Coming home from Namibia

Rejoining the ‘Notes from my Moleskine‘ series, we round up the final three pages from the first Lucozade Challenge: Sandboarding in Nambia.

—– Shofat, Manzoor, Sam, Me, Foyce and Suhel —–

Moleskine entry: July 12th, 2009

I’m home, at last…

We were all supposed to be back Saturday (today is Sunday), but early morning fog meant we couldn’t land in Walvis Bay and so we missed our connection. 24hrs in Windhoek, the Namibian capital, ensued. Forget the delay, the most hilarious thing I saw in those 24hrs was our pilot, Elsa, texting the control tower telling them she couldn’t see them

I digress, the important part is:

I am home.

______________________

Learnings & Memories

: Four kids from Brum can be all the company you’ll ever need for an extreme sports holiday to Africa.

: The stars. They still amaze me.

: A midnight meteor shower over the plains of Damaraland – breathtaking.

: Shofat walking (and subsequently falling) into the swimming pool in Serra Cafeme.

: Dries. Sandboarding. Brilliant.

: Must buy a circular polariser for the camera.

: Satphones can be incredibly useful and yet incredibly infuriating at the same time.

: Lions. Outside the tent.

: Quad-biking at dusk.

: Taking so many photos – a joy.

: Power! She needs more power Cap’n!

______________________

The winners for stage two have been drawn and the competition for stage three opens real soon. Between now and then however, I’ll be Cattle Ranching through Wyoming. I’ve never ridden a horse before, let’s see how that works out…

Before I close the book on stage one mind, I need to make sure I write something about Eric & Raymond.

These were the two guys that held our hands and showed us the way the whole time we were there in Namibia. Without them it would’ve a been very, very boring trip and probably quite rubbish too.

Gents, I tip my hat. Thank you, both of you. You made it all worthwhile.

Notes from Namibia

Moleskine entry: July 9th, 2009

I’ve never flown this far South before. Cape Town is 10hrs straight down. Damaraland, Namibia 2hrs back up again.

The stars are very different here.

Last night we slept out under the skies, in the middle of a half-million hectare concession, where people, wildlife and animals all co-exist together. Rhino, Springbok, Zebra, Giraffe, Leopard, Cheetah, Elephant and Ostrich. We’re told there’s no real danger, but we’re quiet all the same.

On the way out, Eric – our guide – remarks that the stripes of a Zebra are as unique as that of a human fingerprint.

“Zebras have human fingerprints?”…asks a not-really-listening Suhel.
“Yes Suhel, Zebras have human fingerprints.”

We laugh, uncontrollably.

Lions walked past through our camp, right past them. There are paw prints outside my door. I heard them late, out there in the dark, purring their deep, low grumble. Not quite a growl, not quite a roar but still… that sound.

A glimpse through the window revealed nothing. I could see the light from a distant toilet-tent knocking gently in the trees, but that is all. The moonlight, so bright out here in the middle of nowhere, shines down clearly, basking all in pale illumination.  But I see nothing.

Still, I hear them mumble.

Plans for the Summer

About a month ago I entered into the running to be Lucozade’s Social Media Reporter this Summer, covering each of their ‘Energy Challenges’ as they happen across the globe. Phase one was an initial email pitch that answered the question ‘why should we pick you?’

I threw some words together, detailing some of my social media credentials – or ‘whuffie‘ as my dear friend Vero calls it – and was soon after awarded a place in the next round.

Phase two stepped it up a bit. This time we had to create a ‘multimedia diary’ based around reporting on a physical activity.
The requirements were as follows:

  • One two minute video
  • Footage of the physical activity
  • Interview with the person undertaking the activity
  • Piece to camera introducing your diary
  • A written blog of no more than 150 – 200 words
  • 10 photographs

With that I went off and spent the afternoon at a secret location with my good friend and neighbour, Richard Mills. I think you all know how that turned out.

😉

James Whatley meets: Richard Mills” got me through into the third and final round; a sit down face to face with the Lucozade team. Two hours later my phone rang.

“Hi James, we’d really like it if you could be the Lucozade Energy Challenge Social Media Reporter…”

That was two weeks ago.

My feet haven’t really touched the ground since.

The Lucozade Challenge is one big competition. You can enter right now. Each week winning a place to on one of the challenges for you and three of your mates.
There are five challenges in total and they are as follows:

  1. Sandboarding in Namibia
  2. Cattle ranching in Wyoming
  3. White water rafting in Zambia
  4. Yacht racing in the Caribbean
  5. Glacier climbing in the Alps

Over the Summer, I’ll be blogging, tweeting and filming every single one of them… and I cannot wait!  😀

Thing is, I leave for Namibia on Saturday.

Best pack really…