Africa – Week 4 Back to News List

As I sit here, writing the next blog, overlooking the Okavongo River in Namibia where children are playing on the bank on the other side of the river, in Angola, I can’t help but be in awe at the immensity of Africa, the adventure and ever-changing experiences this epic continent provides.

What feels like a month ago, but just a week ago, we left the surreal landscapes of the Namib – Naukluft National Park and reached the shores of the Atlantic late afternoon, via a series of saltwater lakes teeming with pink flamingos, the contrast of pink flamingos taking flight against a backdrop of yellow dunes, blue waters and green reeds was simply beautiful. 

We left Swakopmund the following morning and drove the incredibly barren desert – coastal landscape to one of the biggest seal colonies on earth at Cape Cross. We had to step over some of the estimated 200,000 seals to get to the walkway to “safely” walk amongst them, you could not get more up close and personal to these comical creatures if you tried.

Turning inland we will not see the ocean again for nearly 2 months. We were now in the region renown for the Herero & Himba tribes and saw many of the women selling handicrafts, roadside, as they eked out an existence in the harsh desert landscape.  We overnighted at the remarkable Vingerklip Lodge set at the base of an immense escarpment with the equally remarkable Vingerklip, standing as a sentinel in the desert. This single tower of rock defies all reason why it hasn’t collapsed millennia ago. We enjoyed a breathtaking sunset and dinner at what must surely be one of the most spectacularly located restaurants on earth, access via a 10-minute uphill walk then a 5-minute climb up a staircase bolted to the escarpment wall, cold beers are a best seller after that climb!

We continued through the canyonlands via a series of dirt tracks to the pavement at Outjo and the wonderful German bakery with its mango smoothies and apples strudels. Our next stop was one of Africa’s most renowned national parks, Etosha. We spent a half day on “safari” and were greeted to a remarkable amount of wildlife including elephant, rhino, Giraffe, Zebra and an endless array of antelope however the absolute highlight was the sighting of 11 lions who had recently killed a giraffe (not a highlight for the giraffe) and sought shade under a solitary tree no more than 20 feet from our vehicle. It was an incredible sight, so good in fact we drove back prior to sunset to watch again the lions feeding on the carcass and laying about the waterhole as the sun set on another African day, it truly was quintessential Africa and something that will stay with us forever.

Sadly, departing Etosha we drove further north to the mouth of the Caprivi Strip, the former gun running corridor during the Angolan war, now a haven for tourists as they explore this region of mighty rivers. We stayed overnight at an absolute highlight, accommodation wise, The Hakusembe River Lodge on the Okavango River.

There is something primeval about sitting under a moonlight African night sky filled with a cacophony of truly African sounds, hippos grunting, Elephants trumpeting and the occasional roar from a distant lion, not to mention the constant hum of frogs, zicadas & birdlife yet this was what we were treated to as we sat on our veranda at the magnificent Lianshulu Lodge, a more fitting way to spend our last night in Namibia would be hard to imagine

We crossed into Botswana and found ourselves at the magnificently located Chobe Safari Lodge on the banks of the mighty Chobe River that separates Botswana from Namibia. We organised a sunset boat cruise that offers a totally unique perspective of the plentiful wildlife that abounds in this region. We were virtually 20 feet away from elephants, water buffalo and massive crocodiles as the boatman nudged his boat up close and personal to these beasts, making us more than a little nervous. 

In all likelihood, we were the only vehicle crossing at the remote Pandamatenga border today, as per usual we were going to great extremes to get away from the tourist hordes and we have definitely succeeded here. We rode through completely wild national park, one of the only parks in Africa where bikes can ride through, seeing giraffe, elephant & kudu and speaking with locals who complain of leopards and lion killing their stock. 

Mosi Oa Tunya, the smoke that thunders or Victoria Falls was once again an immense sight as were the elephants walking around town at night and strolling toward us as we walked back from the falls in full daylight, they had the locals scurrying, so we thought it best we follow suit, gotta love Africa 

Zambia tomorrow and ever northward

Read about Africa Week 5 & 6 or check out the Safari Africa tour itinerary!

, , ,