Fun, friends, wine & wildlife in Namibia and South Africa


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Africa » Namibia » Etosha National Park
January 18th 2018
Published: January 22nd 2018
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Road trip Namibia


The past weeks have been all about meeting friends, having a lot of fun with them and then difficult goodbyes. Starting with our friends Monique and Judith coming to visit us and meeting with a long lost friend Marjolein in Sao Paulo, then celebrating Christmas and New Year and having a lot of fun in between with Geesje and Wilco in Hermanus, South Africa, then meeting with Monique again but now in Cape Town and a two week catching up and travelling through Namibia with Riemke and Mariska. Wow, we can tell you it's been wonderful but also an emotional rollercoaster because all this travelling is great but we do miss our family and friends a lot.

Flying from Sao Paulo to Cape Town, after travelling mostly overland in Central- and South-America, felt a lot 'beam me up Scotty'-like. We were transported to a different continent and from the first second we arrived at the airport immediately everything felt totally different, the people, the language(s), the tourists, the food.

From the airport we directly went to Hermanus to meet our friends Geesje and Wilco with whom we had a great week of catching up, celebrating Christmas with a braai, exploring the valleys and towns around Hermanus with all the beautiful wineries, eating and drinking rather exquisite food and wines and then celebrating new years eve at the beach with some firework and a beautiful bottle of bubbly. In between we got to spend another day with Monique who flew in to Cape Town and Riemke and Mariska who started their holiday in Cape Town.

On New Year's Day we got ourselves to Cape Town to meet Mariska and Riemke, to rent a suitable vehicle and to start our two week road trip together. The road trip was just great from the moment we left. It was fun to spend so much time together so we could catch up first and then continue our conversations like we had never left. The roads in Namibia were mostly gravel roads but pretty good and after we got used to driving the gravel roads it was great to drive through the spectacular, beautiful and continuously changing environment. Driving through the deserts and mountains and canyons and passes was an adventure by itself.

Our first stop in Namibia was Ai-Ais, at one end (the shallow end) of the Fish River Canyon. We pitched our tent at the campsite in the park and had a few drinks sitting in front of the tent, with the canyon walls at our backs, illuminated first by the setting sun and then by the full moon. The Fish River was completely dry, as was the whole surrounding, so we could walk the river bed for a few kilometers. On our way out to our next stop we stopped at the other end (the deep end) of the Fish River Canyon where we could see the huge, wide, long and deep canyon in its full.

The road to our next stop Sesriem was again beautiful and while we rode through the Namib desert and Naukluft mountain range we alreay saw the first wildlife like oryx and zebra. Sesriem is a tiny settlement in the Namib Desert where we pitched our tent in the beautiful sandy campsite within the national park. Just the campsite area was already spectacular because it was in the middle of the beautiful desert with the sand dunes and mountains in the background and some wild life walking around the perimeter we could spot while we were chilling out and waiting for the heat to pass in the shadow at the pool side. We woke up (very) early and went with a 4WD truck to the end of the Sossusvlei to climb the pretty sand dunes and see the sun rise and visit the Deadvlei, with its dead trees, all very very dry. And at the end of one day we climbed another set of sand dunes to see the sun set.

From Sesriem we drove a long but beautiful day to Swakopmund, one of the bigger cities of Namibia, at the Atlantic coast. Swakopmund felt very German with many street names in German and many German tourists eating German cakes (which we of course could not resist and joined). We stayed in an apartment so we got to organise our cheese and wines, did our laundry and had a nice seafood lunch.

Next we drove across the country to Okaukuejo in the Etosha National Park. We were quite excited (well maybe we were a bit more than that and VERY excited) to see some animals but you know it's nature so we tried to keep our expectations low. Because for Judith this was the first game drive/safari, she was hoping to see at least one giraffe and an elephant so she kind of went ballistic when almost immediately after we entered the park via the southwestern gate we spotted two giraffes. This was just the beginning because we were still on our way to the campsite. After registering and pitching our tent the three day wild life awesomeness really started.

Because the rainy season had not really kicked off the vegetation was still quite minimal and the animals were still very keen to get to the waterholes scattered throughout the park. With our own vehicle and the waterholes marked in the off-line Maps.me app we cruised around the park in the early mornings and the late afternoons and we got to see so many animals it felt unreal. The waterholes were sometimes frequented by several troops and herds of different animals. Because it was late spring/early summer a lot of the animals like the wildebeast, elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, impalas and springboks had their young with them which was a beautiful sight. At night the waterholes at the different sites were lit up so we got to see rhinos, elephants and even lions visiting the waterholes. The few days spent in Etosha were just amazing, we felt humbled by nature, it's all just so beautiful.

We exited Etosha via the eastern gate and drove to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia were we were treated to a beautiful guesthouse with nice soft beds. We had a great diner and wines at one of the most beautiful restaurants of Windhoek town before we had to say goodbye to Riemke and Mariska who would fly back to Cape Town and then back to the Netherlands.

The two of us continued our road trip because we were returning the car to Cape Town a mere 1600 kilometers from Windhoek. We drove a long day to Keetmanshoop and stayed in a very local backpackers before we continued the next day to the beautiful Cederberg mountain area in South Africa where we stayed two nights in a true oasis a a fun and friendly backpackers in the middle of the rather dry rocky mountain range.


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26th January 2018
Wilco and Geesje showing us around

Wine tasting
At first I thought all those glasses were empty.... keep drinking.

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