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7160 kM.AROUND NAMIBIA


Levante

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Hi to everybody.

After having read so many post and trip reports about Namibia (in primis the ones of “Xelas the great”) I would like to share with other members my experience and give my small contribution.

First of all sorry for my English which is not my mother language. I just studied it at school many many years ago, but I’ll do my best.

We had a long time to spent in Namibia and, since generally we don’t come back in the countries we already visited (but some exceptions), we decided to have a look to all most important areas.

I know we were a bit rushed and we could see less, staying more in the same area, but this is our way of travelling and if I could start again I would do the same thing (with some small changes, see below ;) ).

At first we decided to skip Etosha which could seem a very unusual choice. This because we already visited several African countries like Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa with a lot of game drives. Then, we changed our mind and decided to stay 2 nights and doing the road fron Namutoni to Okaukuejo.

 

 

I started to plan the travel end of April / beg of May for October and very soon I realized that quite all lodges along the itinerary were fully booked.

For that reason and also to keep costs down, I thought to mix campsites and lodges. Since we are both over 55’s and our last camping experience dates to 2003 in Australia, I asked an offer for a bushcamper which is more comfortable than the RTT, but the price was incredibly high.

Considering that price, the difference between sleeping in lodges/guehouses or in the bushcamper was quite irrelevant and we opted for the first ones.

I booked through Booking.com, Expedia (this one much much more better than the other), NWR site and directly with properties. Just for Twyfelfontein Country Lodge I was obliged to pass through an agent since it was impossible to find availability even by booking directly.

I know it could seem a risk, but – at least for October – my suggestion is to book accommodations one month before going. In May the majority of the properties I was looking for were fully booked, some of them put my request in wait list, but never reverted to me. In September all of them opened the dates and it was easy to find rooms inside Etosha and Sesriem, Okonjima, Waterberg, FishRiver lodge as well as in all Gondwana properties. If you are looking just for guesthouses or you don’t mind to stay outside parks there is no problem at all to find rooms.

The only problem is for Twyfelfontein Lodge which is the only lodge in that area which an affordable price (Doro Nawas, Mowani Mountain Camp and others are very expensive) and therefore is chosen by all the organized tours and groups.

 

 

Since I was not aware that the closest was the trip, the more were the availbility, I booked a little bit in a rush without studying carefully all the places to stop because I was afraid that even the few accommodations I found could become unavailable.

The great regret is to have skip the Spitzkoppe. This decision was also due to the fact that we wanted to drive the SkeletonCoast. I know that many people say it is boring, but I thought it could have some good picture opportunities since it was a landscape completely different from the rest of Namibia. Unfortunately there were road works in the area between Swako and HentiesBay with a lot of detour and we missed the road to the Zelia shipwreck. Xelas if you have been there I have to ask for a favour :D

 

 

Our itinerary was as follows:

Day 1  : Windhoek - / Keetmanshop

Day 2  : Keetmanshop / FishRiverCanyon east side

Day 3  : FishRiverCanyon east side / FishRiverCanyon west side

Day 4  : Fish RiverCanyon west side / Luderitz

Day 5  : Luderitz / KanaanDesert Retreat

Day 6  : Kanaan Desert Retreat / SesriemPark

Day 7  : Sesriem Park

Day 8  : Sesriem Park / Swakopmund

Day 9  : Swakopmund

Day 10 : Swakopmund / Twyfelfontein

Day 11 : Twyfelfontein

Day 12 : Twyfelfontein / Opuwo

Day 13 : Opuwo / EpupaFalls

Day 14 : EpupaFalls / KuneneRiver Lodge

Day 15 : Kunene River Lodge / Eenhana (in the middle of nowhere just to split the road)

Day 16 : Eenhana / Rundu

Day 17 : Rundu / Mahangu Game Reserve Divundu

Day 18 : Mahangu Game Reserve Divundu / River Dance Lodge Divundu

Day 19 : River Dance Lodge Divundu / Mururani Camp

Day 20 –Mururani Camp / Ohange Namibia Lodge

Day 21 - Ohange Namibia Lodge / Namutoni gate

Day 22 – Namutorni / Okaukuejo

Day 23 – Okaukuejo / Okonjima Lodge

Day 24 - Okonjima Lodge / AmeibRanchErongoMountain

Day 25 – AmeibRanchErongoMountain / Windhoek

Day 26 – Flight to Italy

This is the latest version which has some small last minute changes compared to the original idea. Originally on Day 1st we had to stop at Mariental, but we decided to proceed straight till Keetmanshoop to see Quiver tree at sunset. If we had slept at Mariental, the following morning we would have arrived to Keetmanshoop too late to have good light and probably too hot to visit.

The other changes was at the end of the trip. We had to stay 2 nights at Roy’s Rest Camp, but some bad recent reviews on TA (rats and bedbug), a better price and perhaps a better legs division, let us decide for Mururani Camp and Ohange Lodge.

The last change concerned the Waterberg Plateau where we had to stay one night between Okaukejo and Okonjima, but we decided to skip it and add a night at Ameib to have an idea of the Spitzkoppe landscape.

 

 

Hindsight, I would made some changes. First of all I would skip the EpupaFalls since they were completely dry and replaced by 2 nights at Kunene River Lodge (but it was quite impossible to know it before). People there told us that they couldn’t remember such a situation. Some said it was due to the dam in Ruacana that stops the water flow to irrigate the mais fields. Other said that it was due to the low rains in Angola which alimentano the river. Anyway, just rocks.

Then, I would stay 2 nights on the western rim of the FishRiverCanyon instead of one nights on the east and one on the west.

The last one concerns the Divundu area where it would have been better to stay 2 nights at Mahangu instead of one night there and one night at RiverDance which was a great disappointment.

 

During our trip sunrise was at around 6 am and sunset around 7 pm so we had many hours of light to transfer from one place to another.

 

The rented company was amazing: it gave us a very new car (about 23000 Km.) fully equipped. We had no flat tyre or mechanical problem, everything was perfect.

 

It was a great trip, thanks again to everybody for your help and suggestions.

 

Here is some pictures of the car

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Edited by Levante
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Day 3  : FishRiverCanyon east side / FishRiverCanyon west side - Km.392   For that day, instead of choosing the easiest north road through C12 and B4 we decided to go south towards Ais Ais,

Hi to everybody. After having read so many post and trip reports about Namibia (in primis the ones of “Xelas the great”) I would like to share with other members my experience and give my small c

Day 7  : Sesriem Park   We woke up at 4.30 and at 5 we left the lodge. During the 60 Km. road there was, with big surprise, thick fog. I carefully checked the road to help my husband and tri

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offshorebirder

Nice start - looking forward to the rest of your trip report @Levante.

 

 

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The_Norwegian

Looking forward to follow this report! 8 days until i`m heading to Namibia again myself!

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michael-ibk

I´m looking forward to your report, all the practical advice is very helpful. And don´t worry, your English is absolutely fine. (At least to another non-native speaker like me. ;))

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Welcome back, @Levante! That was an epic trip, however on paper it does not looks that much rushed. Thank you very much for your detailed photos of the rental car ... it looks exactly as the one we have seen and admired at Hoba parking. One question: why 2 roof top tents?

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No problem. Relocate it as you prefer. Actually I didn't know in which section post it. ;)

The agreement with African Sun was to have the camping equipment without the tent, but when we collect the car it was fully equipped. May be for them it was easier to keep them on the car.

I also forgot to say that the car had 2 small opening/door one per side (see first picture it is closed and second/third picture it is opened) which prevent the dust to enter into the car.

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Ok, let's start. We were not very lucky with the weather. We had heavy rain at Etosha, no water at Epupa falls, incredible wind at Sandwich Harbour and - may be we are the only ones - Deadvlei with the fog !!!

 

We arrived at WIndhoek airport on a saturday morning at 10.30 more than half an hour before than expected. So we had time to change some money, to buy a sim card with a bundle at MTC shop inside the airport and waiting for the driver sent by the rental company. Once arrived there, we saw our car and we were so happy to discover how beautiful it was and a little bit worried to drop it off as it was ! Stefan explained everything and finally we left. Luckily the company was located in south Windhoek since the day after we had to take that direction, so I chose an hotel very close to it. We went to the hotel to drop the luggages and to have a small rest and then we went to the Spar supermarket at Grove Mall to buy some stuff for our trip and to the gas station to fill up the tanks.

 

Day 1 Windhoek - / Keetmanshop - Km.557

Just a transfer trip along B1, very boring road. We slept at Quiver Inn Guesthouse, very recommended place.

In the late afternoon we went to Quiver Forest, beautiful walk

 

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Day 2 - Keetmanshop / FishRiverCanyon east side - Km.221

We filled the tanks and left Keetmanshop via Klein Karas Scenic Route (D608) a beautiful road with incredible landscapes.NAM_7943.thumb.JPG.d1853d493709d9d74448353a5e56723f.JPG

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Also the last part of the road before taking the C12 is wonderful with red sand and many weaverbirds nests

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Approaching the Fish River Canyon

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We arrived at FIsh River Canyon viewpoint at 1 pm which is not the best time to see it, but it was good anyway.

We stopped at 3 different viewpoint and we took the short path that for about 1 Km.follows the canyon rim.NAM_8051.thumb.JPG.9d1b120d193f44a0cfe2498e967a935f.JPG

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Then, we arrived to the lodge and we also had the time to make the free sunset walk organized by them.

 

 

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Day 3  : FishRiverCanyon east side / FishRiverCanyon west side - Km.392

 

For that day, instead of choosing the easiest north road through C12 and B4 we decided to go south towards Ais Ais, then following C37 and C13 along the Orange River, passing Rosh Pinah and then taking the D463 to Fish RIver Lodge. The whole road took us about 9 hours with lunch stop and many many stops to take pictures. The long time was also affected by the choice to try a 4wd trail, the Gamchab Trail a 14 Km. easy scenic road which follows a dry river bed in a narrow valley. After the fork betwwen the D463 and C37 you have to follow the road for 19 Km. and you will reach the starting point (there is a small red sign with no other indication).

 

Here is the trail images

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On the D316

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Along the Orange River

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On the D463 approaching the lodge.

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At the lodge

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Day 4  : Fish RiverCanyon west side / Luderitz - Km.363

 

In the morning, we followed the path along the rim which starts from the lodge (west side) looking at the lodge entrance.

 

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To reach the B4 we took the D459. We stopped in Aus at Bahnhof Hotel for a quick lunch and at Garub waterhole to see the desert horses.

Alont the B4 tarred road

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Around 4.30 pm we reached Luderitz. We had to arrive before 5 pm in order to buy, at Luderitz Safaris & Tours, the photo permit for the tomorrow Kolmanskop visit. Anyway Mrs.Marion was very kind and gave me her mobile phone number in order to call her in case of late arrival. With that permit you can enter the site from sunrise till sunset while the "normal" ticket allows you to enter from 8 or 8.30 I don't remember to 13.00

The cost of the permit is $Nam 230,00 each.

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All roads in that part of Namibia looks in very good shape. Where did you overnight at the east side of Fish River canyon?

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We slept at Canyon Village. Xelas can you relocate the entire post ? Thanks

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Day 5  : Luderitz / KanaanDesert Retreat  - Km.278

 

This was one of the most beautiful day since we saw incredible landscapes.

 

Kolmanskop was one the place I liked most since I never saw something similar before.

At Kolmanskop we took hundreds of shots, I just put someone of them, not exactly the best ones since we just came back and we dind't make a selection of the pictures yet.

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After the visit we continue to Aus and then we took the D707 one of the most scenic road in Namibia.

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In the afternoon we reached the Kanaan Desert Retreat, the paradise on earth

 

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In the background the dust and the sand in suspension appears like fog

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We also made some experiment in the night, but without success :D

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Edited by Levante
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Day 6  : Kanaan Desert Retreat / SesriemPark - Km.316 (including go and back trip to dune 45 at sunset)

 

We started the day at 6.30 am with a wonderful sight

 

Kanaan is a foundation that takes cares of cheetah which remain orphans too young to survive by themselves. At the time of our visit 2 cheetah lived in captivity in a big enclosure, they are fedeed every day

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I had some prejudices on this activity, but my husband insisting on doing it. I was so happy to have done it. It was a big emotion to look for them by foot, to stay so close to that animals, to check their movements.

It was really great !!!

 

After a somptuos breakfast we left towards Sesriem.

 

I strongly suggest to sleep inside the park (camping or lodge) not only to be there very early in the morning before hundreds of people arrive, but also because around 9/10 am is incredibly hot and therefore, starting early, one has more time to visit the various sites.

 

In the afternoon we went to see the sunset at dune 40 and 45. I don't put any picture since you have seen a lot of that site.

 

 

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Day 7  : Sesriem Park

 

We woke up at 4.30 and at 5 we left the lodge. During the 60 Km. road there was, with big surprise, thick fog. I carefully checked the road to help my husband and tried to see the sunrise, but nothing appeared. Arrived at 2x4 parking we deflated the tyres and took on the 4x4 trail. The sand was still solid and therefore it was quite easy to reach Deadvlei. We were the first, no car in the parking and, helped by the app Osmand (great applicaton showing not only roads but also paths), we reach Deadvlei. With my big disappointing the visibility was very bad: low clouds together with fog covered the dunes. I couldn't believe, may be I'm the only one to have seen Deadvlei covered by the fog. Anyway this gave us the possibility to see a different landscape with some beautiful pictures (at least in my opinion) ;)

 

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Little by little the sun began to peep out from the clouds. After Deadvlei and the one just aside we went to Soussvlei.

 

At around 1 pm we came back to visit the Sesriem Canyon but it was very very hot and the light was not good

 

We decided to go to the camping restaurant to take a fresh soda and something to take away for the dinner.

 

At sunset we came back to dune 45


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We returned that was pitch dark. We ate the hamburger bought in the afternoon and went bed very early since tomorrow morning our alarm clock was again at 4.30

 

Edited by Levante
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2 hours ago, Levante said:

Xelas can you relocate the entire post ?

 

Nope, but @Game Warden can, and maybe also @wilddog. Don't worry, we know where you are posting!

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You have a trained eye for landscape photos! Beautiful Kolmanskop, different Deadvlei and good night sky ... really great photography! Could you share your equipment used for inside Kolmanskop, and for night sky photos?

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wilddog
44 minutes ago, xelas said:

 

Nope, but @Game Warden can, and maybe also @wilddog. Don't worry, we know where you are posting!

I assume you want the whole TR moved? Where do you want it moved too.....under Trip reports for Namibia? It is in 4x4 currently @Levante

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The_Norwegian

Beautiful of the cheetah!  I believe they are a division of the Naankuse-foundation, and they are doing great work for sure :-) Great report thus far, I follow intently :-) 

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@wilddog I don't know exactly. Xelas suggested Trip reports/Self drive section

 

I also wanted to know if there is a way to "protect" the pictures in order to prevent that someone not registered in the forum could copy them.

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It is my understanding that such trip reports should be posted here: 

About a year ago @Game Warden has moved some of similar trip reports from their respective Country to Self drive; maybe @Levante would prefer to have it posted under Namibia ?

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51 minutes ago, xelas said:

You have a trained eye for landscape photos! Beautiful Kolmanskop, different Deadvlei and good night sky ... really great photography! Could you share your equipment used for inside Kolmanskop, and for night sky photos?

 

Xelas the picture was taken by my husband. The ones less beautiful are mine :D He used a Nikon D700 with a len Samyang 14 mm

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