Day 3 in the Ugab: a hyena at night, drive through water and some sandblasting

We all woke up at night. You can’t miss that sound. The scream of a hyena. And it was loud. Very loud. She was close. Very close. I’ve heard hyenas before, but never that loud. I can deal with jackals. I’ve had to deal with jackals before. They just want your food. But hyenas are different. They want you as food. And they do what it takes them to get that. Nasty creatures. Dawie takes his torch and shines into bushes. Without leaving the bakkie. Apparently the hyena was not even 50 meters from us. Maybe 20. I don’t know. I turned around and fell asleep.

The next morning the sun is beating us early. We didn’t plan our camp for morning sun protection. While we’re up we might as well go look for those hyenas tracks. But instead of finding them we make another surprising discovery. Elephant tracks. Fresh ones. Just around our camp. They weren’t there yesterday. These creatures aren’t called for nothing the gentle giants. The lonely elephant bull just walks past our camp without waking any of us up. They know how to be quiet. In comparison to the hyena.

Massive footprints those animals. Desirée had to put her foot next to these for you to have a scale.

Time for a shower again. The water cooled down in the bag. It’s really refreshing since its already 30 degrees in the shade. This time we shower with shampoo. It feels so nice. Especially washing that dust and sand out of my hair. Only after Desirée and Dawie finished showering the 20 litter bag gets empty. And remember how many times we (Especially me myself and I) used it yesterday. We know how to use water efficient 😉

Almost forgot to mention. Happy Birthday Desirée. Isn’t this a beautiful spot to wake up on your birthday? And going on another lekker drive. Further up the river. We’re following now this elephant bull. His tracks are going in the road. We must be right behind him. How far ahead of us he is? We don’t know.

But instead of the elephant we spot 2 jackals and of course again a few steenboks.

It seems like there’s some water in this part of the riverbed. A few small holes next to the road are filled with some water. Martin almost drove over this tortoise as she was climbing out of the water standing on the tracks.

The area is getting now a bit dodgy. High grass on both sides and the elephant tracks are still to see on the ground. I do not wanna surprise an elephant in this reed. There is no way for us to escape. And he won’t be happy seeing us right behind him.

Martin slows down. We’re seeing the Land rover disappearing around the corner. And we stop. There’s a deep waterhole. And we have to drive through. Normally you should walk it through to see how deep it is. But since we got 3 cars we just go for it. We could still pull each other out. And there’s no way I will walk in this water. It’s dirty. Disgustingly dirty. Let’s keep moving. Deeper into the Bush. And just hope that the elephant won’t be in our way. He could have been just next to us. But in this terrain we won’t see him.

Finally the valley opens up. The sand is getting softer. Like powder. But at least we can see if some danger is coming ahead of us. But there’s nothing coming. Look to the right. It’s the the white lady lodge. We didn’t have a plan in the beginning up to where we would drive since we didn’t know how fast we can get through the river. It all depends on the road through it. But to camp in the last night on a proper campsite why not.

And not to mention. To swim in a pool! In this heat nothing more relaxing than that. Even though we set in the shade first for 2 hours, because going in the hottest time of the day into the sun is just ridiculous. And while the tourists putting on tanning oil and lie in the straight sun at 1pm, we put on sunscreen factor 50+ and don’t move from the shade. Or from the beer…

And then we choose a campsite. The furthest away from the others. The closest one into the riverbed. In case the elephant wants to visit us again.

Staying at the campsite gives us the advantage of having a shower, running water and a toilet right next to our camp. Unfortunately they forgot the shade net. And since I just told you we do everything not to get burned in these ridiculous temperatures Dawie came up with an idea. Take the umbrella with 😉

Standing heat. Not a breath of wind. We play cards and renamed the joker into a shower card. The flies are really annoying. If there would just be a little bit of wind. Meanwhile we’re watching the clouds growing. Still on the horizon, but they are coming closer.

A dog comes by for a visit. The others tell me that is what you want. A dog from the workers. If you give these dogs some attention they will protect you all night. And you will know if a wild animal comes closer. She’s skinny. We got enough left over food to give her every hour a piece of something small. We named her Queen. She found her spot already. Next to Dawie. After an hour we come up with the idea with giving her water. Filling 800ml in a Tupperware. Queen finishes half of it in 2 sec. The other half in the next 10minutes. Shame, I guess she doesn’t get a lot of attention. Lucky girl. The more beers we get the more food she gets.

Just 2 hours ago we were complaining about the standing heat. That changed drastically. The clouds on the horizon are coming closer. And they are coming with a wind. Storm. Tornado. At least it feels like it. If you’re sitting on camping chairs. On the open plain. Surrounded by sand. Trying to play cards. Getting sandblasted. No pictures from these scenes. The sand and dust in the air is too dangerous for my camera. Some of us are complaining about sand in the eyes. Someone says we should book us into the lodge. But someone says the wind will die down. Later. We move closer to the bakkie. Hide on its side from the wind. Storm. Continue playing cards. Somehow.

Eventually the wind dies. Completely. The sun is setting. It’s 38 degrees. And humid. I need a shower card.

Not sure if we ever stopped complaining. We want wind. No wind. We want wind. Let’s feed Queen. Shower. All of us hoped the rain would come, because that would have been the only option to cool us down, but it never did. The sky was covered by clouds, but the stars fought their way through.

Even during the night it never cooled down. And just before sunrise when we hoped it would cool down the birds started. Singing. Fighting. Jumping. Eating. I guess I’ll get up then.

Pretty birds they are though.

And another beautiful sunrise painting Brandberg in orange and red colours.

Simply stunning.

This is the end of our trip. From here it’s an easy drive back to Swakop. We had a great time. Intense trip. A bit of driving. A bit relaxing. Lots of teasing. And lots and lots of laughing.

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