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!!