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Namibia: four weeks, four people, four-wheel drive.


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PeterHG

We had been thinking about Namibia before. In fact we had gone as far as venturing into the south last year, before heading into the Kgalagadi. Fish River Canyon gave us a taste for more and after studying various trip reports and receiving precious tips from other ST members we decided on an itinerary, including the Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Kunene River, Etosha and the Okavango Panhandle. Following several recommendations we approached Cardboard Box for putting together the trip. They provided useful feedback and various well-chosen alternatives for places we had proposed. What made them different from one or two Dutch companies we had been in touch with before, was that they really listened to our wishes and understood the sort of places we were looking for. And of course their invaluable local knowledge of camps, roads etc. Originally we had planned to do the trip with the two of us (my wife Jeannette and myself), but quite unexpectedly my sister and brother-in-law asked if they could come with us. They had travelled with us for a week on our South Africa trip last year and apparently they had enjoyed that  a lot. For those who know me this may sound highly unlikely, but that’s what they said....;)! Birding is always one of our aims in planning a trip and although they are no birders themselves they do like the African wildlife and do admire the diversity and beauty of birds there. And they are good company. Also we could share the cost of the 4x4. So, of course, we said yes. And have never regretted the decision. The final itinerary looked like this:

 

 

  • Windhoek               1 night
  • Sesriem.                 2 nights
  • Swakopmund.        3 nights
  • Madisa.                  1 night
  • Kunene.                 3 nights
  • Kamanjab.              1 night
  • Etosha.                   6 nights
  • Rundu.                   1 night
  • Panhandle.             3 nights
  • Grootfontein.          1 night
  • Waterberg.              2 nights

 

The 4x4 (African Tracks) was also booked by Cardboard Box and had two spare tyres and a fridge. We used 1 tyre and the fridge stopped working in the last week, but apart from that the car performed admirably. We booked the flights ourselves with KLM. We stayed in B&B’s and lodges and tried to do self catering as much as possible, but for the majority of our stays that was not really an option. 

So four of us, four weeks in a 4x4, doing an extensive tour of Namibia. Did the country live up to our high expectations? I’ll tell you, though you will need a little patience. I am still going through my photos….

 

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To Sers   After a long, uneventful flight, we arrived in Windhoek at noon. A warm sun awaited us and felt good after the low temperatures we had left behind. The Namibian customs officials h

We had been thinking about Namibia before. In fact we had gone as far as venturing into the south last year, before heading into the Kgalagadi. Fish River Canyon gave us a taste for more and after stu

Our next destination was Swakopmund. From there we intended to do a boat trip in Walvis Bay and visit the salt works to do some birding. Our accommodation was ‘Alternative Space’, located in a quiet p

lmSA84

@PeterHG - beautiful photography as always, in a land that I’ve never been too. Very much looking forward to this 

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xelas

Four is the leading number, and first four photos are promising another fantadtic journey through Namibia!

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Ritsgaai

I am looking forward to indulge in your beautiful photography. The 1st photo makes me longing to visit Namibia again. Looking forward to this.

 

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I am ready to enjoy your trip, can't wait to read more and see more pics.

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Treepol

@PeterHG I am really looking forward to this TR, and will be making notes of your time in the Kunene region ready for my next trip.

 

The photo of the jackal pup is so engaging.

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PeterHG

To Sers

 

After a long, uneventful flight, we arrived in Windhoek at noon. A warm sun awaited us and felt good after the low temperatures we had left behind. The Namibian customs officials have devised a wonderful and never failing system of keeping arriving passengers at the airport for as long as possible. But eventually we were released and met by the driver who would take us to our bed-and-breakfast in town for a one night stay. We used the afternoon to grab a taxi and try and buy a guitar to take with us on the trip. A cheap one obviously, which we would try and sell before departure. We found one at the 'cash converters'. Okay, it was a little toy-like, but it had six strings and didn’t sound too bad. It provided us with a lot of enjoyable moments, when doing a braai, or just relaxing near the swimming pool. We had been told to try Joe's beer house for dinner and it did not disappoint. It was probably a good idea that I booked it beforehand, as it was pretty crowded even on a weekday.

The day after we collected our 4x4 from African Tracks and departed to Sesriem. We took the road that led through the Spreetshoogte pass (D1275) and enjoyed a scenic drive and wonderful views. 

Our base was the Desert Quiver camp, just outside the gate to the Sossusvlei. Very nice self catering units offering fantastic views of the surrounding scenery.

 

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The friendly receptionist of the camp had told us we needed to be at the Sossusvlei gate at 5:45. That is when the gate opened and we would be among the first to enter and see the vlei in the colours of the glorious sunrise. Well, we were definitely the first car, but that was mainly because the gate didn’t open till 6:30. This was soon forgotten however when we got our first views of dunes. I had seen photos of course in other trip reports, but actually being there is quite another matter. Amazing light, amazing colours and an unbelievable landscape! It is an almost surreal experience to be driving there on a perfect black tarred road. Of course we climbed the famous Dune 45 before proceeding to the end of the road, where the four-wheel-drive track begins. Well to be honest the only one who climbed it all to all the way to the top was my wife. I wanted to conserve my energy for the walk to the Deadvlei. That was my excuse anyway.... Another photogenic setting, although it’s virtually impossible for a photo to convey the atmosphere and the feeling of the place. No wonder this is one of the tourist highlights of Namibia.

 

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Nice start, great pic's. Timely TR for me as we arrive  there in early April .

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Peter Connan

The first Gemsbok is FANTASTIC @PeterHG

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pomkiwi

@PeterHG Enjoying this already, and more to come. Superb photography - the gemsbok in front of the dunes deserves to be published .

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PeterHG

Thanks for the comments, @colbol, @Peter Connan and @pomkiwi ! Glad you like the gemsbok photo. One tends to use a zoom lens for zooming in on birds and animals, but sometimes it is far more rewarding to zoom out. I felt really lucky to witness such a beautiful scene in the early morning light.

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xelas

One more vote of admiration for the gemsbok photo! That one, from the Dune 45, looks very familiar :D ... have you climbed that high, @PeterHG?

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Another vote for the gemsbok and the dunes, that's a real beauty! 

Dune 45...do others have names, numbers too? Or is this a special one?

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Peter Connan

At one stage the dunes were numbered. I am not sure how the system worked though, and which dunes were numbered or for what purpose.

 

Dune 7, which is close to Walvisbaai, is the tallest dune in the world.

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Zim Girl

Also looking forward to your report Peter @PeterHG and another vote for the Gemsbok in front of the dunes.  It is a gorgeous picture.

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Ritsgaai
On 3/10/2018 at 10:53 AM, PeterHG said:

One tends to use a zoom lens for zooming in on birds and animals, but sometimes it is far more rewarding to zoom out.

I need to take note of your comment @PeterHG

The Gemsbok in the vast landscape is simply stunning.

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PeterHG

Our next destination was Swakopmund. From there we intended to do a boat trip in Walvis Bay and visit the salt works to do some birding. Our accommodation was ‘Alternative Space’, located in a quiet part of town. A rather unusual warning awaited us at the front door.

 

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Our ‘hippie’ phase is way behind us, if there ever was one, but it turned out the warning had to do with the art that covered most of the walls and mainly consisted of nudes. Nothing explicit and certainly nothing shocking, but it might offend some visitors perhaps. Not us, hardened travellers from the Netherlands, though ;). We enjoyed our stay there: The owners were nice, the rooms were spacious and we could make use of the kitchen.

 

We booked a boat trip with Ocean Adventures in Walvis Bay and were picked up the next morning for a 30 minute drive to the harbour. There were only 12 people coming on the trip so we had lots of space to move around and take photos. The pelicans are so used to the daily routine of the boat trips, that they even land on the boat at times. They look awkward on the slippery surface of the deck, but once they take to the air they are superb and elegant flyers. The other main attraction of the trip: large and noisy colony of Cape Fur Seals at Pelican point. A lucky find was the White - chinned Petrel that came gliding by. All in all morning well spent.

 

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In the afternoon our fellow travellers decided they wanted to do some shopping in town, so my wife and I decided to pay a visit to the saltworks, just 8 km north of Swakopmund. Not as extensive as those near Walvis Bay, but certainly worth a visit. 

 

The next day we drove to Walvis Bay, followed the Promenade along the lagoon en turned right just before the salt factory to enter the saltpan area. A paradise for waders, but also birds like the Damara Tern and a beautiful immature Peregrine Falcon awaited us. We spent a few productive hours there, before returning to Swakopmund for our last night there.

 

Grey Plover

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Chestnut-banded Plover

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Peregrine Falcon

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Beautiful photo's, the pelican in flight is great and the clarity of the Peregrine is magic .

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xelas

Lovely photos again, @PeterHG. The Peregrine looks like stand8ng on a pile of snow before the side of the road her in Slovenia :).

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Marks

Great report so far! Like everyone else, I love the gemsbok photo.

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Julian

@PeterHG - Landscape looks beautiful as I expected, will have to go to Namibia one day.

Really great photos - what equipment did you use?

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PeterHG

Thanks very much for the comments @colbol, @xelas, @Marks and @Julian !

22 minutes ago, Julian said:

@PeterHG - what equipment did you use?

 

I use a Canon 7DII with the Canon 100-400II mostly. For landscapes I sometimes use a Sigma 18-250 (still need to get a dedicated lens for those)

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Ritsgaai

Your photos are all really beautiful.

Thank you for taking the time to share them with us.

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Dave Williams

I'm going to enjoy this! Superb photography with both a trip down Memory Lane and in anticipation of a future return.

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