We look around on maps.me for potential camps for the night. There’s one just up ahead called Bush Camp. We open the gate and pull the truck up to the main area. Ahhh this doesn’t look like a camp at all. It’s a bunch of swanky chalets and a kid playground. Fancy lounge area with linen wearing rich-types drinking champagne while their kids run around yelling. “Abort, abort!”, “Reverse please.”
“Ok there’s another one on here called Sachsenheim Guest Farm”, “I’m sorry, did you say Sex and Ham Guest Farm?”, “Yes, sex and ham. Sachsenheim”, “I love sex and I love ham so I’m definitely in”, “It’s just up here.”
A guy named Owen greets us at the door with a wide smile. He offers a very cordial invitation to Sachsenheim and leads us inside. Owen introduces us to a man named Gerd. He’s a stout German stereotype who is nailing the Bavarian farmer look. Immensely polite and excited, “Deutsch?”, “No English”, “Ah ok. 4 men?”, “Yes, tonight we are men!”, announces Peter in Olde English pomp”, Jamie replies, “It’s my first night as a man.” Gerd seems to enjoy our silly banter, “Oh 10, 20 beers last night?”, “Three men and one woman, with this one’s hair”, “Haha ah ok. Same price man or woman so it doesn’t much matter”, “I like your place”, “Yes it is casual”, “Perfect”, “I’ll show you the camp and just pay in an hour or so”, “We’ll get situated and come over for a drink and pay up”, “Just so.”
Gerd takes us out of the lodge to the back where there are a collection of really nice looking campsites. Each has a gazebo structure with table, chairs, sink, and a braai. There’s a clothesline as well. Clean clothes would be neat. “Build the biggest fire you can. It’s all metal you can’t burn it”, “Well Gerd, challenge accepted. We’re gonna fill the whole gazebo with fire”, “It won’t burn”, he looks up and considers it for a sec, “It may melt” he giggles to himself in a high-pitched girly giggle. This guy is super German, I love it.
We get the truck unpacked and a fire set up. “Ge-ge-ge-Gerd-Gerd-Gerd-ge-ge-Gerd’s the word, ge-ge-ge-Gerd-Gerd-Gerd-ge-ge-Gerd’s the word”, “Noooo stop it! I’ll never get that fucking song out of my head”, “Ge-ge-ge-Gerd-Gerd-Gerd-ge-ge-Gerd’s the word…” Ruined.
We picked up a bottle of something called Essence of Namibia back in Halali. Some type of liqueur, give it a try. Whooof it’s like Fernet. That’ll put hair on your chest.
Over to the lounge area again to pay Gerd and there are a guy and two girls, probably late 30s, hanging out with wine. We introduce ourselves and they say their names are Ben, Daniella and Zara. They’re in one of the Luxury Lodges. They’ve got a 4-wheel drive truck but not like ours. They went through a tour agency who planned out everything for them and they just have to follow the itinerary day to day. “No planning or thinking involved”, “Yeah that’s kind of nice.”
They tell us about having to give a guy a bribe at a town border stop. It’s one of those great storytelling events where all three people are filling in gaps and layering the disclosure. The guard stopped them because their headlights weren’t on. In the day time. The guard said it’ll take an hour and a half to get to the station and fill out paperwork. We don’t want to spend that time is there another way? “Didn’t seem like he knew what he was doing”, “Yeah like it was his first bribe ask?”, “He said, I could use a night out. Well how much is that typically? He said 20 bucks. Ok here’s 20 bucks.”
We make a run back to the truck to grab a bunch of cheese and crackers to make a charcuterie plate from. We share up the Brandy too and sit with the three of them and chat it up for a while until they call it a night, “Got an early morning tour of Etosha booked”, “You’ll love it, g’night.”
Back at our camp we hang around the fire having a Wolftrap night cap. Like typical product owners we naturally slip into a retrospective-style chat about our methods and start identifying the time bottlenecks in our routine and how to minimize them. The results trend toward ways to pack up in the morning more quickly, and to nix cooking breakfast and maybe even coffee since they end up being huge time hits. Animal viewing is better in the morning and evening so that’s what we need to prioritize and max it. Seems everyone agrees and is on board to try a little harder to just get on the road in the mornings.
We let the fire burn out and empty the wine. We’re loving Namibia but we’ve gotta start making our way East towards Botswana and the Okavango Delta. “I think we can get part-way down the Caprivi Strip tomorrow”, “Yep, let’s do it.” The Caprivi Strip is a narrow and unique piece of land that borders four other countries: Angola, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. “If we drive our asses off, we can probably get to Maun the day after that”, “Sounds like a plan.”