite no mention of this on the packaging. OK, not ideal but may still do the job. Except it was too thick to go through the eye of even the largest needle in the box. Convinced she had some thread somewhere Angela searched through their bags. No thread, but there was dental floss. Hmmm. It was strong and it fitted the needle…. How long it will last, who can say. What punishment it would elicit from a certain little nun, who dares to imagine. But for now it will do the job.
From here we will be travelling north, making our way to the Zambezi region with its multiple rivers and probably lots of rain!