Monthly Archives: May 2014

Namibia: Life on a working farm

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Okavango river at Rundu

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Namibian sunsets are some of the best

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Jan and Elmaria, met at the campsite in Rundu. Spent a rest day with them.

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When unsuccessfully looking for a wild camp spot I happened upon Mathews farm. He patiently answered questions and described life on a large farm that gets little to no rainfall. Kindly made sure I was well fed and watered!
Mentioned that I was visiting a friend I used to work with in England. “I know a Beckers.. I bet you its the same one..”
Sure enough a phone call was made and the connection confirmed, he also knew his father! He passed me the details of Beckers senior and an invite to stay on his farm.

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Baobab tree

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Amarulla tree with the fruits used to make the famous alcoholic drink

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Mamba, seen a few live ones but never hung round to take photos as they lift their head and flatten their neck when you stop and stare..

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War cemetery in Grootfontein

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What a hairstyle. Any twitchers who can identify?

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Standing on a giant meteorite made mostly from iron

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These giant crickets are everywhere. They crawl up your leg, in your bags and are ferocious cannibals, not even waiting for the other cricket to die before chomping away. its quite disturbing to watch.

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So do I go left or right??

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Caution, dogs with moustacheos

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This is a Namibian horsefly.. very annoying

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Gravel road in the north. A pleasure to ride on.

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Was kindly hosted and fed by the family who run a campsite / guest lodge. Talked about and questioned over the trip by the youngsters at the dinner table. A fun social evening with great people. Sadly lost the group photo.

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The Beckers family. I worked with Peter at HiTek Power in England (second from left).
Peter Beckers (senior) gave me an interesting tour of the farm. As a biologist he can provide many fascinating insights. Very well fed on the best cuts of game and an array of dishes to cater for the hungriest of cyclists.

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Main family farm house

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Rigging up a pump to use an engine due to lack of wind

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Animals spotted on the farm. Bird is a bustard, the heaviest flying bird in the world.
On the second day Beckers (junior) and Birgit joined

Categories: Africa, Namibia | Leave a comment

Botswana: Cycling with lions, elephants, hyenas!

Crossing the Zambezi river at Kasangula using the floating pontoon two white¬† truck drivers we on hand to give me advice. “You are crazy, you’ll be eaten by lions for sure”. Then followed numerous gruesome stories told by other truck drivers about other trucck drivers. It reminded me of the Python story told to me by an aid worker who assured me it happened to her colleague. Guy walking in bush attacked by python who managed to retrieve his phone from his pocket and call someone. He came with a machete and cut its head off. “Don’t they just crush you”, I asked. “No, they wish to avoid breaking the ribs of large mammals as they can protrude which makes swallowing difficult they wait for you the breathe out then quickly tighten their grip”. I’d love to see a transcript off that phone conversation.
Armed with this information I set off into the park having identified having identified the village of Lesoma to stop off at that evening.

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all picnic spots come with a disclaimer

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On the road that very evening I saw 30 elephants. Completely ignoring trucks and cars they just stand in the road like donkeys. When I approach they run for the bush and hide behind a tree where they watch me curiously.

The advice is find a secure place to spend the night to avoid lions and hyenas. The police compound accommodated me by giving me a fenced off area where I could pitch for the night. Talked to a interesting lady who told me about a government youth scheme for new business where free land and matched funding is given on submission of a suitable business plan. She was in the process of setting up a brick factory under the scheme. Slept that night to the trumpeting of elephants charging through the bush.

Next night I camped up with a Zimbabwean overland tour operator who had broken down. Lit a fire and camped next to the road. He had waited for 2 days of a clutch part to be driven up with a mechanic 1000km from Johannesburg. Caught up with him later in a supermarket, they’d arrived with the wrong part!

Made a common mistake. On seeing a shop sign with pictures of donuts and cakes I walked in all excited.. seeing only the usual tat of candles, washing powder, padlocks, salt, miscellaneous creams, biscuits etc, I enquired.. “I’m looking for cakes, like the ones on the sign?” They laughed at me, “That’s just a sign, we don’t sell them!”

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Wild dog. Apparently very very rare. sadly recently made even rarer after this one go hit by a car.

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as big as a horse.. big game Ealan?? or something like that?

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Found under my tent. the rule is small pincers and big tail mean its a nasty one… Been told this one accounts for a handful of fatalities each year amongst the young and the old.

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Francistown resembles an out of town shopping centre which is rather fortunate as I came there for just that purpose.

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Kindly hosted by a farmer in his compound. “The dogs will keep the hyenas away”. Shared pumpkin and stories by the fireside that evening.

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Neil (from Yorkshire!), Barne and John. Flagged down on the road by John. “Where you going to tonight”, a quick glance and the map “Rakops”, I said.
“Thats where I live!”. We all greatly enjoyed a conversation, BBQ and camp fire.

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Wild camp under the stars

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Okovango river. Pretty, but mosquito city!

Categories: Africa, Botswana | 1 Comment

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