|Roadside market at village outside Lubango|
Leaving the hotel we pass a car that has wrapped itself round a tree in a tangled mess – its driver drank too much last night; no dead but several seriously injured. My driver is Horace Five Kings (Horacio Cinco Reyes) - and no, he doesn't know who the five kings are. He's both fast and skilled, but keeps on burying the huge little finger of his left hand in his nose; OK, I can still shake his right hand.
Suddenly we come to the most incredible chasm as the road switchbacks down the Serra da Leba escarpment to the Namib desert below; 1000-metre-high rock walls ablaze with broad vertical bands of reds, yellows, greens and orange interspersed with grey, above a sea of emerald trees - except, that is, for the brown-bark baobabs with their fat tummies and almost leafless top-knot branches.
|Serra da Leba Pass|
One hundred miles from Lubango, the little port of Namibe slumbers on its low sand-stone cliffs above the cobalt Atlantic, not particularly beautiful but picturesque all the same, even if there's a terrible faecal pong near a tiny broken wooden jetty. To the south stretches the brown Namib desert far away into Namibia. On the water front several inviting little cafes beckon and Horace Five Kings leaves me for an hour. He works as a driver in Lubango but his home is in Namibe and we've bought up whole markets of food on the way for the family.
Oh dear, the huge little finger of his right hand is now engaged in a little bit of nasal prospecting as well. Right, no hand shake at the temporary farewell after all! Sorry, old bean, I've got arthritic thumbs.
|The South Atlantic at Namibe|