Little towns appeared out of nowhere and disappeared just as fast. Finally, we pulled into the town of Springbok named after the little deerlike-creature that grazes around here, and the one town that was worthy of getting the sole dot on the map of northwestern South Africa. Springbok was big enough for two banks, three grocery stores, and even a Toyota dealership. We stocked up on water and helped Francis gather 3400 Rand worth of groceries to keep us going for the next few days.
On a big, empty expanse of desert, trees are sparse. So sparse they have a road sign that shows an image of "tree - this way". And we took full advantage of the shade of a giant tree to make lunch and stretch our legs before the second half of our long drive.
We cruised along listening to Bob Marley for several more hours until we spotted a rare corner and a sign to gear down for the hill ahead. This was the descent down to the Orange River valley, which cuts down through an impressive sequence of sedimentary rocks that bordered both sides of the road. This was the Namibian border - defined by the Orange River - and when the truck slowed to a stop, we realized how painfully hot it was - sweltering, in fact. We lined up with locals to clear customs and then continued a few miles farther to our camp site for the night. The spot was beautiful and green, located right on the bank of the river, and set up nicely with thatched picnic gazebos and big flat tenting areas. We filled up on spaghetti as the sun went down and the cloudless sky gave way to a huge African sky full of stars. All but an upside down Orion were unfamilliar - for now! Note to self: find a guide to the night sky of the southern hemisphere.