We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the Olive Exclusive comprising a full continental and hot offering before checking out and saying adieu for the moment. We piled our luggage, camera equipment into the Toyota Hilux rental, and then ensuring that we had purchased sufficient water from the hotel we set off on our journey. Leaving central Windhoek we set off in a South West direction with lots of anticipation and excitement. The lush green vegetation surrounding the greater Windhoek area started to thin as the spectacular scenery flashed by. The obligatory stop at the permanent road block at the outskirts of the town did not deter our enthusiasm as the local policemen welcomed us to their beautiful country and bade us well on our way.
The landscapes continued to change and become more arid, with the vegetation becoming scarcer. The external heat continued to rise and we were much relived for the aircon and water that we had brought with on the trip. The vastness of the landscapes stretched out all around us and we took in the natural beauty of our surroundings. The local towns became fewer and fewer and soon we left the comfort of the tar roads and started driving on the gravel roads. The colours and hues of the land beckoned us to start the vehicle and take photos while drinking in the overwhelming sense of tranquility and peace of the vastness of the area.
Speed is a factor here and the need to focus on your driving ensuring that you try to navigate the part of the road that was least bumpy and corrugated. Suddenly a loud noise emanated from the rear left hand tire and in an instant we realized that we had had a puncture as the vehicle started to shake and vibrate. All the warnings about speed careful driving and watching out for the sharp stones and gravel roads hit home.
The heat was intense as we tried to extricate the spare tire from underneath the rear of the Toyota Hilux which needs to be lowered down off the chain that holds it underneath the vehicle. You can imagine our surprise when the tire stopped half way. The spare had been locked and while there were keys provided with the car keys none fitted the lock. Half way on the trip with no cell phone signal, intense heat and limit water supplies suddenly things started to look a bit bleak. There was very little to no traffic on the road and our situation started to get a bit desperate. We were fortunate in that we were being looked over by higher powers when eventually our Good Samaritan happened by. One of the local farmers stopped after we waived him down, and lent us a tire which uncanny fitted our rim and provided us with directions to find a tire repair place some 20 km’s down the road. Had it not been for the kind assistance of the farmer we would have been in a serious predicament. Travelling with extreme caution we finally arrived at the oasis in the desert.
Situated in the middle of nowhere was this beautiful holiday resort alongside the river, known as tsauchab River Camp. See their website www.tsauchab.com. Lush green grass in the middle of this dry wilderness was an incredible sight and the kindness of the folk who own and operate it will never be forgotten. Bolt cutters removed the offending lock to the spare tire, but they managed to repair of punctured tire and in next to no time we set off again with our spirits high. If you are travelling in the area we would recommend you popping in. We had now lost significant time but ensured that we remained focused and determined to reach our destination and Beyond Desert Lodge at Sossusvlei. Eventually we were rewarded and saw the amazing sight of the road to the lodge.