From Swakopmund to the Erongo Mountains or: shit happens!

Departure to Erongo and good news

Our next stage took us to the Erongo Mountains. Before that, however, we experienced some exciting things. On Monday morning the credit card company called us and announced the good news that the new card was ready to be sent. All the claimed transactions on the card had already been credited. Guido only had to sign and return a claim form and then everything was done.

It took 5 days from our notification to the crediting and issuing of a new card, including the weekend. A good example of how valuable it is to stay relaxed in such situations. By the way, the new card arrived at our friends by courier three days later, and we will receive it in a few days. We are amazed!

Sunset at Tiger Reef

In the evening we celebrated with our friends. It was fantastic weather, so we could spend the evening at Tiger Reef. A great restaurant directly at the beach. Hundreds of people meet here in good weather conditions. Thea just sit on the planks, dangle their feet and enjoy a perfectly trashy sunset with a chilled drink.

When the weather is good in the evening, you can hardly find a more beautiful place for a Sundowner. This was the first and only evening with sunshine for us – in eight days in Swakopmund.

Before we left, Guido had fun at Jetty (the endless long jetty in Swakopmund) with his Nisi filters and took pictures with long-time exposure. The lighthouse of Swakopmund also had to be photographed from an unusual perspective for some photographer colleagues. For them, a lighthouse has a special meaning.

Off to the beautiful Erongo region

The next morning we left towards the Erongo mountains. We first drove along the coast towards Henties Bay before the road led us across the desert, past the Spitzkoppe, to the Erongo.
Before Henties Bay there is a shipwreck close to the coast, which is in good condition and now serves as a cormorant nesting site.
We turned off the road at the wreck of the Zeila. Some people were sitting in two groups around a fireplace.

The weather was rough on the coast. As soon as we turned off the road, several of these people stood up and approached us. They were vendors waiting for tourists. Their merchandise consisted of various stones. Mostly semi-precious stones, occasionally polished, otherwise presented as rough stones in a large cardboard box.

“Hey Boss, we are not criminals, we just want to show you some beautiful stones”, the guys greeted us. Two young men and an older woman stood in front of us and looked at us expectantly. Guido unpacked his tripod, mounted his filters and answered them that he would like to take pictures first and then come back.

Guido stayed on the beach and while he was taking pictures, another five cars with tourists came up the path. While he was taking pictures with long exposures, he watched what was happening and became upset. Universally, all the tourists reacted very harshly. Some threatened with body language, others fled – the partners remained sitting in the cars with the engine running – all the time ready to ‘save’ the partner who got out.

When prudence rules – tourists and their behavior

The photographers usually got out quickly, moved a few meters away from the car and constantly looked around to the left and right. They quickly brought the camera in front of their eyes and ‘clack’ the picture was in the box. Milliseconds later they were sitting in the car again, shaking their heads as they got in, and then they were off again.

We didn’t blame them for their behavior, but it still made us sad. We know from our research that reading some Africa forums can give you the impression that bad guys are lurking around every corner. Giving this topic too much space creates a ‘tourist bubble’. A space that no longer allows anyone to meet people with a good feeling and curiosity.

Our instinct works if we let it. These people were certainly not clever marketing specialists – for example, they thought it was totally funny to form human skeletons out of seal bones on the beach in front of the wreck. The leader of the three, a young man of about late twenties, chuckled loudly when he proudly told Guido that they had built this.

Guido took an interest in them, and they chatted for what must have been twenty minutes. Their families live in the north of the country, and they do nothing but try to make money somehow for their families.
The longer they talked, the more cheerful and exuberant the leader became. They laughed and Guido felt like he wanted to support them.

We found a speech stone

” Honey, please come here – please choose a stone that you like. Somewhere In this cardboard box is our speech stone.” – We considered in advance of the trip how to deal with conflicts between us. After all, living in 4 square meters for 24 hours, seven days a week is not always fun. What do we do when we have disagreements? How can we avoid escalations?

We decided to use a speech stone – in case of a more serious conflict, only the person holding the speech stone is allowed to speak. The other listens and doesn’t say anything until he gets the stone. In this way, we avoid situations that build up, and we get into each other’s words, which feeds the conflict. We believe that in this way we can soon return to the factual level.
If it succeeds, we will be able to say at the end of the journey 🙂

The stone was quickly found and Guido asked the vendors to be allowed to make a portrait of each of them for his series “Faces of Africa”.
They immediately agreed and portraits were made where they showed him their “real” face. Before we left, we paid for the stone and gave them each something extra.

It is complicated – thoughts on our way to Erongo

During the drive to Erongo we were lost in thought and silence. Things are as they are, and it is not really possible to work out who is responsible for what. Of course there are criminal groups who break cars, smash windows, steal valuables and leave distraught tourists behind. On the other hand, there are tourists who get almost hysterical about such things and suspect bad things around every corner. For them, virtually every journey between two destinations is a dangerous adventure.

We hope that this will somehow unravel because according to our experiences Namibia is not different from other places in the world and what quality do vacations have if the curiosity about the people, the culture and the country is overshadowed by fears and worries?

In the early afternoon we arrived in the Erongo Mountains and drove to the farm Eileen to the Erongo Plateau Camp – a campsite that is always praised. A great campsite in a breathtaking area awaited us.

Uwe, Geli and their 2CV (Car by Citroën)

As soon as we arrived, we set up our camp and Sonja met Uwe heading to the toilet. Uwe and Geli are on the road with their 2CV. A 2CV with cult status – a different engine, a reinforced frame, sand sheets on the roof and 32 years of stories.

We invited them spontaneously for a cold beer – they don’t have a fridge and cool drinks by putting them in a damp terrycloth sock and holding them out of the window while driving. They came over an hour later and didn’t leave until after dinner and several hours of great conversation.
If everything is going well, we will meet them again in May because then they will be on the road again for two months with their 2CV in Namibia.
We are looking forward to meeting them and hope it works out 🙂

Shit happens!

Why is this episode called ‘Shit happens’?
Simple: In a moment of total mental confusion Guido accidentally deleted all pictures of the above experiences. He thought he had already copied the pictures to the hard disk and formatted the SD cards. In fact, the pictures had not been copied yet and now all the pictures are gone. One of the two cards (256 GB SanDisk Extreme 90 MB/S) has been safely stored since then, untouched, in case there is still a possibility to recover it.

With Sony, conventional recovery programs are not supposed to help. We will leave it at that and maybe there will be a possibility after our return to Switzerland. In any case, SanDisk’s own recovery program could not recover any file.

This photograph of us is the only one that survived the accident. We enjoyed a fantastic view from Erongo plateau camp. This is a stunning place!

This picture shows us sitting on our campsite at Erongo Plateau Camp and looking into the distance.
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