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Blog #36 - A Case of Feet Dragging....

We absolutely, most definitely, had a case of “feet dragging” to delay our inevitable entry back into SA. Even though we still had 2-3 weeks to explore the west coast of SA before returning “home”, crossing the last border symbolised the end of our tour. Maybe our boots were also filled with desert sand !!!!!!!!!

Taking off from the last post and giving a brief synopsis of the past few weeks.

What was meant to be a few days turned into nearly a week in Swakopmund. The car had a few major issues and needed an entire replacement of its leaf springs (originals still from when we brought the car) a rather costly affair for the last leg of our journey but very necessary to get us home safely. We loved Swakopmund. It has grown into a big town but still has a little-town-quaint feel to it. And it is a gastro delight. From Old German beer houses, to wine bars, to tiny pizzas places, to quirky coffee shops to modern coffee shops. It has it all and the combination of old and new just works.

We spent much time with a Belgium family who shipped their truck to Kenya in August and are also travelling with their kids. Plus we met a French family from New Caledonia who have been back-packing and overlanding with their 3 kids for the past year ( talk of backpacking through South America has definitely planted some more seeds in our brains!!) but, it was great just to be around likeminded families on the road. Special life long friendships being made.

From Swakopmund we spent a day exploring Sandwich Harbour south of Walvis Bay - a narrow strip of a road between the massive dunes and the roaring sea. The dunes literally go into the sea and in low tide leave a tiny exposed “road” …..Heart stopping moments when you fear you might have got the tidal checks wrong!!!! But what an incredible place to explore and even dune drive!

Going inland again the scenery once again blows you away and every km is like a rapid moving movie picture …. The vastness, the never ending roads, the colour changes. The nothingness. The mountains…… when you hear of Namibia you think flat and desert. Desert it is, but flat …….???? No the flat areas are surrounded by massive mountain ranges. Mountains that spread and spread into the distance. The amount of times I asked Dev to stop for another scenery shot. It is breathtaking.

We explored little farm areas where tourism is peoples livelihood, and love and care is been poured into their camps. We had a memorable time at Tsauchab camp where the owners Nicky and Johan Steyn have lovingly created this little piece of heaven. Private campsites with outdoor showers in fig trees and toilets with views to the mountains. Plus their incredible Afrikaans warmth and generosity and a gift of an overflowing basket of vegetables and garlic bread touched our hearts.

We loved Sossousvlei and Dead pan with its huge red dunes and contrasting white “dead” vlei, we relished tasting wine at Neuras Wine farm, we loved the Tirasberg and Little Hunters Camp, we could not believe our luck when the Feral horses of Aus surrounded our car and allowed us to stroke and touch them (Sophia was in her element) - what magnificent strong surviving animals! We explored Sesriem canyon, we ate fish and chips in Luderitz, we wandered through the sand filled houses at Kolmanskop, we nearly got blown away driving near Luderitz, we chilled at Klein Aus vista (where the feet dragging started!!!) and then we met up with our Belgium friends and their 2 daughters and spent 5 days touring a bit with them.

From The HUGE deep Fish River Canyon, to the deliciously hot springs in Ai Ais where I finally got my craving of a hot “bath” satisfied- this place is better than a hot bath and you can sit in the indoor pool with water up to your neck and it never cools down. Actually sometimes gets hotter from the 65 degree spring feeding it! Pure bliss. We spent two very happy days there with the Belgium family and another overlanding family. The kids getting plenty of play time in plus the added bonus of a whole family of kittens to “look after”! And the adults relishing in adult company plus a friendship that is now been given time to not be so fleeting. Very blessed.

We then all moved off to the Orange River. The Fogg's now seriously finding every possible stop before having to cross the border!!

Coming out from the massive mountains and desert, you then see down below you, the bright green snaking fertile lands surrounding the Orange River ….. the Orange River forming the border between Namibia and home/ South Africa. I cried. I cried tears which soaked my shirt. Tears for the past 11 plus months coming to an end, tears of thanks for our safety thus far, tears for being blessed to do what we have,tears for the privilege of having done what we have, tears of joy at seeing my family again, tears that this time was coming to an end, tears for so many reasons…heart wrenching soul deep tears. Dev quietly held my hand giving me strength but perhaps also needing strength and grounding x

Meanwhile the hooligans in the back seat are jumping with joy!!!!And counting down the sleeps till they see their granny again!

Our journey with our Belgium friends continued for another night at Amanzi river camp (see I wasn’t joking about the feet dragging!!!!!) We shared a delicious meal together in their massive luxury truck converted into a home. How special it was to now have a “shared past” and be able to share these stories. A friendship that will last!

On the 7th December, 347 days on the road and we crossed back over into our home country. My spirits were definitely not as sad and rather more accepting and “just ok”. It had to be done, so done it was.

Our first night back in SA was spent at Noup on the West coast. Gorgeous little mining/fishing cottages made of stone and prefab material. We were very grateful for solid walls and a roaring inside fire as the temperature plummeted and the sea mist rolled in. Our planned route once again changed and our next night we landed up staying at Highlander campsite just outside Clanwilliam. Here we met a couple who has been enthusiastically following our journey for months and were on day 1 of their “no time limit” tour of Southern and East Africa. Good luck Valda and Alan! I pray your journey is as blessed as ours has been x

And now once again it is 3:30am and I am grateful for solid walls in another gorgeous little hideout- Weskus Quarry on Steenbokfontein Seeplaas/farm just south of Lamberts Bay. Jeeepas the wind…. I am NOT going to miss it when back in KZN. Cold and biting and ever present.

But right now I lie here counting my blessings. We have 2 weeks left before we home. For many 2 weeks is a normal “holiday time”, so we will relish these days and treasure them and in them find ways to ensure our journey doesn’t just stop when we get home.

I will squeeze my kids, each hour of the day, just a little tighter, love our non-rushed tea in the mornings, sip wine with my husband every evening as we watch the sunset and just keep exploring and discovering new places but also just breathing slowly and letting this beautiful life continue to seep into our souls. And slowly slowly we will creep back to “normal”……

As the Swahili people say “pole pole”( kind of pronounced “pour lay - Pour lay” ) …..a beautiful way of life. Slowly slowly …..

Katie x

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