Our last full day in Namibia. We are driving back toward Windhoek and are looking for a place where we can pack our stuff from the car into our suitcases. So we are looking for a room.
Don’t expect too much of an experience, as we are getting very close to the crowded city and away from the solitary landscape.
Last time striking camp and breakfast in the nature.
Here you see the traces we leave behind in Africa – tire and Birkenstock tracks, only.
To our surprise, we found this place: Duesterbrook. A game and tourist farm. 18 km of sand road from the main road. Several dry river beds to cross. Typically Namibian and run by a German, who’s family has owned the place for generations.
They offer a variety of accommodation from camping at the river, over safari tents, chalets 5 km from the main building and the room we took on the farm. Perfect for us.
Did a Cheetah and Leopard feeding tour. Magnificent animals. Great to see them this close. Of course more a zoo- than a nature- experience.
Had a nice dinner with several people from Europe on the table. Finished the evening with a good discussion about southern African and German politics, companies and projects. — Very enlightening.
In the end, we will have driven a good 5000 km, produced about 100 GB of pictures and film and spent another “time of our lives” trip. They seem to get batter as we age together. This one including our 30 wedding anniversary.
Ready to leave Etosha. While having breakfast, a hundred Zebramanguste animals came storming across the site. They stopped for a minute to dig up termites (so it seemed) and then stormed on a couple of hundred meters. After 10 minutes, they were gone. Sabine had heard, they bite and spread diseases, so she ran for cover.
We visited the last couple of water holes and saw some more elephant. More interesting for us by now, was to watch warthogs in the mud. I know the feeling that fellow must have…
Leaving Etosha, our first stop was in Tsumeb. Went to the German Butcher to buy Schweinebauch and Cheese Russians for tonight’s braai. Koni might be interested to know – we saw a DB Schenker truck, too.
Next stop was the Meteorite. 80.000 years on earth, 55 tons, 3x2x1 meter in size. Impressive.
The roads across farmland to Waterbury were very nice. Mostly sand, some gravel. Many gates to open and close, when you drove from one farm to the next.
State campground in the Waterberg Rest Camp is quite nice. A bit run down, like most state run sites, but nice views and nice big sites with bizarre trees.
There was a fight between Herero and Germans around here in 1904. Visited the german grave yard. Most of the solders (Navy – Matrosen) were just over 20 years old. What a god forsaken place this must have felt to them.
Back on our camp site, we were happy to see a Chameleon and shocked to see a snake. Amazing how quick that snake was and how easily it climbed up a tree. Sabine took flight, again.
Celebrated our last camping evening with a braai and finished most of our drinks.
Our 4th day in Etosha, driving from Halali to Namutoni Camp. Driving along and into the Etosha Pan is like driving along the sea. The pan has greenish, blue collars and is endlessly flat.
During the drive, we saw the usual mix of animal, but also a giraffe with a broken off horn and interesting birds. So we felt we’d seen it all.
In the afternoon we took a last drive from the camp. We go one of those safari moments, when we watched 4 giraffe going to the water hole to drink. It took 20 minutes of walking a few steps, securing and standing still for minutes. Finally all 4 made it to the water and did their awkward drinking.
Driving along the pan, we came across an Ostrich family with 12 kids. Funny!
… and then it happened. We had given up hope, but finally got into the middle of a herd of Elephants. Majestic and a bit scary, as the older ones made sure we didn’t do harm to their herd.
We felt we had all the luck for a day and in fact our whole Etosha visit, but driven on through the steppe and saw some interesting birds.
As the crown of the day, we first saw 2 huge male Elephants…
… and finally cheetah. Very rare. Very pretty.
Now we were ready for a sun downer, dinner and to leave the park, tomorrow.
Slept long until after 7 and had breakfast – again with the birds.
At the local water hole, there was the usual variety of animals. Not the big ones.
There is a police station inside the camp. For some reason, they don’t exude authority. Why?
Drove a couple of hours in the morning and again in the afternoon in search of animals. Lots of them. In the afternoon, we sighted a rhino, but too far to catch on photo. Still, so exciting to watch it move – or better not move for minutes and then very carefully doing a couple of steps.
The edge to the Etosha Pan feels a lot like the north sea at low tide. You see “land” in the distance as kind of a mirage and you see an endless void. Cannot be transported in pictures.
The scene at the water hole was totally different this evening. There was only a single rhino. Moving very cautiously and drinking for a long time, alone. So different to the day before and so majestic.
For dinner we cooked our safety ration, as we don’t have much time left where we might need it. Texastopf – a kind of stew we’ve been eating while camping since we drive the motorbike (38 years).
Did a 4×4 drive through the concession. More then 7 hours. Dozens of dry river beds to cross or drive along. The ground clearance of the Hilux was just enough. Descending into one of the first river beds, our nose hit the ground. Later, we bumped with the engine guard over a big rock. — All save.
We were looking for rhino, primarily. Didn’t see any. Saw 2 elephant in the distance in the canyon.
Still, watching smaller animals or seeing a family of giraffe, is an adventure.
We didn’t get much info about the 4×4 tail, most of it not very accurate. One told us to lower tire pressure for sandy passages we would meet. I was about to do that before we left. Good I didn’t. We had loads of sharp rock, but no sand.
We met 3 cars in those 7 hours. All towards the end close to the lodge.
Saw traces from a big cat in a canyon. In theory, we shouldn’t have climbed down there, but those cats don’t hunt during the day…
Plan for the rest of the day: sun downer, dinner at the bar, camp fire.
After breakfast in the lodge, where we had to defend every piece of bread against the birds, we drove to Halali Camp, almost 250km distant.
the Ostrich reminded us of the bushman painting, where the Ostrich was shown with all the ways he can stick out his neck.
Mostly Zebra, Springbock, Gnu and Kudu herds (and varieties thereof), but then we came about our first Lion. A big male under one tree and his wives under another tree 100m off.
About 1 km later, a single male lion was striding through the savanna.
We were desperately searching for elephant and hoped to find some in the Grunewald. – No such luck.
Instead we found a pair of lions – again well spaced apart to give the mail some peace and quiet.
A jackal and many Giraffe, but no elephant.
Arriving at Halali Campground gave Sabine depressions. Too many people and a good level of chaos. No champagne to raise her spirits – Klipdrift taking a little longer.
Then we went to the water hole after sunset. … what a spectacle.
Initially there were 5 gray elephant drinking. Hurrah, elephant. Then came a Black Rhino. One of the elephant went to tell the rhino who is the boss.
Later a herd of about 20 brown elephant came. When they left, the rhino and his wife thought they could drink, but the elephant returned and the two had to leave. Epic drama.
Driving toward Etosha, we crossed the Groneberg Pass. Quite a climb with spectacular views.
Entered Etosha at the westernmost gate and stopped at the first couple of artificial water holes. The amount and variety of animals is stunning.
Then we came to our lodge, which we had booked from Sousousvlei for the lack of camp grounds. Stunning. Almost as good as Eagle’s Nest earlier in our trip. We had a bush Chalet. Which is mostly house with a grass roof (just as in Ostfriesland) and canvas walls. Lots of windows with fixed mosquito nets. When you open them all, the wind is gently blowing through the room. – A dream.
The camp’s water hole was a bit far away, but a nice view. The swimming pool offered a view over the desert flat. Swimming, viewing and drinking – all in one.
A quick sunset picture and off to a fantastic 3 course dinner with Oryx steak and a cake based on bananas.
Left Aabadi Mountain Camp, not the best one we had, but still high ranking vs. European campgrounds.
Drove through the ever changing desert landscape. A turn toward green was apparent to the eye, if not to the camera lens. Climbed on one of the rock formations and had a quiet time, until a bus arrived.
Here, in the north, we started to see more animals. A big herd of springbok.
and our first giraffe (outside Sabine’s socks).
Our car shook off the table holder, which was easy enough to repair.
We arrived at Palwag Lodge and Campsite, a green oasis. The elephant came to us. They also have a cheetah near the premises, but want to catch it tonight and deport it somewhere else, as it becomes a hazard to people.
Took a break swimming in the pool and waiting until the worst heat subsided.
We did a 2.5 hour guided hike, where we learned a lot about plants and shit. This is giraffe shit, by the way.
We also learned about rhino poaching. There is a private organization sending rangers and police men into the concession to avoid it. There were some 20 rhino skulls on exhibition. Most were victims to poaching.
Had a very nice 3 course dinner with singing and dancing. Not too touristy. Then we had an early night.
Didn’t see the big animals, yet. Except on Sabine’s new socks.
Drove a short 2 hours toward Twyvelfountain. On the way stopped at the Damara Living Village – exciting and very much worth while.
You are shown how they used to live, hunting and gathering. They performed a dance and the singing was really extraordinary.
Again, all big animals are NOT REAL, just in case you wondered.
We then drove to the Organ Pipes and Burned Mountain. Not as impressive as the other other things we saw so far, but then we are taking it slowly anyway, before we go for the animals.
Twyvelfountain was more exciting. Thinking that a settlers came to such a dry place (with a doubtful spring, as the names says) only 70 years ago and lost it a couple of years later, leaving almost nothing behind…
A guide took us into the rocks, explaing the up to 5000 year old rock engravings of the San people. An enjoyable hike in the heat. Just if you wonder why the lion has 5 toes and an arm extending his tail – he is a shaman. Half human and half lion, just hunting an antilop.
Didn’t go back to our camp ground, instead tried another one. Much simpler, but such an elementary experience. Likewise the dinner. Nothing for gourmets, but authentic. The Klipdrift back at our car made sure it settled well.
Got up with this beautiful view, even from our bed, and left Spitzkoppe.
During the drive, the landscape changed…again. It got more green, even though it’s hard to ban this on a picture. The green is more of a feeling – there is water under the surface.
Got to this lovely campground with private wash rooms on stilts.
Each site is next to a dry river bed, where Elephants sometimes come by, but not now. They are said to find still too much water where they are. With the bizarre rocks and the trees you expect to find a mysterious elephant grave yard around the corner.
There are birds which always try to get into our car. They seem to like the shine of the windows and keep attacking.
We started the evening with a sun downer – no electricity before 7, so no ice. Had dinner with a nice salat and then sat a long time at the camp fire chatting with our Swedish neighbour.