13/12/ – 18/12/16
To end my stay in Namibia, a real highlight is planned. Urs, the building contractor, and I go to explore the landscapes, animals and curiosities of the North. Our mobile base, a “Toyota Landcruiser”, is the perfect vehicle for our project. Fully packed with everything we need for this trip we leave from Okanguati and drive in the direction of “Van Zyls Pass”, our first highlight.
I get to hear that the pass is the worst road in Southern Africa. And before we reach “Van Zyls”, we have the first flat tyre. Since Urs carries two spare tyres we decide to go on the track which is kind of like a climbing route for jeeps.
Especially, the extreme ascending and descending slopes and deep abysses lets the adrenaline shoot up into the hair tips. Urs, however, is a good driver and brings the vehicle and the two of us cool and safe past every obstacle that seems so insuperable. Impressive what man and machine are able to accomplish when they are put together.
Right after this first off-road show we come to the… well, we’ll call him “A-hole Pass” and an Urs lesson follows. For the last 18km before our day destination, the “Marble Camp”, I am allowed to take over the helm and, under Urs’ instructions, “creep” over sticks and stones. Cool experience which makes me sweat despite the full air-conditioning!
When we arrive at the “Marble Camp” we – such as on most of the following days – leave our tents in the car and after a delicious “Braai” we sleep on air mattresses outside.
The next day we head off to drive through dry rivers. The Khumib and the Hoaurusib are among the rivers which only rarely have water during the year. And yet the river beds are so green that it seems quite unreal in this desert landscape. The life-giving water runs underground and feeds the plants sufficiently. The actual rivers run under a thick layer of sand and are only visible above ground during very heavy rainfall. My second off-road lesson takes place in the river sand.
The overnight stay of the second day is the “hot-spring” in Ongongo. A beautiful small waterfall that fills warm water into a natural swimming pool. Highly relaxing!
A special feature in the area we explore on the first two days is the “Lone-Man”. The “Lone-Man” is a sculpture made of stones and metal wire with a numbered label. The sculptures are partially open and partly well hidden in Kaokoland. Only nine “Lone-Men” have been found so far, with the highest number being found to be a “27”. Should the secret artist actually number each of his sculptures and hide them all in Kaokoland, there must still be some “Lone Men” which you can still discover as the first. ? We have found four of these sculptures. No artist has so far confessed to this curious work.
Another flat tyre somewhat disorders the planning schedule of the third day. Since we already use the second spare wheel after this incident we have to arm ourselves for further incidents of this kind which could possibly befall us. Therefore, we equip ourselves with new tyres.
Due to the loss of time we leave some agenda items out and the “Alpec Bushcamp” in Kamanjab will be our new destination. Since Urs only knows the camp from passing by we are finally both extremely positively surprised about the nice scenery, the cleanliness and the great service. We finally end the day in the pool and with the “Braai” with delicious Eland meat.
We spend the next two days in the “Etosha National Park”. Through the “Galton Gate” we drive in on the west side of the park to explore it eastwards. The “Etosha” is half as large as Switzerland and offers an impressively varied fauna. Since it has rained here in the last few days the national park presents itself in the lush green. Not necessarily the best condition for an animal observer. First of all, the animals can hide more easily in the dense foliage and they are not as dependent on the water holes as in a dry period. And although we follow this rule and drive to many water holes where nothing is going on we sometimes have luck. Thus, we see many elephants, giraffes, springboks and ibexes, wildebeests, zebras and oryxes. And the bird world is also colourful with its ostriches, secretary birds, bustards, vultures and much more.
And two huge highlights await me. On the evening of the first day, I head off to the waterhole which can be observed from our camp (“Halali”). When I arrive, I do not really trust my eyes: Two black rhinos and a small herd of hyenas satisfy their thirst. After about five minutes, the hyenas have disappeared, but the rhinoceroses can still be observed for more than half an hour. I get angry for a short time because of the camera I forgot in the car. Then, the relaxed movements of the rhinos hypnotize me. A great experience which Urs unfortunately oversleeps.
He does not oversleep the second huge highlight, though. On the following day, we see small, cute bat-eared foxes. Perhaps not as impressive as the rhinos concerning size, but still more difficult to spot. This small dog species with huge ears is threatened with extinction. I try to encourage the little ones telepathically and to send positive energy. I’m sure my message has arrived. This is exactly what these satellite ears are made for, I guess …
Urs and I finally leave the national park to go to his family in Outjo. That means I have two nights in a comfortable bed before me and very dear people around me before it goes to Windhoek and finally home.
But this is by no means the end of the blog. There is still a lot to prepare and I will continue to provide you with interesting entries.
Until then: enjoy the pictures of my safari/road trips ?