End of Expedition Presidential Day, Oranjemund, Namibia
It came as a great surprise! To think that the successful completion of our humble Boundless Southern Africa Expedition to link 2 oceans, 9 countries, 7 Transfrontier Conservation Areas, more than 30 national parks and game reserves and the communities living in and adjacent to these areas, was now being honoured with a full on Namibian presidential event.
It all happened on a cold morning, after a blessing of rain at the southern extreme of the great sand ocean of the ancient Namib. The Ministers of Environmental Affairs and Tourism from across Southern Africa were holding the symbolic calabash, filled with water from iconic wild places, which as part of the “end of expedition” ceremony was now being emptied into the mouth of the Orange River where it runs into the cold South Atlantic at Oranjemund.
We felt proud to have helped keep the Peace Parks vision of Transfrontier Conservation alive, and in so doing create what will become one of the greatest coast to coast 4×4 adventure routes in the world.
Later in the diamond mining town of Oranjemund, where the gemsbokke still have right of way, we drove the expedition Land Rover convoy into the presidential event at the floodlit cricket oval, led by Mike Nixon’s mountain bike team. Pomp and ceremony, executive jets and helicopters, body guards and suits, media cameras galore, green grass, white tents and red carpets. After having just crossed the Sperrgebiet it felt like another world.
BUT rewarding nevertheless as the Presidents of Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe, together with Ministers of environment, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho and the South African High Commissioner to
Namibia, all congratulated the expedition on the Boundless Soccer Challenge, the community box libraries, the LifeStraws, the Rite to Sight campaign, the nature, culture and community themed art competitions and the on-going One Net One Life malaria prevention work.
Thanks to incredible support from governments and caring sponsors we’d done what we came to do, and survived another world first expedition isn’t it wonderful when a plan comes together?
Our colourful diamond area “digs” for the night was Gert and Nita’s rough plank-built bar at the Shepherd’s Lodge where we raised our glasses in a final Captain Morgan salute to a great adventure.
Siyabonga and thanks again for the support!
Kingsley, Ross, Mashozi, Anna and the expedition team