Before we arrived to Swakopmund we took a short detour to a place called Cape Cross where there is a seal colony. The info on the GPS said: This place smells very bad! And it truly did. But it was very cool to see the seals, smelly or not! Speaking of smelly by the way. By now we hadn’t had a shower in 9 days so we probably smelled pretty bad too!
We stayed in Swakopmund for a couple of days. Went downtown one day to have a couple of beers and watch the game on the telly. Was pretty nice sitting in a bar chatting with locals and that stuff. The next day we went quad biking on the dunes for some hours. I must say it was really nice just driving around there!
After leaving Swakopmund we drove to Dune no 7, the highest dune in the coastal dune belt. Climbing on the dune proved to be very painfull because of the sun heating the sand. After one or two days of driving from Dune no 7, crossing the tropic of the Capricorn we reached the red dunes of Sossusvlei. What a place! First we drove for an hour or so just to get to the national park, then another hour of driving or so to reach the parking lot. When we reached it we saw a sign saying: Only 4×4 beyond this point! and we thought, we should follow the road further in.
Finally we reached “the end” of the road and started to climb on dune 45, the highest of the red dunes. From the top we got a nice view of the area before descending down. I don’t think I have ever had so much sand in my shoes before. Sossusvlei truly is an breath taking place in many ways. I can also understand why it has been the scenery for many movies in the past. The environment is somewhat surrealistic.
From Sossusvlei we took started moving south for real, towards the goal for this leg, Cape Town in South Africa. But before we would enter South Africa we had one final stop to make. Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world. By the time we reached Fish River Canyon it had become Easter so we had a small Easter celebration with the mighty canyon as background.
After leaving fish River Canyon behind us we headed towards the South African border and somehow we found a dried out riverbed that we felt an urge to explore. It was the dried out Orange River according to the GPS. We made our last camp in Namibia below some high cliffs. The next coming morning we passed through a wine yard before hitting the border control at Noordoewer.
Also, the gallery is updated with pictures from Namibia!
After the border crossing between Botswana and Namibia I can’t really remember much of the road until we hit Rundu which was nothing special either except that it was a town. Continuing a bit southwest we would soon come upon Grootfontain and a hour driving or so outside we visited the Hoba Meteorite which is the largest known meteorite on earth.
After the meteorite we aimed for Etosha National Park, the last chance for us to see lions on this leg of the trip. When we got there we set camp a couple of kilometers from the entrance so that we could enter the park the first thing in the morning. The sunset was amazing this night.
The following morning we entered the park and asked the rangers about the lions. They said that the lions had taken a zebra this morning and that they now probably hid somewhere so chances to see them are probably very small. A little bit discouraged by this we went on on this safari. We saw plenty of animals in the early morning light and after a couple of hours driving we saw the carcass of a zebra surrounded by vultures. I guess that was the one the lions had taken earlier in the morning then.
And then, over a small hill crest and around a bend there they were! The lions! And plenty of them. I think we counted to 7 lionesses and a couple of cubs. While we sat there in the cars just admiring these majestic cats something happened in the bushes to our left. One single male lion emerged. All the lionesses walked up to him and saluted him, it was a quite fantastic sight!
The lions walked just around the cars, some of them were so close so we could have patted them if we would dare stretch out our arms, but that would probably be quite foolish. We continued through the park and finally we got to see some wildebeest in a herd as well. We also came upon a dried out lake and drove out to the viewpoint which was pretty cool. After exiting the national park it was time to find some place for a bush camp.
Twyfelfontain or /Ui-//aes as it’s called on the local language (click language) is Namibia’s first world heritage site. It contains petroglyphs or rock carvings that is supposed to be up to 6000 years old and made by the hunter/gatherer people who lived here. A really magnificent place and if you take the guided tour you get some extra value for your money if you can persuade the guides to talk some click language.
The next day our journey towards the Skeleton Coast started. This would lead us through massive parts of wasteland which was one of the coolest parts of the entire trip. Generally I think Namibia had the most amazing nature and experiences even though I’d say the entire trip itself was an ultimate experience in itself. And then, the Skeleton Coast which is more or less the whole coast from the north of Namibia down to Swakopmund. We spent a whole day just driving around in the Skeleton Coast National Park and looked at various things. Some stranded ships, some deserted mines, an old oil rig and so on. II also took the chance of dipping my toes in the Atlantic Ocean but that was a very unpleasant experience since the water was ice cold!
Upon entering Botswana we discovered that we had no pulas available because all ATM’s within almost 200 km range was out of order. But that was a lesser problem, first we needed to find a place to camp for the night. Going off road placed us right next to a farm and the kind farmers showed us around and told us there were plenty of lions around. One of their cows had just been attacked the other week for example. In the evening the roaster chased all the chicks into a tree so that the lions would not be able to reach them. All night we could hear farmers in the area making noise to scary the lions away and we also heard dogs barking in the distance.
The next day we continued along the road. It was a long, very straight road. I think it went on for like 600 km or so. Arriving at the !Nxia Pan was quite exciting. It’s a national park and we entered. We had some luck right after entering when we saw a small herd of elephants cross the road in front of us. Then we also had some nice sightings of zebras, various kinds of gazelles and some gnus and a buffalo or two. No lions here either. On the way out we saw 6 giraffes that lined up beautifully along the horizon. I really like giraffes, they move in a funny way and seem a bit goofy but they are really beautiful.
After the !Nxia Pan we drove the remaining 140 km to the city of Maun which is situated just south of the Okawanga Delta. We camped at a hotel located just outside of Maun. The hotel was owned by a British man and his Botswani wife. The name of the hotel is Sedia Hotel. Here we stayed for some days which gave us plenty of time to take a flying safari over the delta, explore the town and see a dance show performed by some of the staff on the hotel.
When we left Maun we found a lake called Lake Ngami which is somewhat special. On the shores of the lake there lives fishermen. They move their village after the shoreline depending on if the water is high or low. We convinced some of the fishermen to take us on a tour on the lake with their small boats. We kind of regretted this because the boats was not made to take that many passengers and the fishermen who was obviously high was not really good at driving the boats either. We managed to get back to the shore again without any accidents but to be honest the trip was not really worth the effort.
We followed the road north towards the eastern parts of the Okavango Delta and eventually we would find the roads totally flooded so we had to wade with the cars which was fun. Took us more or less a whole day to get through and reach a camp site where we intended to stay for the night. Turned out that the camp site was very expensive and they had no real service, not even a bar so we decided for a bush camp instead.
The coming day we continued towards Namibia but first we had to go on a small excursion on a river. We found a man who would take us on his boat and off we went. The river sides was filled with papyrus and in the distance we could see some large birds slowly circling. The guide picked up a water lily and made a necklace for Lena out of it and said it was a special wedding necklace used by the locals. After the boat trip it was one more bush camp and then we arrived at the Namibian border.
In the winter of 2012 I went on a expedition trip through 10 African countries during 4 months. I left Sweden on the 12th of February and arrived back home again on the 16th of June. I went with a company called 4x4expedition.se whose concept is going by car by a loosly planned route where the participants can make decisions on where to go and how long to stay. The cars are equiped with tents on the roof so that we can camp, there’s also small gas stoves and other equipment needed for camping. So the concept is also not so much hotels and resturants (which makes traveling pretty cheap since we buy most food from local stores/markets).
The trip was divided into 3 legs.
The first leg started 20th of February in Dar Es-Salaam, Tanzania and went through Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and ended in Cape Town, South Africa on the 14th of April.
The second leg started in Cape Town on the 20th of April and went through South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and ended in Harare, Zimbabwe on the 19th of May.
The third leg started on the 20th of May and went from Harare to Victoria Falls and then to Botswana through the Kalahari back to South Africa and ended on the 10th of June in Cape Town.
I stayed a couple of extra days in Cape Town before flying home. Also, the dates mentioned here might differ a bit, I don’t remember entierly but they should be somewhat accurate. I should have done this when I got home 5 months ago, not now. Oh well. Enjoy anyway!
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