Buffaloes v United Stars, Sunday 15th February 2015, 10.30am

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One week on from the matches in Windhoek, we caught our next Namibian game over on the east coast in Swakopmund. We’d travelled a fair distance in that time, driving south to Fish River Canyon, then across to Luderitz, then back up to Walvis Bay via Sossuslvei  on the east coast.

Fish River Canyon was spectacular. We stayed on the edge and were able to hike along the top in the early morning before it got too hot. We were also driven down to the bottom where the lack of rain meant that the river had dried to no more than a number of rock pools. The fish that were concentrated within these were happy to share our crisps with us.

We were over a hundred kilometres  from the nearest town and with the lack of artificial light it’s the best place I’ve been for looking at the stars.

Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon

After the canyon we headed west to the port town of Luderitz. Whilst the drive through the desert was impressive, Luderitz itself was less so. It was windy with not a lot going on, although we did drive past a ‘ghost town’ where an abandoned mining settlement had been left to the encroaching sand dunes.

Part of the ghost town.

Part of the ghost town.

From Luderitz we drove a few hours north to Sossuslvei to see some even bigger sand dunes. We arrived in the evening and went straight out into the desert where the highlight was spotting a couple of jackals.

He blends in pretty well.

He blends in pretty well.

Next morning we were up at four to watch the sun come up over the dunes. We stayed away from the organised tour and after parking up ignored the paths and just wandered off by ourselves. We climbed a couple of dunes, pausing to look at the tracks. Sometimes you’d see where a mouse had crossed the path of a lizard, sometimes a bird had brought the evidence of it having been there to an end by taking off.

There were bigger tracks too of various boks and what was probably a jackal. Maybe one of the ones that we’d seen the previous evening.

Early morning.

Early morning.

Walking down the sand dunes was much more fun than going up as you could sink your feet in a few inches and just let the shifting sand carry you down.

Still early morning.

Still early morning.

An hour or so after sunrise it was already too hot for wandering around and having left our tracks for the next visitor we resumed our journey north.

The next stop was Walvis Bay. It was ok, but nothing special compared with Sossuslvei. It had a few thousand flamingos which are always good for a bit of entertainment and a salt works which was less so.

You don't often see one flying.

You don’t often see one flying.

We then had a drive up the coast to Swakopmund and that’s where we stumbled across a third tier, Erongo region second division game at the Swakopmund Sports Centre.

Buffaloes in green were taking on United Stars in white and green. Green is a popular football colour in Africa. I asked around and learned that we had arrived halfway through the second half with Buffaloes leading 3-2.

United Stars clear their lines.

United Stars clear their lines.

There were around a hundred spectators or so lining the pitch. Some had seats on an four level stepped bench, others just sat along the side on whatever was available.

The main stand.

The main stand.

We found a space near to one of the corner flags which gave us a close up view of a linesman with a large square hole in his shorts. I’m surprised that he hadn’t patched it with a FIFA badge. Most of the officials in Africa seem to have one.

View from down the side.

View from down the side.

The standard was better than I expected, although after watching Cowdenbeath play at New Year everything looks decent in comparison. United Stars put the pressure on in the closing minutes but couldn’t get past the Buffaloes goalie.

Twenty-odd minutes after we’d arrived it was all over and we continued into the town centre for some lunch.

 

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