We didn't sleep particularly well, but weren't sure why. But when we got up, the covers were in disarray and we weren't sure how they got like that - maybe one of sleepwalked in the middle of the night. At breakfast, we were at a table right over the river, and the river looked like a lake, still as could be. It was a bit overcast and cooler than the day before. We were a bit excited because the morning excursion was ATVing through the desert, and everyone who found out we were headed to Serra Cafema said we'd really enjoy that. After breakfast, Gerhardus trained us one how to use the ATVs, and we did a couple of laps around a flat area near camp, getting the hang of things. Gear shifting was a bit tricky, as you really needed to lift your left foot (particularly the toes) to upshift, and there wasn't anything on the ATV telling you what gear you were in, so you always needed to keep a mental note.

Once Gerhardus was sufficiently sure we weren't a danger to ourselves, we set out. The first hill out of camp was quite rocky and bumpy, but seemed less so than when we were in the truck. We went slow and steady, without any issues. Near one of the ravines we smelled what we assumed to be a dead oryx, only there was no sight of it and no vultures either. Eventually we made our way to the Hartmann Valley, where the terrain flattened out and we could speed up a bit. For the most part we were driving between 20-25 km/h (13-15 mph), but every now and then we'd speed up more than that. We saw lots of oryx, who seemed miffed at our appearance, but other than that we had the whole area to ourselves. After an hour or so we went on some dunes in the Kunene Sand Sea, which stretches all the way to the ocean (which is about 50 km, 31 miles, away). Unlike the dunes down near Sossusvlei, the dunes in this area are constantly changing shape and moving substantially, so it's not possible to drive to the ocean, as the path may have completely disappeared by the time one turns the car back around.

After going up, down, and around the dunes for awhile, we made our way back the way we came. Other than Justin inadvertently killing his engine and Crystal going off the "road" three times, we had no issues. The most trying part of the whole experience was the very last bit. There is a big dune just above camp, and so at the very end we had to skid down the dune to get back (you can see our tracks in this picture). Crystal's thought process was "sh*t, sh*t, sh*t, sh*t, sh*t, done." Justin's was about the same. We both made it without incident, though.

We got back right at noon, and Elaine told us we would be having a special lunch again. And again, it was special. This time, they had set up a private picnic lunch on a sandbar on the Angolan side of the river - with our name and date inscribed in the sand no less. The meal was quite good, with meatballs, bratwurst, potato salad, pesto fettucine, and greens. It seemed like every meal here was a special event - we hadn't eaten in the dining room yet. On the boat trip we saw more crocs, including a pretty big one (3-4 meters, 10-12 feet). We got back between 1:30 and 2:00, and we were told we had most of the afternoon to ourselves. So Justin slept while Crystal read. We got ready just in time to go on a short sundowner drive to one of the nice vantage points we'd been to the day before, which Gerhardus referred to as the Hartmann Viewpoint. It took awhile, but was well worth it.

While sitting at the Johannesburg airport, we had seen a Facebook picture from Wilderness Safaris taken from Serra Cafema, overlooking the Hartmann Valley. We wanted to get a picture just like that, or at least a cheap imposter. Our sky wasn't quite as impressive, but it was a nice view with good colors. After awhile the sun started to set behind some coastal fog, which reminded us a bit of home. Because of the fog, it got a bit cold, but that didn't stop us from enjoying our sundowners. On the way back we stopped to get some photos of an Oryx skull - we kept passing it, and realized this would be the last time we'd be coming this way. But it was impossible to see through the camera because of the darkness, and also impossible to focus, so Justin just kept taking manual photos with manual focus and hoping for the best.

We got back and showered while we still had warm water. We had a nice dinner, with Oryx again (prepared a different way this time). For once we were actually in the dining room, this time with 6 loud Americans (which, sadly, is a bit redundant). Everyone left well before us, and so we ended up having drinks with Fatimah and Denzel, two of the other managers. We talked about travel, Namibian history, house prices in Windhoek, philosophy, and pretty much everything else under the sun. One of the best parts about travelling for us is meeting people with different backgrounds and outlooks on life. Perhaps that's why we're generally not big fans of Americans overseas, or perhaps it's because they're generally loud and obnoxious and thus embarrassing to us.


Denzel talked about wanting to visit San Francisco, and Justin realized he would be there in less than two weeks - this was one of the first times it crossed our mind that we'd be coming home soon. Fatimah told us about Cuban influence in Namibia, going back to the Cubans being involved in border skirmishes between rebels in Angola and Namibia (when it was still part of South Africa) in the l970s and 1980s. Justin had read about the rebel fighting in his book, and was probably one of the few people who when coming to Serra Cafema asked the guide "hey, is this the area where the MPLA and FNLA were fighting back in the 1970s?" Fatimah was telling us how nobody really knows about the Cuban influence, and reiterated the phrase we hear a lot in the US - "History is written by the victors." She also mentioned that although Namibia is now independent, South Africa still has a lot of influence, and the relationship is one-way, e.g., South African Rand can be used in currency in Namibia, but Namibian dollars cannot be used in South Africa. Denzel and Fatimah also told us to say hi to several of the folks in Ongava, including Emsie and Heinrich. This must be a common occurrence, because Ambrosius asked a similar favor of us before we came to Serra Cafema, since he had worked with a lot of the folks at Serra Cafema many years earlier. All told, for the third time in three nights at Serra Cafema, we stayed up well past 11. At least the following day we wouldn't have an early wake-up.