Namibia - Windhoek
Wed 17 Sep
Arrived in Windhoek (Namibia) around 0800, later than scheduled as we had taken several hours to exit at the South African border. The Customs & Excise people were very keen to search all our bags especially I thought those of the Angolan couple sat opposite me. I walked through the capital "city" with some others from the bus and up to a backpackers' hostel called the Cardboard Box. Had breakfast, enquired about tours and hire cars to no avail, and spent a couple of hours on the internet. I checked emails and looked at cameras. One email was from an English lady called Charlotte who ran a travel agency in the next street so I popped 'round to see her. She helped me work out an itinerary for the next 5 days, booked some accommodation and found me a hire car which I could collect that afternoon. (There were no tours with places for my dates and insufficient public transport - if I wanted to see Namibia I'd have to self drive.)
Back to Cardboard Box for lunch and more Internet. My idea/hope was I could buy a camera on the internet and find someone to bring it out. Friends and contacts came up trumps! Someone was coming out from UK in a week's time and I would meet them in Livingstone. All I needed to do was get the camera and accessories to Stockport. Matters were not helped by the website with the best prices rejecting my credit card.
I went off to collect the car. The firm not only wanted me to pay in advance (reasonably enough) but also wanted to take a deposit against my credit card to ensure I returned it in one piece. We soon found the card would not be authorised automatically but eventually by telephone and her repeating my security answers to someone on the other end the transactions were authorised. It was 1830 by the time I got back to Cardboard Box. I tried calling my Credit Card company in the UK but the telephone card credit ran out before I could talk to a person. Getting increasingly annoyed I emailed the bank complaining of the problems and difficulty contacting them.
After a Kudu steak for supper, I stayed up talking and drinking with a Norwegian lady called Linda travelling with 3 others (in fact they'd been on the same bus as me). It turned out they were planning to get the same coach as me to Zambia. Before turning in I tried to purchase the camera one more time. This time I succeeded! Excellent. With that in motion I could now go off and enjoy the deserts of Namibia for a few days - trusting that my camera would not let me down for the breathtaking sand dunes of Sossusvlei.
Thu 18 Sep
Checked the email before leaving "civilisation". The Bank had replied giving me a new phone number and asking me to ring them immediately. I bought another phone card and asked them to call back (reverse charge calls seemingly not available in Namibia). They called and confirmed there had been security concerns - all these large amounts simultaneously in different countries. Once I explained what I was doing they apologised and made a note on my file of ALL the countries I would be visiting in the next 3 months. Meanwhile a chap in a baseball cap was pacing up and down in front of me - an American called Mike who wanted to know if he could come with me ANYWHERE! I agreed if he would share the costs of the car and fuel and within 30 minutes we were on the road. It turned out he had just got off the bus from Victoria Falls, had found no tours with places, but heard I'd got a car and a plan.
Namibia - Windhoek