We had been told to be ready to leave the lodge at 10am. We had been warned that we would be spending the night at the Spitzkoppe camp with no running water, and the following two days without drinking water. Sue and I made sure to set the alarm early enough so we could walk the short ten-minute walk into the city center, go to the ATMs and then to the grocery store to stock up on water (a 5L jug each), snacks to help the time on the truck go by, and alcohol to enjoy whenever we saw fit. Upon arriving back at the Amanpuri Lodge, we did last minute packing up, checking and double checking the entire room – in the closet and under the beds – and brought our many bags back to Harrison where our newly laundered clothes were bound to become dusty and dirty again in no time!
Once everyone was onboard and accounted for we rolled out of Swakopmund with our sights set on Spitzkoppe –a short two or three hour drive away. Our Nomad Adventure Tour leaders, Shingie and Sandile, let us know that we would be making a single pit stop at a gem market, which would also double as our toilet break. Intrigued by the idea of buying some cool gemstones, and motivated by a full bladder I rushed off the bus and made my way to the basic toilet that the local people had set up in seemingly the middle of nowhere.
As I waited for others to finish using the bathroom, I perused some of the stands and chatted with a few locals. I ended up buying a couple gemstones and had asked the lovely woman if she would mind if I took some photographs. Of course, since I had just paid more than the stones were worth she agreed to this request. I ran back to the truck and snatched my Nikon from my camera bag and rushed back into the market.
Only this is the part of the story where my alter ego – the oh-so eloquently named ‘Little Miss Clusterf**k’ made her stunning debut. Being a bit of a klutz I’m always managing to be the first one to trip, fall, get bruised, start bleeding or lose something (or all of the above). My dear friend and tour guide in Australia, Simo, was the lovely person to give me the nickname that I always manage to live up to.
As I was rushing back into the market, I was more focused on what I would take pictures of first, I failed to notice a large rock and kicked it. Did I mention that I was only wearing flip flops? While it did hurt a bit, I didn’t think enough of it to look down to my foot – as I tend to kick the ground a lot when I’m walking (see… klutz). It wasn’t until I had almost reached Shingie, Sandile and Susan all chatting with one another that someone freaked out.
“Oh my God! Melissa! Your foot is bleeding!”
“Oh I just kicked a rock, it’s no big deal.” I replied – still not bothering to look at my foot. More focused on what type of amazing photographs I could get in the next few minutes. I didn’t let it faze me.
“Melissa! It looks BAD! You’re bleeding all over the place!”
It wasn’t until that moment that I looked down and noticed that I had done QUITE the number on my big toe. They weren’t kidding… I was actually leaving a trail of blood behind me. Now since I have the nickname “Little Miss Clusterf**k” I’m used to getting into this type of situation – which is why I very rarely go anywhere without a first aid kit fully stocked with all the essentials – for when I inevitably end up in a situation like this one.
I turned around and started hobbling back to the truck as quickly as possible – knowing that we didn’t have much time left before Harrison was supposed to be back on the road en route to our campsite. At this point a few others started following me asking if they could help or piping in with their “Oh my God!” type statements. Shaun, our lovely trainee guide, was all over this situation though. As I went to get my first aid kit and water bottle, he was getting a chair set up and the tour’s very large and fully stocked first aid kit out. I sat down and together we dealt with the matter– accompanied by a group of about 5 wincing spectators. By the time my toe was fully bandaged up, everyone was back on the truck waiting to hit the road.
Feeling like an idiot I took my seat at the front of the truck and sulked. I hate that I can be such a clumsy fool sometimes. I knew that this was going to make bush camping for the next two nights interesting and even more, I was afraid of possibly missing out on any activities. We had one final pit stop to take pictures of Spitzkoppe in the distance, and while normally I would be bounding about jumping and posing like an idiot, I could barely muster the an ounce of my normal sparkle to force a smile.
We reached camp a little bit before 1pm and while everyone helped set up lunch, Shaun and I tended again to my toe, which by this point had bled through the gauze. It looked pretty bad – I had broken the toenail on my big toe about a quarter of the way from the top and had a large gash both under and above the nail that spread around to the bottomside of my toe. I felt like an absolute idiot and knew that I would be stuck either sitting in one place or hobbling around for the rest of the day.
While everyone enjoyed exploring the beautiful mountains known as Spitzkoppe… I sat around camp, read my book, sun tanned and napped. Later that afternoon we all had an optional activity to go on a bushman walk around the mountains to see the ancient paintings on the walls… I was really looking forward to this, as I had really enjoyed the previous bushman walk at the desert camp, but I knew in my heart there was absolutely no way I could do the hike. What made it even more of a kick in the gut is that EVERYONE decided to go – less Shingie and Sandile.
So, as I watched the fifteen hikers go on their merry way, I offered to help with dinner – which was quite the struggle to convince Shingie to actually let me help. He kept saying “No, this is your holiday. Relax and enjoy.” Of course, I can be quite stubborn, so I helped him make a lovely beef stew with sadza (cooked cornmeal) and waited for the others to return.
Now I’m not sure if they were simply saying it to make me feel better, but a few of those who went on the hike told me upon their arrival back to camp – nearly 3 hours later – that it wasn’t worth going on the hike. I simply think that it was going to be difficult for any guide to give a spirited and informative tour as well as the bushman from the desert camp. I still kick myself to this day that I wasn’t able to participate – but perhaps that’s simply because I tend to suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
Once everyone ate their meal, we gathered around the campfire, chatted and joked and enjoyed coffee, tea or various other alcoholic beverages. At some point I managed to sneak away and return to the comfort of my tent. As I lay down and got comfortable I realized I had forgotten to shut the outside window flap on my side of the tent. However, since the sky was so clear and it wasn’t an overly chilly evening, I decided to leave it open. To this day I still remember watching the stars and thinking to myself how lucky I was to be there despite not being able to fully enjoy it as I would have like to. It was some time around having these thoughts that I drifted off to sleep for yet another sound sleep in the comfort of the tent I shared with Sue.
**DISCLAIMER: While Nomad Adventure Tours did provide me with a discounted tour, all expressed thoughts, opinions and experiences remain my own.**
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