We are so looking forward to our Namibia holiday safari and I feel like a child going on a seaside holiday for the first time. All our arrangements have been made so now it's just waiting for the day to arrive. We'll leave Johannesburg for Namibia around 2pm on the 20th of June and overnight in Zeerust.
Our full itinerary has now been set and we literally can't wait any longer, we'll take as many pictures as we can.
We left home this afternoon on on our long awaited Namibia holiday in our blue Volkswagen bus and are spending the night in a freezing Zeerust.
We had a smooth and uneventful drive through Botswana where the road conditions were very good. The people are friendly and the donkeys at the side of the road plentiful. We stopped counting at around 270 and that was only halfway through Botswana!
I must say I was pleasantly surprised but phew! the road between Rietfontein border and Ariamsvlei is a disaster!!
What a bumpy road: our blue bus rattled and shook us about until poor Jaco was feeling nauseous! But we made it.
In Gobabis we were welcomed with true Namibia holiday hospitality at the Onzerust Guesthouse. We were totally exhausted from the long day in the car and went to bed at 8pm.
We passed through Windhoek in the morning - it's a beautiful city but quiet on a Sunday morning. We had a delicious (expensive) cappuccino at Restaurant Africa on the old Tintenpalast, now a museum. It’s colder than we expected.
Our next stop on our Namibia holiday was the Otjiwa Game Ranch in Otjiwarongo - what a pleasure! We were the only guests there and felt like royalty. The kids behaved as if the place belonged to them. It's a comfortable hotel and each bed is equipped with the obligatory mosquito net.
We went for a late afternoon game drive. I find the orange glow of the sun on the termite hills fascinating and the kids had to pose for a few photos.
We spotted the first game of our Namibia holiday safari which included a huge black rhino at a water hole, no less! Later on, the car got stuck in an ant bear hole. Our guide was struggling to free us from it so I gave it a shot and, city girl that I am, managed to get us out of the predicament. Obviously I was made for the safari lifestyle!
En route to Etosha National Park, near Grootfontein, lies the Hoba Meteorite - the largest one on earth and weighing in at about 50 tons. It consists mainly of iron and apparently met the surface 80,000 years ago. The estimated age is - get this - 200 to 400 million years old!! We had fun clambering all over it.
We had a terrific stay here; the quality of the accommodation in this part of the namibia holiday was really good. We had sufficient space and everything was clean.
The kids had much fun with the jackals passing through the camp each evening, in search of food. Their task was to keep the scavengers away from the barbeque and so ensured we didn't go to bed on empty stomachs.
The quantity of animals in Etosha was mind boggling and we couldn't get enough of it. We were also fascinated to see that the game is generally larger and of darker colour than the ones back home.
It was so hot here that the kids actually swam! Remember, it's supposed to be winter.
The elephants felt the heat too - one afternoon around 3:30 we saw 2 young bulls fighting at the water hole. The one's tusk broke in half during their brawl! It was a cacophony of noise but a fantastic Namibia holiday experience to be so close to these wild animals that we could smell them.
These fighters were part of two different groups arriving at the water simultaneously and some of the young cows were in oestrus. All of a sudden they just started trumpeting and fighting. Everyone within the camp gathered to see what was going on.
It was very spectacular and for sure one of the highlights of our namibia holiday. This water hole was just fantastic to sit and watch game, at one point we estimated roughly 700 animals around it!
we drove into the pan where a humbling and majestic experience awaited. The complete silence and arid landscape literally drove me to tears.
Of course the kids thought this was very funny, their mom standing there crying about nothing. But it was just so overwhelming and you realise that Creation is just so huge - too much to comprehend! Fortunately I have such an understanding hubby and Oloff gave me a big hug!
Okaukuejo had less game than the previous two camps we visited on the Namibia holiday, but we saw a pack of about 35 jackals feasting on a zebra carcass.
I never realised the noise they make when they eat. They howled and growled and snarled and snapped at each other. Not long after that we spotted a lone hyena looking very abandoned and cast off.
The camp's water hole however was just excellent. The animals get so close you can almost touch them.
Which some people abuse - there was this woman who thought it a good idea to try and feed an apple to an elephant over the fence, can you imagine!
And if he pulled her and her apple over the fence and trampled all over her, I suppose everyone would be shocked at the terrible elephant! I felt very distraught and gave her a piece of my mind which seemed to give her quite a fright.
We decided to stop by attractions which turned into a day of rocks and distance. We hadn't seen as many rocks in a very long time! We were stunned by the structures and strange landscapes.
Petrified Forest - here we saw trees older than 2 million years! Also growing in the area are Welwitchias of approximately 50 years and older. The guide was very good and knowledgeable. He is part of a project to empower the local community through Eco tourism.
At Twyfelfontein it was amazing to think that the San children were carving their art in the rocks at the very same time that Jesus was walking the earth at Palestine.
These children apparently trekked with their parents to the coast to fetch salt, where they were introduced to whales and penguins. Today you can see these rock carvings 100km inland and be amazed at images of days gone by.
We got to know the desert a bit better at this stage of our Namibia holiday. We learnt about magnetic sand and white spiders which nest and hunt in the dunes. There's much more to the "empty" sands than meets the eye and it's fascinating to realise how much life is teeming in it.
Throughout the afternoon we saw the dunes changing colour in the sunlight, the contours just getting more and more beautiful. We see the desert with different eyes now.
"Dune 7" as it is known is one of the highest dunes in the area and popular for dune gliding and sundowners.
Jaco did the mandatory climb to the top but the rest of us decided to watch him instead. The sand is extremely hot and you keep sinking into it so it's hard to get a proper climbing grip.
We had loads of fun climbing the dune and then dune gliding down at incredible speed! It takes physical effort but an exhilarating exercise all the same.
Later on we drove to the top on quad bikes, which was a bit easier. Swakop was definitely one of the highlights of our Namibia holiday safari.
We stayed over at Hardapdam where we had a scrumptious breakfast overlooking the dam.
Between Helmeringhausen and Aus we drove past some friends from home! What a feeling to bump into friends, 6000km from home on a Namibia holiday! We stopped for a chat and a drink with the Taljaards and Van Der Liths.
Our accommodation at Luderitz was another big highlight of this Namibia holiday trip. We stayed in the old light house. It's a big house with wooden floors and attached to the old light tower. There is no longer a light there but you can explore the tower and just picture how it must have been in days gone by.
It's situated on a kopje and the view across the unending ocean and the town itself. I felt very content standing there, gazing across the horizon at the sunset with Oloff enjoying making a braai in the shadow of the new lighthouse which is right next to the house.
Still inhabited as late as 1953, Kolmanskop or "Ghost Town" is now almost submerged in desert sand. The old houses are in a state of total disrepair. All those years ago, Kolmanskop was the first Namibian town to get electricity and the town used to have a casino and gym - whites only in those days.
The non-white workers received appalling treatment in those days: after work they were made to take a substance to make them throw up in case they tried to smuggle diamonds in their stomachs. It seems in those days the town was very example/contrast/super rich and disrepair contrast.
Here we also met Petrina Thomas, Miss Namibia 2003. She has a loving and dynamic personality and her and Caroli got on like a house on fire. She has our vote in the Miss Universe competition!
Luderitz - we stopped by the beautiful little church with its colourful windows only open at optimum sunlight time. We spent a windy day on the beaches around Luderitz. We saw pink flamingos in the ocean.
Around Aus lives approximately 90 wild horses of which we saw half. They've been around for almost a century. The only human intervention is the supply of water.
The Kokerboom forest was beautiful as they were in bloom! It's a very strange tree, but like most things in nature, perfectly designed for its habitat. We had a quick peek at a cheetah at feeding time, when people are allowed to touch it as its attention is on its food and not the person stroking it. But I don't trust wild animals and just took a quick picture and scrammed!
We left Namibia and entered South Africa near Mier. The San still live there. There were some children in traditional "clothing" at the roadside, selling colourful beads and being an attraction to tourists. They're a jolly bunch but Jaco didn't much like the idea that they're running around without clothes on. What you can't see is that their clothes are lying behind the grass tent, after "work" they get dressed and go home.
Namibia is an amazing country which I totally fell in love with. The wide open spaces are truly gripping and I am mad about the desert, one of the biggest highlights of our Namibia holiday safari.
In Etosha, our usual bad luck in spotting lions continued on this trip, nor did we see any of the other cats. However this does not lessen the impact of this wonderful country on us as a family.
Our whole Namibia holiday trip was pleasant and we got to know each other better. The kids were unbelievable travellers and we really enjoyed them and their wise cracks. They do see things differently than us cynical adults.
I was humbled again by the small things and realised that life should be fun! The distances were a downside but then again part of the Namibian experience. I don't think we would have experienced the country in the same way if everything was close together. It's the distance in particular which stole my heart and brings across the "emptiness" of the country.
We drove 7000km in total. Our memories are fun and joys and also interesting experiences. Our blue bus never let us down and my husband Oloff was an excellent driver. This was indeed a holiday to remember in years to come!
In summary a wonderful Namibia holiday and one that cleansed my heart and head a bit.
|Safari Location:||Gobabis, Otjiwarongo, Etosha, Okaukuejo, Swakopmunt, Luderitz, Keetmanshoop|
|Safari Company Used:||Self Drive|
|Duration:||2 weeks, June/July|
|Traveller Details:||Karen Dreyer, South Africa|
|Rates & Availability:||Plan your own safari. Make a Namibia Holiday enquiry|