Swampland in the Everglades

Day 113, stage 87, 93km

Start, Seeheim Camp

Finish, Canon Roadhouse Camp

Today was supposed to be an easy day. We would climb the hill out of Seeheim, cycle through nothingness for 93km and arrive at the next oasis in the middle of nowhere. A doddle. But it didn’t quite work out like that. We were expecting a tail wind but instead crested the hill out of Seeheim into an unexpected 40kmh headwind. It was incredibly tough. When I got to lunch at 67km, after cycling for almost 5 hours, I felt like I had just cycled 130km. It took that much effort. You had to peddle like the clappers to go down hill. If you stopped you were blown over like skittles in a wind tunnel

The treat at the end of this supposed short day was to be an excursion to the Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon. But we all got in so late it had to be cancelled – not enough time to get there and back. They closed the park gates at sunset. Wasn’t supposed to happen like this. We left at 6:30 in the morning. We should have been finished between 9:30 and 10:30 at the latest. I didn’t get to lunch until after 11.

But once again the camp did not disappoint in this fantasy park called Namibia. We ended up a t a place called the Canon Roadhouse and Camp. It could have been picked up and plunked down from somewhere just outside Phoenix Arizona. Once again it was huge, well appointed and busy. The main bar and restaurant area was so big it housed an antique car collection as well as tables, chairs and a draft beer pump. They appeared to have enough campsites for 200 people. The 60 or so of us used just a small corner of the site. They also had 30 rooms. The business model obviously works, but it is the most counter intuitive success you could imagine. If you flew in from some European capital, un-briefed, to look at a property, you would look around and think they were trying to sell you swampland in the Everglades. How could you possibly make a success of a 30 room roadhouse with a 70 seat restaurant when the nearest habitation is 50 miles away? Come to Namibia!

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