Our foreign courses always run on a fairly fluid timetable, but this year’s Desert Course in Namibia was certainly more fluid than expected. Having never seen rain in the desert before, we had rain every day bar one, most of it torrential. A storm on the second night tried its hardest to blow down/away most of the tents and the large tarps put up by Faan, our local agent. His cooking staff had never experienced such a storm and then still managed to produce a hot meal for us all shortly afterwards.
We still had a great week. The group included some extremely experienced medics and everybody contributed to the learning. A fascinating demonstration of snake handling from Stuart involved his venomous and non-venomous snakes and a parabusis scorpion.
We trekked in some seriously hot conditions and at times were lucky with cloud cover. One unexpected bonus was coming across a deep pool of water in a bend on a (usually permanently dry) riverbed giving us the chance to swim in the desert – magical. The view from the high peak of the Doros Crater Rim was well worth the walk in. Out final night out was luckily under the beautiful Southern Cross and the other stars as the clouds finally relented. We walked past fresh rhino tracks and saw herds of zebra, springbok and flighty ostriches as we drove out. Faan looked after us impeccably as usual.
Mother Nature surprised us again at the end of the course when the volcanic ash prevented Mark and I, and many of the course participants from flying home at our intended times. The latest person home was 10 days late and one participant endured an epic 3 day flight/train/train/ferry/train/ferry/train journey. At least we are all getting used to the unexpected.