Explorer Mikael Strandberg

Expedition Namibia: Strong winds

“Yo, don’t film me!”

We had just arrived to the very interesting little town called Henties Bay. It felt like I was back in an outback town in Australia. Wide streets, yelling locals high on alcohol, dust, a few bars, a pizzeria and a shopping centre. And very little people about. Fog lay over the town. I liked it immediately. The local fella was looking for trouble. By now, the girls are used to pretty much everything. In Turkey I kind of got attacked twice. I was calm then, this time, I was tired, so I yelled back:

“That is bullshit! Why would I film a fella reeking of alcohol like you?”

The girls weren’t surprised when he stood back. Dana looked at me and said:

“You are tired. Let us find a place to sleep.”

So we ended up at a surprisingly run down almost tatty place outside town. Like all campsites, part lodging, self catered or a campsite made for motorised vehicles. Quite expensive. Namibia is surprisingly expensive. I would say, overpriced. For what you get. But so far, it has been more than enough. But the further away we get from the capital, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, it get s more rustic. We like this change.

In towns we stay in hotel like places where we can get enough power plugs to load all tech kit, get wifi (they don’t have it here) and sort out our gear. This time it is extraordinary dirty, rough looking and sandy. The desert is harsh, but beautiful.

We have learned a lot this two days of cycling from Swakopmund. Like:

That the highlights of life comes in short moments. We left Swakopmund quite early morning two days ago. A hot easterly wind from the desert known as the Bergwind hit us almost immediately. Our pleasant morning cycling went over too slogging at 7 km/h making little progress according to the girls. It stayed with us for three hors. Than, like a favour from the Gods, just when I hit a bump instead of a constant washboard feeling, a fresh and cold wind from the sea in the East pressed away the Bergwind and it was such a relief and joy, we cheered!

Cycling hasn’t been easy since we arrived, but the girls are getting into the groove and slogging on no matter what awaits on us. We cycle on sand and dirt roads at times parallel with the main road. Almost as fast as the paved road, but free of insane driving and we can chat and listen to the music. It is corrugated on and of, but with the best dirt roads I have been on in Africa.

The girls have entered their normal strong cycling girls. Strong. Just after a few days of cycling. I am really impressed. And they get a lot of attention from everyone we meet. Who are stunned to see these young ladies looking un-affected by the challenges.

Highlights are just the great fact that I love being with them out here. We have hardly met any people, since there are hardly any people off road. Last night we camped on the beach near a shipwreck. Not far away a bunch of gadget sellers at the wreck camped. They have nowhere else to live, they have no money. They have left the mountains they come from, all Damara, and didn’t find work in the towns on the coast. We bought a few trinkets and gave them as much food as we could give away without not having any.

“But”, Dana said: “We were told by our other friends here in Namibia not to give beggars food.”

“Dana”, if you were hungry, “wouldn’t you have a few seconds of happiness, if someone gave you food?”

We all agreed this was a fact.

Best time in my life no doubt and they have matured so much! But still, they’re kids.

This time we had a lot of water with us, 15 litre, and lots of good food. We were really heavy, but we slept and ate well.

A rest day tomorrow, to suss out henries baby a bit and kit maintenance before we set of…don’t know yet, but believe the challenges of the trip is coming up!

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