All in safari

Out of Namibia 14/10/16

In my last post we were heading from Swakopmund to Sossusvlei after a surprising and interesting three days exploring the coast. As usual, a 6 hour drive over gravel roads but before leaving I made sure that we had our route set in my portable gps linked by bluetooth to my iphone and the Tracks4africa app. Road construction and detours out of Swakop so our usual three way discussion ensued, V with her paper map, the gps with its inflexible and naggingly annoying one-track mind and me with the steering wheel and a very short attention span. Finally got ourselves sorted and on the right road south to the &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge.

Not a particularly memorable drive, gravel road and desert so with a brief stop for lunch in Solataire (sic), we pushed on, arriving in mid-afternoon. The lodge, like all &Beyond properties, a stunner, on a rocky rise overlooking miles of flat desert to hills and very large dunes rising in the distance.  There are 12 individual self-contained stone units scattered over the ridge, each with its own deck looking out over the infinite desert views, somewhat reminiscent of Doro Nawas, but there the resemblance ended. Instead of desultory service and a rundown air, the rooms and the lodge were spotless and sparkling, service was pleasant and attentive, rooms luxurious and food some of the best we have had. Only drawback is the 1 hour drive from the lodge to the gates of the Sossusvlei Reserve and a further 1/2 drive from the gates to the beginning of the Sossuusvlei dunes...

On our way to Namibia

We left last night for the first leg of our trip to Namibia and then on to Jordan. This is our third trip to Africa since 2012, clearly it has attractions for us. We're flying to Jo'burg via São Paulo with a 14 hour layover in São Paulo. I'm not a great fan of Aeroplan, the only routing that allowed us to get to Jo'burg on points and in Business is the one we're flying. Aeroplan offered us other options, a leg to Montreal then an overnight to Frankfurt or London, a long layover and then another overnight to Jo'burg. However the Toronto-Montreal leg was in Business the two overnight legs were in Economy but Aeroplan wanted to charge us the full Business points total even though the only leg that was in Business was the one to Montreal. I don't mind paying the full whack to fly in the front cabin but I find it really galling to be charged maximum points to fly in steerage. I know, no handkerchiefs, a first world problem.

All flights to South Africa from North America, with the exception of a direct Washington to Jo'burg flight that's almost impossible to book on points, are right angled routes, no diagonals, so an overnight north-south or east-west, a long layover and another overnight flight perpendicular to the first. We're in São Paulo, halfway though our 14 hour layover and another overnight flight to go...