Day 400 Namibia : Crispy pork and duck

Jan had been badgering me for a while to write another page for the blog.  In order to pacify her, I made a deal. I would write an entry when the number of days we had been on the road equalled the number of birds I had recorded (Jan: snnnnnnnooooorrrrrre).  A safe enough deal as the days would keep mounting up and by now I had recorded all the common birds and had never got closer than 20 behind.  However Namibia had other ideas!  Arriving at Nambwa Camp on day 393, I was still well inside my safety net at 370 birds.  One day later and 9 new recordings things were starting to get serious.  394 versus 379, the gap was now down to 15.  Not quite sweaty palms but close.

3 days later we hit Etosha and I neatly bypassed sweaty palms straight into eye-twitch territory. 17 new sightings in 3 days!  Only 4 behind the days and we were on our way to Swakopmund and Walvis Bay with all the new West Coast sea-birds and the salt pans with their associated water birds.  We arrived in Swakop on day 399 and by early evening I was up to 398 birds.  Ah goes. (And no, that is not a gun Jan has to my head, it just looks like one)

382-Marico Flycatcher
Marico Flycatcher
383-Double-banded Courser
Double-banded Courser
384-Northern Black Korhaan
Northern black korhaan
385-Red Crested Korhaan
Red-crested korhaan
388-Purple (Rufous-crowned) Roller
Purple (Rufous-crowned) Roller
392-Spotted Eagle-owl
Spotted eagle-owl
399-Yellow Wagtail
Yellow wagtail
411-Kalahari Scrub-robin 2
Kalahari scrub-robin

Today we were meeting up with Peter and Elza, a couple we met in the dust bowl port of Wadi Halfa in Sudan.  They were on their way up Africa to Germany in their Toyota Fortuner.  They had the pleasure of watching us trying to get Sully off the ferry to make space for them to load up their car for the ferry’s return journey.  Best not to relive that moment..

They had suggested we look them up when we finally got to Swakop so we were taking them up on the offer.  We met them in café Treffpunktt for a great cup of coffee.  After a brief exchange of what happened since we last met, they whisked us off to their home to spend the day with them and to watch the video of their trip.  Now to anyone else who has not done a trip like this, the idea of watching someone else’s 3 hour long holiday video may seem like a very boring day to spend with people but to us, it was re-living those portions of our trip.  We loved it and were quite sad when it ended.  However, a great meal of Lasagne and salad soon has us all chipper again.  Thanks Elza.

Now, I should mention at this point that the other reason we came to Swakop was for the Eisbein!  I had been gagging for one since we started planning the trip.  Passing through pork-free Middle East only made this worse.  The place to eat this is the Brauhaus Restaurant.  Shock, horror.. the place had burnt down!!  Peter however knew of a place where great Eisbein was on offer and managed to snag the last table for supper that night at Eric’s.  With the afternoon to kill before we indulged in a pork fest, Peter took us out to see some of the sights.  First stop was the golf course.  This has to be seen to be believed.  Lush verdant fairways and greens surrounding water features and fountains ........ full of grazing Springboks.  All this set in the dunes of the Namib.  a_SG101282 After a quick beer at this “oasis” we set off to view the Namib Moonscape.  This involved a trip up the dry riverbed of the Swakop River and up into the hills.  A truly barren and desolate place, you could easily imagine yourself standing on the moon’s surface and looking at view like this. a_SG101284

After all this driving around, my appetite was now back and we set off for Eric’s.  No starter, no bread, nothing that would use up valuable Eisbein space (ok, maybe some German draft beer then, if I really have to)  The eisbein did not disappoint - big enough to block out my view of other diners and the skin crispy enough to prevent conversation within 50 yards.  Well worth the wait and a great way to celebrate 400 days on the road.

Did I mention that I added another 3 birds to my list?  Day 400 and 401 birds.