And other animals

Having Katie join Emma in the morning is great. Anything to change the routine.

Pretty (tough) in pink: Emma and Katie

It’s a long stretch of tarmac. 252 km from Grootfontein to Rundu, now another 197 km to Divundu and then 310 km to the border. It’s long and it’s a bit dull for Emma.


That night we camp on the side of the road. Literally. All along the road there are rest stops, with a tree, a table and bench seats and a couple of big bins. Up until now, we have been very careful about camping out of sight but here, there are houses everywhere we go, and this place seems the most unpopulated. It makes for a noisy night, as lorries thunder past.

Emma is ill all day the next day and it’s very worrying. Stomach upsets in Africa are serious because it is easy to dehydrate in the heat and it takes too long to get to hospital. We are 100km from the nearest clinic. Emma continues to run when most people would be dithering between the bed or the toilet.

Bad horn day
Bad horn day
From left to right: Emma, me, curious friendly people sharing a bicycle (they take it in turns to peddle), Mike
From left to right: Emma, me, curious friendly people sharing a bicycle (they take it in turns to peddle), Mike

I call a contact Andy gave me, Charlie Paxton. On the phone, Charlie asks if we are sitting under a tree having lunch. Yes we are! We have been spotted. Charlie invites us to come and camp with them that evening at Shamvura, which, if you ever get a chance, is a delightful and unusual experience. Both Charlie and her husband Mark are extremely knowledgeable about the area and animals. They educate us on current conservation techniques and issues.

I wanted to share how stick like the stick insect is. Easy to miss.
I wanted to share how stick like the stick insect is. Easy to miss.

Charlie knows a huge variety of people and reminds me of my childhood hero Gerald Durrell (who wrote “My family and other animals”). Having told us wonderful stories about her pet vulture following and doing whatever she did, including sunbathing in the pool, Charlie invited us to have a look in their bedroom to meet their pet goat. I imagine a little cuddly goat. But no, this guy is as big as me. Startled by us, he almost jumps on the chicken that is calmly sitting on a trunk. The chicken doesn’t shift a feather. The one thing that struck me most was how clean and tidy the bedroom was. I am guessing you won’t believe me but honestly, it was a clean and tidy room. I failed to ask how you train a chicken and a goat not to poop in the house.


It’s a fairly eventful time at Shamvura. Woocash wakes me up in the middle of the night as he rushes out the tent, barefoot, to throw up. On the way, there are poisonous spiders, snakes, scorpions and thorns to step on. So, in sleepy befuddlement, I find his sandals and a torch and make my to the bathroom where he’s finished by the time I get there. I have no idea how he did it in the dark.

Anyone know if this is dangerous or merely cuddly?
Spiders in the dark. Anyone know if this is dangerous or merely fluffy?

Whilst trying to leave, before dawn, a friendly horse bothers us. He’s very curious about the tent and what we are doing packing things up. He seems a bit miffed when we push him out the way.

Then it’s through the darkness of the trees and back to the road.

Number of Days: 24

Total distance run by Emma: 998 kilometres, 620 miles

Average distance run, including rest days: 41.6 kilometres a day, 25.8 miles a day.


For anyone considering staying at Shamvura, the campsite seemed great. We had a little corner to ourselves with good facilities.

Samsitu Campsite

“Someone has to get out and push!”

By which Andy means someone has to get off the boat and step into crocodile infested waters. It’s our last evening at Samsitu and Andy and Karin have insisted we stop rushing about and writing blogs and instead enjoy an evening of relaxation on a boat on the Okavango river. Andy, the owner of Samsitu River Camp, has just been telling us stories about crocodiles catching dogs and people in the river. I think Andy is joking but no, the boat is stuck in some reeds and someone does have to get out. Woocash and Karin take their shoes off and step into the water whilst I keep a watch for crocodiles. I was once told if a crocodile gets within 10 metres of you in water, you have no chance of escape. Luckily, the crocs are busy elsewhere or their larders are full.

Andy, Karin and Mike
Andy, Karin and Mike, with Angola in the background

The whole experience is pretty amazing. It’s peaceful and beautiful. The Okavango river, at this point cuts between Angola and Namibia, which means there are moments when we are in Angola. An exciting thought.

Happiness is driving a boat, a happy Woocash.
Happiness is driving a boat, a happy Woocash.
Angola on the left, Namibia on the right :)
Angola on the left, Namibia on the right

At Samsitu we have comfy beds, running water and a huge room in which we unpack all our kit from Cleo (the car) so that we can give her a thorough clean. The open plan dining room, living room, kitchen has a table in it for about 20 people. It would be perfect for a party. The friendly bar has seats overhanging the river from which I try to spot the local hippo. Andy and Karin tell wonderful stories. Sometimes, in the rainy season, the area is so flooded that they can only use a boat to get to Rundu.

I have no idea what Woocash is doing here. Any guesses? Andy and Karin gave us free accommodation, it’s nice to be able to do something in return.

During the day we had been shopping and cleaning and other chores. Whilst Mike was finishing shelves for the back of Cleo, Emma writing her blog and Woocash fixing Andy and Karin’s car,  I cooked up a tasty but time consuming lunch:

Main Course
Pancakes and Tuna Wrap


Pancakes and honey

I could never make this on the road. The pancakes are made from flour, egg, water and salt. In the wrap, I put variations on request of: tuna, avocado, tomato, lemon, onion and salt and pepper.

After the boat trip, a running friend of Andy’s drops by. Katie is nice and friendly and impressed by Emma and decides to join Emma for her morning run through Rundu. This is good, Emma needs variety to keep her entertained. Andy and Karin also give us useful contacts for the rest of our route in Namibia.

Days 22

Total distance run by Emma: 899 km, 558 miles