Trip info:
- Duration: 32 days
- Distance travelled: 6308 km
- Photos taken: 21617
- Photos camera trap: 2929
- Photos published: NOT READY

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Day 21 - Aardwolf sighting during night drive


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16,9 km - 2:59 - 6 km/h
15,7 km - 2:08 - 7 km/h
13,6 km - 1:48 - 8 km/h
18,9 km - 2:02 - 9 km/h

Before breakfast we went for a boat cruise on the Linyanti river (same river as yesterday, different name). The guide advised us to do a pm boat cruise but the morning is better for birding. Our choice was rewarded with finding a pair of wattled cranes, the largest cranes in Africa and a first for us. After breakfast we went out on our own, exploring Rupara island and in the afternoon we explored the camp surroundings and took a nap. After dinner it was time for another night drive. We were extremely lucky to spot an aardwolf. It seemed to be pretty relaxed and we had a good sighting for more than a minute, but no good photographs. A minute after we had moved on an aardwolf crossed the road in front of the car with hairs all erect. We’re not sure if it was the same animal or another. They do live as monogamous pairs so this might be the other of the pair that got spooked by our car. The guide dropped us off at our tent at 10pm. At night it got very cold and we were happy to hop into our warm beds.

min 15 °C - max 30 °C - avg 22,5 °C
min 28 °C - max 41 °C - avg 31,9 °C
min 21 °C - max 34 °C - avg 27,9 °C
min 19 °C - max 25 °C - avg 21,9 °C

Day 22 - A full day full of (guided) activities at Jackalberry Camp


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22,6 km - 2:49 - 8 km/h
14,0 km - 2:37 - 5 km/h
21,9 km - 2:08 - 10 km/h

Up till now we had explored the park on our own and we were curious if a guided game drive would lead us to different areas so we had booked a game drive for this morning. We drove the same tracks but now we could sit together in the back of the open-sided car which was nice, especially for Hans as he didn’t have to mind the road. Another advantage is that the guides know where to find the (radio-collared) lions. They were resting on the road and only started moving when another car joined the scene.

Back at camp we had breakfast and decided to stay in camp until the scheduled pm boat cruise. Close to the car park there were bushes full of insects which kept us busy for a while. The boat cruise took us downriver and we encountered quite a few elephants feeding on the papyrus reeds, at some point one was even blocking our way and we had to wait till he was done. Sunsets on the river are always special and so was this one.

The night drive this evening was less spectacular than yesterday. Technical highlight was an African wild cat but it wasn’t a very good sighting. Thankfully we found springhare again which isn't rare or elusive but a lot of fun to watch.

min 15 °C - max 27 °C - avg 22,3 °C
min 21 °C - max 34 °C - avg 28,4 °C
min 21 °C - max 25 °C - avg 22,4 °C

Day 23 - Luxurious camping in a wild place


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122 km - 6:53 - 18 km/h
11,5 km - 1:26 - 8 km/h

We only had a short drive today, 104 km to reach the entrance of Kwando core area of Bwabwata NP and from there 12 km to the campsite. At noon we entered the park and as we had plenty of time we drove the meandering track along the Kwando river. At the first viewpoints we found a troop of baboons crossing the water, all with different techniques and this was great fun to watch.

When we arrived at Nambwa Tented Lodge a few hours later we were told the Nambwa campsite had moved a bit further away from the lodge in a more exclusive and wilder setting. It had only opened last week and now has private ablutions. We were assigned campsite 2 which looks out over the Kwando floodplains and is truly stunning. We regret having booked only 1 night here. This place is less remote than Khaudum but had a lot more game around so just as wild if not wilder.

After a short look around and a drink we drove off for a short safari through the NP. Beautiful sandy roads and many elephants crossing to the river.

At dusk a troop of baboons was on its way to their sleeping quarters and crossed our campsite. The curious creatures came to check us out which we didn’t really appreciate as their canines are terrifyingly long and sharp. They were not aggressive at all but we decided to chase them away anyway. While eating dinner we heard splashing sounds on the floodplain in front of us and took out the thermal camera to find out what was making the noise. Nothing lit up leaving us with no clue to what made the noise but at the same time it was reassuring us there were no approaching hippos or elephants. In the morning we discovered it was red lechwe splashing around in a stream that was cut out deep and therefore had hid their warm bodies from the thermal camera.

min 17 °C - max 32 °C - avg 27,6 °C
min 25 °C - max 32 °C - avg 27,6 °C

Day 24 - Meeting the first unfriendly Namibians


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48,5 km - 4:15 - 11 km/h
231 km - 4:05 - 57 km/h

Before we left the campsite we admired the structure built by the Sijwa project. The walls are made from recycled bottles - plastic bottles filled with sand and glass bottles in different colours. Glass has also been used to create chandeliers and artistic mosaics and the result is very appealing.

Our next destination was only a 3 hour drive so we decided to explore the park some more before leaving and drive to the southernmost section bordering Botswana. We were curious to see if there was a border or not so we drove through a small track towards Botswana. But we decided that a big bull elephant crossing the road in front of us was the cue to turn around.

We exited the park around 1pm and travelled back to Divundu to fill up fuel and then onwards to Mobola Island Lodge where we arrived just before 5pm. We were told we were expected to arrive at 1pm although we never had indicated a time of arrival and they made it clear to us they were not amused by our late arrival. We had to hurry up, get our luggage from the car and settle in our island tent as it would be dark soon.

We struggled to take everything we needed but said to ourselves it’s another 2 hours before it’s dark so surely we can get back to the car to take the rest. We were shown the tent and it is perfect with great outdoor spaces and a beautiful view of the river.

After settling in we went to the island bar but found no staff to pour us a drink. When the owner finally showed up he started chatting with other guests who already had beers and kind of as an afterthought he asked if we would like to drink something too. From the start it felt like we had offended them or had done something wrong as they were so unfriendly and unwelcoming to us. We decided to quickly book boat cruises for the following day and hurried back to our tent which thankfully made up for a lot, but not all. This is our third trip to Namibia and many times we said to one another that we had yet to meet an unfriendly Namibian. Well, we finally found them at Mobola Island Lodge.

min 23 °C - max 35 °C - avg 31,9 °C
min 27 °C - max 39 °C - avg 32,5 °C

Day 25 - Don’t mention the war


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5,8 km - 2:49 - 2 km/h
5,9 km - 1:54 - 3,1 km/h

We woke early and enjoyed our morning coffee on the deck, watching the sun come up. At 6:45 we met our guide at the jetty and started our sunrise boat cruise. After watching the sun rise from the horizon we went birdwatching. It was a chilly morning and most birds were sitting still and warming up. We found a tree full of violet-backed starlings and 8 little bee-eaters sitting together on a reed.

After an hour on the water it was time for the island walk. The guide was informing us about medicinal plants and the history of the island. During the walk we looked hard for Pel’s Fishing Owl which is sometimes found here but we had no luck.

Back at the lodge we relaxed and explored the wildlife of our little island.

At 4:30 it was time for our sunset cruise. We were supposed to go downstream this time with a more powerful boat. When we arrived at the jetty it was nowhere to be seen. The guide informed us the owners had taken it for a fishing trip which required a bigger boat so we cruised the same river section as this morning. But we then met the bigger boat on the water and they were not fishing at all. Apparently the owners didn’t really care about our experience as guests. No, we really didn’t feel appreciated as guests and will never return here! We skipped a visit to the bar and instead enjoyed our own G&T at the deck of our tent.

Ultimately we turned the bad experience into something to laugh about and, as the owners had a German background, had a lot of fun trying our best ‘not to mention the war”!

min 15 °C - max 25 °C - avg 20,2 °C
min 25 °C - max 32 °C - avg 29,2 °C

Day 26 - Small and scenic Mangetti National Park


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439 km - 10:18 - 43 km/h

Although we truly enjoyed watching the sunrise from our tent deck, we didn’t mind leaving this place. It was time to head back to central Namibia and that meant a day travelling on a tar B road. On the tar road from Kongola to Divundu we had started to play music and reckoned we were allowed to do this again in the B8.

En-route we visited Magetti NP, a small park that was only established in 2008. It has only a few waterholes and we thought we could do the full circle in an afternoon but the lady at the desk said no way. She offered us a camping spot near the gate but we had already booked accommodation. At both Middle Dam and Boma Drink we found wildebeest. We didn’t see a lot of wildlife but the park is very scenic and we’d like to visit again and take more time, especially now we know you can stay overnight at the gate.

Originally we would stay at Roy’s rest camp today but they made a double booking and instead we stayed at Fiume Lodge. It’s a game lodge breeding eland and oryx with some exotic animals thrown in to entertain tourists. It’s a good place for an overnight stop with very friendly staff which was a relief after ... you know where.

min 18 °C - max 49 °C - avg 26,9 °C

Day 27 - When a single sighting makes up for the entire day


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453 km - 9:38 - 47 km/h
26,2 km - 1:44 - 15 km/h

Our destination for today was Eagle Tented Lodge and there were two options on how to get there - the shorter route taking us south of Etosha or through the park itself. Driving through Etosha is the more scenic route with the possibility of spotting wildlife, and the infrastructure in the park allows you to easily drive 50-60 km/h between water holes.

We decided to take this route and not see it as a game drive but a scenic drive to get from A to B. It would have been fine if we had stuck to the main road but we decided to take the smaller Eland and Rhino drive. This was a mistake as these roads are less wide with bushes on both sides, making it difficult to keep pace and to look around for wildlife. Combined with the pressure of wanting to arrive at Eagle Tented Lodge before day made this a bit stressful.

Our best sighting of the day was close to the exit at Anderson gate, vultures on a zebra carcass. Late afternoon we arrived at Eagle Tented Lodge where we stayed in a luxurious Hemingway safari tent .

But first we paid a visit to the bar as it had been quite hot and we felt we deserved an ice cold G&T. After dinner it was time for a night drive. The guide had tried hard to persuade us to do a morning drive as we would see the same animals but it would be daylight. We made clear that we were only interested in finding nocturnal animals and that we understood it would be hit or miss. After 30 minutes we had only seen eland and springbok and the guide said something like see, told you so. We said have patience and we’ll see if it pays off or not. And how it paid off, half an hour later we spotted a caracal! All’s well when a day ends well :-)

min 13 °C - max 34 °C - avg 28,2 °C
min 14 °C - max 24 °C - avg 18,0 °C

Day 28 - Back in Arid Eden


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341 km - 6:46 - 50 km/h

After a full-body massage at the lodge for Hans we headed to our next destination, Brandberg White Lady Lodge.

Somewhere close to Kamanjab we passed an “Arid Eden” signpost and although we had enjoyed the trip north-east, we both felt this for us is the true Namibian experience.

It’s well after 5pm when we arrived at the lodge and settled into our home for the next 2 nights - Treehouse #2. Brandberg White Lady Lodge is huge but thankfully the treehouse has a great view of some rocky outcrops in front of the brandberg mountain. We had dinner in the big restaurant where we were treated to singing and dancing staff just before dessert was served. We’re all for giving them the opportunity to earn some money but it’s just not our cup of tea. That, in combination with the resort-like atmosphere, made us decide that although we pre-booked dinner, we wouldn’t be eating here tomorrow. Back at the tree house we enjoyed the peace and quiet of the night and the star filled sky.

min 27 °C - max 33 °C - avg 29,3 °C

Day 29 - Exploring the Ugab riverbed


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73,7 km - 6:46 - 11 km/h

This morning we went out to explore the Ugab riverbed running north of the Brandberg mountain. On our way to Mowani Campsite we drove past Brandberg White Lady Lodge and had crossed the river and we looked forward to driving to the riverbed trail today.

The scenery, with brandberg mountain as a backdrop is stunning and driving through these dry riverbeds is really enjoyable. We came across a beautiful female Steenbok, which turned out to be the only mammal we found that day. We took a side track towards the Brandberg and away from the river all looked completely dry and barren so we were surprised to find flowers. The rocky road meandered through the hills and back to the riverbed. On our way back we noticed a sign with conservancy rules and regulations and found that we had broken a rule - we hadn’t reported our planned route at the lodge.

Around 4pm we were back at the lodge and relaxed at our tree house. To avoid the crowded restaurant we had swapped the pre-booked dinner for a take-away pizza and walked to the lodge to pick it up at 7pm. We had to wait quite some time as they had misplaced the order and then baked just one pizza. By the time we left with 2 pizzas we were quite hungry! The pizza was very tasty and best of all, it was just the two of us and about a million stars.

min 14 °C - max 33 °C - avg 28,1 °C

Day 30 - Messum crater 4WD trail to the coast


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321 km - 8:58 - 36 km/h

After our morning coffee ritual we checked out and headed towards Swakopmund via the Messum Crater 4x4 trail. At some point we passed a few men building a temporary tented camp and they were waving at us. We thought that maybe they needed water or something so turned the car. Turned out they thought we were lost and looking for the road to the white lady lodge. We told them that’s where we came from, now on our way to Cape Cross and they confirmed we were on the right track. We reached the crate which to us doesn’t really look like a crater but was impressive nonetheless. It’s difficult to explain the appeal of these landscapes and pictures don’t do it justice so if you want to really understand, you need to visit yourself. You’ll either love it or hate it!

We knew we were getting closer to the coast when the temperature started to drop and when we reached the ocean it was really cold. We visited the Cape Cross Seal Reserve and this time we did use the raised walkway which allowed us to get much closer to the seals. A seemingly never ending flock of cormorants flew past the colony and on shore there was a large gathering of gulls and terns. All were feasting on fish, attracted to the nutrient rich waters of the Benguela current.

Three hours after leaving Cape Cross we arrived at Desert Breeze in Swakopmund. When we stayed at this lodge in 2019 it was in the middle of nowhere but Swakopmund has expanded right up to the lodge. The lodge still offers a beautiful lodge of the Namib Desert and the chalets are wonderful but it has lost the remote feeling. As it’s still early we decided to go for a walk in the desert behind the lodge. There’s dog shit and waste everywhere and you need to climb a few dunes to get away from the city. A real shame.

We didn’t fancy going out for dinner and decided to get takeaway from Kucki’s pub. We had steak tartare and chicken livers for starters and shared a really delicious steak. Amazing food and if we ever visit Swakopmund again, we’ll for sure eat at Kucki’s pub again.

min 14 °C - max 29 °C - avg 23,4 °C

Day 31 - Our last night in Namibia


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239 km - 5:35 - 43 km/h
10,4 km - 2:40 - 3,9 km/h

After breakfast we headed to our last accommodation on this trip, a Chalet at Harmonie C28. On the first part of the C28 towards Windhoek we passed the turn off to the Welwitschia trail and later the one for Blutkoppe and the Tinkas. We had considered driving one or the other but decided to go straight to Harmonie C28 instead because this offers 4wd trails on the property too.

To reach our destination we had to travel the Bosua pass again, this time from west to east. In this direction it’s much more impressive and worthy to be named a pass after all. We arrived at Harmonie early in the afternoon and Mike, the owner, gave directions to our chalet and instructions for the self-drive trail. We received a map with GPS reference points and this way of navigating is really entertaining, making you feel like a proper explorer. We had to follow instructions to keep on the grade 2 trail and not end up on the 4+ section!

The trail led us through the mountains on the property and took us 2 hours to complete. On the way we met a zonkey, the offspring of a rescued mountain zebra mother and a donkey. The top half was grey like a donkey but the legs had zebra stripes.

Late afternoon Mike came by to check if we made it back alright after the trail. We offered him a glass of wine and had a really nice chat about living in Namibia, sustainable hunting, animal behaviour and conservation in general. We had planned to organise our luggage but chatting was much more interesting. When Mike offered a late check-out we decided it could wait until morning!

min 15 °C - max 35 °C - avg 26,5 °C
min 26 °C - max 34 °C - avg 31,1 °C

Day 32 - We’ll be back - again


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96,8 km - 2:27 - 39 km/h
8771 km - 21:50 - 402 km/h

In the morning we noticed the chalet offered bird seeds so we put out a handful and sure enough a pair of Violet-eared Waxbills came to check it out. We organised our luggage, cleaned the car a bit and made our way to Windhoek. The good thing about a 4+ week trip is that you would like to stay longer, but at the same time don’t mind going home.

We had plenty of time and decided to visit the ruins of the Von Francois Fort. This military outpost was established to protect the trade route between Swakopmund and Windhoek but was also used as a "dryout" post for misbehaving Schutztruppe. The info-book at Harmonie also had a section on the Liebig House, a more modern ruin along the same road. Intrigued, we wanted to check it out but the gate said ‘private property’ and although abandoned, we decided to respect this.

Back in Windhoek we dropped off the car at Classic Car Rentals. The owner wasn’t very happy with the ‘Khaudum’ scratches but said a good polishing would fix things. There was also a small dent at the front of the car but that was covered by our zero access insurance. All our luggage was transferred to a cab and we were on our way to the airport. At a checkpoint there was an issue with the taxi, it didn’t have a proper licence to transport people. The driver got a lecture but the officer allowed him to proceed to the airport so we could catch our plane. Because we were at the airport early we could pick a table in the shade and order a delicious meal. At 6:30 pm it was time to board the plane and fly home. The transfer at Frankfurt airport the next morning went smoothly and we arrived at 9:20 am at Schiphol airport. The flight was exactly as flights should be: uneventful.

Back home our cat and dogs, who had been cared for by Amy, our house-sitter, looked happy and healthy. She had left a report about her adventures while staying at our place and it was hilarious reading. Turned out she was afraid of mice and our cat has the habit of bringing one home every night so she had to recover from her fear real quick. Returning in may meant the garden had exploded, beautiful and unruly so we had our work cut out for us. Yes, being back home felt good! And the prospect of going on another Namibian safari next year does too :-)

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