Ai ai ai ai ai

Jaco from ZYHO collected us at the local Wimpy (we can really recommend their coffee and all day breakfast :)) and brought us to the workshop to have a look at the truck and test drive it after the upgrade.

Their yard is huge and part gravel so a great spot to try the truck and i was straight away impressed, it didn’t bottom out at all and felt really comfy.

We got out confidence back and headed straight away for the Namibian border at the Noordoewer / Vioolsdrift crossing that would bring us to Aussenkehr and the Norotshama resort.

Our first taste of an old school border crossing with many tourists but also quite a few truck drivers running back and forth between the different ‘windows’ to get the needed stamps on all bits of paperwork.

What these days is a simple step across a border in Europe, took us 3 hours to complete before we could hit the road.

We made it to Aussenkehr at the end of the afternoon and had an interesting visit to the local Spar Supermarket. Aussenkehr did not exist until 2002 it seems and the Spar was the only supermarket in the area. An area of fruit growers along the orange river with many, many seasonal workers living in little sheds and huts along the way. The Spar reflected their budget, mostly stocked with large bags of Maize and sugar for ‘Pap’.

On the way into the Norotshama resort the truck died once again but this time we would easily raise the cabin and pump diesel from one tank to the next and into the engine too. The electrical pump between the tanks stopped working after a few minutes, doh!, and it seemed like the engine was getting enough diesel as  the hand pump had pressure and diesel was coming out of the filter when I gently opened the fuel line. We put the truck in neutral and coasted slowly down the hill and into the resort.

What an amazing place this turned out to be, beautiful campsites but also great little huts to spend the night in. This place truly looks amazing and the staff is really helpful too! One of the ladies from the reception had here husband Orlando come out to help us and we hit it off well. Zev and Nadia went fishing while I tried to get diesel across the tanks and Orlando was getting me a jerrycan and hose.

I tried to get diesel from the spare tank but it turned out to be totally dry to my surprise, the main tank also had plenty of fuel so I was a little puzzled.

Looking at the engine brake, I found the little button in the floor to be sticking and I now guess this was the main reason for the engine dying, both here as well as in Kgalagadi, because as soon as it became ‘unstuck’ the engine would behave as if nothing happened and the next day we drove to Ai-Ais as if nothing had happened.

Lily was a great hostess and told us so much about the resort and was happy up share much of what she knew about Namibia with us before we headed for Ai-Ais. Too bad we only stayed for a single night in Norotshama, the original plan was for 2 nights but we of course spent some extra time with the truck work.

Next day we went back to Spar and nearly got depressed by the state of the supermarket, we truly need to change our European approach and way of thinking and try and appreciate more the effort that people make. The sheds that these seasonal workers live in where tiny, but colourful and really clean when compared too similar areas in South Africa.

From Aussenkehr we turned off towards Ai-Ais Hot Springs and hit our first main stretcht of Namibia gravel roads.

Beautiful country side where we flew the drone and enjoyed the suspension on the cabin, we could easily cruise on these gravel roads as if they were tarmac. Sweet!!!

After a short 2 hour ride we got to Ai-Ais and quickly filled up on diesel which confirmed my believe that the engine brake button was the reason for our breakdown and not a lack of diesel.

The Ai-Ais Hot Springs Lodge/Resort campsite is fairly run down, the ablutions are out dated but clean and the campsites have suffered from flooding, so many powerpoints and braai areas where in dire need of repair or replacement.

Zev spend 2 afternoon fishing in the local pond, catching a few small ‘yellow fish’ while he tried to catch the large carps that live there too.

Many baboons frequent the resort and while we spend the afternoon in the pool, we saw them come by and head for the little lodge cabins in the hope of finding some food or raiding a cabin via an open window.

Impressive animals but the the Ai-Ais Hot Spring campsite leaves a lot to be desired and I guess we can take it of our list, for ever…..

Canyon Roadhouse up next!!

Crono Rally

Springbok brought us back to the guys I had met in the past, with the Amageza Rally, 6 years earlier. This time, under new leadership (Sean Kriel) the Crono Rally had it’s maiden run and we got to introduce our son to rally bikes and friendships.

We met our buddies and took their advice to find a truck shop In Springbok as this would be our last major stop before heading into Namibia proper.

The night was spend in cold Springbok and we headed for the Namibian border were we spend 5 days at the Growcery, a lovely campsite on the bank of the Orange River with some great views and a pack of 6 cattle dogs!

Lucy, the 11 year old mommy of the pack hit it of with Zev straight away and she would stick to Zev like glue. Eating and sleeping along side the truck, sending of any other dog that would come close and asking for cuddles and her ball to be thrown.

We had contacted ZYHO trucks in Springbok who agreed to come up with a plan to fix stiffer suspension to our trucks Cabin and they installed the much needed support in 2 days while we stayed at a local guesthouse. Unfortunately the weather turned colder and Zev picked up the flue along the way too. 

Nothing to do but turning in early and watching a lot of TV and Netflix in bed for us 3 while the truck was being ‘upgraded’.

From here we would head into Namibia, so this upgrade was truly needed to make sure the truck would last on the gravel and dirt roads.

Truck stuff 2.0

Our truck cabin is using air ’cushions’ for a comfy ride, worked great in the european roads but African road are surely not as smooth.

So before heading into Namibia and all the dirt that is to follow we looked for a place to help out in stiffening our air cushions. Jaco and his team from ZYHO truck and trailer facilitated us quickly and came up with a nice damper set up to assist the air ride.

What a positive difference this makes, we are now smoothly gliding over the roads and gravel tracks and have hardly bottomed out, well worth it!