Europe, Africa · 28 Days · 43 Moments · February 2018

Ian and his hareem’s adventure to Namibia

5 March 2018

Monday 5 March Sadly our last day in Namibia drove to the airport returned the car all good. First flight to Johannesburg uneventful then we had 7 hour wait before connecting flight to Heathrow. Sat and played cards, then strolled round the shops, spotted these two having five minutes. Arrived at Heathrow went for coffee before parting company Gill and Jean to catch underground to Kingscross then train home, us to catch the coach to Luton airport for flight back to Spain. We had a fantastic holiday with very special friends. Namibia 🇳🇦 is unbelievable in its diversity of scenery, it’s friendly helpful people, the animals we were privileged to see and touch and finally sand!!

4 March 2018

Sunday 4 Match After breakfast we went to the craft market and treated ourselves to souvenirs. Then went for a drive round town looking at the sights. We walked into the center to see the meteorites which fell on Gibeon years ago and were brought to Windhoek and mounted on pillars. We then went and filled the 🚙 up and went for a chill and game of cards. Late afternoon we went and visited the Independence Museum which depicted the struggle the Namibians had to gain independence, very well done. The photos show the museum and the sights around Windhoek.

3 March 2018

Saturday 3 March Went for breakfast and to sort out the car 🚘 because we had it washed and the young man scratched it. Lapa Lange agreed to pay for the damage, Mercy the manager rang the company and told them the situation, so hopefully no bother on Monday when we take it back. We drove to Windhoek for our last 2 nights an uneventful drive no spectacular scenery mainly farmlands. Arrived at the Pension Steiner, a little oasis in the center of town, went out for dinner to a lovely Italian restaurant.

2 March 2018

Friday 2 March The 2 wild cheetahs came to the fence where they are fed and tried to frighten us by crouching and putting his tail between his legs. As we walked over to the wild cheetahs the other 3 walked with us, beautiful beautiful cats a truly fantastic experience. At 5.30pm we went on a sundowner game drive and saw several species of antelope and 4 giraffe 🦒 3 adults and a baby, this made Jean’s day. We watched the sun go down with a gin and tonic and nibbles. From the photos you can see it raining as well as sunset.
Friday 2 March Sunrising over the water hole outside our chalet. After breakfast we went on a “Bushman Walk” with 4 San men and an interpreter, they don’t like to be called bushmen any more, they are from the San tribe and proud of it. They explained how they tracked and killed animals for food only, how they celebrated the kill with a dance, showed us which trees were used for medicine and how they prepared it and what complaints it is used for. Ostrich eggs were used for various things because the shell is so hard. They spoke to us in their native tongue which has clicking in. We then went to see the cheetahs, Lapa Lange have 5 Cheetahs, 2 wild and 3 tame ones. They have reared the tame ones since they were 2 weeks old after their mother was shot and they are now 2 years 9 months. As we approach them they started to purr, we could stroke them and they licked our hand, it was incredible!!! When they are about 7 years they will be repatriated back into the wild.

1 March 2018

Thursday 1 March Left Keetmanshoop for Lapa Lange Lodge near Marienthal. The journey was a little boring as the landscape was just scrub land. We saw these donkeys and visited the Commonwealth War Graves site of the First World War. It was very well kept to say it was next to Gibeon railway station which was derelict. We arrived at Lapa Lange Lodge to be upgraded to a water side deluxe 2 bedroom chalet, it definitely was WOW again!!!! Photo 7 our chalet with the moon above, 8 having dinner, 9 animals at the water hole and 10 Gill posing outside our chalet.

28 February 2018

Wednesday 28 February After breakfast in the garden we went to Quiver Tree Forest. It is not a tree it is a type of Aloe shrub with very short roots. It got its name because the bushmen used the bark for lining an animal skin to make a quiver for his poisoned arrows hence the name quiver stuck. There several different types of quivers in the forest, it is a very lightweight wood and slow growing the bigger trees could be 300 years old. We then went to the Giants Playground where they played Jenga and building blocks with massive rocks. It was fascinating how they stay up when they are so precariously balanced. After walking round them in 36 degrees we decided refreshments were needed but Ian went overboard with a huge piece of cake. Because it was so hot and Gill was suffering from her neuralgia we went back to the accommodation to chill before dinner. That last one is Ian’s game kebab which he managed to eat!!!

27 February 2018

Tuesday 27 February Sadly left Fish River Lodge for our journey to Keetmanshoop. It took us an hour to drive the 19km to the main road then the rest was not too bad and we finished the journey on tarmac, luxury!! The photos are of the changing landscape again and the different shaped mountains. Arrived in Keetmanshoop found a lovely cafe where we had well deserved refreshments. Eventually found our BnB called Quiver Tree very nice. Had a chill out afternoon as the temperature was 38 degrees.

26 February 2018

Monday 26 February At the bottom of the canyon after 3 hours driving Daniel pronounced the water was too dirty to swim in (oh dear !!! what a shame 🤣🤣). We had our packed lunch then started the return journey just as scary and bumpy but he is one hell of a driver. Photo 5 is where we are standing on the edge of eternity. On the return we saw two small antelopes -Kline springers who very quickly jumped up the rocks and some mountain zebras who didn’t hang around hence the poor quality photo. Daniel informed us photo 8 is the honeymoon suite and oh dear!!! Something wrong with the truck surprise surprise!! We arrived back 1.30pm shaken but not stirred an amazing and exhilarating experience, Namibia never ceases to amaze us. 🇳🇦🇳🇦🇳🇦
Monday 26 February Arranged to go on a drive to the floor of the canyon. A disagreement about time Gill thought it was 6am and I knew it was 7am, arrived for breakfast an hour early it was 7am!!! Daniel was our guide again lovely man very informative about the locale, animals and plants etc. the drive was very bumpy and scary at times we saw 5 kudu on the way, Daniel showed us some bushman drawings which they think represented how many years he had been there. As we entered the canyon park the roads became worse if that’s possible. At one point we had to get out and walk down a steep incline for some distance and Daniel followed us in the truck. Photo 7 is of the ‘terror pass’ very narrow and steep.

25 February 2018

Sunday 25 February After settling in and relaxing we went on a sundowner drive along the rim of the canyon. Daniel was our guide and two young men from Switzerland joined us. We walked to the edge of the canyon to see the path down for the hikers it was a rope banister, not for the feint hearted!! As the sun set we had nibbles and gin and tonics marvelous.
Sunday 25 February Left Lüderitz for our drive to Fish River Canyon the second largest canyon in the world. We were driving on tarmac most of the way then turned onto gravel again, with some very deep holes due to recent rain, the last 20 km took us over an hour on a gravel road and we were reduced to under 20kmph at times. The scenery on the journey was forever changing again and sand was swallowing up the mountain photo 3. We arrived at the Fish River Lodge and were totally dumbfounded with the view from the terrace, we are literally on the rim of the canyon. The last two photos are view from our bed and the swimming pool on the terrace overlooking the canyon. Photos do not do the scenery justice unfortunately especially mine.

24 February 2018

Saturday 24 February Went and visited Kolmanskop Ghost Town where the desert is swallowing the extinct diamond mining town. The town developed when a German came to mine copper and he collected shiny stones, he asked the men to pass any stones to him. He discovered that they were diamonds, keeping quiet he went and bought up all the prospecting rights!! The town was well facilitated with a hospital, school,shops, a bowling alley and gym. The last people left finally in 1958, the diamonds were just lying on the ground and were collected by the workers on hands and knees, they were industrial grade. The last two photos are the Lutheran Church and our hotel on the point. Lüderitz was very germanic architecture with houses dating back to 1902. The weather was sooooo windy Gill and I got sandblasted and exfoliated walking back from the hospital.

23 February 2018

Friday 23 February Went in for breakfast to our surprise the owners have a baby warthog they are rearing it plays with the family dog. The first photo is the view from our bedroom. Said our goodbyes and set off on our long journey to Luderitz. Queen one of the excellent staff came to say bye even though she was off duty. The roads got a little better as we traveled and we made good time. Stopped for refreshments at a coffee shop in Helmeringshausen who served delicious apple pie. The scenery we passed changed many times ( photos do not do it justice) I cannot describe how awesome it was, as we neared Lüderitz it became very sandy and windy. After 500 km we arrived at The Nest Hotel where every room has a sea view, tired and sandy.

22 February 2018

Thursday 22 February Left Sosussvlei for Sesriem Canyon a short drive away. The canyon was gouged out of the rocks by water many years ago. Gill and I set off to walk down to to floor of the canyon, which was a bit precarious got most of the way but encountered some steep steps so decided we’d gone far enough in the heat. The topography was stunning but no water now. We then went back to the accommodation along the very bumpy road for a rest. At dinner 5 Kudu came visiting, they looked at us as we looked at them very shy animals lovely.
Thursday 22 February Got up at 4.30 am to travel 45mins in the dark to get to Sosussvlei to watch the sunrise over the sand dunes. We got to the park gate which didn’t open till 6.45 so we sat and had our packed breakfast watching the sunrise beautiful and we must be mad!! Drove to the sand dunes along a TARMAC road ecstasy, these are the biggest sand dunes in the world. There are certain ones you are allowed to walk up and we saw some people walking up the ridge. We parked the car and transferred to a 4 x 4 park vehicle which took us into Sosussvlei National Park, where you can walk into the dunes. Ian and I set off but Ian turned back and I carried on until I couldn’t see anything but sand dunes and took a selfie. Walked back to the others sitting under a tree it was getting very hot 36 degrees at 10am. The dunes are amazing different colours as the sunrises and different shapes magical. We caught the transport back to our car went for refreshments before setting off to Sesriem.

21 February 2018

Wednesday 21 February At breakfast we asked for eggs and bacon, the bacon was half a rasher each!!! Not a happy relaxed bnb we all felt unwelcome and treat like naughty tiresome children. After our bacon we left Swakopmund for Sossusvlei in the Namibian desert. We travel 300km on gravel roads, having a free massage from the car 🚘. We arrived at The Elegant Desert Lodge and checked in. A very friendly place the rooms were very big and well furnished. The first photo was of the mountains we passed en route, the landscape changed constantly, dramatic one minute then barren then mountains, amazing. The other photos are of our accommodation and the garden.The staff were extremely welcoming and happy.

20 February 2018

Tuesday 20 February Collected at 8am for a boat trip round the bay. Set off in a heavy sea fret to catch the boat a Walvis Bay about 40minutes away. Mossey our guide for the day gave the safety briefing and told us what we were likely to see. A seal jumped on the back of the boat but was quickly removed as he wasn’t one of the friendly ones. We saw 4 local dolphins relaxing, they are the second biggest dolphin, they swam round the boat but obviously didn’t want to play. We then saw a Mola Mola or Sunfish just below the surface it was a medium size one. Then went to the seal colonies according to Mossey there are 70000 seals in the area it certainly sounded like it. We then had a lunch with Namibia oysters (the best according to Mossey), I tried one but didn’t like it, Gill loved them. On the way back we had a visitor a friendly seal, we were allowed to touch it and he sat between me and Jean, then he laid all over Jean, wanting feeding. In the afternoon we went to Swakopmund aquarium

19 February 2018

Monday 19 February Collected at 8am for a guided tour of the living desert. Our guide was Douglas who was very knowledgeable and made it funny and interesting, giving a very in depth explanation of how the dunes were formed and the deserts Little Five. The first animal was the slow worm who eats desert muesli (grass and seeds bundled together) and larvae. Douglas was very gentle with the creatures and was careful not to stress them. 2nd animal was the white lady dancing spider 🕷 he was very careful as they bite. 3rd Douglas and Nicko went walk about looking for the 4 webbed footed gecko which is only found in Namibia. It took quite a while to find one and they gently scooped it out, it was very colourful with big eyes. 4th was a chameleon who changed colour to suit his surroundings, Douglas offered it little bugs to tempt out in the open which it couldn’t resist. Only found 4 of the little five was found the snake was very illusive and we only saw its tracks.

18 February 2018

Monday 19 February On the way back from the tour we were treated to a roller coaster ride over the sand dunes very exciting. In the afternoon we walked round the town and along the seafront in Swakopmund. The second largest town in Namibia and very nice too.
Sunday 18 February Left Twyfelfontein at 9am to go to Swakopmund 300km away on gravel roads. The scenery was different, dramatic and changed as we travelled south. Always hot, dry and very dusty. Photos of us and the car to break the monotony,an Himba lady and an Herero lady selling crafts at road side. Couldn’t buy anything as we’d run out of cash and they didn’t do cards. Arrived at Secret Garden accommodation good but a very unfriendly welcome not a smile in sight. Went for a walk round the town seems a much larger place than the others and more touristy so a bit of a holiday.

16 February 2018

Friday 16 February Arrived at Twyfelfontien Country Lodge speechless, what a wonderful place nestled in the huge rocks almost invisible. The second photo is of our rooms and 3 is the view from the dining room. A guide offered us half price tour in our car to see the desert elephants 🐘 🐘🐘 which can be very elusive. So off we went and there they were resting among the trees there was about 12 of them with a couple of babies absolutely wonderful. Although it was really hot out there.
Saturday 17 February Got up early to go to the Visitor Center to see the ancient rock carvings before it got to hot. Photos 1 - 5 are visitors to our room and two Dassies spying on us. Our guide for the drawings was Monalisa who took us mountain climbing over rocks to get to the drawings on the rock face. The drawings served as a message board for other bush people and education for the children. Clambering over the rocks in the heat wasn’t easy but we all managed it even though our combined ages is 308 years. The drawings are believed to be 6000 years old when there was more animals and more water, now though very few animals and hardly any water. It was very interesting and made us realize how hard a life these people had. Photo 9 is at the top of the climb to a viewing platform.
This little elephant 🐘 decided to threaten us by shaking his head and getting his trunk in a twist.
Friday 16 February Said our farewells to Eldorado and set off for Twyfelfontien Country Lodge on unmade roads that went on forever 230 km in total. Stopped off at the Petrified Forest. The guide was very knowledgeable and explained about how this tree ended up there and was 280 million years old. Photos 3 & 4 is the National flower of Namibia 🇳🇦 the welweitchia .It was very very hot and arid. The scenery changed dramatically on the journey it wasn’t beautiful but it was awesomely dramatic.

15 February 2018

Thursday 15 February Arrived at Eldorado Resort , checked in rooms excellent. Jean and Gill went on an afternoon game drive we declined as Ian’s back was iffy. Having our dinner a superb bbq.jean & Gill had an incredible game drive round the farm before dinner- we were taken by tractor and trailer( tractor was 45 years old!!!) to see their brilliant collection of wild animals. First we saw the beautiful leopard looking very powerful sitting on a branch, then on to the caracals- a lynx like cat. The men threw large pieces of meat onto the fence and the caracals leapt to reach it. In the wild they would fasten onto a springbok’s neck and not let go until the animal was dead. So they locked onto these pieces of meat and just would not release it. One piece of meat got stuck on the fence and the caracal ended up hanging from it. The guys tried all sorts to make her let go - tummy tickling, gentle poking with a stick, tummy rubbing all to no avail.Eventually meat and animal fell!!

14 February 2018

Thursday 15 February Woken by the sound of lions roaring near by, we went to the water hole hoping the lion would come he didn’t, but we could still hear him roaring. Ian suggested we get in the car and drive to the sound, we drove out the camp gate and saw several cars stationary so we joined them. There was not 1 lion but 3 walking around still roaring, they then turned around and sauntered across the road between the cars AMAZING!!! They were walking in the direction of the water hole, so jumped back in car and parked near our chalet, the lions were now walking towards the trees not the water. It caused great excitement in the camp for guests and staff alike. After breakfast we checked out and did another game drive, saw plenty of animals, springboks, zebras, kudu and wildebeests. Returned to Okaukuejo before leaving Etosha at 1400 hours to go to Eldorado Resort 5minutes drive away. The last but one photo is the look out tower in the camp
Wednesday 14 February Got up early to see the sunrise at the watering hole. A herd of zebra were very cautious but eventually found the courage to go drink. A crane was drinking and looking for insects 🐜 🕷. After breakfast we went on a game drive to a water hole where elephants drink but today we weren’t lucky, but we had a lovely encounter with a baby giraffe 🦒, it was inquisitive about our car and stood looking at us for a long time while Mum and Dad waited behind a tree. It eventually decided we were ok and went for a drink. We saw several other different animals and there was lots of young ones. Last photos are us at dinner.

13 February 2018

Tuesday 13 February On our drive back to the Lodge we saw these 2 lionesses absolutely amazing. They were just sauntering along not bothered by our presence.
Tuesday 13 February Left Otjiwarongo and drove to Etosha National Park, after passing through the gate driving to Okaukuejo Lodge. We were amazed to see 4 cheetahs coming to and crossing the road in front of us. Checked in to our chalet which was in front of a watering hole. Quickly settled in then went on our first game drive and saw numerous animals. A beautiful little weaver bird inspecting the nest, she didn’t like it and destroyed it. An Oryx having a drink, a Springbox, a Zebra, a Wilderbeast, a bird and driving back it was raining in the distance.

12 February 2018

Monday 12=February Our room at C’es Si Bon. After breakfast we went and visited the Crocodile Ranch, The crocodiles are bred for the skin which is sent all over the world and the meat, They currently have 3500 crocodiles of different ages. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the crocodiles the one he is holding is a one-year-old. All the crocodiles on show were just for the tourists and the tortoises were also for the tourists. We then went to the Waterberg Plateau, where we found a well kept cemetery to fallen Germans from the 1904 battle with the Herero people. We had coffee in a converted German barracks from 1904. We drove round the park and this was the wall to the plateau, (Game of Thrones sprung to mind.) We had a torrential downpour and Gill and Jean had to paddle to get in their room.

10 February 2018

Sunday 11 February This was the view from our beds like a wide screen cinema at Okonjima Lodge. Sunday 11 February Left Okonjima Nature Reserve and drove to C’est Si Bon Hotel in Otjiwarongo. Quite a large town, needed some supplies so drove into town popped into the Spar supermarket. Ian and Gill were bereft as the law in Namibia does not allow the sale of alcohol on a Sunday 🍾🍾🍾 We had our meal in the hotel very nice it was too.
Saturday 10 February Coffee and cake at 3pm then off on another game drive to find leopards, with Alex and Kavanda our guides. We travelled a far distance into the Reserve along rough tracks after the rain. The guides had a very weak signal from the tracker collar on the leopard, eventually the signal became stronger and they drove off the track into the bush and there she was eating, she had just made a kill. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen, we were only 10 meters from her. We watcher her until she dragged the kill off to hide it for later. We then set off back stopping along the way to look at other animals of interest. The weather turned and started to rain, and the guides took a very hairy short cut back to base, where we had our sundowners.

9 February 2018

Saturday 10 February. Up at 5:15 coffee and muffins before the game drive to see cheetahs hopefully. Set off with our two guides Alex and Kavanda, very interesting and funny guys. The cheetah we are looking for is a female who has been rehabilitated back into the wild and has a tracker which helps to locate the vicinity she is in. The AfriCat Foundation rescues and rehabilitates cheetahs and leopards back into the wild, with great success the tracker allows them to monitor how well they are doing etc. we encountered plenty of other animals and birds 🦅 on the way. To find the cheetah was not easy as the tracking devise gives a direction but when you get nearer it seems to come from everywhere. Our guides stated we were in the lucky car!!! We got out the truck and walked single file into the bush looking for her, WOW 😮 there she was prowling looking for food, so we followed her on foot about 8 meters away, she laid down and had a stretch and roll, that’s when we got the pictures.
Such a beautiful animal and not phased by humans watching her.
Friday 9th February. TO SEE ALL PHOTOS SLIDE RIGHT TO LEFT. Left Hohenstein Lodge and drove to Okonjima Nature Reserve. Saw these animals on the way in. Stopped at Omaruru for coffee and cake at Main Street Cafe, a very pretty town for Africa. We checked in excellent accommodation, had a very delicious evening meal accompanied by torrential rain.

8 February 2018

Thursday 8 February TO SEE ALL PHOTOS SLIDE RIGHT TO LEFT. Our morning began with giraffe sightings (Jean was so thrilled) on our way to visit the mountain miners. They live on the mountain digging for semi precious stones- tourmaline, aquamarine etc. A very tough life so they rely on visits from tourists to sell a few stones!! We had scrambled up steep slopes to meet up with them. Pauline and Gill bought small pet rocks!! On the way back to the lodge for a chillax after playing at mountain goats, we saw quite a bit more game. When we were having coffee and cake we were joined by the resident ostriches who dropped in for a drink. Our sundowner drive in the evening was yet another wonderful experience- lots of animals, interesting geology, g&ts looking across to the massive bulk of the mountain as the sun set in dramatic fashion. The rainbow gave us warning that thunder storms were brewing in the distance!!

7 February 2018

Eventually arrived at Windhoek at 11.45 very happy but tired. Gill and Jean waiting at the airport for us, got in the car and drove straight to Hohenstein Lodge arriving about 1700 with only one small detour. Ian and I slept on and off the whole journey and don’t remember much about it. The accommodation is excellent, here we are having a sundowner on the terrace before dinner, all glad to be back together. Superb dinner of Oryx steak after which we all went to bed, comatose. Have to be at breakfast for 7 ready for a tour.
New passports, boarding passes waiting to board. Very cold stressful day and expensive but all well now. Sadly a person decided to commit suicide on the underground which caused massive delays on our line, but thanks to a very helpful man we bypassed the tragedy and got to Heathrow no problem. Had to have my handbag searched at security, what else!!!

5 February 2018

What a start to our adventure, Ian and I weren’t allowed to fly due to not having 2 empty pages in our passports. Gill and Jean left without us, we are in a bnb in London attempting to get an emergency renewal tomorrow so we can fly tomorrow evening, fingers crossed 🤞. Not happy bunnies 🐰