We confidently prepared and set off from South Africa in 1984 for a three week holiday in Namibia. My husband had converted an old 1600cc Kombi into a camper, serving as living quarters for our family of five.
When the first puncture stopped us, we soon had the spare in place. When the second puncture struck, our friends’ spare went on. Many more miles to traverse, no facility anywhere nearby, no more spares – feeling so extremely vulnerable had my stomach in knots.
The next unexpected event happened in the Okaukuejo Camp of the Etosha Game Reserve. My husband was working on the engine when it suddenly and spectacularly burst into flames. We lost 2 days on that one. Watching elephants mate late one night at the waterhole, was an electrifying experience. This was matched by waking in the early hours to the breathtakingly ferocious roars of lions nearby.
I can still taste those dust particles in my mouth, feel the furry accumulation in my throat. Mile after endless mile on dry dirt roads, driving deep into the Namib Desert to slide down the huge sand dunes, and find the elusive Welwitschia plants.
Another highlight was climbing to the bottom of the Fish River Canyon and walking along the river bed. The sense of emptiness and vastness was palpable, and in this lay part of its wild beauty.
Car troubles notwithstanding, our trip was rich in a fascinating variety of landscapes and experiences.