Our first wildcamp!

The next morning we were slower than we had hoped. We slept in a little bit and we slowly had breakfast. We did not want to hurry, although we had the prospects of finally seeing our long awaited turning point that day. It all turned out to be a little bit different. 

We were driving for about half an hour west, when suddenly Emma slowed down and stopped the car. The temperature gauge was rapidly moving toward the danger zone, so the only option was to stop. Fortunately, she was quick enough to notice and the car was not overheating yet. Once Gigi cooled off a little bit, we restarted her only to move it to the side of the road, as we had stopped in the middle of the road. The temperature gauge immediately went up again. We were stuck in the middle of the desert. 

It is strange how things can go sometimes. We were cheated in Rwanda by a 'mechanic', who replaced our steering rack with a worse one. Because of that, we were stuck in Kasama for a few days, where they installed a new steering rack. After that, they thoroughly cleaned the car, including the engine. Thanks to that thorough cleaning, some of the wiring had come loose, which we had fixed in Kabwe. After that, the temperature gauge showed the actual engine temperature. Before all that, the gauge would automatically go straight to the halfway point upon starting the car, not showing the actual temperature. If we would not have been cheated in Rwanda, chances are that we would have never had the wirings fixed and that the gauge would have never shown the actual engine temperature in the desert. Without Olivier, there is a 99.99% chance that our engine would have overheated in the Namibian desert and our problems would have been unsurmountable. It is strange how things can go sometimes. 

Still, we were in the middle of the desert. We waited for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the engine had cooled off. After that, we drove very slowly. The car almost overheated, because of the scorching sun, the bad, corrugated road and the fact that we slowly but sure had been driving uphill for half an hour. After our stop, we drove extra slowly. We would rather arrive 4 hours later than not at all. Slowly but steadily, we continued our trip west. Some beautiful viewpoints made for perfect additional stops to add to the cooling of the engine. We had also turned off the A/C and unplugged the electricity chargers. Everything to make sure Gigi didn't lose her cool. 

During our driving, we did some calculations. We had hoped to arrive at the west coast that day. However, the trip along the coast would be quite long, and we had no idea how fast we could go. We were unsure if we could make it to our intended stop. That is when we both had a wonderful idea. We had heard about wild camping before and we had spoken to several people who had been wild camping. Camping without any campsite, no people around, no showers or toilets and no running water, all alone with nature, that is what we really wanted to do some time, but we never really dared to do it. On our trusted iOverlander however, we had already found one wild camp that piqued our interest some time ago. It was a wild camp on the road we were taking right now and we both decided that this would be the perfect time to do a wild camp. 

We turned from the main road and followed the tracks. After some searching, we found the place that just HAD to be it. As it is wild camping, there is no sign telling this is the campsite. We did, however, find many spots where people had obviously camped. Many old camp fires and tracks proved that this was a very popular wild camp spot. We made sure we did not camp too close to the watering hole, to make sure we would not scare off thirsty animals and we made ourselves comfortable.

There is nothing that really compares to the feeling of being out, all alone with nature and the animals. When we arrived we saw many elephant droppings, rhino latrines, hyena droppings, and footprints. The place was close to some watering holes and several trees. We loved the thrill of being out all in the wild, but as it was our first time, it was also a little scary. As these animals really have little human interaction, there is no telling how they would respond if they would come across. We were 'lucky', as the only animals that came by were a springbok and some bush hares. We would have loved to see a rhino or elephant, but at the same time we would not have known how to respond or what they might do. At the same time, there is always the fear of people seeing us and finding us easy targets to steal from or rob. With a rooftop tent, we are quite exposed. 

Fortunately, there were no incidents that could identify as even remotely dangerous. Although we were quite on edge the whole time, we really enjoyed being all alone out here. We fried our game steak that we had bought at the Weakleys (our cooler box had still kept the meat quite cold, thanks a lot EY for this great present some years ago). As the sun was setting, we packed away our awning again. The wind was very strong at times and it made our lines move a lot and sound like a helicopter. We then set up our tent and we enjoyed the evening, with a beautiful sunset, from our tent. 

The next day we had another slow morning, just enjoying nature. We were very happy to have survived the night, although we were slightly sad that we had not had any visits from rhinos, elephants or hyenas. Maybe the next people would be more lucky. After our breakfast it was time to head on. If Gigi would permit it, this would be the day we finally reached the milestone we had been driving towards for all those months!

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