The way that a bee
is called to the pollen, so for us, it felt that Namibia was calling
our names. The mystery of the desert, the ghost towns, the open spaces, and
the people of the magnificent country beckoned. The border crossing
was hassle free and took only 30 minutes.
Our first stop was
going to be Ai-ais, at the foot of the Fish River canyon. Upon
arriving we found out that to camp would cost double it had cost for
us to camp in South Africa. R90 for a camp site was just to
much, so we pushed on to the Hobas campsite, at the start of the Fish
River canyon hike, hoping that it would cost less.
The camp site at
Hobas officially caters for 12 sites, but when we arrived, there were
5 Overland trucks, and about 25 other vehicles. We quickly
claimed a spot and headed for a shower. Overcrowding, resulted in a
very quick shower. That was the
worst camp site we had come across. Looking back, we are not sure if we would
ever camp there again.
very small town of Aus was our next stop. Initially we had the camp
site to ourselves but then a herd of 4x4 vehicles arrived - six
vehicles all fully laden with family and kids! The
music blared, and the beers were drunk late into the night. We
were not happy campers! Aus offers some excellent day walks
in the surrounding hills. Plenty of Gemsbok (or Oryx) are
scattered over the hills.
From Aus, we headed
west to the sLee-Annepy, windy town of Luderitz. It was a downhill
trip the whole way. The GPS registered Aus at 1700m ASL and we
knew that Luderitz was on the coast - it was a good feeling knowing
that we were speeding downhill covering the distance in record speed. Traveling from Aus to Luderitz, one travels through the
Spergebied (roughly translated, the restricted zone), which is
rumoured to have diamonds just lying on the ground. We took a quick detour to
see the wild horses of Namibia. The scenery was
wonderful. Huge sandy stretches reached far up into the hills.
We just loved
Luderitz, with its cheap coffee (R2.50 per cup) and the mysterious ghost town of
Kolmanskop. It was eerie to walk
through a deserted town and play skittle in the
recreation/town hall. We also had an excellent tour guide who
took us through the history of the town and the people...
Before heading for
Duwisib Castle, we spent the night at the Klein Aus Vista campsite,
under the same tree as before. We have claimed our spot, and
when we return, we will choose that tree again!
The Duwisib castle,
was built in 1905 by Baron von Wolf for his American
wife. Tragedy resulted in the castle only being lived in for 9
years until WW1 broke out and the Baron was killed in the battle of
the Somme. His wife, Jayta, returned to America and never claimed the castle
as hers. It's now a tourist attraction. In the Knights Hall
are 2 chairs
belonging to King Phillip of Spain (year 1585). We
bush camped that night due to the outrageous camping
fees at the castle. In
the morning small red sand dunes had formed around the landy due to
the wind. The wind had howled that evening. We had parked next
to a dead tree, hoping for some shelter, but guess what: we had chosen
the wrong side and so at 2am, the wind was shaking the landy back and
forth!! In the morning, all our tracks into the dunes had been erased.
This was a good
stop on route to the well-known sand dunes. The Sossusvlei was calling, but
when we arrived we were greeted by a sand storm and so the calling of
the desert has not been answered, as we decided to push on Walvis bay
and Swakopmund. Have we mentioned
the wind before........ The past wind were mere fluttering breezes in
comparison to Beseda, the campsite we had chosen near the town of
Sesriem (Sesriem is the closest town to the dunes). We camped at the
ablution block, along with an English man and his son in an attempt to
find shelter...attempt being the operative word in this sentence.
Our dome tent acted as a sieve and sieved fine red sand on to us all
night long. As for sLee-Annep.... what's that?????? This was the
second time we had used our dome tent. The first time was at
Luderitz. In retrospect, it was a good idea taking the dome tent
with us. It allowed us to be mobile when staying for more than
one night, and allowed us to claim our spot in busy campsites.
The rough Namibian coastal
line was just beautiful. We spent a lovely four days at the
campsite between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, called Langstrand or
roughly translated Long Beach. It was at this camp
site were we met Swiss guys Romeo and Beat - little did we know what lay in store
for the four of us!
We had the
strangest experience. Both towns closed for lunchtime. The
indicators were not working, due to a short circuit and when the
electrician was halfway through the job, with the dashboard lying in
about 50 pieces all over the front of the landy, he left for lunch and
there we sat,looking at each other in frustration. Swakopmund is
beautiful! German turn of the century architecture (1900 or so...),
German culture, food, language.... a piece of Europe in the African
During this time we
had the Land Rover serviced and greased up - all ready for the next
leg of the journey. If you are ever in Swakopmund, and need a
good service, visit Harold at the Overlanders Hospital garage! Swakopmund/Walvis
Bay seem to be a landy mecca and our
dear old girl did not look "out" for once in her life.
The Namibian coast
line is rugged, and beautiful. Long stretches of beach, filled
with shells, and many fisherman, all hoping for that mighty
headed North to Cape Cross, where we visited the seal colony.
Upon returning to Swakopmund,
we met Romeo and Beat heading North. The sun had already started to
set, so we decided to head directly into the desert and bush camp.
Dinner that night was traditional potjiekos (a South African version
of English stew), a first for Romeo and Beat. The next
morning we were completely shrouded in fog. The fog bought a wonderful
peace to the surrounding countryside.
destination was the Spitzkoppen peaks.
The country is flat and
then suddenly, the Spitzkoppen peaks jut skywards. We spent an
idealic two days hiking and climbing. This was one of our
favourite camping spots in Namibia.
And then finally,
we were off for Windhoek and our new founded friends, Romeo and Beat
were off to the Etosha pans.
Upon arriving in
Windhoek, we encountered our first begging of our trip. It was not a
good experience being harassed after a tiring journey - we had not
even parked the Land Rover when the first chap approached us. The campsite at
Windhoek offered the best facilities and to make things even
better, Windhoek also had the very best second hand
bookshop we have ever seen. Thousands of second hand books lined
the shelves - what a temptation, so fully stocked up on books we left
Windhoek for Botswana.
Farewell, windy and
trip continues in Botswana, where mud, Elephants and Lion pop into our