1 April 2022 -27 April 2022

Exploring the southern parts of Namibia. 
Click on the map (on the right) for a detailed map of our complete trip.

- Duration: 27 days
- Distance travelled: 3952 km
- Photos taken: 16496
- Photos camera trap: 11288
- Photos published: NOT READY

Day 1 - Arriving in Namibia


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It’s only been six weeks since we got back home from our safari in Kenya and now we’re ready for another holiday in Africa. This time we go on a trip to Namibia which was originally booked for 2020. Because of the outbreak of COVID-19 it was postponed by a year and then again by another year so we have two major holidays in one year, but we’re not complaining!

We arrive on time and are picked up at the airport by Namibia Car Rental where we rented a fully-equipped 4x4 Toyota Hilux. We have to wait a bit while they prepare the car and after receiving instructions on how to operate the roof-tent we’re off on an adventure in Southern Namibia. First thing we need to do is fill up the car and find a grocery store to stock up on biltong, gin and tonic and other snacks and fruits.

We have booked a chalet at Daan Viljoen Game Reserve, the same location where we ended our first Namibian trip. It’s close to windhoek, just 20 km, and offers a great self-drive track on the property where we can test and get used to our car. It’s amazing how different it looks this year, after receiving more rain than usual. There are huge spiderwebs everywhere with very pretty Banded-legged Golden Orb-web Spiders. In the afternoon we organise the luggage in the car so we’ll have easy access to our coffeemaker and cameras are within reach. We have dinner at the restaurant and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere with a couple of G&Ts. It’s great to be back!

Day 2 - Great hospitality at NamibGrens


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Our next destination is NamibGrens Guest Farm, a short 3 hour drive from Daan Viljoen. NamibGrens was added to our itinerary later, when KLM cancelled our flight early 2020 and we preferred to be in Namibia 2 days longer than 1 day shorter. It’s a choice we didn’t regret.

But before leaving Daan Viljoen we drove the 4x4 trail one more time. On arrival at NamibGrens late afternoon we are welcomed with a drink and asked to make ourselves comfortable. It turns out that they haven’t heard from the booking agency since the cancellation in 2020 and weren’t expecting us! But not to worry, they have a villa and they have food so all will work out just fine. We’re amazed by the hospitality and how they do not make this our problem as I’m sure would be the case had this happened back home.

They have a special NamibGrens gin which tastes so good that we ordered a bottle to take with us. We’re in villa 1 and it is amazing. It is built against huge boulders, making them part of the structure by forming the inner walls of the villa. We settle in, enjoy the luxury of the villa, the view and another G&T. At 7 pm dinner is delivered and it’s truly delicious.

Day 3 - A quite challenging 4x4 trail


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In the morning Hans looks out of the bedroom window and finds a mother Dassie Rat sunbathing with her offspring. The Dassie Rat is endemic to the Southwest arid zone of Africa where it lives in rocky outcrops. Their tails are hairy and they have a yellowish nose that stands out. They are super cute and we take loads of pictures.

NamibGrens offers self-drive 4x4 routes ranging from easy to more technical challenges along the edge of the high plateau. We start at about 10am and drive slowly to take it all in. There are fascinating creatures that we haven’t seen before, they look like they came from a SF movie. They are Armoured Ground-Crickets and some make a lot of noise when you come close. Later we learn that the males make this noise and the females keep silent.

The trail meanders through granite outcrops and there is lots to see. We use the tracks4africa app to follow the trail and are on our way to Klipspringer Window, a viewpoint overlooking the Namib Desert. The track up the hill is really challenging but we make it to the top. There are water tanks at the top and we think it’s kind of weird to put these up at a viewpoint. Guess what? We had taken a wrong turn and it wasn’t the viewpoint nor part of the self-drive track! Well, it was fun to drive and a good exercise in off-road driving.

Day 4 - Tsondab Valley Nature Reserve


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Today we only have to drive 62 km to our next destination, Tsondab Valley Lodge so we decided to take it easy, have a late breakfast at NamibGrens and do the self-drive trail one more time in the opposite direction. This time we find a pair of Klippspringers which are quite relaxed and allow for a good sighting.

Around 12pm we depart for Tsondab and the route will take us through the famous Spreetshoogte Pass. The top of the pass offers a great view and the road down is a steep descent - almost 1,000 metres within 4 kilometres of road. The road is covered in Armoured Ground-Crickets and at first we do our best to avoid them. But they are cannibals and all gather at the roadkill corpses and there is just no way to avoid them.

We stop in Solitaire and order the famous apfelstrudel at McGregor’s bakery. The issue with things being hyped, they tend to disappoint because of inflated expectations. It certainly tastes good but we wouldn’t stop for it if it wasn’t on our way. After buying souvenirs and eet-sum-mor cookies it’s time to head over to Tsondab valley lodge.

From the entry gate it’s a 18 km drive through the breathtaking desert landscape to the lodge. It looks like it has been snowing with all the grass seeds on the road. We’re fortunate to visit in the year Namibia had so much rain, the last time it was this green was 11 years ago we are told. We regularly stop to watch flowers, insects and birds and it takes us 2 hours to reach the lodge. The view from our room is stunning and we enjoy a G&T with the most delicious appetisers - home-made Gemsbok biltong - the best we ever had.

Day 5 - Hidden Canyon walk


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After breakfast Kristin drops us off at the Hidden Canyon, a 2 km long and 50m deep canyon between petrified dunes. Thankfully the canyon walls offer shade as it’s already starting to get hot. This is one of the best nature walks we have done, the gorge is beautiful with lots of birds and it feels great to walk and explore just by ourselves. Just before we reach the exit of the canyon we have an amazing sighting of two barn owls mobbing a rock kestrel. We’ve never seen a barn owl in the wild in daylight and this last sighting is the icing on the cake of this walk. Highly recommended. K

irsten picks us up at 12:30, three hours after our drop-off and we head back to the lodge for coffee.

In the afternoon we head out for a sundowner tour across the nature reserve with Hans, Kirsten’s husband. Hans and Kirsten bought the reserve, which is 170 km2, about 20 years ago. It had been a sheep farm and they worked hard to reestablish nature by getting rid most of the inner fencing and sticking to driving in designated routes through the reserve. We stop on a dune for a sundowner and this place really is a piece of paradise and we’re a bit jealous. The next door farm is for sale….

Day 6 - Sunrise in paradise


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Before leaving Kirstin takes us on a sunrise tour. She timed it well and we drank our morning coffee on a dune watching the sunrise adding colour to the landscape.

After breakfast we’ll move on to Tsauchab River Camp which is 120 km to the south-east, a 2 hour drive at normal speed. With regular stops to photograph birds and just enjoy the peace and quiet of Namibia we make it in just over 6 hours.

It’s too early for dinner so after settling in in our chalet we head out to drive the 17 km Namib Naukluft Quiver Tree Forest Trail. The landscape here is very different, no sand dunes but more mountainous. At the Southern viewpoint a forest of Quiver trees stretches as far as the eye can see.

After dinner we see our first antlion, one of the “little 5” creatures. The little 5 mainly refers to the antlion larvae which are as predatory as lions. The adult looks like a nocturnal damselfly with translucent, black-spotted wings. We experiment taking pictures with the iPhone at night and we’re quite impressed.

Day 7 - Exploring Tsaris Mountains


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After breakfast we started on the Klipspringer 4x4 Trail in the Tsaris Mountains. This trail is 13km plus an optional 4km which is very challenging and can only be done with a guide/instructor. The self-drive track overlaps with several hiking trails and the owner of the camp has pointed out how best to combine both.

First we drove to Mooikloof where we got out to walk a part of the Mountain Zebra Short trail. Mooikloof is a dried up riverbed / canyon and the walk is mainly climbing from rock to rock. We were treated with a great sighting of rock martins feeding their young.

After the walk we drove on to Oerwald camp, the end of the 4x4 trail and explored along Tsauchab river which had some water in it. We encountered a troop of baboons that were not really habituated, the way we like them best, and they all ran up on the cliff and watched us from a safe distance. Although the walk is a short track, we managed to get lost. Close to the campsite we found a pair of Long-tailed Paradise Whydahs which was pretty cool as they were not on the Tsauchab river camp bird list.

As it’s still early we decided to go back to the Klipspringer trail and drive up to the Tsaris Viewpoint. This track was a bit more challenging and required manoeuvring but the viewpoint was well worth it.

Back in the lodge we had signed up for Zebra steak which supposedly is very good meat but we were a bit disappointed. It may have been overcooked but it wasn’t as juicy as we had expected.

Day 8 - Sandy tracks, dead trees and vleis


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Today a visit to Sossusvlei is on our itinerary. The park gate as Sesriem is an hour’s drive from Tsauchab River camp and we headed out at first light. From the gate it is a 60 km drive down into the dunes fields with beautiful scenery along the way. We drove slowly taking it all in and speculated which dead looking tree below the dunes was the most photographed one.

At Sossusvlei parking we stopped to decrease the pressure of our tires. A man came up and asked if we were sure to drive it ourselves as the 5 km track to the Deadvlei parking is very sandy and according to him many people get stuck. For that purpose we had booked the optional sand tracks so no way we were going to leave the car and use the NWR shuttle.

The trail was sandy and it’s a bit like driving on ice, you have to keep momentum and go with the flow. It was a fantastic drive and we enjoyed it fully.

From the car park it’s a 1.5 km walk to Deadvlei (we didn’t walk via Big Daddy). On the way we found a Shovel-snouted Lizard which seemed to be dancing - hopping from one foot to the other and using its tail to have as little contact with the hot sand as possible. We really enjoy watching this little creature and were amazed no one else sees it or seems interested. Deadvlei is not as eerie or spectacular as it could be with many people walking on the pan and posing with the dead trees. It’s a real challenge to take pictures without people in it and it’s no wonder the trees suffer and break down. You’re not allowed to touch the trees but there are no scouts or guards so tourists do whatever they like. Appalling.

After returning from Deadvlei we drove to the Sossusvlei picnic area which is almost deserted. Sossusvlei was full of water which only happens after good rains, once a decade or so. We parked under the trees, unpacked the camp chairs and sat in the shade looking onto the dunes. We felt it was too hot to climb the Big Mama dunes and just explored the vlei itself.

Around 4 pm we checked in at Desert Quiver Camp. We were assigned the furthest chalet which has a beautiful view. After enjoying the setting sun we started up the BBQ and enjoyed the pre-booked braai packet.

Day 9 - Our very first campsite in Namibia


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Our next destination is NamibRand Reserve, which is less than 2,5 hours from Sesriem so we decided to have a lazy morning. After checking out we had breakfast at Sossusvlei lodge and then headed back to Sossusvlei to visit the Sesriem Canyon. This canyon is 30 metres deep and about 3 km long. We intended to walk the canyon trail but we couldn't because it’s full of water too!

At NamibRand we need to be self-sufficient so we stopped at Sossus Oasis to stock up on supplies and firewood.

The C27, which starts at Sesriem and leads you through the NamibRand Reserve, is listed as one of the most scenic roads of Namibia and we fully agree. We turned off at the NamibRand Family Hide-out sign, signed in at reception and settled in at our amazing campsite.

NamibRand offers three exclusive campsites, all totally out of sight of each other. We stayed at Venus which was truly stunning and had private dunes next to it. We climbed up the dune and found many beetles and lizards. We even found a pair of endemic Dune Larks. After sundowners we climbed down and started the BBQ. This was our first camping experience in Namibia and we loved it.

Day 10 - Exploring NamibRand Reserve


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We had a perfect night's sleep in the rooftop tent. We had planned to do a guided walk this morning but there was a double booking. So instead, after we had our coffee, we started on the 4x4 self-drive route. It’s not a very long track but with regular stops to enjoy the views or take photos, we made the most of it and it took us over two hours.

In the afternoon we were picked up for the guided scenic dune drive which takes you to parts of the reserve where you’re not allowed to self-drive. The dunes here are dotted with camelthorn trees and various grass species. Further along the landscape changed to more rocky with views of mountains and we found large herds of oryx.

Back at camp we enjoyed another stunning sunset and started up the BBQ. We aren’t great cooks so we ate in phases - first blackened garlic bread, next delicious boerewors that actually was perfectly cooked and potatoes with garlic and pesto.

Day 11 - Klein-Aus Vista - Eagle’s Nest


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Today the 2 hour educational desert walk that we originally had booked for yesterday. The guide shows us many tracks and reptiles and a highlight is finding the Horned Adder. It’s scary how well camouflaged it is and how easily we could have sat or stepped on it while walking the dunes.

After the walk we packed up and left for Klein-Aus Vista. On our way out we saw two yellow mongoose, running back to their den, almost flying. We proceeded on the scenic D707 but soon had to stop to let a troop of Brown Locust hoppers pass. We were amazed by this phenomenon of highly gregarious hopper bands, you could actually herd them to the side of the road.

Further along the D707 we had about the best raptor-sighting ever, a black-chested snake-eagle flying slowly right over our heads. When we settled into our Eagle's Nest Chalet the sun was already setting and we enjoyed the view. We had dinner at the lodge and one last drink on the veranda before calling it a night.

Day 12 - Full day excursion Kubub


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For today we had booked a private full day excursion on Gondwana Sperrgebiet Rand Park, part of the Succulent Karoo. It’s mainly a scenic drive and our guide was very knowledgeable of the plants of the region, which were edible and which were poisonous. At least, we hoped he was when we tasted a specific succulent he had prepared for us. It tasted very good and we didn’t get ill so he was either a professional or we were lucky.

We have a break at a huge sociable weaver nest. The opening of the nest is at the underside and we take up the challenge to take a great picture of them flying into the nest which of course results in many pictures without a bird.

We have our next break in the shade of a huge quivertree and our guide sets the lunch table. We barely sat down to eat when Hans discovered a tick on his leg. Well not a tick, an army of ticks. We all had our legs covered in them! We brush them off and eat lunch with our feet off the ground. With the opportunity gone, they disappeared as quickly as they appeared.

Next we visited “God’s window’, a viewpoint from the top of a rocky outcrop. The views are amazing and the quiver trees make for good pictures. Back at the chalet we enjoyed another great sunset.

Day 13- Luderitz (Kairos Cottage)


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Luderitz is just a 125 km drive on mostly tar roads, the first tar we’ve been on since leaving windhoek but since we’re not in a hurry we first explore the area around the lodge.

We visited Garub waterhole but there were no “wild” horses in sight. Our next stop was Garub train station - now a derelict building but quite interesting to explore. Closer to Luderitz we drove past Kolmanskop which we weren't planning to visit so we stopped to take pictures from a distance.

After checking into Kairos Cottage, our accommodation for the next three nights, we drove to Agate Beach to explore. It’s supposedly a great place to catch the sunset but it wasn’t interesting enough to hang around that long so we can’t confirm. Kairos Cottage is located on Shark Island and we decided to explore the campsite at the tip of the island which has a macabre history as a concentration camp.

Getting back at the cottage we received bad news. We were informed that the guided tour to the Restricted Area (Sperrgebiet) we had booked for tomorrow is not going to happen. This tour is the reason Luderitz is on the itinerary for 3 nights so we were not amused. We made some calls but security regulations require visitors to book well in advance and there is no way we can arrange something else. We in- and exhaled a few times and made other plans.

Then we had dinner at Ritzi’s Seafood Restaurant which we can’t really recommend. Looking back at the reviews it’s possible they have good nights and bad ones and we were there on the wrong day. We did have a lot of fun though!

Day 14 - Explore Luderitz peninsula


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Instead of going on the planned Pomona & Bogenfels Tour we head out to the Luderitz Peninsula. The entire peninsula drive is 65 km long and it has many bays that are accessible by 4x4 only. Close to Radford Bay we found a lone black-backed jackal. When we visited the bay we discovered its meal, a seal carcass.

We used Tracks4Africa to navigate the trail between all the Bay’s and Bucht’s and it’s great fun. The landscape is otherworldly for us, rocky, dry and still there is life - birds, insects and reptiles and we love exploring.

It’s about 2pm when we arrived at Diaz Point, featuring a classic lighthouse and a replica of the cross erected in July 1488 by Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias on his return from the Cape of Good Hope. After drinks at the coffee shop we continued our trip along the peninsula.

On this side of the island the ocean was really hammering the coast. After visiting Fjord we decided to make a beeline to Grosse Bucht and explore the rest of the peninsula the next day. At Grosse Bucht there were many waterbirds - Sandwich Tern, Hartlaub’s Gull, Ruddy Turnstone, Whimbrel and South African Shelduck to name a few.

At 5pm we headed back to the cottage and had dinner at Barrels Restaurant, a rustic bar-restaurant and a major improvement compared to yesterday. The food was OK but the atmosphere more than made up for that.

On our return to the cottage the night watchman asked us to report to reception. Another surprise waiting for us - we were booked for 2 nights, not 3. The owner realised that we told her about finding the seal carcass and that we had set-up a camera trap before leaving the peninsula, hoping to catch a Brown hyena. After we went out for dinner she realised that we were not planning to leave the next day and then checked our voucher which did say 3 nights. She had arranged that we could stay at the next-door accommodation and have breakfast at their place. With a solution in place there was no reason to get upset so we thanked her profusely and went to bed.

Day 15 - Penguins and more exploring


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After breakfast we packed up our stuff so they could transfer it to our new room at Island Cottage later that day. And off we went to the Lüderitz waterfront jetty to board the Zeepaard, a catamaran that would take us for a tour to Halifax island. Absolute highlight of the trip was seeing African Penguins.

After the boat tour we rushed back to Radford Bay to pick up our camera-trap that we left overnight at the seal carcass. It’s still there but the carcass is not. Fully eaten or swept by the sea? We quickly checked the pictures and yes, besides the black-backed jackal we do have a brown hyena on film. Mission accomplished!

With time on our hands we paid a visit to Kolmanskop. This once very rich diamond mining village was built soon after the first diamond was discovered in 1908. Less than 20 years later the field started to deplete and the village declined and was completely abandoned in 1956. The decaying houses and its history are now a tourist attraction.

To complete our tour of the Peninsula we headed out to Diaz Point for lunch. It is very windy today with limited views due to blowing sand. We started where we left off yesterday, first visiting Kleine Fjord. The weather was terrible but we still enjoyed driving the 4x4 tracks.

We had dinner at the Portuguese Fisherman Seafood and Fish and here the food was great and the service excellent. Had we eaten here the first night we would have stayed for 3 nights in a row. It’s here that we were introduced and got hooked to Dom Pedro, an Amarula milkshake.

Day 16 - Travel to Fish River Lodge


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On the way to our next destination we visited the Garub waterhole to see if there were any “wild” horses around and we were in luck. These horses have an interesting history but are feral horses, not wild ones.

It’s a long drive to Fish River Lodge, first driving back to Aus and then turning south. We’re glad to reach the turn-off west again because it means leaving tar roads behind us once more. We arrived at the lodge at 5:30 pm, great timing for a sundowner with a view of the Fish River canyon.

Day 17 - Fish River Canyon drive


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Morning coffee on the veranda tasted super good because of the great view of the canyon. We had booked a full day guided drive into the canyon all the way down to the river. The road down is a true 4x4 track and very steep and bumpy in places. The views are amazing and we arrived at the rock pools at noon, perfect timing for lunch.

We spent the afternoon on our veranda, photographing birds. The pale-winged starlings just posed for us while the fast-flying rock martins were quite a challenge.

Getting back from dinner it was super hot in our chalet and we kept the doors open all night to get some breeze. There were small windows just below the ceiling but we only discovered the next morning that these could be opened with a pole…

Day 18 - Too hot for a walk


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Originally we had planned to walk along the canyon rim today but it really was too hot for an enjoyable walk so we decided to explore the area by car.

The brown locusts have developed from hoppers to adults and the sky is full of them, it looks like snow. We drove slowly through the Canyon Nature Park and enjoyed a coffee break next to a sociable weaver nest. Upon reaching the exit we drove north but this route wasn’t very interesting so we turned and drove back slowly to the lodge.

Just after entering the Nature Park again we had a great sighting of a Klipspringer family. The horns of the juvenile were almost the same length as those of the male so he was probably about to be kicked out to find himself his territory and a mate. Back at the lodge we enjoyed watching birds again and picked up the “take a good picture of a rock martin challenge” again.

Fish River Lodge is certainly nice but when it’s too hot to walk and explore on foot, we’d advise to book two nights, not three.

Day 19 - Driving a closed road along the Orange river


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Leaving Fish River lodge we retraced our route on the scenic D463 back to the C13 from Aus to Rosh Pinah. After Rosh Pinah the C13 becomes a gravel road and you enter the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. The scenery is empty and barren but spectacular.

At Sendelingsdrift the C13 takes a turn to the east to follow the Orange River. To our horror we found a sign that the road was closed. While we were thinking about what to do next a couple of cars (New Defenders!) passed us and they told us that we could use the road as they had just come from the other side in the morning. There are road repairs due to previous flooding but passing those is no problem they said and there was no water on the road. We’re very relieved as the alternative road to Aussenkehr is a 560 km detour instead of the 104 km of this direct route along the river.

Hans stayed nervous until we got to the road works and the work men were very friendly and helped us pass. They asked for water which we happily supplied as it was 37 degrees outside. No way anyone would still be working in The Netherlands in this heat! Tough people, the Namibians.

We stopped at the confluence of the Fish River and Orange River to explore a bit and do some birdwatching. The Fish River bridge had been fully submerged not long ago but was dry when we crossed. After crossing the Fish River we find more and more wildlife - rock hyrax, chacma baboon and the water-dependent vervet monkeys.

Aussenkehr farm was successfully turned into a grape farm and the informal settlements have grown to about 20,000 inhabitants that work in the grape industry. Part of the farm is our accommodation for the next two nights, Norotshama River Resort.

We had booked a river edge chalet but due to the recent flooding which submerged them in water and mud, these were not available when we arrived so instead we stayed in a classic chalet along the river. After dropping off our luggage it’s time for an ice-cold G&T which we felt was well deserved after such a hot day :-) Followed by another while we watched the sun set on the other side of the river.

Day 20 - Exploring and birdwatching along the Orange River


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Today we planned to do a 35 km 4x4 self drive trail. You have to get the permit and the key to the gate at the local spar but when we arrived we were asked to report back in an hour as another group had left early in the morning and they had just the one key.

We drove up to a viewpoint just out of town to practise our 4x4 driving and then drove back along the river where we had found the wildlife the day before. The permanent river is home to water-dependent species like kingfishers and fish eagles.

At the local spar we were informed that the other guests still had not returned from the trail. It was now 1pm and we were done waiting and decided to just explore some of the other tracks on our tracks4africa map.

The rock formations were very interesting and looked like … a giant’s playground. The road ended in the middle of nowhere with endless views. Late afternoon we stayed at the lodge and looked for interesting birds and insects. We found the gorgeous Orange River White-Eye, Hoopoe Cape Sparrow and various dragonflies and damselflies. To top off the day we found a Four-striped Grass Mouse.

Dag 21 - Fish River Canyon from the east


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The route for today was 386 km, including the detour to visit the Fish River Canyon from the eastern side, which should take us at least 6 hours. We left Aussenkehr at 8am and arrived in Hobas 2 hours later. After registering we drove past the main viewpoint (as it looked crowded with 3 cars in the car park!) and stopped at Hiker's Viewpoint which was completely deserted.

What’s interesting is that the canyon wasn’t formed by erosion but by movement of the tectonic plates which created a deep trench in the mountain plateau. The river followed the easiest route through the trench and then erosion created the current depth of the canyon.

After visiting the main viewpoint we drove south on the canyon wall 4x4 track and stopped several times to admire the magnificent views. About halfway down the track at the Sulphur Springs Viewpoint we stopped for lunch and then headed back to the main road to follow the scenic D608 to Keetmanshoop. It is a very scenic route but finding 3 dead bat-eared foxes on the road within a 17 km stretch took away some of the beauty. We pulled the carcasses to the side of the road to prevent scavengers being killed by other passing cars.

At Keetmanshoop we took the C17 towards Koës and passed many quiver trees and giant playground rocks for which this area is famous. At the end of the long day we arrived at Mesosaurus Fossil Bush Camp. We stayed in a cute and rustic cottage. We had booked dinner and breakfast and at 7pm dinner a delicious dinner was served just for us. Walking back to the cottage we looked for scorpions with the UV spotlight and there were loads. Some were just hiding, others were running around like crazy and were difficult to photograph but that's part of the fun.

Dag 22 - Fossils, dolerite rocks and quiver trees


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This morning we report at the office where the owner is waiting to take us on a guided tour to the Mesosaurus fossils. The mesosaurus is an extinct genus of reptile from the Early Permian (over 250 million years ago) and is proof to the theory of the drifting of continents as the same genus was found in the same rock formations in South America.

The fossils are amazing and well preserved. The owner told us the story of how they discovered the fossils on his property. Playing with the rocks his son had found impressions in a rock that was broken. They opened up the rock and the fossil appeared. Since they have found more specimens which are shown during the tour.

After visiting the fossils we drive on towards the dolerite rock formations and the owner leaves us to explore on our own. Mesosaurus Fossil Bush Camp also hosts the Quiver tree Dolerite Park with over 5000 quiver trees, which make it the densest concentration of Quiver trees in Namibia. We visited this valley in the afternoon, following the 16 km self-drive 4x4 Trail. The scenery is stunning and we frequently stopped to explore on foot and take pictures of the landscape.

Day 23 - Wild camping a bridge too far


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Originally our destination for today was the Brukkaros Crater where we would camp at an abandoned community campsite. Although Hans liked camping at NamibRand, wild camping without functioning ablutions was a bridge too far for him and we changed the itinerary to an extra night at Bagatelle.

To avoid the tarred B1 we drove C- and D-roads from Keetmanshoop to Mariental and unfortunately found more roadkill, amongst which a rock monitor which we hadn’t seen before but fortunately we later saw a live one cross the road. The rock monitor is very large and heavy-bodied with a very long tail that they use as whips when defending themselves.

At approximately 4pm we arrived at Bagatelle and installed ourselves in our Dune chalet with a view over the Kalahari desert. Our chalet has a private plunge pool and we looked forward to cooling off while enjoying the views but the water is not cold, it’s freezing!

The chalet is very private, except around sunset when lots of people climb the dune next to our chalet to enjoy the sunset. We don’t mind sharing the sunset but would have preferred the people would use one of the many other dunes. Actually the lodge should facilitate an easy access sunset spot away from the chalets.

Day 24 - Zoo-like Bagatelle


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With nothing on our programme before the afternoon game drive we stayed at the chalet for game viewing from our veranda. A special treat were the red-billed queleas forage, landing on a stem of grass, bedding it by their weight and picking off all the seeds.

Another treat were the springboks practised pronking - jumps where they lift all four feet off the ground simultaneously. It’s suggested that they use pronking to escape and confuse predators but no one knows for sure. There’s a dark individual in the herd and we later learned that in addition to the normal-coloured springboks there are also black and white morphs. These colour variations are in principle a natural phenomenon but some game ranches have specialised in breeding these colour variants. Bagatelle has bought some black, white and copper/gold individuals and added them to the herd.

After lunch with a “Painted Wolf’ wine by Tusk and some more game viewing from our veranda it’s time for the afternoon game drive. We admired giraffes and then came upon a weird sighting - a bushbuck according to the guide but in fact it was a totally out of place red lechwe. Out of place because this is a wetland species, not a kalahari desert one.

After a while the guide said he had spotted a rhino, far away and lo and behold, there they were, at the daily feeding spot… We’re happy to move on and watch native species like oryx, springbok and ostrich. After watching the sun set with a G&T we headed back to the lodge for dinner.

After dinner we went on a night game drive to watch nocturnal animals. Finding a beautiful cape fox that posed for pictures made the drive totally worth it.

Day 25 - Spectacular night drive


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This morning we should have gone on a game drive but we had set the alarm for 7am thinking the drive started at 8am while in fact it started at 7am. Reception is very friendly and lets us rebook without cost for tomorrow morning.

Because yesterday’s night drive was great we booked another one for this evening. The masseuse was back from leave so Hans also booked a full body massage.

During the day we watched game from our veranda and explored the dune area close to our chalet. By now it didn’t surprise us to see sable antelope which in Namibia only occur in the Zambezi region. The birds feeding on the grasses again brightened our day, the red-billed queleas being joined by a female yellow canary.

Hans is not feeling well which turned for the worse during dinner. He decided not to join the night drive and instead turned in early hoping to be well again in the morning. There were no other guests so Joni had a private drive which turned out to be spectacular. Not only did she see Spinghare (which are surprisingly large) but also bat-eared foxes, a cape fox and a wild cat. Pictures weren’t great but the experience sure was.

Day 26 - It’s coming to an end


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We set the alarm at 6 so today we would be on time for the morning scenic drive. The morning drives are focused on enjoying the landscape which does look different in the light of the rising sun compared to the intense orange of the afternoons. When we stopped for a sociable weaver nest we spotted a Four-striped Grass Mouse and to our delight the other guests in the car enjoyed them too so we had time to watch and take pictures.

Next we found the (imported) Black wildebeest and the last colour variant of springbok - the coppery/gold one. The best sighting was saved for last, a tower of giraffes browsing from the bushes.

After checking out at the lodge and ready to go we were informed by a staff member that the meerkats were close by. Of course we had to go and find them. The family was very alert, always at least one of them on the look-out, looking super cute. At the alarm call they all gathered close to the bushes and stood erect. When all seemed safe they started foraging again, until the next call.

Then it was time to go, back to Windhoek. Our second Namibian safari is getting close to the end. Avoiding tar for as long as we could, we drove from Bagatelle via Hoachanas to Uhlenhorst and Dordabis towards Windhoek. When we reached Brack we knew we had plenty of time and decided to take another D road and get off the tar.

It is 3:45pm when we reach Namibia Car Rental to drop off the car, 15 minutes before the deadline so we timed it well. After checking the car they dropped us off at Etango Ranch Guest Farm, our last accommodation of this trip. Etango is situated opposite the turn-off to the airport but the 1.5 km sand road to the guest farm brings you far enough to hear no noise from the airport.

Day 27 - Fabulous bird watching at Etango


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Our last day in Namibia - we’ll be leaving Etango at 2:30pm so we have plenty of time to relax and reorder the luggage. Birdwatching at Etango is great, we spot at least two species new to us - Bennett's Woodpecker and the Southern Pied-Babbler. Another highlight is a Pearl-spotted Owlet that allows us to watch it while it’s preening.

And then it’s time for the transfer to the airport. We’re both sad to go and happy to go home. It has been a great holiday and we hope to return next year to visit the Zambezi region in the North-East.

At check-in Lufthansa we learned that our reserved seats with extra legroom are double booked and no longer available. We are really really tired and treat ourselves to an upgrade to premium economy. The next morning we arrived on time at Schiphol airport where our brand new Landrover Defender was waiting for us for the last leg of the journey home.

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