Day 6 – Namakwaland

18 Sep
Day 6 - Namakwaland by Big Al!
Day 6 – Namakwaland, a photo by Big Al! on Flickr.

First wild camp!

It’s going to be much harder to update this blog now. No phone signal at all, never mind data.
I leave CT very early, knowing that the first day on the road in a strange vehicle with unfamiliar equipment was going to keep me busy. City suburbs had already given way to rolling hills and farmland by sunrise, and the next three hundred miles passed easily with little traffic.
Ahead of schedule I turned off the tarmac for a first foray onto the dirt roads, hunting a suitable spot to set camp. Breathtaking scenery would have been nice but I settle for somewhere unobtrusive and where I’d be unlikely to encounter interference. The first 2 or 3 wild camps on a trip always have me feeling nervous, and with zero Africa experience the nerves hit hard this time.
But, there’s stuff to do, so I get on with it. Another go at reorganising all my gear. A quick first flight with the drone to make sure it’s all working. A boerwurs sausage on the camp stove. Would have been nicer to start a fire and use the brai (South African for barbecue) but I’ve got too many other things to do for the first time, like putting the tent up.
A glass of wine is the reward for getting things done and I’m glad I got on with it when darkness comes on very suddenly just after 7 leaving just me and my roof tent and a million freaky noises. First night nerves again, but every rustling bit of tent fabric or bird or animal noise has an effect like a horror movie soundtrack.
I’ll get used to it, and the tent is way more comfortable and spacious than I’m used to on the bike. A week from now I’ll have a routine and a system and this tent will feel like home.
Later on I unzip the tent window and peer out to see a sky full of stars, the milky way like a neon sign it’s so bright. 
Yeah, that’s more like it!
Ink black night skies with a million stars interrupted only by the silhouette of the mountains surrounding my own personal camp site.
Tomorrow I have to navigate the border crossing to enter Namibia, then on to the Fish River Canyon.

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