Travel-report Namibia September 2016

We continued our trip in Victoria Falls, but after three days we were already looking forward to our last week in Namibia. However, Air Namibia caused some embarrassment as only one of our bags had been carried, the second remained with some others in Zimbabwe, stating that the aircraft would have been overloaded (?).

So we landed in Windhoek in the evening with half the luggage and were forced to fill in many forms and to answer questions before our driver drove us to the Etango Ranch near the airport, where we spent the first night. Our rental car, a Kia SUV we picked up next morning and then we first drove once for shopping to Windhoek, since we were missing a lot of laundry and cosmetics. The directions of "Sense of Africa" were faulty and incomplete, as it had been in 2014, so it took some time to find the way from downtown Windhoek to the south. But somehow the B1 was reached and then we went only straight ahead for a few hours southerly direction. Our goal was Keetmannshoop and the Quiver Tree Forest Rest Camp.

1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg

The name of the lodge was program. One of the reasons we wanted to go back to the south of Namibia were the famous quiver trees. The quiver tree or kokerboom (Aloe dichotoma) is one of the most interesting plants of the hot region in Namibia and the northwestern part of the Cape Province in South Africa. In reality, it is not a tree, but an aloe that can grow up to 9 meters high. Usually it grows individually, but in some areas it occurs in forestlike groups, as in Keetmannshoop. This forest has already been declared a national monument in Namibia in 1955, the large quiver trees are 200 to 300 years old.

In the early morning they shone like pure gold, the quiver trees.

4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg 7.jpg

Another interesting destination in this area is "Giant's Playground", the giant's playground, where you can visit numerous bizarre rock formations along a circular path. Friends of cheetahs also get their satisfaction in the camp, two male and two female cheetahs live here in quite spacious enclosures, there is daily feeding in late afternoon. We had the opportunity, early in the morning, together with Coenie to make a photo shooting with the two male animals. In the quiver tree forest we also saw our first rock badgers (Procavia capensis) and in the house warthog "Speckie" was the sole boss among the many pets. We liked it very much there.

8.jpg 9.jpg 10.jpg

After two nights we went on, we went for hours along the train line Keetmannshop - Lüderitz, always beside the tracks, without having ever seen one single train. After a stop at the train station hotel in the village of Aus, we went to a water-well at Gharub (west of Aus) to meet the famous wild horses of the Namib. Unfortunately, we only have seen a few animals, also on the road back to the Tiras-mountains and Helmeringhausen. Much more interesting were the many hawks and greater kestrels, which were sitting along the road, mostly at the telephone lines.

11.jpg 12.jpg 13.jpg

Helmeringhausen-Hotel was only meant as an intermediate stop for the nevertheless time-consuming trip direction Sesriem. On the route we had some problems with the bad directions of the tour operator and drove a few kilometers detour, until we finally found the entrance gate of Sesriem and thus also the Sossus-Dune Lodge. This lodge is the only one in the Namib Naukluft Park, the exclusive location allows you to reach the Sossusvlei before sunrise and also stay there until after sunset.

This state-owned lodge was really very nicely located and built primarily of wood, linen and straw in the "Afro-Village" style. The pool was admittedly somewhat cold, but on the hot afternoons real refreshment.

The next morning we went woke up at 5 o'clock with a wake-up call, half an hour later we dashed with our guide and surprisingly many like-minded people towards Sossusvlei in 55 minutes to climb the dune "Big Daddy" before sunrise. When the sun slowly illuminated the orange dune sea, we were all fascinated by the color- and shadow-play. Real fun was the descent from the dune, as the agreed with the guide meeting place was the directly adjacent Deadvlei.

14.jpg 15.jpg 16.jpg
17.jpg 18.jpg 19.jpg

The Deadvlei was the end point of the Tsauchab-river before it took a different path because of the many deposits of clay and now ends in the Sossusvlei. Due to the lack of water in the vlei the trees were dead there, a decay is not possible, since no minerals are present. When the first rays of sunlight fall over the surrounding dunes, a mystic and fascinating illumination of the dead stems is created.

20.jpg 21.jpg 22.jpg

After our tour there was a wonderful breakfast under the camelthorn-trees, a really successful excursion, which we would definitely recommend, especially since the last stretch of about 5 kilometers is very difficult to pass due to the deep sand road passage.

Then we went to Solitaire for the last two days. We knew the lodge from the last Namibia holiday and were a bit disappointed now. Probably due to a change of ownership the whole area was not as well maintained as 2014, room service did not take place at all and the food left something to be desired. The garden was still there, and the animal visitors could be seen especially in the morning and evening hours, like the swallows, weavers, nectar birds, rose parrots and the bush-squirrels.

23.jpg 24.jpg 25.jpg 26.jpg

And then the time in Namibia was already over, despite the already mentioned bad directions (and also unclear signposting) we found our way to the north east. We let us also only briefly stop through a tire blow-up on the gravel road and landed in Windhoek early in the evening, where we then at the airport met a travel group, whose luggage also remained in Victoria Falls ....... (Groundhog day). Our suitcases were allowed to fly with us this time, the seats were not very comfortable, the food just terrible, "luckily" the toilets were disabled behind us after a few hours, as useless. Unfortunately there is no real alternative from Germany as a non-stop connection.

Also this time we have found some fascinating landscapes in this sparsely populated country, but a few corners are still missing (The North, Caprivi, Skeleton Coast Park ...)