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Overland Safari 2 – Namibia

The Namibian Diary….

Considered the most European country of Africa... Certainly by the Germans.

Considered the most European country of Africa... Certainly by the Germans. It's a very easy country to self drive.

Day 20: Today was another border crossing into Namibia another long drive day…. The first part of the drive was in Botswana and provided some interesting viewing – there were donkeys lining the roads. A few breaks along the way and we arrived in the late afternoon at Rainbow Lodge Campsite. This campsite was situated on the banks of the Kavango River. Tents were set up well away from this though as signs alerted us to:….

In Botswana each rural farmer is 7 cows and 7 donkeys to help them start their farming life... The donkeys are not always wanted the cows certainly are. We saw heaps of donkey roaming around rural Botswana.

In Botswana each rural farmer is 7 cows and 7 donkeys to help them start their farming life... The donkeys are not always wanted the cows certainly are. We saw heaps of donkey roaming around rural Botswana.

This sign was a true warning - we had no luck seeing one however!

This sign was a true warning - we had no luck seeing one!

The sunset over the Kavango River.

The sunset over the Kavango River was fantastic.

Day 21: Yet again we clocked up plenty of miles today. We were getting used to early morning rises, lunch on the side of the road and a long drive to a new campsite. We arrived at NWR Campsite which sat inside the famous Etosha National Park. We were told to keep our shoes in our tent that night as black backed jackals would enter the campsite at night looking for their next meal (there are too small and timid to have treat us like a meal).

Etosha NP North Easterly entrance. Pete has wanted to visit this place all his life!!!

Etosha NP North Easterly entrance. Pete has wanted to visit this place all his life!!!

Day 22: Early start for a full days game drive through Etosha NP. The morning started with some excitement as we spotted two lions hidden behind within some trees. To the right of them, zebra and wildebeest were walking toward the waterhole for a morning drink and had not yet seen these lions. We sat there for about 40 minutes waiting for the chase to begin. However it was not to be. The lions looked interested for about 5 minutes but once they had been seen, the zebra and wildebeest backed away and the lions went back to sleeping….

Lion staring at the approaching Zebra and Wilderbeest. Unfortunately no action occurred. Great start to the game drive though...

Lion staring at the approaching Zebra and Wilderbeest. Unfortunately no action occurred. Great start to the game drive though...

The remainder of the day in Etosha wasn’t so promising. We did see plenty of oryx which are famous for the area.

Oryx are beautiful antelope that thrive in a desert environment.

Oryx are beautiful antelope that thrive in a desert environment.

There was a chameleon on the road as well as several giraffe, zebra, kudu, hartebeest, kori bastards, monitor lizards and the secretary bird but few predators aside from jackals.

Black backed Jackal is more of a scavenger than a veracious killer...

Black backed Jackal is more of a scavenger than a veracious killer...

We visited several waterholes on our way to Okaukuejo Lodge area located near the south west entrance to Etosha. We took note of this lodge however as the chalet accommodation was beautiful and if we ever wanted to come back to Etosha, this is the place we would stay.

Very nice Chalet in Etosha NP

A Chalet in Etosha. Etosha an old and well established NP. It opened in 1907.

We were out of the park by  5pm and setting up camp at Etosha Safari Camp. Of all the campsites we had been to, this one was definitely one of the best. Our tents were pitched on lush green grass, the bathrooms were spotless with beautiful hot showers. There was a huge amount of african paraphernalia and historical references such as Apartheid Propaganda and Black Movement posters decorating the walls and floors. It’s well worth staying here (they have rooms too) if you are in the area.

Kudu calf feeding from mum on the road out of Etosha.

Kudu calf feeding from mum on the road out of Etosha.

Day 23: Progressing through Namibia our next stop was a cheetah park. On the way we stopped in a small town for supplies and spent some time (and money) with some women and children of the Himba tribe of Northern Namibia.

<p>The Himba people of Northern Namibia. This body and hair clay is not a mock up for the tourist. Its the real deal. This is how they clean themsleves!!!</p>

The Himba people of Northern Namibia. This body and hair clay is not a mock up for the tourist. Its the real deal.

<p>Even the children are not spared the body clay.... Very cute though. You must ask permission from the women and then pay them (10Namibian Rand to take photos of them).</p>

Even the children are not spared the body clay.... Very cute though. You must ask permission from the women and then pay them (10Namibian Rand to take photos of them and their children).

We only stayed one night at the cheetah park, which was enough. Although we got to spend contact time with adult cheetahs, which was awesome, the purpose of the park is questionable. Cheetahs are solitary cats so when we saw 17 cats together in a field we weren’t surprised to see scars on some of their faces…

<p>We enjoyed these moments with these more habitituated cheetahs...</p>

We enjoyed these moments with these more habitituated cheetahs...

A battered cheetah, the likes that you'd be hard pressed to find in the wild.

A battered cheetah. You'd be hard pressed to find one like this in the wild.

The park does some good, as it rescues cheetahs from farmers that want to kill them, however there is no plan (that we could establish through asking the guide) to put them back in the wild anytime soon.We guess they are worth too much as a tourist attraction….

Not exactly normal cheetah behavour but fun for the punters I guess...

Not exactly normal cheetah behaviour but fun for the punters we suppose?!?!

Day 24: From cheetah park we headed into what Namibia is really famous for, its desert areas. Spitzkoppe was our first taste of the dry life. Its a beautiful formation of rocks well worth a visit for an afternoon. We opted not to stay the night here as by this point in the trip, people were not thrilled about spending a night without showers, toilets or running water for that matter.

SpitzKoppe is also a historical site.

The bald granite peaks of Spitzkoppe is more than 700million years old.

These rock formations are famous as they display bushman paintings that date back 2000-4000 years ago. The area is called Bushmans Paradise. An optional extra was to take a walk with a local guide to see these paintings which the rest of our group did. We decided to go on our own walk and discovered Small Bushmans’s Paradise.

Small Bushman's Paradise Paintings are easier to get to than the Bushman's Paradise and are of similar fadeness unfortunately.

Small Bushman's Paradise Paintings are very faded as are the Bushman's Paradise paintings unfortunately.

After a nice stretch of the legs we were back on the road to Swakopmund which is on Namibia’s coast. We checked into Gruner Kranz Hotel. We were out of tents and into an upgrade for the next 4 nights.

Liss happy to be out of a tent and into some very nice lodgings...

Liss happy to be out of a tent and into some very nice lodgings...

Day 24: Swakopmund has a strong German influence and heritage. Located on the Atlantic Ocean, to its north is the skeleton coast and it is surrounded by the Namib Desert. This was the first African town on our overland safari that had clean streets, a variety of shops and many gourmet restaurants. After exploring the town we had a beautiful dinner at Jetty 1905 located at the end of the main pier.

Swakopmund town, clean streets,

Swakopmund was intended to be a major west Africa harbour for the Germans.

say something

Jetty 1905 is a reccomended restaurant. Quite flash for us Overland Travellers but great to eat nice food overlooking the ocean and drink from a real wine glass....

Day 23: Time for more adrenaline activities – something Swakop is favous for. We decided that today was the day to skydive over the Namib Desert. While the plan was initially for Elissa to dive (seeing as Pete had decided to bungee back in Vic Falls and had skydived before), nerves got the better of Liss and she persuasively encouraged Pete to dive too. After a 25minute drive out to the desert and a very quick (almost too quick) briefing, it was time to suit up.

Elissa, quite calm and almost excited!!!

Elissa, quite calm and almost excited!!!

Pete suiting up. A lot more excited about this dive as opposed to one 10years ago...

Pete suiting up. A lot more excited about this dive as opposed to one 10years ago...

The actual plane ride was beautiful. It took around 20mins to rise from sea level to 10000feet. At 8,000ft final safety checks were done, then before we could back out Pete tipped out, closely followed by Elissa. Without a doubt it was one of the most incredible things we had ever done and the feeling was indescribable. The cost to skydive with Ground Rush (the oldest skydive company) was $285 AUD per person – well worth every single cent.

Sensation view from the plane ride of the skeleton coast. Called this because sailors that were stranded along here would certainly die for there is no water for miles.

Sensational view from the plane ride of the skeleton coast. Called this because sailors that were stranded along here would certainly die for there is no water for miles.

Elissa's getting a little nervous...

Elissa's getting a little nervous... (check out more photos in the gallery below)

This is apparently the biggest drop zone in the world....

This is apparently the biggest drop zone in the world.... It is about this time that Elissa's tandem instructors says "Welcome to my Office"!! Many more cringeful calls followed.

Day 24: After such a great rush from our skydive, we booked ourselves into the Sandboarding. This was 4 hours of hooning down sand dunes in the middle of the Namib Desert. The option was to either board lying down or standing up.

People walking the large dune to then hoon down it!

People walking up the large dune to then hoon down it!

This is great fun. When lying down we clocked speeds of 71km/hr (Elissa) and 74km/hr (Pete).

Liss starting her epic journey to reach her top speed of 71km/h

Liss starting her epic journey to reach her top speed of 71km/h

Stand up sand boarding is exactly like snow boarding except for the obvious. Oh and the fall is a little harder on the sand...

Stand up sand boarding is exactly like snow boarding except for the obvious. Oh and the fall is a little harder on the sand...

The cost for the lie down option was $37 AUD and to stand up was $53 AUD. This included return transfers from our hotel, lunch and refreshments as well as a free DVD and photos. Note put sunscreen on a couple of hours before you sand board or it will end up all over your skin.

Our last dinner in Swakopmund was at The Lighthouse restaurant. We recommended this place. Go there hungry.

Day 25: Our 4 day break from driving was greatly appreciated but this morning we were back up at 5.30am. We didn’t have a huge drive day but we took our time to stop and take photos of some mountain zebras and crossing the Tropic of Capricorn.

Mountain zebra

Mountain zebra are another species of zebra as opposed to the common/plains zebra we have seen. This was a first for these animals and quite exciting.

Because everyone did...

Because everyone else did...

We also stopped at a quaint little town called Solitaire in the middle of nowhere. Its famous for its Apple Pie.

Moose

Moose Bakery is amazing. Apparently in the busy season, they have up to 2000 visitors, many of whom are Overland Travellers stop for a piece of pie or the many other delicious treats on offer

How this for chance. We stopped in the middle of the desert to pick up bottles of water that were all over the road... Who says there's no water in the desert...

How's this for chance? We stopped in the middle of the desert to pick up bottles of water that were all over the road... Who says there's no water in the desert?

We eventually arrived at Sesrium Campsite for lunch.

The afternoon was spent walking around Deadvlei which is a dried up lake within the dunes. Some of which are the tallest dunes in the world.

Deadvlei is a dried up river. These dead trees are around 900 years old and haven't decomposed because it is too dry to do so...

Deadvlei is a dried up river. These dead acacia trees are around 900 years old and haven't decomposed because it is too dry to do so...

Just as sun was setting we stopped by Dune 45, which is the most well known dune in the region known as Sossusvlei. It is 45km from Sesrium, hence the name.

Dune 45 is the best known and most climbed dune in the region known as the sossevlei

Dune 45 is the most climbed dune in the region it even has a purpose built car park for its visitors.

The crew climbing Dune 45

The crew climbing Dune 45 before the sun sets. Its a lot tougher than it looks.

Day 26: Today we headed to Fish River Canyon. The second biggest canyon in the world behind the Grand Canyon in USA. Some say Blyde River Canyon in South Africa is 2nd (We have been to all 3 and think Fish river is bigger than Blyde River). If you don’t like desert topography then you won’t enjoy so much driving through Namibia. We stayed at Canon Roadhouse, which had an amazing coffee shop/retail store.

Canon Roadhouse bar area and store is set up like a car yard sort of... Really unique.

Canon Roadhouse bar area and store is set up like a car yard sort of... Really unique.

Pretty spectacular fish river canyon.

Pretty spectacular fish river canyon.

Its an even more impressive sight as the sunsets.

It's an even more impressive sight as the sunsets.

The following day we headed to Orange River which forms the border with our Next stop and final country on this Overland Sarfari…. South Africa.

For those of you who made it this far, thank you. Please check out our extensive Nambian photo gallery:

Hot Air Ballooning, Cappadocia

Tigers in India
MADAGASCAR VOLUNTEERING
GORILLA TREKKING
Ace Way to See Photos:Click
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