Back in Cape Town

We’re back in Cape Town and our trip is over – what an intense, amazing few months. Such a treat to have my favourite three ladies on the planet all to myself for so long, free from the distractions of daily life, traveling through the impossible beauty of this extraordinary, painful, wonderful continent.

Signing out…

Rocks, Sand, Grass and Water (Orange River)

Hi Team Griffin,

Yes it was really great fun running down the dunes. It took us 2 hours to climb to the top and we had to wake up at 5 in the morning!!!!! Namibia has the highest sand dunes in the world.

We did a 2 day kayaking trip down the Orange river, the biggest River in South Africa. The river is the border between South Africa and Namibia. Sometimes it was narrow and we could almost swim between the two countries. We camped on a beach on the South African side as it was shadier, even though we hired the kayaks on the Namibian side! Luckily there were no South African soldiers there to catch us!

There were rocks, sand, grass and water. It was absolutely perfect. We didn’t even sleep in a tent, we just slept on the ground.

We saw baboons, Vervet monkeys and lots and lots of birds, including Fish Eagles and Goliath Herons.

We had to paddle through rapids and our boats were full of all our camping things. My dad tried to make a tent on the canoe for us but it didn’t work.

After the kayak trip we drove for 2 days and now we are back “home” in Cape Town with my grandparents. Like California, lots of people have swimming pools here. My grandparents have one. They also have two dogs, called Ping Pong and Bentley.

I am sad that the trip is over but happy because I will see you all soon. Next week I am going to London for 3 weeks. We are selling our Landrover.

I am looking forward to seeing my Miwok basket.

From Mila.

Homeward bound

One last horizon beckons…

Wot! Another bloody horizon! Is this trip ever going to end…?

34km paddling in 10hrs (just saying….)

Yes I am as tired as I look! But still don’t want it to end…

Landy for Sale

This extraordinary vehicle that was our home for 14,000kms through 5 countries, and east to west across Africa, is now for sale. Without a single mechanical or electrical problem she got us across beaches, swollen estuaries, flooded roads and rivers, deserts and miles and miles of open veld. We’re sorry to say goodbye.

Anyone up for this?

Yesterday we visited the start of the Fish River 5 day Hiking Trail, begging to be hiked …one day…

Film: Fish River Canyon – Namibia

A quick visit to the Fish River Canyon (the world’s second largest after the Grand Canyon in Arizona).
Can you see how exhausted we all are?

Creepy crawling up the dunes

We were climbing up the most difficult bit of the sand dune and mom and dad were already at a section just above us. Mom said that it was flat up there, and there was actually hard sand. We were all really excited. Mom said: “If I had a table cloth, I would lay it here!” Dad said, “If I had tephillin I would lay them here” and then I said “If you had eggs, would you lay them here?”

On the side of the dunes that we weren’t walking on, it wasn’t shady so all the tracks of the litle bugs and lizards were visable. The tracks looked like a map, they looked like roads. I was walking down the sand dune and then I noticed I’d stepped on something so I turned around and there was a really beautiful coloured lizard. Its head was orange and its body was green. It looked really dead and I thought it was dead, because I had just stepped on it and it doidn’t move. So I walked up to it and tapped it with my toe. It wriggled all the way to the bottom of the dune (a long way) in half a second!

Its tracks were different every time it stepped, because the sand that the lizard kicked up, covered some of its tracks – but its tail markings were always the same. They were a wavy line, like a zig zag except the lines were soft not pointy.

Right at the top Bea and I found a little bug and put it in Bea’s yellow hat. The bug was a circular shape with yellow and black squiggles, about the size of a small pea. It had two long legs at the back and two small legs at the front. I think its front legs pulled its back legs as the footprints were just two long lines on either side. We found three bugs. We put them on the ground and scooped them up with a bit of sand and held them in our hands. The scurried around for a bit and then they dug the top of their heads into the sand and went down into it. When they reached our hands it really tickled!

Film: World’s Highest Dunes – Dutch Tourist Eaten by Jagher-Svikkel

We woke up at 5am at Sesriem campsite, the closest sleeping place to Namibia’s Sossusvlei dunes. The National Park gates opened at 05h45 and with a small fleet of 4X4s, lights on, engines humming, ready for the opening in darkness, we had a hysterical 50km race to the dunes. In one of the rare diff-lock engaged drives of our trip, of course Mpandangare the Great picked out enemy vehicles one by one and we arrived at the dune-base well ahead of anyone, including a posse of client-bearing Toyota Land-Cruisers who seemed to slow as the sand got deeper. Oh the shame.

A technical breakfast failure on our part led to three twenty-something hairy Dutch fellows heading up ahead of us just as the clock struck 07h00. They had a 500m start on us, but as soon as we hit the 45 degree verticals the gap narrowed, with Bea & Mila rampaging on ahead.

By 07h30 two of the three Dutch guys had fallen and got eaten by dune snakes, and we passed the third fellow by 07h45. He was lost, bewildered and confused. We gave him water and a map, but nonetheless we believe he got eaten by a Jagher-Svikkel (for our US friends a Jagher-Svikkel is a Namibian dune-tiger that is indigenous to the region. It is an extraordinary creature insofar as it has a kind of firefly light on its forehead allowing it to hunt at night).

Music: I like Giants Kimya Dawson

After 2hrs of solid hard walking (and a bit of crawling), we summited alone at 09h00 to see the splendor of the worlds largest sand dunes before us.


Namibia – Solitaire & Sossusvlei: This Film Shows How Spoilt We Are

In a 24-hour period we’ve been hassled by an annoying springbok in camp, caught weird bugs (that fly/walk/swim/dive) in the pool, driven to the world’s largest sand-dunes, given water to cape sparrows, climbed some dunes, run down a dune that was so high it took 38 seconds to descend at full speed, driven back to camp into a full moon…