Category Archives: Perambulations around my neck of the woods

Bosch find


As I have written ad nauseum in the past, Namibia is not a particularly Utopian wasteland for tool collectors. It was thus with some surprise that I found this old Bosch drill in quite an exceptional condition at an Antiques Shop in Swakopmund. I already have two old corded hand drills given to me by my father, but wanted to buy this one for my son. At the equivalent of US$36 it was not going to break the bank either, so why not?

Clearly this drill seems to be from an era prior to the dark blue and green colours used by Bosch in more recent years. What I want to find out from all you tool aficionados is, how old is this drill and would it be considered to be any good? Yes Bob I am referring to people like you who has an embarrassing amount of knowledge on tools of any description.

It has “Scintilla SA” and “Switzerland” on the metal label. Maybe that helps.

I would appreciate any info to help know a bit more about the history of these drills.


The land of the Kavango


This is the next installment of my posts on my Namibian perambulations aimed at woodworking troglodytes (which I am one of to be honest). During the first days of May we usually head up to the mystical and magical land of the Kavango. It is nestled in the north east of the country in a cosy “little” corner south of Angola and west of Botswana. It forms the placenta to which the Caprivi strip is attached.

The reason for our annual safari is the waters of the ancient Okavango River. It originates on the eastern escarpment of the Angolan highlands before bisecting Namibia and Angola. A few kilometers from our camp it switches across the implantation of the Caprivian umbilical cord into Botswana to quench the eternal thirst of the Okavango Delta.

Get the picture? OK, let’s go.

This is a picture of a modern ossewa. The boat behind it is a new addition to our trekking equipment.


A few of the hooligans in action.


The first night we sayed at Taranga Safari Lodge. It belongs to a friend and is highly recommended.


An Okavango Moon.


Dinner under an African sky.


Same dinner, just later under the stars.


The view across the river the next morning with Angola in the distance.


Breakfast under an African sky.


Trying to drown my Cruiser in order to launch the boat. After carrying a massive amount of gear to the boat through the water of this side channel, a local came to warm us that there is a massive croc lurking around there for quite a while. Gee thanks mate!


One of the best things to do on this planet (in my humble experience) is to find a sandbank on the Okavango, light a fire for a braai and swim while being somewhat vigilant for the ever present hippos and crocs.


This is the famous Jacana Junction, our camp on the Okavango.


One of the most celebrated inhabitants of the river, the Tiger fish.


At the nearby Mahango Park we saw this interesting interaction. A few Letchwe with front row seats to the biggest rumble in the jungle since Ali-Foreman. I think these fighters are called water monitors in English (but not sure).


A giant Baobab.


Of course the boys needed to climb it …


… and the ant hill next to it.


Nothing beats a braai in a game reserve without the constraints of a fence.


My usual highlight is without a doubt, a visit to the local shebeen. We drink Windhoek Lager (the best in Africa) with the locals while the children try to settle the outcome of the Pan-African Soccer Cup of Nations.


These hippos live less than 300 meters from our camp.


My friend Siegmund Mengersson and I built this bar in an area we call the Sunset Beach.


The so called Jacana Jakutz were also erected on the mentioned beach. A warm bath under the stars or at sunset can’t be beat.


Dr Livingstone and compatriots fishing the great river.


A local fisherman.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this installment of “The Land of …”

The Land of the Gross Barmen


This weekend we headed up north for a wedding, which enabled me to take a few more pictures of this beautiful land to show you workshop hermits what is out there in Africa. Because we left after work, we only managed to get about 100 km down the road before dark. We found some shelter at this resort by the name of (I kid you not) Gross Barmen.

When I saw this I thought we were going to have a ball of a time, but alas there were no uncouth staff to be found. In fact, most of the staff were pretty tidy (albeit ever so slightly challenged in the work ethic department) and certainly outstanding from a cordiality point of view.



Anyway, I took these pictures while consuming Gin and Tonic (as Malaria prophylaxis of course) under an African sky. You can hopefully appreciate how the colours change every few minutes as the sun sets. There really is nothing like an African sunset.




This little guy came looking for something to eat.



This pool is probably between 25-30ºC. It was an absolute joy, especially for the kids.



The next day we drove another 450 km to a lodge just outside Etosha. This Blesbok did it’s best to keep the grass nice and short.



My new mate while reading and drinking G&T (for prophylaxis remember).




Some African furniture, just to make sure there is something woodwork related in the post. It was made of Rhodesian Teak, more recently renamed Zambian Teak.



My daughter and her new friend.



Most of the next few creatures were in cages, but the best thing about living here is that you are more likely to find one outside a cage than inside.


This is one of my favourite companions in the bush, the Grey Go-Away Bird (or Kwêvoël in Afrikaans).



I hope you enjoyed this episode of “The land of …”

The Land of the Brave


Having said that, you do not have to be a hero to live in Namibia. In fact, no courage is needed at all. Come to think of it, “we don’t need another hero”. It might be better to call it “The Land of the Patient” (as in a person who has patience rather than in need of medical treatment). You will get an idea of what I mean from a post I wrote in January entitled “Protracted tool perambulations through Sub-Sahara Africa”. Here is the link:

Anyway, for once I did not work in the shop this weekend. We went away with the kids as it was mid-term break. I took a few photos to give you an idea of what Namibia is all about. It is however very much an appetizer as Namibia is a vast expanse of African real estate. I tried to illustrate how the vegetation change as one travels from the Capital Windhoek to the so called Skeleton Coast.

These were taken near a town by the name of Omaruru.


Fire and cooking on a fire is very much part of our heritage. The owners of this property reports spotting leopard tracks coming past this fire place (right next to our tent) on the way to the waterhole (maybe 100 meters away) on a regular basis. What a joy!


This is a fairly typical road-side view. The only non-typical thing about the first picture is the sealed nature of the road. Most roads in this part of the world are unsealed.



Here we are getting a bit closer to the coast and into the Namib Desert. With some imagination you could even see the Atlantic ocean roughly 30 km away on the horizon (2nd and 3rd picture).





This picture show the Swakop River Mouth and Namib Desert sand dunes stretching into the freezing waters of the Benquela sea current.



So there you have it, no woodwork, only the terroir in which I work wood.

The Mighty Okavango River Migration 2014


The reason why I have been so quiet is the fact that we migrated to our fishing camp on the Might Okavango for the usual early May fishing foray. Here are some photos.



Due to the late rain in the highlands of Angola, we had to haul our stuff over about three kilometres of flood plane with these mokoro’s to reach our secluded little island.




According to the legendary Dr Spoedie van Schalkwyk there was a massive lion resting on this piece of grass about a week prior to our braai.


A Lechwe feeding not too far from our braai spot.



A few lekker sessions at a local shebeen usually completes the picture. That is of course after having to kill a massive Angolan Spitting Cobra and a Black Mamba, as well as dodging a beautiful Boomslang all week.