Namibia

Unlike my ordeal at Tundoma crossing into Zambia, the border crossing into Namibia was relatively smooth. I ran through the now routine process of immigration and customs on each side of the border then proceeded through Katima towards Kongola. Except I wasn’t headed towards Kongola. I had missed the turn and was headed to Ngoma and the Botswana border. I found this all out an hour later as I chatted with a friendly policeman at the Botswana border. I swung the Landy around and went back to Katima and got myself on the proper road (the only other option). I had originally intended to make it all the way to Rundu, but my little detour meant I got to stay at Divundu instead. There was a campsite on my map called ‘Papa Falls’. I saw the sign in Divundu for the camp and I immediately turned in figuring if it’s on the map there has to be something to it.Next to my cabin there was a Danish man living in Franistown, Botswana here on holiday with what I presumed was his domestic helper. He had come to Tanzania for a aid worker position several years back, but the position was no longer valid or available when he arrived. Somehow he ended up in the construction industry and had been involved in that ever since. We talked US politics and about each of our various trips around Africa.

Drove from Divundu to Grootfontien the following day. I honestly don’t recall much from that day’s drive. From Grootfontien I had intentions of driving to Swakopmound, the high adventure capital of Namibia. How as I drove the underside of the Land Rover violently erupted as the drive shift sheared away from the transfer box. I knew almost immediately what had happened as my Land Rover back in the States had done the same thing a couple years before. I brought the Landy to a stop and got out the triangles I had been forced to buy in Zamiba. I took a quick look under the truck to confirm my suspicions that the drive shaft had sheared away. I then snapped a couple pictures knowing at some point I would look back on this moment and be able to laugh about it. (I’m still not quite there yet). I knew I needed to remove the front drive shaft, engage the central diff lock, and drive to Otavi, however, I had zero tools in the truck with me. I managed to flag down a passing Coka Cola pickup truck. The two men were surprising willing to help out but they too had zero tools. We flagged a second pickup who had a mixed bag of tools. The first two guys drove under the Landy and emerged half a hour later with the front drive shaft in hand. The Coke Cola truck followed me to the Otavi where I was hoping to be able to get the truck fixed, but all the service garages  pointed me onwards to Otjiwargo. I found a garage in the next town and pulled in. They told me to come back when they opened at 2pm and they would take a look at it. I went and found a guest lodge expecting to lose the Landy until the following day. Upon checking in at the guest lodge I had one of the most friendly people I’ve encountered the entire trip greet me at my truck. The guest house owner was a German women in her 40s who had only recently acquired the guest house. She helped me get settled and then we talked until it was time for me to head off to the garage with the Landy. Unfortunately the garage didn’t have the spare parts I needed to repair the truck so I headed back to the guest lodge. I spent the remainder of the afternoon watching the German lady make Snitizel and talking about her experience escaping from East Germany during the Soviet occupation. Her parents had encouraged her to sneak out of occupied East Germany at a young age into Checkoslavokia. From there she had to board a train that went back through East Germany into West Germany. She said many of her follow passengers were arrested on the trip through. At dinner I met another one of the guest, Paulus, who was a black government worker. We had a very engaging conversation (Paulus, the owner, and myself) about post colonial race relations, the various tribes in Namibia, and of course generators.

Breakfast hit the spot. The owner had laid out a spread of meat cuts, cheeses, bread, and vegtibles. I cleaned my plate and then packed the Landy and set off for Windhoek.

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