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Friday, 25 September 2009

Kulala Wilderness camp to Sam's Giardino-Swakopmund

Spoke to deputy manager of the lodge about the guides driving yesterday. He mentioned that he had heard there was something wrong with the back of the Land Rover. Maybe, maybe not. We'd still go back there but not take any of the excursions. The main reason was the private gate into the park which didn’t actually buy us anything other than £200 lighter.

400km of gravel road, more cars on this that we'd seen so far. Left at 09:00, arrived at 15:00. Some nice early roads with up's n down through some passes then about 90k of complete straight road in the most deserted place ever. Star Wars could have been filmed here.

Found the noise in the car. When the dashboard gets hot it starts to squeak. Nice, perfect on gravel roads in a desert!

Bumped into Ben and family at Solitaire - 200km outside Kulala and the last gas station until Swakomond. Really nice surprise and they greeted us like old friends. They had a great time staying at the Government lodge near the park gates and hired a guide to take them over the 4x4 section. The bakery at Solitaire is a must - ask him his opinion of South Africans. Prepare to hear colourful language.

Staying at Sam's Giardino in town. It’s a motel type place in an almost Alpine chalet type design. Clean, cheap and comfortable with a couple of legendary dogs, the last of which sadly died last week, and which Max immediately put her foot in it by asking about them. Sam is a Swiss guy, I think pretty eccentric but I doubt you could find a more helpful person in Africa.

Gave in, had the car cleaned. Inside was disgusting, everything must have had a 2mm layer of dust on it, could hardly read the clocks or operate the radio. Even though it won’t last, all the roads for the next 1500km 'ish are gravel but it was minging. I think because the road was busier we used the AC more when following behind other cars, I think this just sucked all the dust off the road and spat it into the cabin - fuck knows what our lungs are like. Will try the cabin only circulation button next time !!

After the recent culinary gorging we wanted something simple. Neapolitan in town, pizza and pasta. Book it. Starters, main, sure .. WRONG ! They have the biggest portions of excellent food, the calzone must have weighed 2kg and mostly went in a doggy bag which a girl on the street asked for it. I hope she makes it last, she could feed a family for a week.

Walked to and from the town, it’s OK, seems pretty safe. It’s a complete contrast to the previous places. Busy, still got the hoodies and los locos we have at home.