Disaster or not?
With an empty fridge and no more desire for wasteland (our next planned campsite would have been behind Solitaire in the wasteland) we decided to drive two days earlier to Swakopmund and arrange our things. We checked in at Sophia Dale Base Camp a bit outside the town of Swakopmund. We tried to escape the often present morning mist and enjoy more hours of sunshine.
The next day, we went to Cymot and bought a new Deep Cycle battery as our supply battery. We were no longer confident in our starter battery and didn’t fancy another breakdown somewhere in the middle of nowhere. That was quickly sorted out and after a morning and a battery shifting game we could tick off the issue.
The satellite phone was ready
After that, we drove to Walvis Bay to a specialized shop for boat electronics. We bought a new SIM card for the satellite phone. The credit that we purchased from the previous provider a few weeks ago, was not working. They told us that the SIM card is not theirs. Even photos of the SIM Card could only temporarily change the mind of the support. In the end, they always told us that the order had been completed – but we still didn’t have any credit.
It’s all of no use. In Walvis Bay everything went smoothly, and we met very nice and competent people, and now we can make emergency calls if we get bogged down in Kaokoveld or stuck in the Kalahari. If all this doesn’t happen, we might just call our loved ones and surprise them!
The credit card without credit? – impossible
Our serenity status was checked again. We went shopping and at the checkout, the prepaid credit card we had purchased especially for the trip didn’t work. The next time we went shopping with a smaller amount, it worked. It was like a game.
The day we were told that there is no credit on the prepaid card was an alarm call. We wrote an E-Mail to the credit card company and asked for access to the previous transactions. Less than 30 minutes later, a PDF arrived with all the transactions made. We used this card only to fill up with diesel, to buy groceries and to pay 2x the hotel bills (our only two nights in ‘fixed’ accommodations).
So far, everything was clear and then all of a sudden we read Netflix 2 EUR, booked in Paris. 30 minutes later someone bought a watch online for 2.000 EUR, and so on.
Added up, someone had stolen more than 3.100 EUR from the card. We immediately wrote an email and reported the misuse with details of the transactions involved. We were thankful that this had happened at a time we had good internet access and not when we are not online for 4 weeks. The security service of the credit card company was very helpful and professional.
Where is the mole?
The card was immediately blocked, and now we are looking for a solution how the new card will find its way to us because at the specified period where the card should arrive in Namibia, we are somewhere in the bush.
We will find a solution here as well. Events like this are wonderful teachers. You can’t do anything, don’t get upset – and we are happy to see that.
We will be refunded and the only damage will be to extend our stay to sort things out, as we have good internet here and can easily make phone calls. Staying 2 days longer in one place, with over 200 days of travel? That doesn’t matter at all. That’s no damage at all.
The more serious question is where the leak is. Our guess is one of the hotels because it’s highly unlikely that a card device in a supermarket has been tampered with. The same applies to the large gas stations. We have never given the card out of our hands.
In any case, we are grateful that we used this prepaid card. If the fraud had been done with the regular card, they would have increased the damage by 4200 EUR. This second attempted watch purchase failed due to lack of credit. We are curious if we will ever know anything about the circumstances or if this will remain a big black hole.
Two tours with Georg Erb
The classic activities in Swakopmund do not appeal to us so much. While researching – still from Switzerland – we found a different guy. We booked two different tours with him: one into the dunes and one canyon tour.
Georg Erb of Swakop Tour Company has knowledge that blew us away. He is authentic, and straightforward. There were three of us on the dune tour, and we were by ourselves with him on the canyon tour. He explained to us historical events and – what was most exciting: He has created comparative photos between which are partly 120 years, from which it is evident that the plant life has not changed. The same plants can be seen on both photos.
We are far from really understanding how nature works, but we can say that the desert is a most fascinating place. In our opinion, whoever stays in Namibia should make sure that the desert gets a due travel share.
Impressions from the dunes:
And from the canyon with, for example, a 4,000-year-old Welwitschia plant!
The view from above
Yesterday, a helicopter flight was on the agenda. We were lucky that the nephew of our Namibian friend is a partner in a helicopter company. He made it possible for us to do a private flight, and so we flew with 2 pilots in a Huey from the German army for one hour over the desert region near Swakopmund.
With completely open big – or unhinged small doors we felt like in a Vietnam movie. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate completely, at the moment there are always big clouds in the evening – but the flight was an experience.
The owner of the company, who was our pilot, promised to fly with us again to the dunes in the evening if the weather was good. Let’s hope that we have sun again in the evening.
It is interesting that Guido is the total flight fan and likes wide overviews and the overall picture, while Sonja rather likes the frontal view and looks at the details.
Hobby psychologists? What would you say? 🙂
to be continued…