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Namibia 2012


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Indeed, logistics, something that is easily overlooked in a trip report, but essential for those following in your footsteps. Carry on old chap. No photoshopping either... ;)

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No photoshopping either... ;)


Want to know a secret? That last pic; the bird was so close it's actually done in two shots; the tail is stitched on. ;)

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Wonderful, loved all the little bits and pieces which adds to the whole experience. Would love to do something like this one day.

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This is really good, Jochen - some beautiful photographs -panos look excellent. And isn't everything so clear and clean and crisp and distinct there compared to wetter places, and those blue skies. You really saw a lot more by taking your time.

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Very nice report, indeed! When I saw your pictures, I compared them to my own ones from many years ago: my memories of the area is locked to my pictures and those are not as sharp and detailed as yours. Now I am longing to revisit Namibia with a better, digital camera and then to reload my memory with stunning sceneries.


Looking forward to the remaining parts of your trip - especially Waterberg, which I haven´t been to ...


Is it possible to make the panos bigger? I wouldn´t mind to scroll horisontally.

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Thx Sverker.


Well Matt doesn't like us doing that. But I'll see if I can link some.

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I'm amazed at the water and greenery in Namib-Naukluft - such a contrast to all that sand around Sossusvlei and the desert throughout the country.


Wonderful photo of the Cape Eagle Owl.

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Thx Treepol. We were amazed as well by what we saw.

But the most amazing was the complete absence of tourists for most of the day.

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Part 3; the coast


Time had come to leave Hoodia Desert Lodge, and we felt a bit down. But we vowed to be back some day. The sooner the better!


Thomas, should you read this; thanks a lot for everything. Two thumbs up for you and all of your staff!

And thanks as well, Celeste @ Sun Safaris for recommending Hoodia!




The drive to the coast is quite nice at first. Going south, you got the mountains to the right of you, and plains to the left. We saw plenty of animals on the way; springbok, oryx, ostrich. Every 5th telephone pole seemed to have a pale chanting goshawk on it. We also saw meerkats. But they ran off before I could stop for a decent picture.


Typical landscape;




(greater kestrel)





After about an hour or perhaps a bit more, and after having gone through a small pass, the road turned east towards the sea. Then the road gets more toruous, and at one point the road is going down into a valley. This is the Kuiseb pass. It's not that spectacular really, but a nice change and a good point to stretch your legs and devour the lunch pack.


After Kuiseb, there's parts where the road is again straight at an arrow. Then you'll see a pick nick stop on your right, where everyone coming from the coast seems to stop. We soon found out why; this is where you enter the desert, and where they come out. This is how it looks;




I'm afraid this part of the road continues like that for more than an hour. Nothing to see. As hot as hell. And for our female readers; the only possible toilet stop is between the car doors. Mind you; if another vehicle sees you while you have stopped, they will automatically stop as well to ask if you're OK. :P So don't stop near a bend, but stop in the middle of a long straight part, as to see other vehicles coming from far away.


The closer you come to the coast, the more sandy it gets. Until finally there's nothing but sand on either end of the road. Finally; the tar road is back. They planted palms on both ends of the road. I guess to keep the sand at bay. Not really sure.


Also noticeable is the drop in temperature. From 38 degrees Celsius in the desert to ...12! I kid you not. I guess in our case the temperature was even lower than normal, as Walvis Bay was covered in a thick mist.


We were not staying in Walvis Bay, however. We had another 30kms to drive north, to Swakopmund. The road going north, as well as Swakop, was also in the mist. The sea was there, we could smell it and hear it, perhaps 50m away or so. But we could not see it.


In Swakopmund we had booked two nights at Pebblestone House, a B&B. This was the only part we arranged ourselves, not Sun Safaris. Well, we were a bit disappointed at first. Thing is; we booked this trip way in advance, and their website said something like "all rooms looking out onto a little piece of green garden in the middle". Instead we got a room to the side of the house, right next to the gate (every time someone arrived or left, the gate slid open behind the wall that was closest to the head of the bed), and overlooking the parking lot and trash cans. Not what we expected, but we were only there to sleep. The next day would be a full day, and both nights we planned to go out to eat. So we didn't complain. Also because we were too tired to complain.


The next morning, however, the owner asked us if we would like to move. She admitted she had put us in "a spare room that was only used in emergencies", because all the other rooms were taken by a large German family. Now, I'm sure we booked before them, otherwise she would have said they were full. So whatever happened to "first come first serve"? Seems she decided not to turn those Germans down (I assume it's a lot of money), but then at least she should have had the decency to warn us about this, and propose an alternative in town. Now she had just been greedy.


By the way, we went to eat at the seaside, and walked from the B&B. It was a Sunday so, in the mist, the place looked like a ghost town. Very eerie. This was the view from the pier:




The first night we ate at The Tug, the next day we took the car to drive 10mins north to The Wreck, also at the seaside but at the outskirts of town. Both meals were delicious (fresh fish), but The Tug is more casual, a bit like a tavern, and cheaper. The Wreck is more refined and a bit more expensive (but still very affordable).


Tomorrow; the Sandwich Harbor tour, booked at a company called "Sandwich Harbor 4x4" (how convenient). Another top-day in this trip.

Edited by Jochen
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"the road turned east towards the sea."


Do you mean West? I feel quite disorientated, but loving the report.

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"the road turned east towards the sea."


Do you mean West? I feel quite disorientated, but loving the report.


Maybe he means "right", or did he mean the other right? I've managed now to also disorient myself :P

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no matter what direction you travel in, you will eventually get to sea...

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Lovely, Jochen. I'll hope to get to Namibia one day to take in the amazing scenery that the country has to offer!


(The closest I've got, is the border from the Kwando side in Bots).

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I'm one of those idiots who went to Sossusvlei and never even dreamt that there was such an oasis and wildlife haven over on the other side!! Saw ostriches in front of the dunes, but came up empty on oryx - that was a great sighting at Dead Vlei. Thanks for taking the time to share the nooks & crannies, Jochen. Like some of the others have said, your writing and photos (those mountain zebras are fabulous) make me want to go back too.


Great reporting!

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"the road turned east towards the sea."


Do you mean West? I feel quite disorientated, but loving the report.


Yup, that's a typo.



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no matter what direction you travel in, you will eventually get to sea...


ZaminOz, the ST philosopher. :D

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I'm one of those idiots who went to Sossusvlei and never even dreamt that there was such an oasis and wildlife haven over on the other side!!


Well, don't feel bad about it. We didn't know either! When we booked the trip, we looked for pics on the web, and we really thought "this is going to be an extra day driving around in sandy & rocky areas, looking for oryx anf perhaps even a rhino"...

It was certainly a nice surprise to see this green oasis. And a "thanks" should go to Sun Safaris once again, as it was them that told us "stay 3 nights and do Namib Naukluft as well. You'll see."

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OK, so... the Sandwich Harbour tour!


We drove from Swakop to Walvis Bay, where the offices of Sandwich Harbour 4x4 are, and where the tour starts at about 8AM. They have specially adapted 4x4 Landy's, with rather flat tyres - needed to drive on sand.


We weren't even out of town yet when we already passed a bay with quite a bit of birdlife. Unfortunately it was still very grey and misty, and most birds were asleep.






Soon, we were driving past the salt factory, heading west, towards the ocean, but more importantly; towards an area called Pelican point. Here are some huge sea lion colonies, and you can drive very close (but if you leave your car, they run for the ocean - so don't). Lots of birds as well.




I don't know if it's clear on this smaller version of a pano, but there's a colony right in front (with lots of them swimming in the sea), then further on on the beach there's another colony, and if you look closely it's actually two (one is closer than the other). This is the eastern shore of Pelican point. There was also one colony on the western shore. There might have been more but visibility was not that super.


Some closer shots;






I had read on the internet that the stench would be nauseating. But in all fairness; it was OK. Well, they did smell (a bit like rotten fish perhaps) but not that hard that you start getting nauseous or anything. And no, it wasn't windy. There was no wind at all; it was quite foggy.


Some pup carcasses too. Sea gulls were feeding on them. Still, as I said: the smell was there, but if you think that's smelly then I must warn you not to approach the carcass of a dead elephant, to give but one example :D




Also interested to get a piece of the rotten meat;




No surprises there. We saw quite a lot of them.


And more birds, the flamingos being the most photo-genetic.






Time to leave Pelican point and drive to the dunes. You should know that Pelican Point sits at the tip of a very long and flat sandbank. So the cars go like 100km/h here. It's a bit like in the Mad Max movies, driving like crazy over sand. Well guess what; the next Mad Max film will, in part, be shot right here. They were even building a ramp for some stunts.




Once we were past the salt factory once more, the mist seemed a bit less. Although it was still overcast. Strange; on one end you can see the blue sky over the desert, and at the other end you see the same blue sky over the sea. But in the middle, where we were; clouds above our heads! It felt rather chilly too. When the sun bursted through the clouds fora few minutes, our guide (Jorgen), stopped and found us some other creatures well worth photographing.






Jorgen was a very good guide, by the way. Very knowledgeable, and - a must, let's be honest - very funny.


We also passed some more jackal, including a pair just lazying on the beach.






Then came a bit of fun driving; high dunes to the left, the sea to the right, and a very narrow part in between to drive on. It was quite clear that you cannot drive here whet it's high tide. I assume, if it's high tide, that the go through the dunes, and then drive back via the beach in the afternoon (while we did the inverse).


This is a pic looking back on where we came from. As you can see; still misty;




After a while we came to a point where one is not allowed to drive on; there's a row of poles with a chain going from dunes to the shore. Here we had lunch. How time had flown by!




Lunch was extremely delicious, by the way, with lots of snacks but also fresh fish, fresh oysters, and sparkling wine.

While we were having lunch, the clouds finally started disappearing and out came the sun. It was quite clear we were going to have a sunny afternoon.


The drive back was, as expected, through the dunes. Less photographic opportunities, but a very high fun level. At first, there's still some green to be seen (on the smaller dunes close to the seaside, where the plants can live of the moisture in the air). This is a teleshot pic of another group in the distance, and in the far distance the ocean:




But eventually there was nothing than sand around us, and the drive was a bit like a ride in an amusement park, going up and down huge dunes with the Landy's.






Your driver may have some surprises in store. At least it was like that in our case. But I'm not going to spoil that for you. You'll see.


At about 3PM-4PM we were back in Walvis Bay. It had been a very busy day, and quite fun. Time flew by.

This trip we booked separately and it had cost us about 1000 NAD. That's 100€ or 130 USD. Considering the fantastic lunch, the length of the trip, the good guiding, and all there is to see and photograph; it's a no-brainer.


The next part; Damaraland! I'll write this probably friday.

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Love those classic "desert and sea" shots. During my trip planning, I was warned too about the smell in the seal colony, which I've seen/smelled before; but never saw a dead elephant. Sounds quite stinky then.

Funny that you mentioned about Mad Max - I met the family of the director of the special effects for the movie in Namutoni (Etosha). He's got a very gifted 9-10 yr old son who pretty much qualifies for the next Crocodile Dundee!!

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Well he must feel right at home in Namibia then. After all, everyone on the road says hi when you pass them ...just like Crocodile Dundee! :)

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Part 4: Damaraland


We left Swakopmund after breakfast, went to do some shopping (for our lunch that noon, and for drinks), filled up on gas, and headed north, following the coast towards Skeleton Coast National Park. To be quite honest, this was the big disappointment of our trip. I don't know what I should have expected. For some reason I though I would have a good sea view from the road. Or at least most of the time. So I hoped to get some good landscape shots. Also, I hoped to see some of those famous shipwrecks that litter the coast (and gave the park it's name).




Shipwrecks? On the part of the coast we covered, which is from Swakopmund almost to Torra Bay (read; almost half the coastline up to the Angolan border), there's only two shipwrecks. One is visible from the road, and it's even before you are at the park gates. It's a fairly recent ship, and rather big. You are not allowed to get near, as they're trying to salvage it. I took a pic from far away, but it's nothing special (you can't even see the sea in the pic, just the dunes and the ship). The other shipwreck is just after you pass the gate. There's a sign pointing to it. It's almost completely gone, in my view not even worth a photograph. For the rest of the trip along the coast we saw no more shipwrecks. Which isn't really a surprise as for most of the time you could not see the sea from the road. So I was "stuck" in the most boring landscape I have ever seen. Rocks and sand on both ends (rather flat, no undulating dunes or anything, so not as if it was worth more than one picture). It looked like the surface of Mars in the Viking 1 shots.


We kept hoping to come to more signs leading us to some more wrecks. But no... after a few hours it was time to take the road east, towards the mountains in the distance. We left with a bit of a feeling of disappointment, but also glad to see that the landscape got more interesting once you leave the coast. Anyway; let this be a warning for anyone doing the same portion of the park; don't expect too much. Maybe there's more to be seen further north, but if you need to go east near Torra Bay, then you will not have seen much.


Another thing; we hadn't seen any fences since crossing the desert from Sossusvlei and getting to Walvis Bay, but soon after we turned east towards the mountains, there was a fence to the north of us. It was actually a double fence, with a small strip of about 20m in between. We wondered what it's purpose was. It seemed to have started in the middle of nowhere (ic in the middle of Skeleton Coast National Park). So any animal that comes out of the mountains and follows the fence almost all the way to the coast can eventually just get to the other side. But I assume no animal takes that risk as there's no food or water there. The fence continued all the way to the park gates, and when we were passed the gate, we saw that it continued next to us. After a lot more km's our road turned slightly to the south, while the fence went on in a more southerly direction. At about that point the first trees could be spotted. We had been looking for a tree for quite some time. We chose one that could give us a little shade, and ate our lunch (by then it was way past noon).


We came to the M126 (just another gravel road), drove south, and after a while the road turned east again towards the Grootberg mountains. The M126 continued south towards Palmwag. Soon enough the road went up the mountains and became narrower, with lots of bends in it. And to the south, we spotted the fence again (or another fence?)


The road goes all the way up the mountain, the highest point being the "Grootberg Pass", and that is where the entrance to Grootberg lodge is. That entrance road is a bit of an adventure in itself. It is very (very!) steep, and extremely bumpy/rocky. You are only allowed to drive up to the lodge if you have a 4x4. Otherwise you need to leave your car in the small parking lot next to the road.


The lodge and the guest units all sit on the rim of a plateau on top of the mountain. This is the main building, with the pool in front:




Behind the pool you can see one of the guest units. It looks smaller than it is. I think it's because of the roof. As you see; it has a bit of a strange shape. Not completely sure but I think it has to do with the wind, which comes from the plateau behind you. The evenings seemed the windiest (it's not that strong, but I would not advise hanging clothing out to dry on your terrace at that time of the day, haha).


This is the interior of the room:




A desk and chair on one end of the room (where I was standing to take this pic), and a bathroom on the other end. The shower had the same amazing view as from the terrace. "What amazing view then, Jochen?"


This amazing view;




I've had worse! :D



So what did we do at Grootberg Lodge? Well, about every activity they offered.


First of all, we did a game drive on the plateau where the lodge sits on. Lots of animals seem to prefer the open areas on top of the plateau, I assume as it's cooler on top of the mountain, and as it's safer (predators can be spotted from further away). So lots of them graze here (although it seemed very dry to us). Speaking about dry; there's a small waterhole close to the lodgee but most of them do go off the mountain to drink from the river, and then climb back up.


Here's a few shots:




As you can see, some areas are VERY rocky, so the drive is very slow-paced, and even then it's a rough ride for your back (free African massage, woohoo!).


Mountain zebras here too. More than in Namib Naukluft, and more relaxed too. But NN had the better backgrounds.




More Oryx than you can wave a stick at. We saw a huge herd with lots of babies but they were moving away from us, so the pic is not ST-worthy (mostly Oryx butts...).

Here's a better one;




We also saw kudu and impala. And there's predators too. Lions, to be precise. But you have to be very lucky to see them. They come onto the plateau once every week or two weeks.


At the far end of the plateau we stopped for drinks. Not quite sundown yet, but that's because it would be a long way to drive back in the dark. And besides; the sunset is just as stunning from your room! Here's the pano-view south from the plateau:




The view is amazing, and no pic can do it justice. Not visible in this image, but visible with the naked eye, all the way on the horizon, is Mt. Brandberg.

Just Google Earth to Grootberg Lodge, go to the southern edge of the plateau and then zoom out to see where Brandberg is. Yup, that's 100km further south, as the crow flies.




Another thing we did is a rhino trekking. This is partly game drive and partly game walk. First, the driving bit. Off the mountain, then into the Grootberg concession (the valley you see from your room is a small part of it). The road follows the dry riverbed downstream. It's a rough road, even more so than on top of the plateau, as at least there it's flat. Here it most certainly is not.


Our guide that day was Brian. Uncombed hair, rough edge, great humor, extremely knowledgeable, and the eyes of a hawk. Perfect fit for the job, this guy! And he has a sidekick called Pulala. Pulala is a male Staffordshire. If you know that breed of dog, you probably go "ooh those look exactly like pitbulls - make sure to keep away from his strong jaws". Well, I'll have you know that Pulala is the most fun, docile and trustworthy dog I have ever seen. He climbed on everybody's lap, tried to lick everyone's face, and was quite a hoot. At the end of the day I had my hand in his mouth and played tug-of-war with him. Just goes to show that it's not the breed that's dangerous, it's how you train them.


So where's the pic of the dog then? Would you believe that, during that whole day, I have not taken ONE shot of him? :unsure:


Here's some other creatures for you:












We also saw zebra, kudu, black faced impala, warthogs, swallow-tailed bee-eaters, and some other species I can't remember right now.


And of course, we found the species we came for; black rhino. This part was done walking. Actually, the walk in itself is not that much fun, as you cannot appreciate your surroundings much. You constantly have to watch where you put your feet, the terrain being very rocky. Brian brought us to higher ground, where we had a clear view. It was a cow with calf, and they were standing under a tree about 300m from us.




So the above is a 400mm tele shot. No way to get closer. Wouldn't be safe either, the wind playing tricks on you in that hilly terrain. But the distance didn't matter much. I put my camera aside, and got plenty of time - also using the bino's - to observe them and let the encounter sink in. This was a first for us (we've seen plenty of white rhino, but never black). Thanks Brian and Pulala, for a splendid day!



Yet another trip we did there was an elephant trekking. Now, there's about 600 "desert elephants" left, and most hang out in Damaraland. Some are migratory, moving from one valley to the next, and some tend to remain in the same area the whole time. Still, that "area" can be very big. And 600 elephants is not all that much.


Luckily for Grootberg Lodge, there's one herd that remains in the same valleys close to the lodge (ic the valleys on the other side of the plateau). Sometimes they hang out in a valley that's rather unspoilt, on other times they hang out in a valley where lots of farmers live. Neither seems to mind the presence of the other; the goats eat the grass, the ellies eat the leaves on the trees.


We were a bit unlucky as that day the elephants were near the farms. Unlucky, in the sense that the drive there was not very pleasing to the eye (overgrazed land, and no other animals to be seen). Still, we did get to see the elephants. And that is what we came for. But as they were standing in the shade of some big trees at the foot of Grootberg mountain, we could not get to higher ground. Which meant we had to stay rather far away (the rocky terrain with very few strong trees allowed no escape). And the wind was not in our favor either.


Can you spot them?




We got closer, to about half way from where the above pic was taken.

When a few elephants left the herd and entered the valley, the photo opportunities improved a bit. Also because we were standing a bit on a rise.




But the way they were going they would soon block us off from our route to the car, and the wind would have given our position away. So we had to get out of there rather fast.


So; not the most amazing photo's, but again a little bit of adventure (which was quite fun), and we felt rather good for having seen a dozen individuals from those 600 remaining desert elephants.


Also, we found out it could have been worse. Some days they do not find the elephants (very rarely, but it happens - idem with the rhino, by the way), and some days the elephants are at the other side of the fence. What fence? Well, the fence we saw to the south of Grootberg Pass. Now we finally found out what it's for. Apparently it cuts all the way through Namibia, and it's meant to keep animals from spreading diseases. I forgot the exact details but seems the cows south of the fence carry diseases that the cows north of the fence do not. Given the import regulations of EU and US, it would be a disaster for Namibia's economy if certain diseases would spread further south.


Animals hate the fence, of course. Warthogs go under, kudu go over. Elephants just trample the fence (it's not electrified, so people are constantly patrolling te fence and repairing it). And yet other species are simply stuck. Tourists and ecolodges hate the fence as well. For example because they cannot get to the elephants. But also because you have to make huge detours to get to the other side.


We experienced such detour while on our next trip. A fourth trip we booked at Grootberg was a trip to a Himba tribe. This started off with a long drive all the way east, to a small village of which I forgot the name. From there, there's another road leading to a gate in the fence (next to a ranger station that still in the process of being built). It's that gate we had to go through to get to the Himba people.


Once past the gate, Damaraland had a little surprise in store for us. Totally unexpected, just like in Namib Naukluft; a green valley with a flowing river! Palm trees and wild fig trees. Very beautiful!




Here we saw lots of birds and also turtles. These guys were back as well;




Very nice!


It seems the river is used by local farmers, for their cattle (cows, goats donkeys). And it seems the farmers are pushing the Himba further and further away. Our guide told us that he has to drive further and further each season.


After a while, we met our first Himba. But not quite the Himba we expected. Young boys on mules!




They asked if they could ride with us. Of course! They seemed to enjoy that a lot. And their donkeys just followed the car. I guess for them it's a bit like a theme park ride. They were also very interested in our plastic water bottles. Not necessarily for the water, but because such containers are very handy for them.




Finally we came to their little village. Well, "village"... A few mud huts and a shelter made from a few branches. Nothing to write home about.


I must admit that, when it comes to visiting Himba people, I had not done my homework. You see; I'm a nature-man, not a culture-man. I put the Himba visit in the itinerary because it seemed like a must. But it was not particularly a trip that, for me, was going to be the highlight of our vacation. So, I did not know what to expect. I had seen pics on the web. And those pics looked very beautiful. So maybe I expected to see the same as on those images.


But it sure was different.


For starters; a big part of the authenticity is gone. Plastic bags and cans everywhere, in the most bright colors. Metal cooking pots. And blankets and clothing that were made in China (not so wild guess). So it was very difficult to make a picture without those "distractions" in it.




Maybe it's again one of those "authentic vs fake" things, but I'm not sure.


In Tanzania, we visited a Maasai tribe, but far away from tourist-area. It was on the plains north of Ngorongoro. What we saw there was faded clothing, sick people, cow dung and a zillion flies. What we did not see was clothing colored brightly red, no dancing/jumping men, no school-building-waiting-to-be-completed-if-you-would-just-donate-10$-please, and no shop with souvenirs and trinkets.


We saw about the same thing here; poor people hanging on to life in far-from-optimal circumstances. It was authentic, to say the least. And as such very different from the Himba pics I found on the web.


As a result, our sentiment, just like with the Maasai in Tanzania, was one of feeling out of place, awkwardness, and even shame. "What are we doing here? Standing here in our expensive clothing, sticking our expensive camera equipment in their face to 'steal' a few pictures for our oh-so-important album?"


I did try to put some effort in my pics. Not make them quick snapshots, but at least trying to compose half-a-decent shot. After all, they are beautiful people, with their red skin, their artwork around neck and ankles, and the red clay in their hair (well, the women at least, because the guys are not dressed in a particular fashion).


What I kept in the back of my mind was; "they do get something out of this; the lodge gives them some much valued items such as big water containers, bags of mealie meal etc". (this is true; the lodge "pays" them for the visit, but provides items that they really need - as opposed to bank notes, which invariably end up as beer going down the throat of the men).


So here are a few results:






Note; I only had my wide angle in my hand. Maybe that's why I couldn't "filter out" all the distractions. I notice now that lot's of Himba shots are close-ups of faces.

Well then maybe my images are more "real". :)


Hope my honesty is appreciated. Please do not conclude out of this that you should not visit them. Just be more prepared than me. Just know what to expect! In the end, after the camera was put away, I did enjoy the encounter. Our guide translated for us, and we had a long conversation with one woman. She asked where we were from, but failed to grasp the size of the earth. I failed to understand why they have their four lower front teeth knocked out when they marry. But we all had a good laugh about our worlds being so different.


Maybe one of us should bring his iPad, put movies and pics on there of all the big/weird/beautiful things on our end of the globe (skyscrapers, snow falling, famous paintings,...), and arrange a "cinema afternoon" for them. Now that would be an amazing "gift" for them.





A few more things about Grootberg Lodge:


When you read the info map in their rooms, the first sentence goes "welcome to Grootberg Lodge, the first mid-market option in Damaraland!" And that is indeed what it is. As with the lodges in Sossusvlei, I also had the problem of finding a place I liked (where one can do elephant- and rhino trekkings, for starters) and that I could afford. Well Celeste @ Sun Safaris pointed out this lodge, and I must thank her for that, as it was an amazing place, and very affordable. I think we paid about 1000NAD (115$) pppn. Activities idem; 480NAD pp for a drive on the plateau, 800NAD pp for the Himba trip, and 1150NAD pp for rthe rhino tracking, and so on. So... Thank you, Celeste!


Together with Hoodia, Grootberg Lodge is a hidden gem, in my humble opinion. You should know that Grootberg Lodge is a community project. So; nothing but local people, trained to do a perfect job. And they do a perfect job. I honestly don't think the guiding at the more expensive places is any different. In fact, I'm sure of that, as one of the guides ("Martin") actually worked at one of the Wilderness camps in the neighborhood, but then came to grootberg after the WS camp stopped operating.


Speaking of guides; you may have a different guide for each activity. There's Brian, Martin, Bob ("a nick name because he looks very much like Uncle Bob!), but there's others I'm sure. So; better tip your guide right away after your day-trip, as you may not encounter him again after that. We did not get to tip Martin because we did not know this on the first day. So Martin if you read this; we still owe you, but we'll be back, and "a Lannister Van de Perre always pays his debts". (sorry lousy Game Of Thrones joke).



Next part... Etoshaaaaa!

Edited by Jochen
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This image definitely needs to go in the Birds in flight topic...


I got something else in mind.

Patience is a virtue!

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Hear you on the village trip, Jochen. Always hard to balance genuine interest in seeing how other people live, which can be sort of voyeuristic, with realizing that these villagers are just living their lives and often in extreme circumstances.


On the flip side, I have come to believe that most people genuinely don't want to live in a different manner other than the manner in which they are currently living. Of course they would appreciate health care and education etc. but they are no more or less happy living their lives than we are in the so-called modern world, because there is a genuine difference in what the two sides perceive to be necessary for their happiness.


Too much philosophy on a Sunday morning :D


Loving the details & admiring the photography.

Edited by Sangeeta
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Wonderful journey and info continues.

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