A Travellerspoint blog

Namibia

crossing borders


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Once again we had an early rise and shine, but somehow the hot tub had done miracles coz I was really fit and ready to face another day on the road and what a day it was going to be. Punctually at 8 AM we left Citrusdal behind and were on our way towards the border of Namibia and even a little bit further.

As we were driving, Norman told us that this was going to be the day with nothing else but driving, driving and some more driving. If we ever got tired of hearing the wordt driving, well, today was definitely that day!

Being on the road is always a bit adventurous, but sadly enough, today was not that day. We left Citrusdal behind us and I must say that everything looked a bit dusty, but as the time passed by and even a few bushie bushie (read bathroom) stops later, the views changed even drastically and it looked like we were closer to the desert than ever before.

The road luckily was still good, after all we were in SA, but the color of the sand changed from brown into something red and for some reason I had a few Australian flashbacks. I just love that color and I guess I wasn't the only one coz Norman insisted that we got out and had a photo stop.
It was just so funny to see that a guide got more enthousiastic than the tourists. I must say the vibe catched on coz in no time we were jumping, making funny pictures and just absorbed the atmosphere. Rhyno even found us a turtle but lucky enough he didn't make soup out of it.

Back inside our stallion of steel, we drove for about another 2 hours when we finally made a stop for lunch. Chris' restaurant once again provided a delicious sandwich lunch and after filling in our forms for crossing the border later today, some of us made use of the bushie bushie toilets again. I on the other hand was more interested in the views of our little place in nowhere land and even the birds making funny sounds above my head caught my interest.

As we were all good to go and ready for another endless stretch of road, most of us quickly fell asleep, including me and waking up a few hours later, we made another toilet stop. Vistas had suddenly made way for city views as we arrived in Springbok, where we stocked up on food and the most important thing there is ... water!

Yesterday in Citrusdal, the temperatures were okay and nice and warm but as we drove closer and closer to the Namibian border, it got hotter and hotter as well. We were now in Springbok a little later than 3 PM and it was just so hot, that it just asked for ice cream which we had to eat very fast because it melted in no time. Not that we were complaining coz back at home people were almost freezing because of the cold temperatures, so bring on the heat!

Somehow a few hours later, I just wished I didn't thought that coz as we arrived at the border it was just freaking hot and I got the feeling that I was melting. Even our crew was complaining that it was just too hot and if they said so ... than it was HOT!

It took a while to cross the border and in my opinion, the Namibians are not that friendly looking as the South Africans, but maybe it all has to do with being at the border. For some reason people need to look bored and annoyed and don't dare to smile, maybe they melt when you do that ... whatever the case, I was glad to be out of there.

Our final destination for tonight was going to be the Norotshama river lodge at the banks of the Gariep River, where we arrived a little before 7 PM.

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Getting out of the truck, we all noticed that the heat was not going away. We got a friendly welcome by the owners of the hotel and as soon as we all got our keys, we could settle in our room and enjoy a well deserved cold shower, what a bliss!

Dinner was served from Chris' restaurant at 9 PM and to be honest, pasta had never tasted that good, we were just so lucky with our chef Rhyno and our entire group made sure he knew how good his cooking was coz we cleaned out all the pots!

A whole day on the road makes a person tired and most of our group turned to their rooms at about 11 PM, us two included and after rearranging some stuff because it was just that hot in the room as the AC was put in a complete wrong corner, we finally closed our eyes about an hour later or so.

Posted by Ils1976 05:07 Archived in Namibia Comments (2)

a hot day in the desert


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What a night! It was so darn hot that the both of us just didn't sleep one bit, but luckily we could sleep in so in the end we did manage to sleep a couple of hours. As our alarm clock went off at 7 AM, we snoozed for a little while till we kept on hearing the native birds and wondered how the morning would look like. We quickly got up and got dressed and went for a short walk to the river.

Normally we would have done a morning canoe trip, but because of the drought lately, we sadly enough couldn't. The water was just too low. Thanks president Trump for still anouncing to the whole world that there is no global warming! Yep, you are so right telling us mortal souls that there is no climate change. I can see it right in front of me and the people in Cape Town kept on telling us tourists that because of the lack of water and rain we had to be careful with showering and so on. Yep, they are only saying that to fool us. Secretely they are stocking up so much water, you couldn't believe your eyes once you see it???  Global warming, you are so right, it is all in our imagination! OMG how stupid can a person be, only thinking of that guy makes my stomach turn so, I rather focused my mind on the beautiful water birds that were in front of us.

Since it was still early, we noticed a Goliath Heron fishing for his breakfast and at the banks of the river we even saw a Hoopoe. There were some weaver birds flying around and although we wanted to follow them and capture their presence on film, it just wasn't possible.

Carsten, one of our German group members, also found his way to the river and while we chatted for a while, it suddenly was time to go to the rest of the group and have breakfast, which was very basic, but so yummy with fresh fruits and all.

Sharply at 9 AM we left the resort behind us and went straight to our resort for tonight at Ai-Ais, where we arrived almost 3 hours later. This must be the hottest place on earth, I swear you this! As we drove on what you can call a road, we saw nothing else but sand, dust and rocks. 

Half an hour into the drive we made a quick stop just to take this all in and it is really mindblowing that's for sure. We come from a place where everything is green unless people have filled it up with concrete, but when you are traveling here in Namibia, the only thing that comes to mind is heat and dust. This is quite incredible really!

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As soon as we were all lodged for the night, we had a quick lunch prepared by our own personal chef and about half an hour later, we had a bit of free time on our hands. Ai-Ais is known for its hot springs and if the weather outside wasn't hot enough, there was even a hot spring of 65 degrees. Some of us were brave enough to go for it, but me and Tania as well as a few other of our group chose to go for the ones inside the hotel which weren't that hot, it must have been only about 45 degrees, so a bit "cooler".

By the time it was 3 PM, we all met up again with Chris and of course our 3 other crew members and were ready for a little excursion to the Fish river canyon.

On the way towards the canyon, we had a quick stop to look at the native trees and plants and thanks to the brilliant explanation of Norman, we now know where to go bushie bushie and what to avoid like the plague. I never knew that in a desert environment there were so many plants that were poisonous.

It must have been a little later than 5 PM when we arrived at the rim of the canyon and although they said it is more beautiful than the grand canyon, the only thing that comes in mind is that this one is quite dark, but I guess the rocks had something to do with that.

Fish river canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, and that alone makes it quite impressive, but have seen that other big canyon in America, I must say that I liked those colors more. Here the black rocks dominated the view, but than again, as we were walking alongside the rim of the canyon, I saw the sun shining on different angles of the canyon and love and behold, it became more and more beautiful with each step. Of course you can't compare it with that other infamous one, but seeing it from a different angle, made it indeed look more impressive.

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Our goal of the evening was to have dinner near the rim and watch the sunset and as it almost turned 7 PM, we got just that. It was amazing to look at and eating our pork stew in the dark was even more fun. We had a lot of laughs, maybe the alcohol had something to do with that, but still, it was quite an amazing time.

We arrived back at our resort at 10 PM and while some of our group went to the bar for one last nightcap, me and Tania went to our room, got our swimmers and decided to try out the hot spring of 65 degrees. Must I say that swimming in such hot water in the dark with nothing but stars, shooting stars even, a milky way and what else was out there hanging or floating above our head, it was the best experience I had ever had. Africa really knows how to deliver! 

Needless to say, when my head touched my pillow about an hour later, I was immediately of to dreamland. It really was an interesting day, that's for sure.

Posted by Ils1976 05:07 Archived in Namibia Comments (2)

another day on the dusty roads of the Namib desert


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The AC in our room did overtime, but on the other hand, the both of us slept like babies and I guess that was the most important thing there is. 

We weren't the only ones with a good nights rest as we met up with the rest of our group members at the breakfast table. It seemed we all looked a bit rejuvenated and maybe the "healing" powers of the water had something to do with that. Whatever the case, we all were looking forward to another day on the road and that was the one thing Norman needed to hear coz today we were going to do nothing else but driving, driving and more driving. Yep, there was that ugly word again!

At 8 AM sharp, we left Ai-Ais behind us and made sure the long and dusty roads of the desert were going to become our closest friend of the day.
From the moment we left our beautiful place at the river, it was the last water we saw for that day, unless it came out of a bottle. When you say desert, you are sure to see it when you are driving here in this no man's land, but somehow I liked it very much. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it feels peaceful. Whatever it is, I can't explain it, but I sure liked it alot.

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About 2 hours into the drive, we made a quick toilet break and instead of going "bushie bushie", we stopped at a small and colorful place called Naute Kristall, which happens to be a distillery as well. Because of the dam nearby and the water we didn't see at all but happened to be there, the owner of the place figured out an irrigation scheme in the early 90's and planted some fruits like dates, pomegranates, prickly-pears and table grapes and also with succes I might ad. With these fruits, straight from the watered desert, they produce the finest spirits and boy do they deliver!

Trying out the different flavors made me smile from ear to ear and just like a few others it didn't take me long to dose off because of the alcohol. I began to think that our crew did this on purpose to make sure, the day would go by a bit faster and it actually worked.

As we drove on and on on the long and dusty roads, we made another stop a little after 12 AM. Having a quick lunch in the middle of nowhere is something we got used to and no one was complaining at all. I guess in a way we all enjoyed the calmness and the views of the country. I certainly did!
Back on the road again, we were in for another couple of hours and while most of us dozed off for another nap, some of us used this time to listen to some music, read a book or played some games with Norman and Rhyno. For some reason UNO became our favorite game of the moment. Me losing all the time made it fun for the rest of the players, why, I don't know, but at least we had some fun and time past by!

It must have been almost 2 PM when we had another quick break in the small town of Bethanie and although there was not much to see besides a gas station and people minding there own business, coming out of the local supermarket, we all got a bit more cheerful seeing the locals dance and making fun while listening to music. 

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Sadly enough we had to say goodbye and on the road it was once again. Every two hours, we made sure we had a toilet break and this time it was a quick bushie bushie one because we needed to arrive in Maltahöhe before dark and guess what, we actually did just that.

As we arrived at our final destination of the day around 5 PM, we were glad to be out of the belly of Chris and into the heath of this small town. Since we were situated just outside the center of town, the only thing left for us to do was settling in our room and go for a drink while the sun was setting.

The owner of the hotel and her staff made us feel very welcome with the delicious food they served as well as the warm and welcome songs they sang. It was really nice and although we sadly needed to go to bed early because of the big day which awaited us tomorrow, it was with a big smile despite the late night heat!

Posted by Ils1976 05:07 Archived in Namibia Comments (1)

a long day filled with highlights

Our alarm clock went off at 4.30 AM. This by no means sounds inhumanly early, but the truth was that we were already awake because of our nightly visitor we came across around 2 AM. 

Since it was so darn hot in the room, we at one point noticed that our blower in the room which acted like an AC was off. As we stepped out of our bed, we suddenly noticed something really big sitting on our mosquito net and here we went again. It seemed no matter which country we were at, cockroaches always seem to find us and these are just one of the species on earth me and Tania don't like one bit.

With a lot of drama, we managed to put it in the corner of the room, but needless to say, we didn't slept at all. In just a few hours we needed to get up anyway, so we closed our eyes and tried to sleep, but it didn't work. I kept seeing that ugly S.O.B. in front of me.

As our alarm clock went off, we sprinted out of bed, checked every corner as well as our clothes and guess what, our lovely friend decided to go to the bathroom. I just hated him so much coz the thing we noticed is that this species can fly and his wings were really big. I tried to do as much as I could in 10 minutes while looking straight at the ugly thing and I was out of there.

We met up with the rest of our group a few minutes later and as we told them about our nightly visitor, it seemed we were the only "lucky" ones. As we left the lodge about 15 minutes later, we were ready for a long day ahead of us, hoping that by the time we arrived back in our room, Mr. Ugly wasn't there anymore!

It was still dark when we left Maltahöhe behind us and because I was just so freaking tired, it didn't took me long to fall asleep only to wake up again about an hour later. We were still driving and as it became a little bit lighter, we also saw our first animals passing by, which was so incredible cool. I instantly forgot that I was tired the minute I saw my first oryx. I now understand why it is the national symbol of Namibia, because they look really majestic with their long spiky horns.

Whenever you see oryx, you are sure to see that other funny animal as well, the springbok. Although at first we only saw a few, minutes later we saw dozens. We soon learned that springbok are the MC Donalds of Namibia and although they got that name, I liked them so much just because of the lovely colors.

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Arriving at our first toilet stop around 7 AM, I must say that I was more impressed by the enormous weavers nest next to the toilets. It was gigantic and it must have been carrying hundreds of birds. These birds are real engineers when you come to think about it.

Sadly enough we couldn't stay because we needed to be at that other impressive site in Namibia, Dune 45, where we arrived about an hour later. 
Driving through the dunes, one was more impressive than the other and as we arrived at the infamous Dune 45, some of our group members were a bit disappointed because others seemed higher and more interesting. I guess they all changed there minds once we were climbing the dune, it is a real challenge, that's for sure!

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Most of the group went up the dune sprinting, but since I am not such a mountain goat, I stayed behind and soon I only saw many footprints and beautiful dunes surrounding me. Not that I minded one bit, since it gave me the chance to look around and take pictures at the same time. In the end we almost all arrived at the far edge of the dune except our more older group members who decided to stay behind and have a short walk alongside the dune instead.

It must have been a couple of hours later when we all finished our breakfast and although we could have easily stayed a little bit longer, as soon as we cleaned up everything, we had one last look at the dune we just conquered and went inside Chris to have a relaxing rest for about half an hour, as we suddenly arrived at Sossusvlei.

Sadly enough Chris couldn't bring us all the way towards Deadvlei and instead we were divided into two groups and got into some smaller vehicles. Soon enough we knew why. Driving through so much thin sand was the same as walking into quicksand. Our driver was really worth his money, he sure knew where to drive unlike a few others who were stranded near the road. With a quick help they were "on the road" as well and before we even saw it coming, we arrived at Deadvlei. 

We needed to go for a short walk and although it wasn't that far, the heath made it a bit more unbearable, but that was all forgotten when we arrived at the scene.

I already saw so many pictures, but once you see it in own person, it is just incredible! I guess you must love trees like I do to see the beauty of it all, but still, this is just such an unbelievable beautiful place that you can't but like it. Even Tania did and she had her question marks when she first saw it! 
Luckily there are rules to preserve these trees and I just hope that all the tourists who come after us obey them as we did so that we can enjoy this wonder of nature for a long long time, so please ... DON'T TOUCH THE TREES!!!!

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To be honest, I could have stayed there for the remainder of the day, but I guess for most of us, they would get bored very quickly.
As we arrived back at our campsite of the moment, Rhyno prepared yet another delicious hot lunch and as soon as we all gobbled it down because it was once again so yummy, we cleaned everything up, making sure we didn't left a thing behind and about 15 minutes later we were on the road again, direction Maltahöhe.

Since we still had an entire afternoon of heatnes in front of us, we made a little detour to the Sesriem Canyon where we arrived about a few hours later.

The canyon itself was once a fine example of how rich the region was when a river ran through it and people from all over the place came here to find some water. The name of the canyon says it all as it is named after 2 dutch words being zes and riem. When you translate it into English, it says six belts. These six belts were used to bring the water to the surfice. How crazy is that, back in the time you only needed six belts of oryx skin and suddenly water appeared. When you look at the canyon now, you only see rocks and sand. When you are lucky and there is a bit of wind, there is dust as well. Everything you need for a proper desert.

After a short guided walk with Norman and Rhyno, we met up with Alington again and I guess we were all glad to be out of the heat and once settled into the belly of our iron beast, we had time enough to relax since it took us a couple of hours to drive back to Maltahöhe where we arrived back around 5 PM.

Once back in our room, I really yearned for a cold shower, but guess what, Mr. Ugly was still inside and claimed the room all to himself.

This time he didn't knew me and Tania! He had bugged us long enough and if a simple shoe couldn't kill him, we resorted to more drastic means and got some poison. Getting some spray from the owner of the lodge, we were weaponed and licensed to kill. Needless to say, about 5 minutes later we became murderers, but the cold shower another few minutes later made me feel all happy again. RIP Mr. Ugly, I am sure we meet up again in another country!

Dinner was yet again served at the terrace of our lodge and the staff made sure we left the table with a big smile on our face. They sure know how to make delicious food here in Namibia!

It must have been almost 10 PM when I turned back to my room and went to bed, simply because I was just that tired. It had been quite an amazing day, but now my head needed a rest and within minutes I went to sleep.

Posted by Ils1976 05:07 Archived in Namibia Comments (6)

the road trip continues


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Unlike the night before, this time around I had a great night's rest and maybe knowing that Mr. Ugly was gone to cockroach heaven made me feel a little bit better. Waking up early in the morning and knowing his relatives didn't show up, made us feel save so to speak and as soon as we packed all of our stuff, it was time for breakfast.

Just like the previous days, we had yet another early leave coz another day on the road awaited us. We really needed to drive a lot and in a way I somehow underestimated this, but than again, Namibia is such a large country compared to Belgium, that the chance we have to do some more driving in the next upcoming days is more than real.

As we were driving for a few hours, the views along the road changed from desert like into something a bit greener. There was still lots of sand and of course rocks aren't far away either, but somehow the scenery changed a bit and even the climate with it. It was still hot, even early in the morning, but it was more bearable. Maybe we started to get used to the heat, who knows?

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If this was true we were going to find out in the next hour coz our guide Norman arranged us a guided tour with Boesman. Although he is not native to the country, this guy is so into the desert and the country that everyone started to call him Boesman (from the African word Bosjesman) and the name sticked to him. He lives in the desert in the vicinity of Sesriem and together with his Japanese wive he met a few years back and his two little girls, he really has a blooming business. He doesn't like the crowds, but when he starts talking about the desert and the life in it, you hang to his lips from the first till the last minute.

This guy really deserves a metal and he really made us learn a little more about the desert and everything that goes with it. He also tried to explain a bit to us how to survive in the desert, but I was praying to do Gods at that same moment that I never ever going to need that. Hearing about it, is more than enough. I know, I am such a softie, but at least I am honest about it.

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At noon, we said goodbye to Boesman and his family and found ourselves a great picknick spot just half an hour later near the road. Rhyno prepared us a quick sandwich lunch and after bushie bushie, it was back on the road again.

Somehow I always managed to fall asleep after Rhynos lunch and I began to think he put some sleeping medicin in it since I wasn't the only one. We woke up a few hours later when we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. A few snap shots and jumps later and we were back on the road for another stretch of driving.

About an hour or so later, we drove through some pretty interesting landscapes as it seemed that the rocks are all twisted. Norman called it a moon landscape, I don't know how you can call it, but it was sure interesting and it made for great pictures.

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Back on the road again, me and Tania had the honor to sit in front with Alington and while we were chit chatting about everything and nothing in particular, we all of a sudden realized that we were not alone anymore. The landscape changed from rocky and sandy to flat and we even saw the Atlantic Ocean. What an experience it was. After a few hours of driving we arrived in Walvis Bay and although it was nice to see a big city again, I somehow wanted to go back to the peace and quiet.

For the first time in more than many days, we saw traffic lights again and loads of traffic that goes with it.

Although it was already 5 PM, we were still lucky to have a bit of daylight left so that we could see the infamous pink flamingos, but as we arrived at the scene, the only ones we saw where the normal ones. We couldn't see one pink birdie till all of a sudden someone of our group spotted a few way back in the water. A short walk alongside the beach made sure we got a glimpse of them as well and they were beautiful. 

Sadly enough we couldn't stay there forever and in a way I didn't mind one bit because the weather here at the coast was quite a bit different than we were used too and just like some others of our group I was freezing. Can't believe that I was thinking that, but I sure did. It was COLD!!!

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Back inside Chris again, we drove for another hour towards Swakopmund, the final destination of our day and as we arrived in the dark, we quickly got settled into our rooms and off we went again for some joint dinner at the centre of town.

Norman found us an Italian place where you can eat all sorts of things, even game and of course, this was the thing we wanted the most. Till now we only saw an oryx, springbok and a zebra, which was truly impressive, but I can tell you now, that their behinds are tasty as well. I love the meat that's for sure although I like to see them in the wild, they taste delicious!

By the time it was 10 PM, we arrived back at hour hotel and sadly enough we had to say goodbye to 2 members of our group. Our Brazilian couple Renate and Renato were leaving us and were going to spend another week at Zanzibar, the lucky bastards!

Saying goodbye is never easy even if you have spend such a short time with each other and as tears came to the surfice, even our crew was a bit surprised that we cared about each other so much. Yep, we were a gang of softies!

Back in our room, it didn't take me long to fall asleep. Tania still wanted to skype home to let the home front now that we were still alive and kicking, me on the other hand, just wanted to sleep and for once it didn't take me long. As soon as my head touched my pillow, I was off to dreamland

Posted by Ils1976 05:07 Archived in Namibia Comments (2)

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