June 17, 2011

Final Whiz-Around

This past week, the professor ended his year’s lectureship here at Polytechnic; I ended my volunteer work with the kids at the preschool; we have said emotionally difficult, catch in the throat good-byes to our students, and seen a total eclipse of the moon from the southern hemisphere.

We’re closing chapters right and left at this juncture but there is one final chapter we’re just about to write.

On June 18, we are leaving for what one of my British friends in Windhoek calls a final whiz-around. Apparently, lots of expats take a final tour of Namibia before they leave and come Saturday, we’ll begin ours. But this will be a special final tour as our very best friends have come to Namibia to do the tour with us.

We will enjoy showing them some of this marvelous country and at the same time, bid a very bittersweet good-bye to a country that has provided us so many magical moments over this past year.

Here's one of the magic moments we're determined to repeat one more time before we leave!

And so for the next two weeks, we are outta here!

We’ll be back on the 2nd of July and will try to have at least one more post up before we leave for home on July 8. We’re determined to thoroughly chronicle our year’s adventures so this blog will continue even once we’re home. There is still too much to share to simply end it when our year here is up.

Back in two weeks........

June 06, 2011

Over the Gamsberg to Sossusvlei

The day before Easter we left Windhoek for a four day camping trip to Sossusvlei. We rented a truck with a roof tent and headed southwest out of Windhoek on the C26, a gravel route that took us over Gamsberg Pass toward the Namib. By mid-morning we had covered a long stretch of relatively flat gravel road and were beginning the climb up the pass.

Late April was still in the rainy season. Though we didn’t encounter rain on our trip, there were reminders everywhere.

A little after noon, we had reached the top of the Gamsberg (7628 feet in elevation). 

The bounty of so much rain was the lush green carpeting of the mountains and stands of tall grasses everywhere.

The view was stunning through this pass.

As we started down the other side, the terrain gradually became drier.  This amazing rainy season had made it possible for this otherwise arid expanse to transform itself into rich grassland.

Just before reaching our evening’s destination, we passed by this now familiar landmark.

We found Rostock Ritz about 7 minutes down the road from the Tropic of Capricorn. The setting was spectacular – a sea of grass.

We had lost track of the fact that Easter was the next day, but it was not ignored by the reception staff at Rostock Ritz.

When we got to our campsite, it was already occupied by loads of armored ground crickets.

Despite having to shoo them off the table and away from food, they were little problem. We did tread lightly though as you could easily kill 3 or 4 with every step if you weren’t careful.

As sunset approached,

the sky became completely clear.

Clear skies and no light pollution whatsoever made for fun photography experiments after dark.

Easter morning dawned bright and sunny.

Once the sun was fully up, we were greeted by the kids from the South African family who camped next to us. They were carrying a box of marshmallow eggs they would share between them, but before helping themselves, they made the rounds of every single campsite, surprising all their fellow campers with the gift of a chocolate Easter egg!