My journal. Africa Trip, March 9 – April 6, 2016

Africa Trip, March 2016 Namibia Day by Day 6&7. Swakopmund

Today, the 6th of our ten, we are on the way to the sea, to Skeleton Coast National Park. There are a good many shipwrecks along this long stretch of sand beach, and there is gravel highway C34 paralleling the coast all the way down to our destination, Swakopmund. So after about 150 km of same-o same-o desert landscape, and another 50 of new seascape, we have another flat. Of course.

This time the left rear, the spare that was put on way back in eastern Etosha Park, Namutoni Rest Camp as we pulled in on day 2. We have one spare still because we got it fixed on the way out of the Twyfelfontein area this morning. Margaret and Eric spring into action. I take pictures from all around:

Above, Eric is adjusting the jack at the axel. The sea is in the background.

And here is a view from the right quarter showing the road, highway C34, heading off south for Henties Bay and Swakopmund (in 200 km or so):

Kyle is loosening the lug nuts on the spare.

And here comes the view looking north towards whence we came, maybe 150 km.

Katie about to grab Kyle so they can run in long ellipses behind the car and also stage a 20-meter dash.

So, onwards with no spare tire left. What’s to worry?

A fourth flat is to worry, and Katie notices this one as we are pulled off the road to wonder at a shipwreck maybe 25 km farther on:

All right, don’t panic. We don’t. The Nissan comes with a battery-operated air pump. Eric and I put in as much as we can, and off we go again. It’s only about 15 km to the official exit from the Skeleton Coast National Park, and surely they will fix flats there since they apparently fix flats everywhere in tourist Namibia.

We get there:

And sure enough, they do NOT fix flats here. This is where they inspect your car to see if you have rhino horn stowed away anywhere. The nearest flat-fix place is Henties Bay, maybe another 150 km. The inspection lady suggests we “pump and ride.” Which is what we do. Eric is pumping in the picture. Notice the skull and crossbones behind Margaret.

It turns out that pump and ride works quite well. We stop two or three times to check on the tire, but the stop time appears to lose more air than the ride. So we get to Henties Bay and find good fixins in a couple of senses of the word:

We get two tires fixed here. Our destination, Swakopmund, is only another 75 km and we are spending two nights there. We will buy a replacement tire for the wrecked-up spare in Swakopmund just to be sure (the rental place will reimburse us). And, of course, there will be no more flat problems after this.

I did wonder if perhaps our flat fixes were just not done well, but the repair folks here showed us the small gravel stones that had wedged their wicked way into the tires. It’s just gravel road and some bad luck. Maybe the tires could have had more tred on them to start with, too. We met other people in rigs like ours who had driven for days all over the country without a flat.

Swakamund is a wealthy, healthy tourist town:

My general impression of the social situation in Namibia was that the black people had much more of a middle-class staning in these places and just on the streets than appeared to be the case in our Fourwinds part of Johannesburg. There were still walls around compounds, but the ones I saw were seldom electrified.

There was a beach to walk along. (In this case towards the popular restaurant called the Tug down at the beach-end of that pier in the distance. There is another restaurant out on the seaward end.

And play on:

Sometimes with flamingoes in the distance:

And a very comfortable camp site for our two days:

Next stop the sand dunes of Namib Naukluft Park south and seaward from the town of Solitaire.

Next page.