On the morning of 9 September 2014 before sunrise, 5 girls set out on the open road from Windhoek heading south to hike the Fish River Canyon Mule Trail.
Just imagine, 5 girls in a car; it was the start of a road trip to be remembered for years to come.
With breakfast fit for queens we continued our journey feeling much better. What makes a trip with girl’s fun? There are random outbursts of laughter and jokes and never a bored moment.
I don’t want to bore you with the details of what happened on the road. So let us proceed to the parts I want to actually tell you about.
After a journey of 580 km, we reached the sign confirming the wondrous adventure were about to embark on.
Just before lunch time we pulled in to the oasis of Canyon Roadhouse. It was a scorching hot day, and the restaurant ensured we had something to fill our stomachs with and to get the dust of the gravel road out of our throats with extra cold drinks. (You won’t get them colder anywhere else)
Just before we became too lazy, it was time to take on the gravel road again to the Mule station, the starting point of the Fish River Canyon Hike.
The girls in the back passed time by taking selfies.
It was a challenging drive to the mule station and must be driven with caution. I received a few whoos and haaas from the passengers with the bumpy road causing them to hop around like bunnies in the car.
Upon arrival at the mule station, all our belongings had to be repacked carefully to fit into a mule canvas bag. (You know how girls pack – way too much)
The drive to the edge of the Fish River Canyon on an open 4×4 vehicle was yet again long and extremely hot. I don’t think I have ever in my life experienced this kind of heat. It was so hot I think the not-to-be-named-here fancy pink lip gloss vaporized and disappeared into thin air.
A beautiful sight awaited us upon arrival to Camp Battlesnake. It was beyond what any of us imagined. We had a long journey to reach the station but I can tell you it was worth it. We were spoiled with cold refreshments and afterwards we had the opportunity to enjoy the shade of our tents to freshen up for the sundowner.
Our dinner tables were set with perfect ambiance.
After dinner a well deserved rest was ordered by our guide to get our beauty sleep. We were not feeling sleepy yet and decided to enjoy more wine and conversation to allow the moon to kiss our skin with its glimmering light. Eventually it was time to go to bed and Sigrid and I realized, we have not had a shower and it is absolutely necessary. There is one thing you should know about Namibia before I continue. We love to do things out in the open. We enjoy open skies and open-air everything – even showers. The two of us decided a shower in the moonlight was an absolute must because where in the city would we get an opportunity like this. I don’t think my neighbors would appreciate that kind of shenanigans.
(Just for the record there was 2 showers- we didn’t shower together)
The next morning and the first day of hiking started very early with an equal amount of coffee and packing.
There were no sun rays to guide me on the path, only the light of my torch.
Upon sunrise and after breakfast, the mules were ready for the day and packed with all our overweight girly content.
Everybody was inspired to take on the first day of hiking, with heavy backpacks, cold water and light feet.
We descended slowly into the magic that is the Fish River Canyon, trotting lightly like Klipspringers, hopeful of what we might find.
The beauty underneath my feet was the first piece of magic that astounded me. In hardware stores you get sought after tiles like Kilimanjaro that costs you a fortune, but here within the heart of nature, Canyon tiles pave the way.
The morning treated us well and for most of the hike we were engulfed by shade. Just as the heat threatened to take over we reached the designated lunch spot with a very chilly water pool to cool off in.
After lunch, we continued our journey to finish the days’ hike of 12km. We made regular stops to learn about the vegetation and the animals that inhabit the Fish River Canyon.
Our overnight camp was in sight and we had a choice: either we cross the river or we hike another 1km. We took the easy way out and crossed the river. Don’t attempt this with shoes. You will literally get yourself into a very sticky situation. It is slippery and your toes are much better tools to hang onto in the mud than the tread of your shoes. It is also quite the challenge to get that sticky mud off your shoes. (P.s I think mine still has mud on them.)
After a great day of hiking behind us and tired but smiling faces, we reached our destination at about 3 o clock in the afternoon.
To find out what happened in this picture below, read the rest of the story next week.
Jessica Thomas is a local freelance writer. She is an eccentric young lady who has a love affair with writing. Get on board her journey of discovery.