And the rain came down. Lying in my tent at AiAis Campsite during the night as the storm raged seems fun until a few drips start to stray through the flimsy tent covering. This is the desert. It's the first few rain drops they've had in about a thousand years. Lucky us. Thankfully it is not too many drops and by 7am we are up, letting the sun dry the tents and getting ready to head to our next destination - Luderitz, which is 6 hours away.
Soon we are on the road again bouncing our way along the 90km gravel road from AiAis towards the Fish River Canyon. We've deflated our tyres to 190kpa to try stop our tyre loss which stands at two already. Our last visit to the canyon was brief and in the fading sun, this time we are hoping to soak it up for a little longer.
Standing on the rim of the Fish River Canyon eating Oryx pie - which hereafter causes us to rename the Oryx as Pie Bucks - is both beautiful and surreal. It's quiet, vast, stunning. It's like a giant hand has carved a gouge into the earth. God must have had fun making this. We soak in the magnitude of the beauty and take it in from various spots along the rim…but soon we must move on, Luderitz beckons.
Bounce, rattle, vibrate…repeat…repeat…repeat…until finally we find some paved road - joy - and 9 hours later we arrive at Luderitz. Now this is different. We are beginning to experience Namibia as a land of contrasts. From the interior to the sea, from 30c to 10c, from sun to fog. The good news is that we are not camping in Luderitiz. A BIG NOTE TO SELF: Do not camp in the winter at any place on the west coast…Brr. Glad we got that right.
“I'm sure glad we're not camping,” I say to another couple who have arrived at the place we are staying at as I look at the cold fog wind blowing outside. “We are camping down the road,” they reply, “we just came here to grab a coffee”.
“I’m sure it will be fun being warmly snuggled in your tent,” I try and recover.
But we all know, they’ve made a bad call this time as they discover the coffee shop is closed. Double blow!
Ludertitz marks a significant point in our journey. We've traveled 20,000 amazing kilometers...but there's lots more to see and now it is time to see what Namibia has to offer, and today we are heading out to explore the ghost town of Kolmanskop. “Wow this is amazing,” I exclaim….I think I’ve used that refrain too many times to count on our adventures around Southern Africa. But it is amazing. We are wondering around endless buildings that the desert has simply reclaimed. Homes, shops, a hospital, an entire village that are now filled with sand. There’s sand everywhere…the sand is in the bedrooms, in the baths, in the corridors…everywhere.
As a guide leads us on a tour of the village I am in awe of the incredible level of sophistication the German diamond miners of over a hundred years ago had. The town is amazing with everything from a bowling alley to fridges made with ice to a swimming pool and a train to take people around the small town. All of this built in the middle of a desert. Incredible engineering. However maybe what is even more incredible is how quickly nature reclaims it's territory. It makes me think about how transient we are. We have an era of glory - diamonds, entertainment, modern appliances, wealth…and soon it's all just sand. It's what Solomon mused upon many years before - “Vanity of vanity, all is vanity.” Life is just sand without God.
As the sun sets across the bay at the lovely accommodation on Shark Island that we are staying at, we start a braai and toast the end of the day with wine, steak and the sense of peace that settles on this little village and those who visit it.Time stands still for no-one, let’s take every moment we are given and celebrate the life we have, for just like sand, it runs through our hands before we know it.
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