While Uwe and I were in Namibia we drove our way toward the Caprivi Strip, a stretch of country that extends to the east like an outstretched finger. We spent a night at the Hakusembe River Lodge in Rundu. Each room is a private hut. They all have thatched roofs and are situated on the beautiful Kavango River.
The waters were too low for a boat cruise, so I caught up on my journaling, wanting to record everywhere we’d been and what we’d seen so far. No small task, that!
Uwe was (still is, for that matter) culling his photographs.
Dinner that night was a buffet in the big building, also with a thatched roof. The sunset was unusually vivid and stunning, but warned that a storm was on the way. We could see the wall of rain it would bring.
We moved indoors to eat. The storm system brought thunder and lightning, and the lightning strikes occurred faster and closer. Out one of the open doors we saw a massive flash immediately followed with an enormous CRACK!!!!!!!!!
The ground shook – the air was static – the noise was absolutely deafening.
I screamed, because it scared the s**t out of me. Everyone laughed shakily afterwards and I told one of the lodge employees, “My grandfather was a farmer, and he got struck by lightning TWICE. That was way too close for comfort.”
Then an employee ran out of the room carrying a fire extinguisher. She was followed shortly by another employee carrying a second fire extinguisher. Five minutes later an ashen-faced pair of German tourists entered, wheeling their suitcases behind them. They’d checked in late, and were just about to enter their hut when a bolt of lightning struck it….
The roof had caught fire. Some time later I glimpsed the staff carrying the rescued mattresses past the windows. The next morning at breakfast the bedding was still in a pile where it had been hastily stacked. The dining hut had a much higher roof, and we were very, very lucky that giant bolt of lightning hit another part of the grounds.
Lightning only strikes once, right?
NOTES: Text ©2023 Jadi Campbell. Photos © 2023 Jadi Campbell and Uwe Hartmann. Uwe’s photos of our trips and his photography can be viewed at viewpics.de.
My books are Broken In: A Novel in Stories, Tsunami Cowboys, Grounded and The Trail Back Out.
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