Posted by Elizabeth at 4:46 pm
Apr 212011

GemsbokToday we drove through some pretty countryside. The road travelled around some small mountains, passing through the valleys rather than climbing over them. We saw heaps of springbok, some gemsbok, ostriches and a black-backed jackal along the way. We even had a herd of springbokSpringboks travel with us alongside and in front of the car for a few kilometres. They definitely have some stamina and can travel at quite a speed. Even after staying with us for some time they were still moving at 60 km/h. They are quite cute the way they hop on all 4 legs into the air, which is apparently called pronking. It was definitely a highlight of the day.

Sesriem CampWe are now in Sesriem, staying at the Sesriem Camp – which even though yesterday when I rang they assured us they were fully booked and could not possibly reserve us a site, we were able to secure a perfect spot when we arrived! So, don’t believe anything you are told over the phone and turn up anyway! We have a pleasant site, slightly away from the other sites with a huge tree providing shade and a gentle breeze blowing – not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

We took a walk through the Sesriem Canyon this afternoon. It is an odd small canyon, that is more like a large crevice,  that has appeared for some reason here. We walked to the bottom as it isn’t that deep and along the riverbed for a bit. All in all it was quite a pleasant walk.Sesriem Canyon

Tomorrow we are aiming to get to the dunes for sunrise. The gate opens at 5am for us as we are staying within the park (for those staying outside the park it opens at 6am) and it is about 45 minutes drive to the dune. Definitely an early start and I am not looking forward to the actual climb up the dune!

Sossusvlei to Swakopmund

 Posted by Elizabeth at 4:55 pm
Apr 222011

Dune 45After a 4.30am wake up, we were packed up and through the gate at 5.05am and on our way to Dune 45. The early start wasn’t so bad as we were in bed early and there were people up at the same time so we really woke up anyway. It was still just dark when we reached Dune 45 and began the climb up the ridge of it to the top for sunrise. Man was it HARD work! You climb along the top ridge of the dune and slowly make your way to the top. It felt like every step you took forward you slid back halfway in the sand and it was steep. My calves really ached and I needed to stop every 15 steps or so – I am way too old for this! You think you are nearly at the top but then as you reach the peak you realise that no, there is yet more to climb and that was just a false hope! I did though make it to the top, and in time for sunrise. We sat ourselves down in the fine red sand at the top of the dune and watched as the sun slowly rose and bathed the red dunes in the morning light. It was quite pretty and peaceful and was worth the hard slog to the top. I am sure tomorrow my legs will be aching!

Dune 45Dune 45Dune 45

After descending the dune, which was a damn sight easier than climbing it, we headed off down the road to Sossusvlei. The last 5km of road is 4wd only and is thick soft sand. Fully knowing better, we were too lazy to let the tyres down and of course we got bogged when we had to stop for someone else who had got stuck and was blocking the way. It only took 10 mins to let the tyres down, dig a bit of sand away from the rear wheels and get on our way again, so it was no big deal, but we won’t be so lazy next time! At the end there was another huge dune that people were climbing, but there was no way I was going to climb another dune!

Our plan was to spend the day at Sesriem Camp, but it was still really early when we Springbokgot back so we headed off to Ganab Waterhole in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, again seeing lots of springbok. We stopped off at Solitaire to sample the famous apple crumble. It was pretty good, although one serve is way too big. When we got to Ganab it was warm but very windy -perfect washing drying weather. We made ourselves comfortable with a cuppa and had a peaceful rest for an hour or so whilst the washing dried. As the wind was still really strong, we decided that we really did not want to spend another sleepless night being blown around by the wind and decided to head off to Swakopmund. (In hindsight this probably wasn’t the best decision as the wind seems to stop in the evening and where we ended up staying was horrible!)

Near Walvis BayAs you drive in to Walvis Bay it is like you have come to the end of the earth. There is a thick grey mist from the ocean kilometres inland, with grey gravel, sand and dunes as far as you can see. There is no sign of any life, human, plant or animal and there are a few small rugged rocks here and there like you are on the moon. The sand dunes are building up around the power poles and the whole landscape is barren and desolate. (The picture really does not capture it). The drive along the coast from Walvis Bay to Swakopmund is no better; There is sand everywhere with a few buildings seemingly pushing up out of the sand. The road has sand  on it at times and the heavy mist is ever present, making it nearly impossible to see the ocean even though you are only a few hundred metres from it. The locals though don’t seem to mind and they were out along the coast fishing and picnicking. After talking to the locals, it seems that they only get 1-2 hours of sun a day and the mist is always around. How they get their washing dry I don’t know as the mist is wet! Why anyone would want to live here is beyond me.

The only place left to camp was at Mile 4 Camp, which was not particularly pleasant. It is a large campground with hundreds of sites right on the water, but there is not one tree or blade of grass to be seen. The toilets had hot water, but were not very clean and to top it off, there were several groups of people who were spending the weekend together and at night they had a full on band playing and singing Christian songs (which I am sure only had 3 words to each one) at full volume. We were not impressed! We moved sites to one right down the back as far away from them as possible and did manage to get away from the noise.


 Posted by Elizabeth at 6:42 pm
Apr 232011

Amazingly my legs weren’t sore at all this morning!

We spent the morning stocking up on food and fuel in preparation for our journey north.We then headed back down to Walvis Bay, Dune 7 and to the Welwitschia Trail. The trail takes you through landscape that really looks like you are on the moon. There are black and grey dunes in abundance and again it is very desolate. We saw some Welwitschia plants which are supposed to be thousands of years old and apparently survive from the water in the mist. The look quite odd, very straggly and half dead.

On the Welwitschia TrailOn the Welwitschia TrailWelwitshia plant, on the Welwitschia Trail

The Swakop River is currently in flood as they have had more rain than usual, so unfortunately we had to go 40 odd km back to Walvis Bay and then another 40km to Swakopmund rather than take the short way across the river.

Tonight we are staying at Sophia Dale Base Camp about 15km outside of Swakopmund which is much nicer than Mile 4. There are trees and shelters and clean amenities and the owner is friendly. This is a much better option if you are staying in Swakop.


 Posted by Elizabeth at 11:53 am
Apr 252011

The owner at Sophia Dale let us use their internet connection before we left without charging us for it, which was really nice of him and allowed me to get some posts up to date.

SpitzkoppeWe had an easy drive to Spitzkoppe where we camped last night and again tonight. The camp is community run and the sites are scattered throughout the area in between the huge rocks. We are staying at site 9 which is sheltered from the wind and has a reasonably level spot to park the car so we aren’t sliding out of bed.

Last night we had our first bush shower as there are no amenities unless you want to drive a couple of kilometres back to the gate. It was pretty luxurious really as we have a hot water Spitzkoppeunit with a shower handle attached to it, and whilst we have to be quick to save water, it definitely makes you feel much cleaner.

Last night whilst we were eating dinner we had a Spotted Genet walk about 3 metres from where we were sitting. It is only small like a cat, but neither of us had seen one before so it was pretty cool. There are also lots of colourful lizards running around on the rocks.

The rocks around the area are large and red and quite scenic. It is popular with climbers as there are some vertical rock faces for them.

Today we are having a rest day at Spitzkoppe, allowing us to catch up on some washing, clean out the car and let it dry out (I think the tap for the water tank got opened a little whilst we were driving over some really rough Spitzkopperoads the other day and the carpet is now quite wet and makes the whole car stink).Spitzkoppe

We will head off to the Skeleton Coast tomorrow.

Wayne’s Words

 Posted by Wayne at 12:20 pm
Apr 252011

Three weeks already !!

Thought it was about time I bored you all with some of my thoughts.

Firstly the drive – a 2010 model  70’s series (farmers version) Toyota Landcruiser 5 door station wagon, gold in colour or at least it was when we left, more dirt then paint now.  No V8 twin turbo charged diesel engine though like it would be back home, it’s the old 4.2 litre non turbo 1HZ motor, lets just say hills are not its best friend.

We have driven approx 5399.34 kilometres so far and no major issues with the car (the car overheating is not a issue at all) though the second battery does appear to be too heavy for where it is mounted, as its supporting bracket has cracked in under the front guard, we will have to keep an eye on that.

I almost forgot we managed to pick up a chipped windscreen, not as you would expect a rock from a passing truck or by following the vehicle in front to closely, no it was from a bloody springbok running on the road in front of us, throwing up a stone.


Well worth the drive, very picturesque (Michael that means good to look at).  The roads are as to be expected more like tracks but that makes it more fun to drive,  Surprise Surprise, black people everywhere, I don’t think there are too many white Lesothian’s.  We got stopped twice by the police in 200 metres, they were doing a licence check but I could have just kept driving as they were only on foot.  The second policeman even admitted he did not know what he was looking at when I showed him my international licence, almost worth the effort.

The Sani pass was an interesting drive, it would have been more fun driving up rather than down, not sure the RAV4 would have made it though Larry.

South Africa

They call it the garden route and it is not much more exciting than gardening, Addo Elephant reserve aside, as it was quite good though a little too zoo like. Ok admittedly we did not go via the wine route which may have made it more interesting for some.  The Cape of Good Hope was worth the visit, a nice view from the top, I would have walked up but Elizabeth did not want to do it (if you believe that you are sillier then I thought).

Cape Town itself seems a nice enough city with Table Mountain and all, though I don’t think it is good enough to be one of the New Seven Wonders of the World like they are hoping it to be.

Cedarberg was another picturesque place and we could have easily chilled here for a couple of days, but we were both keen to get away from the civilised life style we had been living so chose to push on. We had Pete from Pete’s B&B assure us that the easterly was not going to blow,  then had the pleasure of trying to sleep while the wind tried to blow us and our car off the mountain we were on.

As for South Africa’s roads,  I have never seen so many road works in all my life, and they just don’t work on 1 or 2 kms of road at a time, it is more like 10 or 20 kms.  There are also a lot of hills, which the poor car was struggling to cope with. The white lines on the road mean nothing at all to anyone, including the police as they overtook me using the left turn lane of the traffic coming the other way. It does not take long though to get in the swing of driving like an African.


How could I sum up Namibia in one word ? Barren or desolate would spring to mind, you should know me better than to think I would only say one word.  

The dunes at Sesriem were really good and well worth the effort to climb, though the early start was a bit rude.

If you have read Elizabeth’s posts about Walvisbaii and Swakopmund, she is not exaggerating at all.  Driving towards Walvisbaii at around 15:00 you would swear blind that the you were driving towards the windy end of the world.  Interesting to visit but why anyone would consider living there is beyond me.

The roads are mainly gravel, but the Namibians make a better dirt road then the most of the Australian highways and definitely smoother to drive on than their own tarred roads.   I think to make corners must be to expensive, I have never seen so many or such long straight roads anywhere.

As we are heading back to the coast tomorrow, and its called the Skeleton coast it will be interesting to see what that part of Namibia is like.

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