Saturday, 16 July 2011

/Ai-/Ais and other things




After the Orange River we took a drive to /Ai-/Ais (meaning "burning water"), a natural hot-springs located at the end of the Fish River Canyon. Apparently - according to both Elsje and Susan - it used to be a really awesome resort, but since NWR (Namibian Wildlife Resorts) took over it seems to have lost some of its charm. Anyhoo, it was good to sleep on soft beds after six nights of river sand mattresses. They also made pretty damn good game-meat steaks. 

The next day after a drive to see the Fish River Canyon. The road from the checkpoint to the main lookout point was a bit hairy and on the way we had a blowout (see pics).

Flat no.1

Susan's way of handling the stress - a sluk of OBS!

Leaving the hard work to little brother

Ok, not a real problem, William and I sorted it out and we got to the lookout point safely. We checked it out, dodging French tourists, and decided to go to one of the remoter lookout points to eat our lunch. We got about half way when the road suddenly got really bumpy and rough. We got out and checked the tires only to find that we had caught a puncture.

Flat no.2

Obviously we only had one spare (the car being a station wagon) and thus we were effectively screwed. William and I went back to the main lookout point and asked some confused-looking French tourist for some help, which was regretfully declined. We walked back empty handed. I went back again soon after with Elsje and we found some fun loving and balls-to-the-wall type Gautengers who live and work in Zambia (for the UN no less) who agreed to help us - after they had sorted out their own tire issues.  We jacked up the car, set it on some sturdy rocks and took both rims with us. We strapped them to the top of one of the Gau-Zambian's (a guy called Brahms) 4X4s and all piled in.

Now we were effectively in the official middle of nowhere and we made some hopeful but ultimately fruitless detours at the one remote lodge in the area looking for help and perhaps a spare tire going begging. Lucky our gung-ho Gau-Zambian had booked in at /Ai-/Ais for three nights and so we continued on with him, deciding to leave the Audi over night. On the road back Brahms entertained us with tales of life and work as an ex-pat in Zambia - fascinating, and terrifying at times!

We got back to /Ai-/Ais about five  or six hours after our initial departure and spoke to the jolly guys at the garage they had on site. They managed to phone and sort us out with some spare tires, which were ordered from a place in the nearest non-one-horse town, Keetmanshoop, and which would be delivered early the next morning. They came at about nine o'clock and William and I took Ivanka aka "The Beast" (Elsje's golf) back to the lookout point, changed the tires and drove back to /Ai-/Ais. We left for Windhoek at about 13:30 and got back just after 22:00 - a full day's work!!

All in all it was quite an adventure and gave a good flavour to the two days we spent there, very travely. The whole experience made me think about how much life is yet to be lived, how much to be explored, how much adventure still to be experienced and how much of Africa I haven’t seen. 

Totally worth it though!


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