Our Tour around Namibia in a 4 wheel drive camper van
Quiver Tree Forest
The Quiver Tree Forest was our first stop after picking up our little camper in Windhoek. It was a very long way on good Tarmac roads, but these would be the last good roads we would see for the next couple of weeks! Apart from the trees, this would be a gentle start to our camping experience. Janeen also got to feed a tame cheetah and scratch the belly of a warthog whilst we were there!
Luderitz and the Sand Houses
In Luderitz, we stayed in a B&B on Shark Island. A short, but chilly, walk from the town. The town is at the centre of what was the diamond mining capital of Namibia. A lot of this part of the country is still owned by De Beers. Janeen and I spent a day with a guide at the Bogenfels abandoned mine. What an incredible place, stories of workers in wool clothing crawling across the desert floor looking for diamonds and leaving little piles of stones behind them. It all made for an unreal landscape. We also had some time at the Kolmanskoppe site. How the sand has reclaimed all these old disused buildings is amazing. Jan had to drag me away from Kolmanskoppe, which we had almost to ourselves. Very spooky. Probably the most photographed buildings in Namibia.
Overnight at Farm Namtib
Farm Namtib was on our way from Luderitz to Sossusflei. The road was just dirt and gravel and shook our teeth out and rearranged everything in the camper! The campsite was also a mile off this 'road' and I am very glad that it hadn't rained as we'd have needed a tow. We were really isolated here but the stars and moon were very bright and put on a fabulous display for us.
Sossusvlei, Deadvlei and the Sand Sea
This was also on my bucket list to photograph. What wasn't, was the two punctures suffered on the road to get there. Changing wheels in that heat is not to be recommended. Everyone camping at or near to Sossusflei is there to see the dead marsh - Deadvlei where the camel thorn trees, preserved by the dry desert and covered by sand, emerge from their tomb as the sand dunes shift in the wind. The gates to the Deadvlei open at dawn where the cars, vans, bokkies and coaches queue up to be the first to get to the vlei to watch the sunrise. What then happens is the scariest drive on a narrow road with all these vehicles jockeying for position, mad! The Wacky Races comes to mind. But when you get there it's all very much worth it.
From Sossusvlei, we drove up some more very dodgy roads to Walvis bay and, after yet another puncture and stop to get it repaired, we had a very nice stay at a hostel for two nights of well needed rest. from There we wandered up the coast road via Cape Cross to see the seals and then inland to Spitzkoppe where we camped for a couple of nights. We had a visit out to see the rock carvings at Twyfelfontien before making our way to the Etendeke Mountain Camp.
Etendeke Mountain Camp
So many diverse eco systems in Namibia. This mountain camp showed us animals and insects we had not seen before, such as the enormous spider eating wasp that hunts tarantula, and the Mountain Elephant which has much larger feet than a grassland elephant to cope with the rocky terrain. The elephant can also travel much further on it's reserve of water than others. We spent a lovely couple of days here before wending our way to Etosha.
Etosha Game Reserve
Etosha is huge! The reserve is centered around a salt lake and has many camps within the reserve. We stayed at 3 camps - Okaquejo, Halali and Onkosi. Okaquejo was the most commercialised with bars and restaurants, Camping and Holiday Villas, it was also the biggest sporting it's own man made watering hole which attracted Elephant, Hippo, Warthog and the usual suspects Giraffe, Zebra, Ostrich and herd beasts. Halali was basic camping with a game viewing platform, but not much game. Onkoshi was a hotel on stilts with separate lodges linked by walkways and very remote. It was a brilliant place to stay and Etosha was fabulous.
Damaraland and Waterberg
Our last stop before getting back to Windhoek. Janeen and I managed to get on a trip to the Cheetah Foundation reserve at Waterberg, which was amazing. They rescue orphaned cheetahs who's parents have been killed by locals who fear their animals will be predated on. They also educate farmers about the cheetahs, who are mostly not responsible for killing cows etc. They breed large dogs, that they then give to the farmers to protect their sheep and cows.
The end of the most fantastic holiday. 3,500 miles in three weeks along rubbish roads including 3 burst tyres. Best Holiday ever!