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a hot day in the desert


View Namibia - 2017 on Ils1976's travel map.

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 Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises desert road_trip nature canyon river rocks walk friends sand africa road hot group relaxing hot_spring rim dust heat wellness viewpoint overland_truck Comments (2)

further north we go


View Namibia - 2017 on Ils1976's travel map.

Another early day, another day on the road. Somehow I am getting used to it, it is like going to work everyday but in a way better environment!

Just a few days ago we had to say goodbye to a lovely couple and today we had to say hello to a few other ones. Sam and Rinsy we already got to know yesterday and it seemed that a third new group member was going to join us as well, a German dude who lived in Switzerland and spoke a bit secretly about what he was doing in his daily life. Not that we cared to much, unless he was a serial killer of course. 

Once again we left the hotel at 7.30 sharp and once we were on the road, everyone was so curious about the new arrivals and about half an hour we got to know them even a little bit better, that is, Samantha and Rinsy. Our German dude remained a little bit of a mystery. He was the only one that didn't talk that much, but we weren't worried too much about that little fact.

As we were driving near the coastline, we stopped at one point to have a look at the beach and more in particular the boat that was stranded there. It seemed we were arrived at the infamous skeleton coast. It is said that the beach is filled with skeletons from humans and animals alike, but nowadays you can't see much of it anymore or at least the part that tourists are allowed to walk on that is. It is some sort of a national park and because nowadays there are too many tourists bothering the remains as well as getting on the shipwrecks and so on, there is a limit to where you can go. True or false, I don't know, but that is the explanation we got.

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Way back in time it must have been a horrifying era knowing that once you stranded on that beach you were sure to die because of the simple fact that there was nothing there. I am just so glad that I live in a time where you can be reached almost everywhere!

As we walked on the beach we had a nice view on the shipwreck and it made for great pictures. Even the locals tried to do there best to deliver some skeletons for us, but luckily it turned out to be from a seal and not a of a human.

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It was but a short stop and we quickly left the coastline behind us and went a bit more inland. Today we were going to travel more up north and it must have been around 11 AM when we finally saw a few real large mountains again. We were close to the Spitzkoppe, the largest mountain of Namibia. Although so I thought coz technically it is not a mountain but a group of granite peaks. No matter what it is, peak or mountain, it was actually quite impressive.

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As we stopped at the entrance of the park, we soon learned that we were going for a short walk in the vicinity of the peaks and with the heat that we were feeling again, we were all smart enough to bring some water with us. How I missed that warm feeling!

Our guide of today who's name I sadly enough forgot was really good and told us a lot about the landscape, the people and the animals in it and we also got to see some old Bushman cave paintings. Nowadays they are protected because till a few years back they noticed some vandalism. Why you do such a thing is still not clear in my head because something cool like that should be left alone so that all who wants can come and see it, but no, some people have to act stupid I suppose. Luckily they put an end to it and at the same time created a few jobs for the people living nearby.

The walk on itself wasn't that hard, I think it must have been a little less than 5K, but still, the heat made it unbearable for some and to be honest, I was just glad to see Chris and Rhyno again because I was starting to get hungry, not that I loved our guide telling all sorts of amazing things, but once we got food in front of us, we were all in silence.

It must have been a little after half an hour when we drove back to the entrance of the national park and dropped of our guide. A small toilet stop later, we were back on the road again and this time we were in for it for more than a couple of hours. I guess we were driving for more than 3 hours when we suddenly stopped at a small local market which was runned by some Herero women. I just loved their colorful dresses as well as the head shaped in the form of some bull horns. You can actually see that these women are proud of their heritage as they should be.

While our crew members were enjoying themselves with the kids and a soccer ball, us girls went for a look to see what was on sale. Most of it was indeed very touristy with puppets, handbags and so on, but there were also a few women making the bags which was quite interesting and fun to see that even the brand Singer was known here. This was the sewing machine my mother and grandmother had when I was little and seeing it here in the middle of the desert was quite amazing. They travel quite a distance those sewing machines!

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After saying goodbye to the women and their colorful market, it was back on the road again for a couple more hours and when it was almost dark, we arrived at our destination of the day, Khorixas.

Once again we were given the keys for our room and once we all got settled, a few of us settled near the small swimming pool. Tania tried to dip her feet into the water, but it was just so freezing cold that I decided to give it a miss. Although it was still quite hot considering the hour of the day, freezing water was the last thing on my mind and instead I went for a refreshing drink.

Dinner was served at the camping site of the lodge at 8 PM. Chris' restaurant was once again a major hit and didn't let anyone down. The curry with rice was delicious and as we all started talking about our interesting day tomorrow some of us went to bed early, some of us went for another drink and I must say that I began to like that Savanna cider more and more.

By the time it was midnight I closed my eyes and went of to sleep quite fast. I didn't even hear Tania telling me that she was going to check a few things on the internet. All was lost for me ... I can't remember the last time I slept that well!

Posted by Ils1976 05:07 Archived in Namibia Tagged mountains people animals food desert road_trip native market rocks walk cave africa road bush hike hot group peak viewpoint indigenous_people overland_truck Comments (2)

where the heck are those elephants !?

Another early day was in front of us, but me and Tania didn't mind one bit. To be honest, once breakfast was over, we couldn't be on the road quick enough and I guess the rest of the group was thinking the same coz our luggage had never been packed that quick.

With everyone save inside Chris, we left the lodge behind us and as we were dreaming of all the animals we would like to see today, the only animal that was on everyones mind was the elephant. We had seen so many amazing animals but till now we only saw one lonely elephant from a far distance and we wanted to change that.

There was a rumor going on that a large group was in the vicinity, but still, till now they were hiding pretty good because we didn't see them at all.

As the first few hours past, we only saw loads of springbok, wildebeest, zebra, ostriches and even a funny oribi which looks a lot like a small doe. These really are cute animals and although I didn't even know that they excisted, I must say that for me they always will be the African "Bambi".

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Every few hours, we had a toilet break and although Norman wanted to show us how lovely the landscape here in the National Park is, for some the thought of seeing an elephant was still on their minds and love and behold, it must have been half an hour later when we finally saw a herd of elephants in the far distance. 

Hiding behind bushes and trees, we were lucky to have Chris with us so that we could see a bit more, unlike the smaller vans, but still, the herd was a few hundred meters or so away when all of a sudden they decided to leave the safety of the trees behind them. It seemed they were on their way to attack a few vehicles, but instead they just walked next to them and as they were crossing the street we got a pretty amazing view on how big they really are. Quite incredible really.

Norman said that they were probably on their way to the nearest waterhole, so instead of just staying on the road like a few others, we drove off to this place only to arrive there about 15 minutes later. We waited for quite a while for the herd to show up, but sadly enough they never did. Instead we had a nice view on a family of impala who had the "bar" all to themselves, that is till a few zebras showed up.

This was a bit disappointing, but we couldn't wait any longer coz Norman wanted to be at our lodge for today around noon. Wanting is one thing, but as we came across a few giraffes along the way, needless to say, when we finally arrived at Okaukuejo Camp it was already past 1 PM.

We quickly got the keys for the bungalow of the night and as Rhyno was preparing lunch, the majority of our group went to the waterhole which was close to the camp. This place was really a paradise for animal and birdlife and although it was very hot, it was packed with wildlife like springbok, zebra, oryx, giraffes and so on.

I was a bit impressed to see so much animals together especially because of the heat, but I guess they all wanted to be near the fresh water and who could blame them.

After our quick lunch we hit the road again because the search for the herd was still on!

We drove for quite a while, but the herd was nowhere to be found. At one of the artificial waterholes, we met up with a lonely elephant and although we waited for the herd, it never came.

Norman thought that they were at another one and as Alington was driving on several roads commanded by Norman, they were lost as well. It seemed we lost our herd of this morning. We saw a few kudus but no elephants. Since some of us still wanted to see a few elephants, the search for another herd was on and armed with our binoculars and cameras, we were on the lookout for this magnificant mammals.

We still had an hour or so of daylight left when all of a sudden we saw another herd at an artificial waterhole and this time again there were little ones involved. This was just so cute that we all wanted to stay there for the remainder of the day, but sadly enough we had to go. It started to twilight so we needed to go back to the safety of the camp, which we made only by mere minutes. Thanks to the speed of Alington otherwise we had to spend the night outside the gates, which could have been interesting as well.

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Just like the day before, me and Tania signed in for a night gamedrive and altough most of our group thought we were crazy and wouldn't see a thing, the both of us just made sure we had warm clothes with us and about 2 hours later we were back on the road again, together with 4 other people from our group.

Crazy enough, just like yesterday we were immediately cold when we were driving up and down the dark roads and this time we asked for a few warm blankets but still it didn't seem to help all that much. Who knew it could be that cold!?

Like yesterday, our guide of this evening was searching for the more important animals, but instead we had to drive for quite a distance to see loads of springbok, zebras and other smaller animals. I guess it must have been halfway the drive when we suddenly came across a lioness. She was only a few meters away from our vehicle and I must admit that this was quite impressive seeing it was dark as hell.

Within the safety of our car, we drove further down the road and although our guide tried to look for animals, it seemed more difficult than the night before.

As we were on the way back to the camp, we suddenly heard a noice and saw a few jackals and hyenas running after eachother, it seemed that they were after the same prey. It wasn't easy to follow them all the time with the infrared light, but we sure got the pictures with all the noice going on.

Seeing it was almost time to turn back, our guide passed by one more waterhole and although we didn't expected to see a thing, we were pleasantly surprised to see a white rhino on the other side of the water. We waited for a while to see what was on his mind. Armed with blankets, a drink in our hands and sadly enough without the crisps, we were looking at real life National Geographic and we were definitely not ready to go back to the camp, but sadly enough our guide decided otherwise.

It must have been a bit later than 11 PM when me and Tania decided to go to sleep. We set our alarm clock at 6 AM coz according to Norman this was the time to see the sunrise and we wanted to make the most of it while we were still inside the NP.

Posted by Ils1976 05:07 Archived in Namibia Tagged animals birds night nature africa group national_park gamedrive mammals viewpoint big_five overland_truck Comments (0)

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