Namibia 2016: Relaxing & planning for a trip

The blue dawn shows itself over the horizon. It’s time to get up; Knaaters the cat and I go outside and watch the sun rise slowly, a half moon overhead. Surrounding us is a serenade of sounds, not intrusive, welcoming in the new day. Then I walk through the garden with Knaaters alongside me, looking at the flowers. Have any new ones appeared? Some flowers have been eaten by the bugs; some of these flowers only last a day before they have been eaten; the cycle of life. Other flowers are still asleep; they will open with the sun and then follow the sun as it passes overhead. Maybe it is still too cold for them? I am wearing jeans and a jersey, within an hour I will be in shorts and a t-shirt, it warms up quite quickly (at 07:00 am it was 14.5ºC indoors, at 08:45 it’s already 20ºC). We are heading towards winter here and most of the birds seem to have moved to warmer climates. I miss the sugarbirds and bright-yellow weavers; the loeries (go away birds) are still around, making their distinctive call. The franklins and guinea fowl are loitering, they want some feeding (my sister throws them seeds out of the kitchen window; they let her know that it is time). Knaaters seems very active; he digs for mice and then chases a franklin. I notice some yellow-billed finches carrying nesting materials, it is time to get out the camera and enjoy nature at its best.

Yellow-billed finches building a nest [Kappsfarm]

The noisy Loerie, also known as the Go Away bird [Kappsfarm]

After a few days of rest and recovery on Kapps Farm, it is time to start planning for a trip, either into the Namib desert and/or the coast; at this point we don’t know. A few days ago I helped to clean the caravan after a porta-potty had sprung a leak on a previous trip (my brother-in-law had been to Terrace Bay to do some necessary maintenance and repairs). The fridge-freezer has lost its fan, again, and some cupboard doors have fallen off. The dirt roads are not kind to vehicles and post-trip repairs are expected. Off we  went into Windhoek to get the fridge-freezer repaired and get some items to repair the caravan; I am amazed by the number of people that know each other, it is a rather small city by European standards. We still have to plan the food rations for our trip, the nearest town may be a few hours drive away. However, life here is at a more relaxed pace compared to the UK and there is time for some bird watching on the farm. I have seen a sugarbird, but only fleetingly; some days I can hear a fish eagle in the distance. 

 

Groundscraper thrush; greybacked cisticola (tinktinkie); young female African cuckoo (?) [Kappsfarm]

On Thursday I decided to go into Windhoek to play tourist, though I am no longer a “fan” as it is now turning into a commercial city, rather than the quaint town that it was many years ago. I walked about restlessly, had some cheesecake and a redbush (rooibos) cappuccino at the Namib Craft Centre, which is always worth a visit, then went back to Kappsfarm. Later, we enjoy dinner outside, waiting for the sun to set and the stars to appear. Tonight we don’t loiter too long and only see one satellite passing overhead, no “shooting stars”; in the background we hear a jackal howling.

The Gibeon Meteorites in the Post Street Mall, with Namibian arts and crafts sold in the background; National museum of Namibia; Namibia Craft Centre; Christus Kirche [Windhoek, Namibia]

Knaaters Ce7oVueXEAEeQx2.jpgFriday morning I woke up and went outside with Knaaters to watch the sunrise.  The birds were very noisy, but I could not fathom what was going on; it was not the kind of noise they make with a snake. Afterwards, a coffee and chat with the humans, then I fed the “chickens” (franklins); in my bedroom, I have discovered a gecko, very small, only about 2 cm. My sister took me into Windhoek today, to the Botanical Garden and to do some shopping for our trip. The National Botanic Garden is in the centre of Windhoek, on the Klein Windhoek side. It is very dry, with very few flowers, and it sad to see the number of plants that seem to be dead, especially aloe and quiver trees.

National Botanic Garden, Windhoek, Namibia

Knaaters IMG_9466The day draws to a close, my buddy Knaaters is already asleep.

Saturday morning sunrise seems a little quieter than normal, until the “chickens” (franklins) start calling for food. I sit outside drinking a coffee, reminiscing about life, then go for a short walk around the garden, look up to the hill… can I see the outline of a kudu or two? Unfortunately not, those days are long past, too many people live at Kappsfarm now. Still, it’s a beautiful start to the day, time to enjoy.

Aloe sunrise 20160402_071010_Richtone(HDR).jpg

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