Mesosaurus Fossils

We went to a farm to see some mesosaurus fossils.  A mesosaurus is a creature that lived before the dinosaurs.  It lived in the swamps. It looked a bit like a crocodile. The farmer’s son found the first fossil, but they are not allowed to open any more, in case they damage them.  You can see the bones of the ribs, tail and feet. The head has disappeared. There was also fossilised poo called copralite!

He also showed us some very cool rocks, called dolerite rocks. They were formed when the magma from a volcano bubbled up through the soft clay, but didn’t reach the surface. They are covered in desert varnish which is manganese dioxide. It is black and very hard. It makes the rocks ring. He played us a tune…. See the video!!

We also learnt about quiver trees. They are called quiver trees because the bushmen hollowed out the branches to make a case for their arrows.  This is called a quiver! It is actually an aloe – like the national flower of Lesotho!

I saw a massive bird’s nest in a tree!


It was very interesting.

Fish River Canyon

On our first morning in Namibia we saw 2 giraffes, but they were too far away to take a photo. We have also seen zebra, lots of springbok and gemsbok and ostriches.

We went to Fish River Canyon for lunch. It is the second biggest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon in America. The road to get there was very bumpy. The canyon was wide with a river at the bottom. It was a long way down. The view was amazing but I didn’t want to go too close to the edge.


After Lesotho we went to a campground along the coast, because the Taniwha had to go back to the garage. The campsite was good because there was mini-golf, a playground with a trampoline (!) a swimming pool and the beach.  We made some friends called Daniel and Brody.

When Daddy was finally happy with the car, we hit the road. We went to a charity shop in Pinetown and I got some new books to read. I am now reading Alex Rider – it is really good! We also got a book on how to do a cat’s cradle. My favourite is the tea cup and saucer that changes to the Eiffel Tower.

We did lots of driving to get to Johannesburg so Daddy could buy an air jack. Then we drove all the way to the other side of South Africa to a place called Springbok.  We all did the parkrun, then we went to Namibia, and got a new flag on the car!!




Bush Mechanics in Lesotho and Namibia

Whilst being laid up here in Walvis Bay I have time to catch up on Man vs Land Rover.  We have had a few issues of late, requiring professional intervention (shiny new head) as well as some of my traditional “just get it working again” medicine.

fanViscous fan – in a nutshell, this stopped working efficiently, causing overheating on the mountain passes in Lesotho.  I hadn’t considered this as a cause (the fan had only about 30k on it), so thanks to Paul at The Centre in Durban for the idea. Chatting/swearing about how to lock the fan mechanism in the campground (sorry mate, I didn’t get your name!) let to the revelation that people in a Jeep had tried to use epoxy, but the heat killed it pretty quickly.  “Aha!” thought I, i’ll drill some channels and slap in a few self tappers.  It worked flawlessly, problem solved until he fan was replaced back in Durban with a shiny new one.


Roofrack leg – back in Europe, the captive nut in one roofrack leg failed, necessitating a quick bodge with a nut and bolt.  Not ideal, so I bought a new leg in Joburg and fitted it.  Naturally I didn’t torque it correctly, so it vibrated loose here in Namibia (new rattle detected and identified, problem sorted in Solitaire whilst hopping around on one leg waiting for my knee to start working again (see previous post).

relayLight relay – whilst driving back in the dark from Dune 45 to the campground, we lost our high beam headlights.  Inconvenient (as there was game around) but not the end of the world as we have VisionX lamps on the bumper (with fog covers, but better than nothing).  I have identified the fault as a failed relay in our Boomslang light harness, an easy fix once I can get on the roof to my spares box (or talk Margaret into fossicking around).

busted shockLost suspension bolt – this one was a bit more serious.  Whilst juddering along the most corrugated road on earth, one of the rear shock absorber mounting bolts vibrated out, and we didn’t immediately notice (the juddering was that bad).  A few km later we stopped for a breather, and something made me check the shocks… the shock mount on the chassis had been bent off at nearly a right angle to where it should be, the shock was dented and its dust cover ripped off, and there is a gig shiny dent in the floor where the shock had been hammering it.  In true bush mechanic fashion much swearing was deployed, buying time for a solution to be dreamed up before family meltdown occurred.

Margaret was sent down the road with a walkie talkie to search for the bolt (handy having a runner available) while I attacked the chassis mount with my trusty landy-hammer (copper mallet, good for hitting sensitive things really hard and not worrying too much about denting them).  With the bracket now roughly back in shape I dug into the roof boxes and found a bolt of the right length, diameter and thread – albeit not high tensile – called Margaret back and remounted the shock.  A few bits of Gorilla Tape and the dust shield was also back in place…  rolling again!  A new shock is arriving on Monday, and we will also source a proper suspension bolt to replace my #8 wire solution.



Busted knee!

One of the things that parents repeatedly tell their kids is “do up your shoelaces, or you will trip on them and hurt yourself”. Well… on Thursday morning we got up bright and early in order to catch the sunrise on Dune 45, and I stupidly popped my boots on for the shuffle across the car park to the toilets, neglecting to do up my laces.  The laces on my right boot caught in the hooks on the left boot, and I hit the ground hard – VERY hard, point of impact being my right knee.  I am not light, and the carpark was rocky.

After a few minutes of exchanging verbal pleasantries with the carpark, I managed to get back onto my feet and hobble around – no major damage done as I was mobile.  We packed up camp and drove to the Dune, Margaret climbed up to get the photos as I was still very sore.

Fast forward a few hours of (extremely) rough driving and we got to the bakery at Solitaire (excellent Apple Pie, btw) – I climbed out of the car, and within a few seconds my knee had tripled in size and really started hurting.  By harnessing the powers of foul language I got back into the truck and drove on to Walvis Bay (driving is actually OK – its the climbing in and out, and bending the leg into position to use the pedals that is the problem).

At the campground in Walvis Bay I thought things were improving – camp set up (mostly by Margaret) and beer consumed – when all of a sudden it flared up again.  Off to Welwitschia Hospital I went in a taxi (The people here are fantastic – reception, nurses, radiographer and doc – apparently most tourists are sensible enough to have better reasons for a visit, like quad bike crashes).  After a few hours we had a diagnosis of an enormous haematoma, plus bleeding in the joint itself – hopefully no damage to meniscus etc, but time will tell.  The good news, no break, chips or cracks which was initially feared pre X-ray.

So… to wrap up, it’s now the next day, swelling has gone down a bit and the bruising is coming out nicely, I am on crutches, bandaged up and we are chilling out in Walvis Bay for a few days before proceeding north.

morning after

The campsite has an excellent playground, and is close to the beach (featuring both flamingos and pelicans). The beer is still cold.