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Published: September 30th 2009
100's of miles of changing mountainous scenery - photos can't capture this really but our minds boggled day after day
(First up some advice to anyone else searching out stuff about camping in Namibia. Don’t stay in the Namibian Wildlife Resort camps except in Etosha - they cost 2-3 x as much as private camps that are immediately outside the reserve areas and in most cases they have much better facilities. We had pre-booked months ago at Sesreim and Hobas thinking one needed to and not realising that the private camps nearby are just fine - better. Apparently a couple of years ago NWR revamped their camps and readjusted their charges upwards enormously as they bear no resemblance to the Lonely Planet figures!! So.....a word ...)
The journey from Swakopmund on the coast to the red dune area further south was through rocks/ mountains that had received the whole treatment, melted, twisted and turned, tilted and broken, then worn away by wind and water - all sorts of colours too: black dolerite, red sandstone and granite, pink quartz (and I don’t know what else as my early geology is being sorely challenged.) Then into masses of red dunes of Soussesvlei- from the very expensive NWR camp at Sesreim we travelled predawn 65kms up a valley - and again , would
7am thunderstorm in the red dunes
I also have very tricky photo of raindrops on the sand
you believe, it RAINED AGAIN IN THE DESERT so the dawn was accompanied by fork lightning and very close thunder!! Dawn was of course masked, well muted by the purple clouds that moved over the area - rather atmospheric - and the dunes were still red!!! Quite spectacular really.
Then on to Luderitz next which is another even more dinky german town with and interesting history on the coast at the end of the road abutting the ‘Forbidden’ diamond-mining areas that stretch from here to Namibia’s southern border. This is where the famous photos of a half-buried ghost town are taken and we certainly saw how the sand blows - again!! A bull-dozer was busy clearing advancing sand-dunes in the morning as we approached and by late afternoon the dunes were piling up again. A southerly wind was howling again and once again we were sand-cruising. Everywhere they tell us September is a windy month - and we believe them. Once again we had pre-booked a campsite at Shark Island, which stuck out into the sea - and we were all in almost immediate agreement to abandon that idea and head inland for a bit of shelter!! Instead we returned
obviously - red dunes
I have about 30 photos of these trying to get the perfect shot!!
to a very nice place at Aus, Klein-Aus Vista, where we had stayed the night before.
From here we had another day’s drive south to the famous Fish River Canyon which is on everyone’s itinerary - not surprisingly as it is second in size to the Grand Canyon - and wow, what a breath-taking sight. It’s really one canyon inside another so there’s plateau levels inside and it has wound its way around and down in huge hairpin bends. It is just huge......there were several lookout points and we just stood gawping for ages - photos just can’t do it justice. We also stayed a night at Ai-Ais which is the other end of the canyon but it has lost its splendour here. Here there was a different splendour, rather isolated splendour as we were practically the only ones bathing in the hot spring waters in rather elaborate spa baths. - still camping though.
As in the north of Namibia each day’s driving has been through empty and arid countryside, but with magnificent sweeping desert and mountainous vistas. The roads have nearly all been long and straight then up and over a rocky pass from time to time. There are
The light is brilliant white light - and I still haven't figured out how to make adjustments on the camera for that!!
fences and every hundred kms ot so, a farm house! - and occasionally we saw a few black-faced sheep or brown faced goats. What a place and what an existence. We crossed the Orange River into South Africa and immediately there were irrigated fields - something we hadn’t seen much (or anything) of since we left S Africa into Botswana weeks ago. This didn’t last long as this whole western coast is very dry and soon we were into massive mountains and valleys again. Soon we were back in Springbok which completed out circuit and yes the wild-flowers were still out. Actually as it is now well and truly spring, flowers are out everywhere - and they are mostly ones that we are so familiar with in our gardens in NZ as this is where so many originate from.
As we got closer to Cape Town we were starting to commiserate that we had only a few days left of this fabulous trip. We headed out to the coast as soon as possible and the first stop was a great little place called Lambert’s Bay where we camped right by a vivid white sandy beach, walked into town and dined
this poor town has a constant battle - yet the people were all jolly cheerful!!
in style at Isobella’s on fine fish. Plastic chairs and sandy floor just added to the experience! This night was also memorable as the car alarm managed to go off twice by itself (!!!) each time with Hugh scrambling for his keys. Not sure what is happening here but it has plagued us intermittently all the trip........................grrrrrr. Bit embarrassing when you are surrounded by other campers!
Also as we move down this coast housing developments are everywhere - ahhhh we are so used to wide open spaces we don’t like this!! Fortunately there is a large expanse of the Western Cape National Park just 100+kms north of CT which is wilderness by the sea, with vivid white sand-dunes, lagoons and wildflowers (again). We have pondered that back in NZ we would probably just call them weeds - and look at a paddock and say “what a crop of thistles or ragwort”!!
We spent Barbara’s penultimate day of her 6 week part of the trip in Cape Town going up to the Table Mountain by cable car and wandering in the Kirstenbosch Gardens - both pretty neat. The Table Mtn is just so high rising straight up from sea level to
another day at the office
what a way to relax! Hardwork travelling all day and then having to put the tents up and down I tell you!!
over 1000m - it certainly forms a most impressive backdrop from anywhere within miles - and the gardens are rather special having masses of proteas, leucodendrons, leucospermums and giant cycads - all those plants unique to the fynbos floral group.
I hope B did enjoy her travels - we have certainly done so.
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