Yes, it was a long night (for me and P anyway). Tom is clearly blessed with the ability to sleep through pretty much anything, but somehow, in fits and starts Philippa and I managed to get a few hours in. It was just as windy when we woke up but the sun was bright and it was quite warm. It was exciting to be the only people camping on the flanks of the volcano. We got a fire going and made porridge before setting out to climb into it. The volcano that is, not the porridge, though truthfully it was hefty stuff.
The track up the side was rocky and awkward with sharp stones which slipped and slid underfoot. The crater rim was eroded into a dip ahead of us, where streams converged to make a big waterfall in the rainy season.
There were still some good sized pools below it. We crossed the lip of the crater, then down towards the crater floor, which was covered in fine grass and some quiver trees. Then back up the inside of the rim to the remains of the Brukkaros observatory; now just some stone walls and a solid concrete floor where once the telescope was mounted.
Actually the view back towards where we had come from was even better. Mile upon mile of flat plain stretching away forever. We watched it for a while with oranges and trail nuts. I’m going to miss these views.
We walked back down, past a small troop of baboons which barked at us from a clifftop below. Back at the campsite we got another fire going – billowing away in the strong wind – and had beans on toast in the classic style of Brits Abroad. I could have done with a stiff gin for the journey back down the terrible track but we got down with the tyres still largely intact. We turned towards a village apparently beefed up by missionaries in the nineteenth century (said the guidebook) but now somewhat ramshackle. We’d hoped to find a cold drink and while a young boy told us guardedly that there was a shop, we couldn’t find it and got back on the fast B1 heading north.
We had one more stop, at the Fish River, on its way to excavate the canyon. A small black dog was bringing a herd of goats across its shallow green pools.
They all seemed to know where they were going. We each ceremonially dipped a finger into the cool water and got back in the truck with the sun beginning to sink. It was dark by the time we reached the Kalahari desert and we bounced along a D road to the Bagatelle Guest Ranch where the campsite had hot water and – blissfully, no wind.
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