Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --- Mark Twain

Sunday, March 25, 2012

More about Namibia

Day 429
49,659 km since the beginning of the journey
Current Location: Namibia, Windhoek

I am leaving Sesriem as the red sandy hills of Namibia have been looked over during two unique moments : at sunrise and at sunset. And at two o`clock it is too early to consider to stay here for one more day. Before leaving I visit a gas station. Namibia is sparsely populated and that's why I use every opportunity to refuel. Could also be less frequent, there has been now some sort of refueling opportunity every 100-200 kilometers.  Basically, the bus usually can run on the fuel with up to 1,500 km without refueling, but still more secure to have enough proper fuel. About diesel quality - interestingly, the fuel here seems to be of better quality than in some other countries.

There is a cafe at the gas–station. The tables are outdoors and there is a motorcycle with Australian license plate. Too rare meeting to move on without changing information. We talked at least for a couple of hours.

I drive on northwards, look at the map and notice a familiar name, Solitaire.

I make a stop, here's a gas station, auto repair shops, small coffee shops. And here too the vehicles of the last century are used to design the place.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Namibia, Sossusvlei

The big red sand dunes of Sossusvlei and Namibia. In case there are somewhere only two postcards on sale, it is very likely that one of them is of Sossusvlei dunes.

It is advised to visit the dunes at sunrise or sunset, as shadows bring out the sharp contours of the dunes, at midday the effect is smaller.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lüderitz, Dias Point

While in search of the sea route to India the seafarer Bartolomeu Dias stopped at the place where Lüderitz is situated nowadays. About the previous names of Lüdenitz- in 1487 going southwards Dias gave the name of Angra das Voltas to the place. The next year on the way back to Europe he renamed the place. The new name was Golfo de Sao Cristovao (the name of his flag ship had been São Cristóvão).

The next visitor, Vasco da Gama , renamed the bay .The new name was Angra Pequena (in English "small cove"), or a small bay.

Seeking for the sea route to India Dias left there the smallest of his three vessels with 9 seamen keeping guard on it, but later when he returned there were only three of them left. Link. The locals had killed six of his men, the seventh was seriously wounded and died at the time when his companions arrived. The small vessel was in such a poor condition as well, that Dias decided to burn the ship, and returned back to Europe with two vessels.

Dias Point is situated 18 miles west of Lüderitz, at the top of the cape. The first stone cross was built here by Padrão Dias in July 25, 1488, and in spite of the wind and weather conditions - lasted until the 19th century. In 1825 the cross was found broken and smaller pieces of it were taken to the Cape Town Museum.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Namiibia, Diamond Area 1

Day 420

The area southwards from Lüderitz is called - The Sperrgebiet in German , "prohibited area" or by the direct the name - "Diamond Area 1." The length of the area from north to south is 320 km and the width - up to 100 miles. And all together this area is 26,000 km2, that is larger than half of Estonia. Diamond mining started around here in 1908, when during the railway construction work the first diamond was found.

Mining it's not the most appropriate word, as diamonds were picked just from the ground in the beginning. Mining is still in progress, each year the machines raise about 33 million tons of sand.

Some facts about diamonds of Namibia. About 3,200 people are employed in the area, and in 2010 about 1.2 million carats were mined, which is 1.5% of the world production. It makes an annual production of 240 kg per year (1 carat is 0.2 grams). Diamonds are even on the Coat of Arms of Namibia.

I became interested in the area to see by myself but that was not allowed. No chance.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Legends Vanish or Wadi Halfa Ferry

Cape to Cairo. The original idea was to unite all the English colonies in East Africa and one of the supporters of the idea was Cecil Rhodes. Although Rhodes preferred railway. Railway, however, is still not built.

Cape to Cairo is a kind of a legendary journey through East Africa. And some places, and some procedures that must inevitably be passed are a part of all that. You could say that they are such "stamp in memory" situations and are an integral part of this legendary journey.

One of the first issues is the check-in of a car (or motorcycle) in Egypt. The procedure, which I tried to remember and to write it down, but after having visited the tenth official (I think) got confused it got mixed up.

The next important place in this journey is Aswan. You can go down from Cairo to Aswan along different routes - through the Black and White Desert and the oases, along roads that are built on the Nile valley, a certain distance along the coastal road by the Red Sea.

But if one wishes to travel from Egypt to Sudan, then one can go there only by boat. By a real ship, not by the desert ship as camels are sometimes called. And the ship goes along the Nile River, or more precisely along the Lake Nasser.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Namibia, Fish River Canyon

Day 412

48,716 km since the beginning of the journey.
Current Location: Lüderitz

The Fish River Canyon, located in the southern part of Namibia, is advertised as the largest in Africa and the second largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The Fish River Canyon is 161 km long, up to 27 km wide and in some places more than 550 m deep. While in Namibia - surely - a place like this should be visited.

The first sight is really overwhelming. Only - no visitors. And not only visitors are missing, but no locals as well. Nobody offers to guard the car, nor sells anything.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Day 411
48,716 km since the beginning of the journey

Perhaps the better title could be - "Why silence and no blogs?" And for several weeks already? What has happened? While in South Africa could not explain the reason of not writing by the deficiency of proper net, because 3G spreads in almost all major cities. And cannot say that haven`t written because nothing has happened, quite on the contrary. Too much was happening and the issues did not want to proceed as planned before.
As planned beforehand??? Murphy's Law is in force in this part of the world as everywhere else in the world of100 percent and more.

Especially the following:
If anything just cannot go wrong, it will anyway
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
If anything simply cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
Nothing is as easy as it looks.
Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong
Nothing is as easy as it looks.
Everything takes longer than you think.
Everything takes longer than it takes.
It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious
All that is put together, sooner or later breaks apart.

That`s the way it is. Starting with the car technical failures and problems and other issues as well.
Actually I felt sorry to leave LAV behind. Considering the size of the country and its interesting history and all the attractions there - just not enough time! Of course – we can say to ourselves that there is never time for everything ...but still...

But now about Namibia. The area is 825.4 thousand km 2, or figuratively, it can be said that Namibia is almost as big as France and Germany all together. You drive, and drive and no end in sight. But the number of population of the country is about 2 million, which means that the country is almost empty.

Here is typical southern Namibia Nature. A road taking far away and wide views. Wind and emptiness.