Thursday night we slept in the bathroom. It wasn’t planned, nor was it because we had the runs, but it was necessary for getting any sleep. We had left Cape Town on Tuesday afternoon as planned and tried to drive all the way to the Cederberg Wilderness Area. The mad downpour prevented us from going down the gravel roads all the way to the campsite, so we stayed in a cheap hostel. The next two days offered a short good, but cold weather window and the rain cleared up beautifully. The Cederberg is a mountainous, semi-arid landscape filled with strange rock formations. We hiked up a small mountain to see a towering rock spire that was capped with an even larger rock called the Maltese Cross. The park also included hollowed out, twisting caves and a place called the Cracks where we crawled and rock hopped through cracks in massive cliffs.
On Thursday we finished hiking earlier than expected and decided to try to get as close to Augrabies National Park as possible. Our travel bible, the Lonely Planet, mentioned a hotel about four hours up the road. When we arrived just after dark a woman was standing outside but otherwise it was deserted. We were the only guests for the night and chose to camp because it was much cheaper. I joked that maybe we should sleep inside the ablutions block, so we wouldn’t have to go as far for the bathroom. However, the weather was warmer and the land much flatter than in the Cederberg, so we prepared for an easy camping night.
Everything was great until about three a.m. at which point the wind started howling. Our tent flapped about us, and the poles bent inward. Jeanette figured that as long as she was awake she might as well use the loo. As soon as she got out of the tent it started moving and the rain fly detached from its stake. Stupidly I got out of the tent to try to grab it, at which point the whole tent started to blow away. Jeanette came back at the right moment to hold it down. We re-staked it, got back in, and tried to get back to sleep.
We both tossed and turned for about two hours before finally giving in. As much as the wind made us feel like we were back at home in Unalaska, it was not conducive to sleep. We got out of the tent, held on tight, collapsed the poles, and carried the whole thing inside the bathroom. Our sleeping bags and mats fit perfectly in the space between the toilet stalls and the sinks. It really did make getting up to pee easier. No one at the hotel even seemed to notice. The next day we headed up to Augrabies Falls National Park.