Jump to content

Namibia, Botswana & Zimbabwe, first time but not the last time!


Ladouce

Recommended Posts

Ladouce

Hi everybody, I just did a short introduction in the newbie part of this forum and there I mentioned that we have been to Namibia in 2014. So this is an "old" trip report. I just translated my Dutch trip report into English. This means that some info might not be interesting at all to some of you because it is not only focussed on the animals but on the total trip. This was our first trip to Southern Africa and we booked this trip through a Dutch agent who worked together with an Namibian agent.

 

Just a little bit of background on how we came to do this trip. We had been in Asia a few times and my husband said that he wanted something different this time, so why don't we go to Africa. Africa for me has always been Namibia because I used to work in travel industry and heard that this was one of the best parts of Africa for wildlife and scenary. So Namibia it was. We found out that my favorite animal, the hippo, only lives in the Caprivi area so that area had to be included. This meant that because we only had 3 weeks, we could not travel more South than the Sossusvlei. We are both not into the culture things, such as visiting tribes so that was kept out as well. With this info we headed to the agent and they came back with the following route:

 

31/08/14 Amsterdam Johannesburg (overnight in a hotel at the airport)

01/09/14 Johannesburg - Windhoek - Sossusvlei (2 nights Desert Camp)

03/09/14 Sossusvlei - Swakopmund (2 nights Cornerstone Guesthouse)

05/09/14 Swakopmund - Vingerklip (1 night Vingerklip Lodge)

06/09/14 Vingerklip - Etosha (1 night Okaukuejo, 2 nights Halali)

09/09/14 Etosha - Grootfontein (1 night Seidarap guesthouse)

10/09/14 Grootfontein - Mahungo (2 nights Mahangu Safari Lodge)

12/09/14 Mahangu - Kwando (2 nights Camp Kwando)

14/09/14 Kwando - Kasane (3 nights Chobe Bakwena Lodge)

17/09/14 Kasane - Vic Falls (2 nights Ilala Lodge)

19/09/14 Victoria Falls - Livingstone - Johannesburg - Amsterdam

 

Monday 18 August 2014

Final preparations

It is starting to itch. 12 More days and then we get on the plane to Johannesburg. Last Friday we bought the international driving licenses. Another thing taken of the list after the malaria tablets, the hiking pants, beautiful hats and telephoto lenses for cameras.

The crate with things which we certainly must take with us is getting fuller.

 

Sunday 31 August 2014

The African adventure begins

At Schiphol, 45 minutes and then our flight back to Johannesburg will leave. The first part of the trip to Windhoek. Tonight at 21:15 we land and then after a short night in a hotel at the airport, we fly at 06.00 to Windhoek.

 

Monday 1 September 2014

An exciting day

Where do I start. The flight from Amsterdam to Johannesburg was fine. Upon arrival in Johannesburg we checked where our luggage was because in Amsterdam it already got the label to Windhoek. The lady we asked this told us that we could pick up our suitcases in Windhoek. So we went directly to the hotel (City Lodge) which was fine, and here we had a good sleep for a few hours. At 4:15 the alarm went off already and at 6.00 we were in a cute small aircraft (50 passengers) of SA Express. Croissant and coffee on board is all a person needs.

 

tn_gallery_50135_1507_39656.jpg

 

And off course it is nice if your suitcases are on the same plane. On arrival in Windhoek our suitcases did not arrive at the luggage belt. After a lap at the airport we were able to draw up a report and now we hope that the suitcases are quickly found and delivered. At this moment we have not heard anything and it looks as though tomorrow we walk around in the same clothes for the 3rd day in a row. It's now 30 degrees in the afternoon and then a swimsuit is nicer than long trousers.

 

Anyway, we did not let our first day in beautiful Namibia spoil with this hassle. At Europcar we collected our 4WD which will be our car for the next 2 weeks. A very clean white Toyota Hilux Double cab which now is no longer white but a kind of dull gray.

 

 

gallery_50135_1507_446456.jpg

 

Then on the road. First to Windhoek. Some shopping at the Spar. Water, soft drinks and sandwiches for the road. The first part of the route was one of the few paved roads in the country. There was also a fair amount of traffic. Then we went over on gravel and that will remain the next days. Gravel in several variations. Pretty smooth gravel, soft gravel in heaps and gravel with boulders.

 

The first animals we've seen were monkeys. Lots of monkeys. Not wild were the cows, goats, a dog, horses and donkeys. Fortunately, we also saw a kudu, oryx and a few springbok. After a beautiful drive we now sit on the terrace with a drink at our lodge. Tonight we go to bed early and tomorrow morning at sunrise to the red dunes of the Sossusvlei.

 

gallery_50135_1507_1356379.jpg

 

Tuesday 2 September 2014

What a joy

How happy can you be with 2 suitcases? Very happy! This morning, the bags arrived and we could finally change clothes. Our plan today to get out of bed early and visit the red dunes (Sossusvlei) was killed this morning at 5:00. It was pretty cold last night (extra blanket was really needed) and it was nice and warm in bed. So instead of 5.00 am it was 8:00 and we went for breakfast in the Sossusvlei Lodge. Here we had a delicious dinner last night. Kudu, impala, hartebeest and wildebeest from the bbq after starters from an extensive hot and cold buffet. Dessert was also a sumptuous buffet of different types of cake, pudding and pie.

 

gallery_50135_1507_380845.jpg

 

The breakfast was quite extensive and the freshly made omelet was more than enough. After breakfast back to the Desert Camp where we were staying and it turned out that our bags were there. Changing into charming safari / hiking clothes and off we went to the Sesriem Canyon. Meanwhile, the temperature had risen to 30 C, but that did not spoil the fun. At the entrance of the National Park we bought a permit for two days so that tomorrow we can directly drive to the Sossusvlei. On to the Canyon and looking for the entrance, which we could not find. After having seen quite a lot from the top we have to be like klimbokkies and climbed down. In the Canyon it was also very hot but also very nice. We had to walk back the part which we had done at the top of the Canyon. And hope that we could get up again somewhere. Tim has seen a snake and there were also some large spiders around so I was really enjoying myself. After some time we suddenly had some oncoming traffic and yes there appeared a kind of staircase just across the parking lot. Which was hard to see from above if you did not know it was there. Now we were in the smallest and perhaps most beautiful part of the canyon. But also the busiest part.

 

After the canyon we eventually did drive towards the red dunes. What an incredibly beautiful landscape. I cannot describe how beautiful. After a brief stop at Dune 45 where arrived in the middle of a sandstorm. We continued the road to the Sossusvlei so that tomorrow we know where to go. On the way back we came in the same sandstorm and in the center of the storm we could not see a hand before our eyes. Luckily our car was faster than the storm, and did we have good visibility again on the last part of the road.

 

gallery_50135_1507_558377.jpg

 

For the first time we filled up our car with diesel. Bought some sandwiches for breakfast and back to the Desert Camp. At the bar I started this travel report, but we were approached by a Dutch man who lives in South Africa since the fifties. Though this was not to hear, he still spoke Dutch without an accent. We had a nice conversation with him, his girlfriend was also born Dutch but at the age of two already moved to South Africa and they did not speak Dutch but African. Nice to hear but sometimes difficult to understand. They sought (Desert Camp was fully booked) a place to sleep and we had reservations for a Sundowner Nature drive so after half an hour we had to get back on the road. The Sundowner tour was great fun. Together with two elderly German women we went with our guide Gabriel to see some animals, plants and watch the sunset. And enjoying a drink and some snacks. The ride was around the premises of the lodge and we can add some animals to our list. Ground squirrels, p, an ostrich and a bunch Namibian mice. We were also told a few things about different trees and rock formations. The ride was fun and the food and drinks made it complete.

 

gallery_50135_1507_478882.jpg

 

Little mouse waiting for some leftover food during the Sundowner

gallery_50135_1507_1315379.jpg

 

Weavers nest

 

gallery_50135_1507_2785524.jpg

 

Upon returning we could immediately sit down for dinner and this time it was again delicious. One last drink at the bar and then straight to bed. Tomorrow the alarm goes off really early and after our visit to the Sossusvlei we move on to our next stop, Swakopmund, on the coast. Unfortunately a bit colder as we just saw on the news, only 18 C.

Link to post
Share on other sites
wilddog

Nice to see the start of your 2014 trip report so promptly after your introduction earlier today. I am impressed.

 

Being in a sandstorm must have been quite unnerving.

 

That chicken really made me laugh; such a funny face.

 

By the way I think your mouse is actually a Rock Hyrax/Dassie.

 

It sounds like an adventurous trip ahead, so really looking forward to hearing more about it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice start looking forward to more including the non safari stuff. We had a similar itinerary as yours last year.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Neeners815

A great start to your trip report. The chicken made me laugh, too. Thank you very much for sharing! I'm looking forward to the continuation of this story.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ladouce

@@wilddog the sandstorm was luckily very short but at that moment we did not know this. And thanks for commenting on the "mouse". We are not really familiair with the African wildlife yet. I already thought that it looked kind of weird for a mouse. Now we can add one more animal to the list of animals we already have seen :)

 

@@dlo you probably had a great trip as well

 

@@Neeners815 @@wilddog the chicken is one of my favorite pictures. She is so uggly but looking so funny

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ladouce

Wednesday 3 September: The red dunes of Namibia

This morning we finally went to the Sossusvlei and the Deadvlei. Luggage in the car, cooler stocked and cameras ready. At 6 am we were at the gate, 3rd in row, to wait until the gate opened. Yesterday we already bought a permit so we could drive directly in to the park. Yesterday we just saw oryx and springbok but today there were a lot of ostriches along the route. The drive of almost 60 km on an asphalt road was very quick. During the ride we enjoyed the red dunes that were nicely lit during the sunrise. At the parking, which is 5km from Sossusvlei, we put the car in low gear and we went easily through the loose sand. This was the nicest part of the route through the dunes, past trees and bushes.

 

The entrance to the park

 

gallery_50135_1507_186160.jpg

 

Upon arrival at the Sossusvlei there was a fox around what which was fed by a (German?) tourist. Wild animal? For us there was a stiff climb up the dunes. This was a small one. We did not climb Big Mama and Big Daddy. It was actually already very warm. On the other side of the dunes is Deadvlei, a dry lake with dead trees but so beautiful. Because we had not used the shuttle there were not too many people around. That changed when we were already on the way back, when larger groups started to arrive.

 

gallery_50135_1507_824094.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_369277.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_392844.jpg

 

The way back through the loose sand was once again excellent, both car and Tim have done this job very well. While we were driving to the exit direction of the park, we saw two foxes. They were a little shyer than their aforementioned kind. Because we had the car all filled up yesterday we could directly go on the road to Swakopmund; a journey of about 360 km which would take us approximately 5 hours. Along the way we saw springbokkies, oryx and ostrich and at our coffee stop at Solitaire we could add several beautifully colored birds to our list. Not to mention an entire colony of ground squirrels who feasted on leftover apple pie. Solitaire is particularly famous for its apple pie and the wrecks that are displayed in an artistic way. The apple pie was indeed very nice and we got a huge piece. The coffee was not that great.

 

gallery_50135_1507_514003.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_802899.jpg

 

After Solitaire we passed through two beautiful mountain passes. Unfortunately the last 100km to Walvis Bay (located 40km from Swakopmund) were very boring. A barren desert where there was nothing to see. Only sand, sand and more sand. It felt strange to enter a real town after being in the wilderness for three days. Walvis Bay is not pretty, a port city with many laborers. However, we did see a group of flamingos who were looking for food at the beach. The road from Walvis Bay to Swakopmund runs along the ocean. We also noticed that here it is a few degrees colder than in the desert. A fresh breeze coming is from the sea. Our guesthouse in Swakopmund (Cornerstone Guesthouse) is very nice. Small and very personal. A beautiful room with private patio, though unfortunately at this moment it is too cold to use, hopefully tomorrow. Tonight we will eat fish instead of game; this is the only place on this trip where this will be possible.

 

gallery_50135_1507_323253.jpg

 

Tomorrow we'll be picked up at 8am for a day full of activities. We start with a dolphin tour and then we go by 4WD to Sandwich Harbour, a piece of desert on the coast which is slowly being swallowed by the ocean.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ladouce

Thursday 4 September: Dolphins & Pelicans

Yesterday evening we enjoyed a delicious fish dinner on the pier in Swakopmund. Tim had a fish soup and salmon, I had Namibian sushi and kingklip, which is a local fish. After a good night sleep we woke up rested. Breakfast at this place is not a punishment; they have freshly baked German rolls and eggs prepared to your liking. Together with an American couple we were picked up at our guesthouse for the day program. First the dolphin tour, on a catamaran into the lagoon. Different animals live here such as pelicans, albatrosses, seals and dolphins, plus the necessary smaller birds.

 

gallery_50135_1507_415380.jpg

 

The seals are so wild that they know when to they can get a fish at the boat.

They just get on board the boat to score a fish. Also the pelicans are regularly offered an easy meal of fish.

 

gallery_50135_1507_49121.jpg

 

On board they had all kinds of nice food & drinks. At 10 o'clock this morning we were already having a glass of sherry. It should not be crazier. Lunch consisted of bubbles with oysters and various cold snacks. But we only started with this after we had sailed across the lagoon and had seen the necessary dolphins. There are two species in the lagoon and we have seen both.

 

We also visited the seal colony and fortunately you cannot capture smell because nobody would continue reading this report. What a smell! It was very nice to see them jumping around and bathing in the water.

 

gallery_50135_1507_572171.jpg

 

After lunch, back to the port to change to a 4wd for the Sandwich Harbour tour. Since Sandwich Harbour can only be reached via the beach we had bad luck this time. The water was too high in order to go in the area. We therefore have only driven around in the desert. Although I must say that this was also not too bad. The driver gave us occasionally the feel as if we were on a roller coaster.

 

gallery_50135_1507_210999.jpg

 

 

Dune on and down, very steep down, backwards down, he did it all. In the middle of the desert we had another snack stop. And yes again with bubbles and different (fish) snacks. On the way back there was a problem with one of the three cars but once this was resolved we went back.

 

gallery_50135_1507_8666.jpg

 

Later this evening we will go out for something small to eat such as a burger with fries. Because after all of the eating during the day there is little space left in our bellies.

Tomorrow we will be traveling north. No idea whether we have an internet connection the next few days so maybe it can take a while before I post something new.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ladouce

Friday 5 September: Vingerklip (Lodge)

After a real English breakfast, this time with English tea instead of coffee, today we will have a relatively short drive north. The first kilometers are like the last kilometers two days back; even though we are now taking a different route. We say goodbye to the Atlantic Ocean. Over time the landscape changes. There are more hills and mountains and later on there is more lush vegetation. The road today is more or less the whole route an asphalt route, except for the last 15 km. This means that we have a smooth ride. Around lunchtime we are already at their destination. Vingerklip Lodge, a beautiful lodge in the mountains overlooking several plateaus and the Vingerklip. (Which gives the name to the lodge)

 

gallery_50135_1507_257623.jpg

 

After the cold of Swakopmund the warmth here is lovely and therefore after lunch I decide to lie down at one of the two pools. Tim is more active and is doing a hike on the grounds of the lodge. The water in the pool is quite cold but the view out of the swimming pool is almost unmatchable. So beautiful, we do not have this in the Netherlands. For dinner we have a reservation at Eagle's Nest; the 2nd restaurant of the lodge which is situated on a plateau. First we have to climb a bit and then take there are stairs which have another 170 steps. At the top you can have a drink and watch the sunset. From the top it is even better than downstairs so we decide to go up a little earlier to see the sunset. The view is worth it and the sunset is very nice while enjoying a glass of South African Bubbles.

 

gallery_50135_1507_1081006.jpg

 

The bbq is already lit and we go inside. Unfortunately, something is not right. There are three tables which can seat 2 and these tables are all already occupied while we still have no table. This is not correct because we have the reservation. We get offered a table outside; but there is too much wind to sit outside. Because we do not agree, the waiter calls the front desk for a room list to check who has made reservations and who has not. As the room is exactly big enough for 22 people and not for 24 it is not possible to add an extra table. After the room list has been given, he asks the three couples for their room number and one of the three has no reservation but then the waiter does not dare to speak to these people. He wants to add another table but as said, the room is not big enough and we would nearly sit on the lap of our neighbors. Who also have to climb over us every time they want to get something to eat. At that time we are so disappointed that we leave and go down. At the reception we submit our complaint but they only listen and do not do anything. We have our dinner in the restaurant in the lodge. Upon check out, we see that we do not have to pay for our lunch and drinks at dinner as a compensation for all of this. The food in the downstairs restaurant tastes great and the service is very nice but it was a pity the way it went. The two women who were sitting at our table in Eagle’s Nest were questioned by the front desk. They thought that they had made a reservation through their travel agent.

 

 

Saturday 6 September: Etosha, elephants, giraffes, zebras and more

Today again a not many kilometers but a day with lots of impressions. After breakfast we directly left in the direction of Etosha THE game park in Namibia. En route we fill up the car, buy rolls and three hours later we arrived at the Andersons Gate, one of the entrances to the park. After we registered at the entrance gate, we saw the first elephant after 500 meters. A waterhole (place with water, large pond) where a large part of the Noah’s Ark was drinking. Elephants, zebras, oryx, bokkies, wart hogs and various birds. So cool to see, just after entering the park. This made our day already!

 

gallery_50135_1507_451266.jpg

 

Because you are not allowed to get out of your car so therefore have not many options for going to the bathroom, we quickly drove to our camp for the 1st night, Okaukuejo. The four camps in the park are state property and it shows in some small things. The service is less, on the other hand the rooms are fine, the dinner was like eating at a soup kitchen; not bad but not comparing to anything we had the first week. After we had checked in we have another round in the park. As the gates close at sunset you do need to make sure you're back in time because otherwise they're going to look for you and you'll probably be fined. During our tour we've seen all kind of animals. Giraffes, various bokkies, squirrels, elephants, zebras and ostriches.

 

gallery_50135_1507_1112980.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_459182.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_1275127.jpg

 

 

gallery_50135_1507_1350955.jpg

 

Sometimes you drive a while and you see nothing and suddenly some animals emerge from nowhere. Occasionally you have to look around very good. Back at the camp we go directly to the waterhole. This one is in the park and you can access one side from the camp and sit on benches. When it gets dark the waterhole is illuminated. Immediately on arrival there were already two young bull elephants of which one quite quickly went away. 2nd elephant made preparations to leave, but a 3rd elephant came to the waterhole and the 2nd elephant decided to come back and show that he was the biggest and the strongest.

 

gallery_50135_1507_1054812.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_362962.jpg

 

Apart from the elephants there were also all kinds of bokkies, and after a while we saw some cranes on the horizon, in other words six giraffes were coming. Slowly but surely, in a wandering movement, they came to the waterhole. We have seen two drinking, the rest waited. Because we had to go for dinner we did not wait for them to come to the water. After dinner we went back but then the waterhole was empty.

Link to post
Share on other sites
marindadrake

Great trip report. Cant wait for the next installment. Busy planning a trip through Botswana and Namibia.

Link to post
Share on other sites
marindadrake

Great trip report. Cant wait for the next installment. Busy planning a trip through Botswana and Namibia.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ladouce

Sunday 7 September: Daylight saving time

Yes here they also have daylight saving time and we were lucky, last night we moved the clock one hour forward. We are now in the same time zone as the Netherlands.

Today we stay in Etosha but only move to another camp. Halali, 80 km from Okaukuejo. We only will not drive directly but via various waterholes en route.

 

gallery_50135_1507_1078777.jpg

 

Today was our lucky day because after only half an hour we saw two rhinos. These are rare and very protected because their horn is worth gold on the Asian market. Bunch of idiots. What an impressive animal and how lucky to see these so early in the morning. Now we only have cats on our wish list. This will be more difficult because they can lie or walk everywhere. So we just have to wait. We noticed that many people just rush from waterhole to waterhole and have no interest for the area they drive through. Or only for the, in their eyes, more interesting animals such as lions or leopards. Fortunately, we have time and we take that time, and thus you see a lot. Like a giraffe mother with her little one which certainly was not more than a week old or ground squirrels running along the road to roam but also all sorts of funny and nice birds. Okay, zebras and bokkies you cannot miss, even if you drive through the park with 60 km per hour, but the rest is more difficult.

 

gallery_50135_1507_65023.jpg

 

Early afternoon we saw a huge adult bull elephant marching through the grass. A real big one. We knew he was heading for a waterhole which was a little bit further down the road. So we went over to this waterhole.

 

There are heaps of cars and then you know there is something special. A neighboring car told us that there were three lionesses. At first we could only spot one but then after half an hour the great bull was coming and lioness number 2 started to become restless and she stuck her head well above the grass. The bull did not really look laid back and since the car was in its course direction we just left. Meanwhile we sit in our room in Halali and we're going to have an evening game drive with a car and park guide. Looking forward to it.

 

gallery_50135_1507_676231.jpg

 

More “new” animals

Last night we did the game drive by night. In an open car with roof and a total of 10 people plus guide. Besides us three other participants from the Netherlands. So until now we have met a lot of our eastern neighbors and at this time there was no German in the car. Gabriel was our guide and driver. Since no one is allowed outside the gates after sunset the gate was opened for us. Very exciting all, what do you see in the dark and is it different than during the day? The route we drove was a part of the route which we had driven during the day only did we not recognized too much in the dark. Gabriel had a red light that he shone across the fields and bushes and when he saw something of significance he would hold the lamp. The first animal we encountered was the steenbok. It is a very small creature that looks a bit like a hare but it's not. They can jump very perky and in the evening they walk at the side of the road and you have to really be careful that they do not jump in front of your car. Then we saw jackals, zebras, kudu, springbok, impala, in short, everything was already known but nice to also see in the dark. We also met a group of elephants and at a waterhole we saw two rhinos. But it was much more fun to see a porcupine. These are apparently more difficult than spotting lions and the chance that you will see one is very small. Especially since these animals are active just after sunset. In the circle we made hereafter we also saw several giraffes and two hyenas, which we had not seen yet.

 

Meanwhile, it was pretty cool and in an open car there is also much wind. It was funny that the wind was alternately hot and cold, depending on where we drove. Fortunately we had prepared us well with long trousers and a sweater. Gabriel also had brought everyone a nice warm poncho. Which Tim did not need. At the end of our tour we went again back to the waterhole where we had seen the porcupine and the two rhinos and that was bingo. A mama rhino with a young rhino and as the icing on the cake, three lions. A male with two females; in the open field so very good to see. That made it the perfect tour. Upon returning at 23:00 a moment to recover from all the impressions and then tired but satisfied we went to bed.

 

Monday 8 September: How many elephants?
This morning we slept in a little bit and after breakfast we first went to have a look at the waterhole at the camp. A beautiful waterhole which you can view from above. There were all kinds of animals around such as kudu, impala and springbok. Because we also wanted to go for a drive through the park we wanted to get away after a while. I was ready to go, Tim was going to make one more picture and then a rhino came from the bushes. So we sat down again and got the camera ready.

 

gallery_50135_1507_531320.jpg

 

Mr. rhino was pretty robust and perhaps out of humor because after he had drunk, he went after the kudu. Several groups were hunted by him and this looked very funny. Such an awkward animal running behind those playful deer. Despite this spectacle we got on the car for another round through the bush. At the first waterhole were the most common animals again. The usual kudus, zebras and other bokkies. After shooting another load of pictures we turned the car and wanted to drive off and just at that moment a huge herd of elephants came in view. I counted at least 20 but it can easily be more. Really so cool, even some little ones. We returned to enjoy this show and a show it was. First all elephants started to drink.

 

gallery_50135_1507_187558.jpg

 

Subsequently, a significant part of the group took a bath and as a finishing touch mud bath followed. We had to move the car because their route ran right through our car. Sometimes you just have luck.

The rest of the day we only saw the most usual animals.

 

gallery_50135_1507_2641344.jpg

 

However we did see a beautiful eagle. At the end of the day we went back to the waterhole at the camp and there the same rhino was still around. By himself because I think he hunted the other animals away just like he did with the kudus in the morning. I slipped on the rocks myself and have a painful scrape on both right knee and left elbow. This is our last night in Etosha, tomorrow morning we drive out of the park on the east side at and then on to our next stop, Grootfontein. This is a stopover of just one night before we go to the Caprivi strip. The area which is wedged between Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. A very different landscape than here. I am looking forward to that part as well, getting rid of the dust and drought.

 

gallery_50135_1507_1130193.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_136673.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_172546.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
xelas

@@Ladouce

Lovely report that brings back many memories! It looks that 2014 was a year when many of us got bitten by the Africa bug for the first time ... in Namibia.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ladouce

Tuesday 9 September: The icing on the cake

After a hot night and we were awake early. Breakfast, return key, fill car and off we go. Today we will leave Etosha and go to our next stop, Seidarap, a B&B in Grootfontein. But first 80 km through the park to get to one of the gates. The first waterhole is completely empty in terms of quadrupeds, just some birds using the water. Fortunately, we see the famous springbok and a big male elephant.

 

gallery_50135_1507_170081.jpg

 

Herds of zebra block the road regularly. We drive a very large piece along beautiful tall grass. Tim feels that is a good area for a leopard or a cheetah to walk around. It is such beautiful grass, so why not. We look to the left, look to the right, with and without binocular. But alas, we see nothing. Until we see two cars along the road. Cars standing still in a game park are almost always a sign that there is something special to see. This can range from giraffe to lion. And in our case it is a cheetah. There was a cheetah on the right side of our car. But he or she went further in the grass and behind bushes. Looking at the map I saw that there was a curve in the road. So I told Tim to move to the curve because if I was right, the cheetah would have to cross the road in order to walk in a direct line. And he/she did. Just before our car it crossed the road. What an impressive animal, especially if it is only a meter of your car. This was enjoying big time.

 

gallery_50135_1507_1150139.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_341095.jpg

 

After we continued our route and had made the very needed toilet stop we stopped at another waterhole. Here was the a lot of activity of giraffes, wart hogs and bokkies. Also a jackal came along.

 

gallery_50135_1507_295779.jpg

 

And yes, we were just pulling away when we saw movement in the woods. A family of elephants emerged. They were initially quite uncertain and remained hanging in the woods. 8 Elephants under a tree is pretty funny to watch. After they were sure that there was no danger they came to the pond. A family of 12 with a number of young ones. Drinking, bathing, games and a dust bath. We got back to see the full monty. How beautiful it can be, we got into the park with elephants and we ended up with elephants.

 

gallery_50135_1507_934818.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_998905.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_122465.jpg

 

Before we left the park we had lunch in the restaurant at Namutoni. Then we had to say goodbye to Etosha. The route to Grootfontein was a relatively dull asphalt road and now we are in the B&B. A nice big house in which we have a very nice spacious room.

 

The water in the pool was a bit chilly but we had a quick nap next to the pool. Then we took a bottle of rosé from the refrigerator and enjoyed the sunset with a glass of it on the terrace. The owner of the B&B prepared a really good dinner with home grown guavas for dessert. First finish this blog and thebn we go to bed. Tomorrow will be a long day of approximately 500 km, fortunately on an asphalt road.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ladouce

Wednesday 10 September: A different Namibia

The breakfast was very good and it was so much fun talking to both the owners as well as another local guest that we have been quite long at the table. Fortunately the road today was almost exclusively on asphalt; only the last 5km was on gravel and sand. Along the way there was not much exciting to see only the scenery changed gradually. From dry and barren to green and greener. At the end of the 500 km we drove all along the Kavango River (Okavango). Our lodge for the next two nights is situated on this river. (Mahangu Safari Lodge) Our room is a little African house with a thatched roof and is very cozy. The restaurant and bar are on the riverside. A great view. After arriving we immediately made the reservations for the various activities for today and tomorrow. Today a Sundowner cruise and tomorrow we will go for an organized game drive, after we have had a breakfast cruise. All very relaxed. The water in the pool was again not hot but nice for cooling off. Tim had already spotted the first hippos and after I returned from a refreshing shower I could also see them myself from the terrace of the lodge. What an enormous animals.

 

Apparently there was little interest in the sundowner cruise and we were lucky that we were the only ones, plus of course the guide/boat driver. This young man could tell us a lot about everything that lives around the river and we have seen a lot. Of course the hippos, you cannot miss them, there are so many of them in the river. Crocodiles are not a guarantee because these animals disappear in the water when there are a lot of boats. But we were lucky that we have seen both a small one as well as a large one. Also many beautiful birds can be seen there and in this area there are again elephants.

 

gallery_50135_1507_589334.jpg

 

And again we see a family of nearly 20 elephants while they were soaking in the (mud). This time from the water and in very short distance. Just us and the guide, no one else there, so beautiful, so much nicer than from a car. After the family was again provided with a layer of mud and / or dust we have seen the sun go down and then back to the lodge.

 

gallery_50135_1507_465297.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_367313.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_1045731.jpg

 

As I type this we are on the riverside terrace. We have just eaten and again it was very tasty. With a glass of red wine, just enjoying the sounds from the river, frogs, hippos and much more. And then, tired but satisfied to bed.

 

gallery_50135_1507_918075.jpg

 

Thursday 11 September: Many pictures, little text

Today we had a nice quiet day. Breakfast cruise on the (O) Kavango River, then relax by the pool, have lunch and then 4 hours of bumping in a 4wd during an organized game drive with three Austrians. The following pictures tell the day.

 

gallery_50135_1507_283053.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_1048339.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_342556.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_249926.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_101848.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Marks

Thanks for going through the effort to translate your report and post it for us!

Your photos are beautiful; I especially like your elephants.

I also appreciate your culinary details, including the first reference I've seen to Namibian sushi.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ladouce

Thanks for going through the effort to translate your report and post it for us!

Your photos are beautiful; I especially like your elephants.

I also appreciate your culinary details, including the first reference I've seen to Namibian sushi.

@@Marks I love food and this is always a very important part of my holiday. If the food is not good my holiday will also be less interesting.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

~ @@Ladouce

 

A full smörgåsbord of choice morsels — your safari images are wonderful!

The running warthogs is an impressive composition. Is that an immense crocodile in the upper left?

The challenging stance of the elephant above in an impressive photograph.

What a great Giant Kingfisher portrait!

Thank you so much for sharing these...especially those nimble-hooved water warthogs.

Tom K.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ladouce

@@Tom Kellie thanks! Unfortunately it is just a mound. (I hope this make sense because I had to look up the English word in Google Translate)

 

For us all animals which are not custom to our area (The Netherlands) were fun to have a look at and make pictures. As this was our first time Africa, it was a try out in making photo's of animals. When you go the other area's in the world it is a lot of culture and scenary which is a lot easier to photograph than moving animals. But we are learning. Even at home, making pictures of the birds in our garden and our pets running in the yard.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ladouce

3 Days at one time

Farewell to the hippos and farewell (O) Kavango River. On to the next river, the Kwando River. This river begins in Angola, running through Zambia, Namibia and Botswana. The river also has several names, Kwando, Linyanti and Chobe. The route to our next location runs through the Caprivi Strip and has a long paved road. No gravel but really asphalt.

 

gallery_50135_1507_303823.jpg

 

The 225 km went pretty fast and we are at Camp Kwando just before lunch. We have a reservation for a tented chalet on the riverside. The location is nice but the room is very small. Since they also have so called treehouses we ask if one is available, what the additional costs are and whether we can see any available tree house. And yes, there is one available, with extra cost but it is worth it. A very large room with two huge beds, a large shower / bath room and a lovely large terrace with sun beds on the riverside. We are convinced to switch to this room.

 

Our terrace from which we saw a lot of elelphants on the other side of the river.

 

gallery_50135_1507_1290639.jpg

 

Also in this lodge the dinner is included so we do not have to think about it. After lunch we have a nice and lazy afternoon. The temperature got up pretty high and there is not much wind. A good reason to adapt to African life. From our terrace, we see lots of birds, a few squirrels but no hippos. At the end of the day we do the usual sundowner on our terrace with a glass of white wine.

 

Dinner here is also very good, more refined, less German influence. This time we go to bed very early because tomorrow morning we have an early boat ride. We still hear all kinds of noises all night; we sleep with the door to the terrace open. In retrospect, we think that the elephants were on the shore across the river.

 

This morning we do not need an alarm clock. Birds make enough sound to wake us long before the alarm clock. It is however strange noises. One should be lubricated, something is running tight and another one is all the time inflating tubes. This morning we have a boat trip on the Kwando. Unfortunately for us, along with seven French people who cannot seem to get enough of each bird that flies around but otherwise have no eye for other beautiful things to see. Every sparrow must be on the photo and the guide also stops at every sparrow.

 

gallery_50135_1507_1042772.jpg

 

Apparently he has a fixed route and because we stopped at each birdie there is little time to get back to the lodge. With a full throttle he wants to fly back. And when we see a large group of elephants arrive at the river, he pauses for a picture, but not giving us more time to appreciate the sighting, he gives so much gas that the group turns around in terror and runs away from the water. Why respect for animals. In addition, the French are so noisy that the birds regularly fly away when we come near. This is actually the first time that we are a little bit annoyed. In the afternoon we go by ourselves to the Mudumu National Park, which is very nice. First we need to get a permit in an office in the park. That's all very relaxed but we get a permit with all kinds of official stamps. The route description is explained to us on a copied piece of card and later turns out, not entirely clear. Whether we have driven wrong at the start or later on, no idea but probably we have done a slightly different route which was very nice. During our 3 hour ride through the park we only see 3 cars. Because there are no predators in the park we regularly get out the car to take a picture. Especially if we come to a place where there are three trees full of vultures.

 

There is also a large group of vultures on the ground. Later on we hear in the lodge that this group was not on the ground but on a young elephant which had suddenly deceased. That also explained the presence of this large group of vultures.

 

gallery_50135_1507_1239445.jpg

 

We also see large groups of elephants and again a lot of different beautiful birds, including the blue kingfisher. Before we return to the lodge we refuel again because the expectation is that there a not a lot of gas stations on our route to Botswana. Back in our room, there is a large group of elephants across the river. So cool, underneath of the shower I see them. That is the ultimate African experience.

Elephants continue throughout the evening along the river, near the lodge, wandering around and we hear them late into the night.

 

Today we say goodbye to Namibia and we say hello to Botswana. Also a relatively short ride in our 4wd to which we will say goodbye tomorrow morning. This is our last ride in this car. The drive to the border is going smoothly, also because part of the route chosen by us is now equipped with asphalt. Fortunately, we do see some elephants along the roadside. The expected red tape at the border is not bad. At the Namibian border post, we have to fill in a form to which confirms that we leave the country and we need to register the car so that it can cross the border. At the border post with Botswana we only deliver our passports, get a stamp and we also have to register the car. Then we can continue our drive. Altogether half an hour of work in total. And the people are very friendly. Once we drive into Botswana, the first group of elephants is waiting for us. How nice is that.

 

gallery_50135_1507_1174459.jpg

 

Our lodge is located 65 km from the border and this is again a nice asphalt road. Around lunch time we get to the Chobe Bakwena lodge where we get a very warm welcome. The bags are delivered to the room, we get a cold wet towel to refresh us and there is a snack and drink waiting for us in the central area. The staff at this lodge is almost all local and the lodge is also ecofriendly. You can see it for example in the pool which is purified in a natural way. The lady who welcomes us also explains us everything about our stay here. The meals, the wildlife around the lodge (we are not allowed to go to/from our room by ourselves in the dark), the activities we do here and everything needed to make it a great stay. Then we go to the room and it completes the picture. This is the nicest stay where we were until now. This lodge is just over a year old and has only 10 rooms, built in traditional style. The rooms are spacious, cool without air conditioning, nice big bed, bathroom with both an outdoor shower as well as in indoor shower and a large terrace overlooking the river. After we viewed the room we go to the central space where we are now. I've taken a dip in the pool. The temperature remains high, but we do not complain. Tomorrow morning at 5 am the alarm clock goes because we are picked up at 5:30 for a light breakfast and then we have a 3 hour game drive through the Chobe park. Upon our return there will be a full English breakfast waiting on us. When we get home we immediately have to start running again because the food (and wine) is way too good and we both have gained a little in weight.

 

Our lovely room at Chobe Bakwena Lodge

gallery_50135_1507_594280.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ladouce

Monday 15 September 2014: So early

Why holiday? Getting up at 5 am is really early. In this lodge we are getting spoiled because there is already coffee and toast ready and when we get back around 9am there will be a full English breakfast. This time we are having company. A man from Chile who travels around on his own. Our driver / guide is called Moses. So here they also use a lot of the biblical names. In Namibia we twice had a guide named Gabriel. From the lodge we go to the Chobe Park, one of the finest wildlife reserves in Africa. The sad thing is that there are quite a lot lodges in this area who all have an early morning drive, and that ensures that we drive through the park in a motorcade.

 

gallery_50135_1507_374600.jpg

 

Occasionally we are alone but usually there are several cars nearby. The roads here are also one way roads to make it easy, it are all dirt roads. You may and can also use your own (rental) car but we have already handed in our car and it would also have been less relaxing for Tim if he had to drive himself. The road requires quite a lot of attention. Because the park is adjacent to or crossed by by the Chobe River it is very green and the landscape is very beautiful. The river is quite wide and has several islands and a kind of natural floodplains where many animals walk. Such as elephants, buffaloes and waterbokkies. Large groups walk here in the green grass. The diversity of birds is very nice. We now see the marabou, which we had not seen yet. In the upper part we see zebras, kudus and giraffes.

 

gallery_50135_1507_156187.jpg

 

 

 

gallery_50135_1507_740043.jpg

 

Upon returning at the lodge we have breakfast and then we do nothing. Just lying on a sunbed on the terrace by the pool. After a light lunch we leave at 15:00 for our boat cruise through the park. This time we have again a private cruise and Moses is the guide. On the water he is more in his element than on land. Here he can go anywhere while there are strict rules in the park for the guides like no turning. He also tells us a lot about the birds we see. From the water, the animal life is so much better to see than from land. We go between the groups of elephants walking on different shores and islands. Also there are hippos, buffalo, waterbokkies, crocodile and impala lying and walking around. Especially the crocs here are very large. And then the longest we see is "only" 2.5 meters. Moses has seen one here which was more than 4 meters.

 

gallery_50135_1507_2406080.jpg

 

The river is the border between Botswana and Namibia and Moses tells us that the elephants regularly make the crossing between the two countries. Partially running through the water and partly swimming, the river is in fact more than 10 meters deep in some places. You can hardly imagine it. Until we see a large group of elephants go into the water. Not for drinking but indeed to make the crossing. First, we see the moment that two young bull elephants are told that it is time for them to leave the herd and to be on their own. In other words, these are kindly asked to leave the group. The rest of the group then begins the great crossing of the river, both large and small. Very exciting! The first part can they walk slowly you see the heads and backs disappear under water and you see occasionally a trunk stabbing out of the water. According to Moses, they do like hippos and sink them to the bottom where they jump up with their feet. Fortunately everything goes right this time and the whole group reaches the other side. Without customs control crossed into Namibia.

 

gallery_50135_1507_1140247.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_1036647.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_600570.jpg

 

gallery_50135_1507_837270.jpg

 

During this trip every day we think that we have seen the most beautiful thing and yet we are constantly surprised by the new beautiful moments. This journey is a series of highlights and we still have a few days left.

Link to post
Share on other sites
michael-ibk

The Elephant crossing is a beautiful sighting, love it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Neeners815

How nice to be welcomed by elephants! I'm really enjoying this report!

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Thanks for going through the effort to translate your report and post it for us!

Your photos are beautiful; I especially like your elephants.

I also appreciate your culinary details, including the first reference I've seen to Namibian sushi.

@@Marks I love food and this is always a very important part of my holiday. If the food is not good my holiday will also be less interesting.

 

 

Couldn't agree more always gain a few pounds on holiday. I feel lucky we only had 1 very loud man on our boat cruise.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ladouce

@@michael-ibk

It was so amazing to see. Our guide was telling us that this happens sometimes and than all of a sudden they started to cross the river. You could see that everybody (on the other boats as well) were keeping their breath for the little ones making the crossing.

 

@@Neeners815

Thank you. I got hooked on the elephants during this trip.

 

@@dlo

I am a woman, so I never gain weight during a holiday :P

Edited by Ladouce
Link to post
Share on other sites
elefromoz

@@Ladouce, what an experience seeing the Elephants cross the river. You just never know what surprises you're in for on safari, some things you've never even considered. How exciting, and yes, worrying, for the babies.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy