No visit to Namibia is complete without a trip to the Namib Desert. One of the more remote parts of this stark wilderness is the Tirasberg - about 275kms west of Keetmanshoop, mostly on marvellous gravel roads.
We took a slow drive out there and found one of the best campsites ever at a place called Khoimasis
and one of the Twins ...
Met his doppelganger.
This kind of rainfall in the Namib is almost unheard of - especially in July. One weather event does not equate to climate change, but rains like this in an arid desert are no longer one in a hundred year events.
A well-earned break in the one-horse town of Helmeringshausen, after skidding and hydro-planing along the sodden roads, confirmed that some things remained unchanged. In this case it was the German Apple Strudel in the grand old hotel.
One landmark - the hotel - and two rarities in the town of Helmeringhausen - an Aussie and winter rain.
We continued our drive northwards along roads that had turned to mud and, under a brooding sky, made our way towards the famous Sossusvlei dunes.
We decided to stop over and spend the night at a quirky campsite by the name of Tsauchab River Camp, where the roads, were wet, the river was dry and the sunset was spectacular.
We eventually made it to the iconic Sossusvlei, one of Namibia's stand out natural wonders.
Wise-O got about three quarters of the way up while Gabba and Joelie turned back at the vlei itself, which was bone dry in spite of the heavy rains the day before.
It was Gabba who insisted to help Joelie down the slopes after his Oom had blacked out along the ridge. Once he (and Oom) realised no one in the party was about to die, they had a relaxing few hours in the shade of a few camelthorn trees, waiting for Murghan and the Ace-Cook to return.
A drive through the Gamsberg brought us to our primary destination in Namibia: Windhoek and the HQ of Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG) and the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia. But for three of the team it was a short-lived stay. Gabba and the Ace Cook hurried on to Harare, Zimbabwe, for the second Hell's Kitchen Ghetto event, brought forward in order not to clash with the country's general elections.
Morgs went back to Cape Town to get spruced up and dressed in a suit
Oom stayed on to work with NHAG and the Federation, meeting with students and planners to consider the layout for an entire settlement in the town of Gobabis.
He also went to State House, to visit the First Lady of Namibia, who is the Chairperson of SDI's UPFI Advisory Committee
And he attended the Namibia Federation's annual National Forum, a gathering of regional leaders from across the country.
After about a week Gabba and Wise-O rejoined the trip in time to drive to Gobabis, a small town near the Botswana border.
There they witnessed a community planning exercise in the settlement - a humbling and enlightning experience.
The visit to Gobabis included an important visit to the city council offices where everyone was distracted by one of the federation member's bonnet.
A memorable sunset over Gobabis dam and then it was time for a good night's sleep before departing from Namibia and setting out for Botswana.