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Everything posted by Levante

  1. Hi to everybody. After having read so many post and trip reports about Namibia (in primis the ones of “Xelas the great”) I would like to share with other members my experience and give my small contribution. First of all sorry for my English which is not my mother language. I just studied it at school many many years ago, but I’ll do my best. We had a long time to spent in Namibia and, since generally we don’t come back in the countries we already visited (but some exceptions), we decided to have a look to all most important areas. I know we were a bit rushed and we could see less, staying more in the same area, but this is our way of travelling and if I could start again I would do the same thing (with some small changes, see below ). At first we decided to skip Etosha which could seem a very unusual choice. This because we already visited several African countries like Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa with a lot of game drives. Then, we changed our mind and decided to stay 2 nights and doing the road fron Namutoni to Okaukuejo. I started to plan the travel end of April / beg of May for October and very soon I realized that quite all lodges along the itinerary were fully booked. For that reason and also to keep costs down, I thought to mix campsites and lodges. Since we are both over 55’s and our last camping experience dates to 2003 in Australia, I asked an offer for a bushcamper which is more comfortable than the RTT, but the price was incredibly high. Considering that price, the difference between sleeping in lodges/guehouses or in the bushcamper was quite irrelevant and we opted for the first ones. I booked through Booking.com, Expedia (this one much much more better than the other), NWR site and directly with properties. Just for Twyfelfontein Country Lodge I was obliged to pass through an agent since it was impossible to find availability even by booking directly. I know it could seem a risk, but – at least for October – my suggestion is to book accommodations one month before going. In May the majority of the properties I was looking for were fully booked, some of them put my request in wait list, but never reverted to me. In September all of them opened the dates and it was easy to find rooms inside Etosha and Sesriem, Okonjima, Waterberg, FishRiver lodge as well as in all Gondwana properties. If you are looking just for guesthouses or you don’t mind to stay outside parks there is no problem at all to find rooms. The only problem is for Twyfelfontein Lodge which is the only lodge in that area which an affordable price (Doro Nawas, Mowani Mountain Camp and others are very expensive) and therefore is chosen by all the organized tours and groups. Since I was not aware that the closest was the trip, the more were the availbility, I booked a little bit in a rush without studying carefully all the places to stop because I was afraid that even the few accommodations I found could become unavailable. The great regret is to have skip the Spitzkoppe. This decision was also due to the fact that we wanted to drive the SkeletonCoast. I know that many people say it is boring, but I thought it could have some good picture opportunities since it was a landscape completely different from the rest of Namibia. Unfortunately there were road works in the area between Swako and HentiesBay with a lot of detour and we missed the road to the Zelia shipwreck. Xelas if you have been there I have to ask for a favour Our itinerary was as follows: Day 1 : Windhoek - / Keetmanshop Day 2 : Keetmanshop / FishRiverCanyon east side Day 3 : FishRiverCanyon east side / FishRiverCanyon west side Day 4 : Fish RiverCanyon west side / Luderitz Day 5 : Luderitz / KanaanDesert Retreat Day 6 : Kanaan Desert Retreat / SesriemPark Day 7 : Sesriem Park Day 8 : Sesriem Park / Swakopmund Day 9 : Swakopmund Day 10 : Swakopmund / Twyfelfontein Day 11 : Twyfelfontein Day 12 : Twyfelfontein / Opuwo Day 13 : Opuwo / EpupaFalls Day 14 : EpupaFalls / KuneneRiver Lodge Day 15 : Kunene River Lodge / Eenhana (in the middle of nowhere just to split the road) Day 16 : Eenhana / Rundu Day 17 : Rundu / Mahangu Game Reserve Divundu Day 18 : Mahangu Game Reserve Divundu / River Dance Lodge Divundu Day 19 : River Dance Lodge Divundu / Mururani Camp Day 20 –Mururani Camp / Ohange Namibia Lodge Day 21 - Ohange Namibia Lodge / Namutoni gate Day 22 – Namutorni / Okaukuejo Day 23 – Okaukuejo / Okonjima Lodge Day 24 - Okonjima Lodge / AmeibRanchErongoMountain Day 25 – AmeibRanchErongoMountain / Windhoek Day 26 – Flight to Italy This is the latest version which has some small last minute changes compared to the original idea. Originally on Day 1st we had to stop at Mariental, but we decided to proceed straight till Keetmanshoop to see Quiver tree at sunset. If we had slept at Mariental, the following morning we would have arrived to Keetmanshoop too late to have good light and probably too hot to visit. The other changes was at the end of the trip. We had to stay 2 nights at Roy’s Rest Camp, but some bad recent reviews on TA (rats and bedbug), a better price and perhaps a better legs division, let us decide for Mururani Camp and Ohange Lodge. The last change concerned the Waterberg Plateau where we had to stay one night between Okaukejo and Okonjima, but we decided to skip it and add a night at Ameib to have an idea of the Spitzkoppe landscape. Hindsight, I would made some changes. First of all I would skip the EpupaFalls since they were completely dry and replaced by 2 nights at Kunene River Lodge (but it was quite impossible to know it before). People there told us that they couldn’t remember such a situation. Some said it was due to the dam in Ruacana that stops the water flow to irrigate the mais fields. Other said that it was due to the low rains in Angola which alimentano the river. Anyway, just rocks. Then, I would stay 2 nights on the western rim of the FishRiverCanyon instead of one nights on the east and one on the west. The last one concerns the Divundu area where it would have been better to stay 2 nights at Mahangu instead of one night there and one night at RiverDance which was a great disappointment. During our trip sunrise was at around 6 am and sunset around 7 pm so we had many hours of light to transfer from one place to another. The rented company was amazing: it gave us a very new car (about 23000 Km.) fully equipped. We had no flat tyre or mechanical problem, everything was perfect. It was a great trip, thanks again to everybody for your help and suggestions. Here is some pictures of the car
  2. THanks @elefromoz
  3. Day 14 : EpupaFalls / KuneneRiver Lodge - Km.98 At 8 am we met the guide and the other couple and we left for the HImba village. Before going we stopped in a shop to buy floor, sugar and oil. The village was small and there were only women and children since men graze the animals. They were kind and the visit interesting. Around 10.30 we left towards Kunene River Lodge along D3700, the road along the river which has been upgraded recently. Not all the way has been upgraded, but it is now easily feasable with a rented 4x4. At least in october it was impossible to drive it with a sedan and neither with a 2x4. The other couple tried with a Toyota Rav but was obliged to come back to Epupa. It took us about 3 hours to go there. I loved so much Kunene River Lodge. It is a quiet, peaceful place, the chalet are nice and comfortable, the dinner very good and the view from the terrace, amazing. Along the D3700 road Nice view along the road The terrace facing the river Sunse cruise
  4. Day 13 : Opuwo / EpupaFalls - Km.182 The road between Opuwo and Epupa was in good condition and it took us a little more than 3 hours to be there. Along the road we saw our first baobab and met some Himba people. The great disappointment was when we arrived in Epupa. There was no water in the falls. I knew we were in the dry season, but according to local people, such a situation never happened. Some said that it was due to Ruacana dam that, when closed to irrigate the fields, stops the water flow to Epupa. Others said that it was due to few rains in western Angola which is the area which "feeds" the falls. This is a picture taken from same position (thanks to https://www.africanreservations.com/accommodation/namibia/northern-region/epupa-falls) We spent the afternoon walking nearby the lodge and on the terrace facing the missing falls..... At dinner a guide asked if we were interested in a Himba village visit the next morning, since there was another couple who wanted to do it and we decided to join them.
  5. Day 11 : Twyfelfontein - Km.31 Today was a relaxing day. We just visited the Twyfelfontein site in the morning and the Burnt Mountain in the evening. The rest of the day we rest in the room and near the swimming pool. Day 12 : Twyfelfontein / Opuwo - Km.357 The landscape become more green, we started to see termite mounds, beautiful trees and sheperds with herds. For the first time we have been stopped by the police who checked the documents and told us that on saturday (we were on thursday) in Opuwo would have been celebrated the funeral of Mrs.Angelika Muharukua, the governor of Kunene region. When we arrived in Opuwo, we went to the guesthouse, parked the car and decided to take a walk in the village. Once we left the guesthouse, the road was closed, lot of people were on the sidewalks, many people were in uniform and a queue of car, some with flashing lights and alarm, proceeded slowly. During the procession all shops were closed and re-opened once the cars had passed through. Actually I didn't see the hearse, but I thought that Mrs.Muharukua body arrived in Opuwo. Opuwo is an interesting village. You see, along the roads, Herero women with their coloured dresses and hats, himba women in topless wearing the typical skirt, women dressed with "normal" dress. It's a kaleidoscope of colours and sounds. I found it the more african of the namibian town I saw.
  6. Day 10 : Swakopmund / Twyfelfontein - Km.504 Before our trip I checked in the web opinion concerning the road to do. The possibility were the C35 via Uis or the costal road till Torra Bay. Even if many people said the the costal road was boring and much longer, we decided to take that one. First of all I read about Skeleton coast many years ago when I was young and started to travel and it stucked on my head as a place to visit, then I thoutght it would have been interesting to see a different landscape. I was very happy to have taken that road. I didn't find it boring and we did a lot of stopover. Unfortunately we missed the junction for Zelia shipwreck. There are major roadwork in that area (it seems the road will be unlarged) with detour and new signages and we didn't see it. I have to admit that I was distructed since I thought it was after Henties Bay and not before, anyway we skipped it. So, I tried to find the Chamarel shipwreck which had to be around 30 Km.after Henties Bay, but I couldn't find it. I suppose it is inside a forbidden area (may be mining) whose access is controlled. Therefore our first stop was at Cape Cross Seal Colony. Then, at Ugab Gate we entered into Skeleton Cost Park. The entrance is free, there is only a book to be filled with personal datas. It is compulsory to enter before 3pm and leave before 7 pm We stopped at all marked spot along the road. Anyway we couldn't see the Toscanini jetty because also this one was inside a private mining property. When we saw Torra Bay dunes we left the costal road to leave through Springbokwasser gate towards Twyfelfontein Country Lodge. Little by little the landscape changed. The first red rocks appeared and it was around 6.30 pm when we finally arrived at the lodge. Real Skeleton Sand storm.
  7. Day 8 : Sesriem Park / Swakopmund - Km.521 (including the 120 Km. go and back trip to Hidden Vlei) This was the longest and tiring day of the entire trip. We again woke up at 4.30 to reach, as early as possible, the 2x4 parking. It was a wonderful day and not fog at all. We were uncertain if come back to Deadvlei or go to Hidden Vlei, but since we had to leave for a long trip we decided for Hidden Vlei since we thought that going to Deadvlei would have required much more time. Hidden Vlei was a beautiful surprise. Wonderful landscape even along the path to reach it (about 2 Km.each way), magical atmosphere and only us there. Later arrived only 2 other persons. After the visit, we filled up the tanks and left towards Swako. The road was in very bad conditions with a lot of bumps. We stopped in Solitaire to have a coffee and we bought the famous apple pie to take away. We continue throught the Guab and Kuiseb pass and, after this one, instead of taking the D1998 we took the permit road towards Ganab that leaves the main road just 3 Km. after the D1998. We bought the permit which costs 90 Nam$ at Sesriem NWR office. Before arriving in Swako we also took the permit road D1991 Welwitschia Drive. We arrived in Swako at aroung 6.15 pm Before arriving we phoned to the owner of the flat we rented in order to collect the key. It was a very strenous day Day 9 : Swakopmund / Sandwich Harbour / Swakpmund - Km.103 We expected the fog in Swako and we had it in Deadvlei, while in Swako the weather was wonderful, blu sky and good temperature. That morning we took our time to relax, we woke up with no hurry, had a good breakfast and took a walk in town. We had booked an afternoon excursion to Sandwich Harbour. By the time we had to leave, the wind became stronger and stronger, about 30 knots so that we took into consideration to cancel it, but in the end we decided to go. We were just 4 people and It was a beautiful excursion, even if the sand flew everywhere in the mouth, in the eyes, in the ears, it was difficult to take pictures and even walk. This was the gift that Sandwich Harbour dunes offered. An ostrich family Coming back to Swako there was a sort of sand storm and the road was completely covered by sand. That evening we had to go to The Tug restaurant, but we decided to cancel the reservation and remain at home.
  8. Thanks @AKR1. I don't know exactly the distance from the sea since we were in the middle of the desert and there is no road to the coast, but I guess it could be around 70/80 KM.
  9. Hi @Treepol, we stayed at Zum Anker apartment. They are very central (quite aside the church), a little bit dated as far as furniture/interior is concerned, but cheap, comfortable and ample.
  10. Thanks @Peter Connan Actually I posted the jpg files, but we have the raw ones that we still have to post process. I hope they will improve
  11. Xelas the picture was taken by my husband. The ones less beautiful are mine He used a Nikon D700 with a len Samyang 14 mm
  12. @wilddog I don't know exactly. Xelas suggested Trip reports/Self drive section I also wanted to know if there is a way to "protect" the pictures in order to prevent that someone not registered in the forum could copy them.
  13. Day 7 : Sesriem Park We woke up at 4.30 and at 5 we left the lodge. During the 60 Km. road there was, with big surprise, thick fog. I carefully checked the road to help my husband and tried to see the sunrise, but nothing appeared. Arrived at 2x4 parking we deflated the tyres and took on the 4x4 trail. The sand was still solid and therefore it was quite easy to reach Deadvlei. We were the first, no car in the parking and, helped by the app Osmand (great applicaton showing not only roads but also paths), we reach Deadvlei. With my big disappointing the visibility was very bad: low clouds together with fog covered the dunes. I couldn't believe, may be I'm the only one to have seen Deadvlei covered by the fog. Anyway this gave us the possibility to see a different landscape with some beautiful pictures (at least in my opinion) Little by little the sun began to peep out from the clouds. After Deadvlei and the one just aside we went to Soussvlei. At around 1 pm we came back to visit the Sesriem Canyon but it was very very hot and the light was not good We decided to go to the camping restaurant to take a fresh soda and something to take away for the dinner. At sunset we came back to dune 45 We returned that was pitch dark. We ate the hamburger bought in the afternoon and went bed very early since tomorrow morning our alarm clock was again at 4.30
  14. Day 6 : Kanaan Desert Retreat / SesriemPark - Km.316 (including go and back trip to dune 45 at sunset) We started the day at 6.30 am with a wonderful sight Kanaan is a foundation that takes cares of cheetah which remain orphans too young to survive by themselves. At the time of our visit 2 cheetah lived in captivity in a big enclosure, they are fedeed every day I had some prejudices on this activity, but my husband insisting on doing it. I was so happy to have done it. It was a big emotion to look for them by foot, to stay so close to that animals, to check their movements. It was really great !!! After a somptuos breakfast we left towards Sesriem. I strongly suggest to sleep inside the park (camping or lodge) not only to be there very early in the morning before hundreds of people arrive, but also because around 9/10 am is incredibly hot and therefore, starting early, one has more time to visit the various sites. In the afternoon we went to see the sunset at dune 40 and 45. I don't put any picture since you have seen a lot of that site.
  15. Day 5 : Luderitz / KanaanDesert Retreat - Km.278 This was one of the most beautiful day since we saw incredible landscapes. Kolmanskop was one the place I liked most since I never saw something similar before. At Kolmanskop we took hundreds of shots, I just put someone of them, not exactly the best ones since we just came back and we dind't make a selection of the pictures yet. After the visit we continue to Aus and then we took the D707 one of the most scenic road in Namibia. In the afternoon we reached the Kanaan Desert Retreat, the paradise on earth In the background the dust and the sand in suspension appears like fog We also made some experiment in the night, but without success
  16. We slept at Canyon Village. Xelas can you relocate the entire post ? Thanks
  17. Day 4 : Fish RiverCanyon west side / Luderitz - Km.363 In the morning, we followed the path along the rim which starts from the lodge (west side) looking at the lodge entrance. To reach the B4 we took the D459. We stopped in Aus at Bahnhof Hotel for a quick lunch and at Garub waterhole to see the desert horses. Alont the B4 tarred road Around 4.30 pm we reached Luderitz. We had to arrive before 5 pm in order to buy, at Luderitz Safaris & Tours, the photo permit for the tomorrow Kolmanskop visit. Anyway Mrs.Marion was very kind and gave me her mobile phone number in order to call her in case of late arrival. With that permit you can enter the site from sunrise till sunset while the "normal" ticket allows you to enter from 8 or 8.30 I don't remember to 13.00 The cost of the permit is $Nam 230,00 each.
  18. Day 3 : FishRiverCanyon east side / FishRiverCanyon west side - Km.392 For that day, instead of choosing the easiest north road through C12 and B4 we decided to go south towards Ais Ais, then following C37 and C13 along the Orange River, passing Rosh Pinah and then taking the D463 to Fish RIver Lodge. The whole road took us about 9 hours with lunch stop and many many stops to take pictures. The long time was also affected by the choice to try a 4wd trail, the Gamchab Trail a 14 Km. easy scenic road which follows a dry river bed in a narrow valley. After the fork betwwen the D463 and C37 you have to follow the road for 19 Km. and you will reach the starting point (there is a small red sign with no other indication). Here is the trail images On the D316 Along the Orange River On the D463 approaching the lodge. At the lodge
  19. We arrived at FIsh River Canyon viewpoint at 1 pm which is not the best time to see it, but it was good anyway. We stopped at 3 different viewpoint and we took the short path that for about 1 Km.follows the canyon rim. Then, we arrived to the lodge and we also had the time to make the free sunset walk organized by them.
  20. Day 2 - Keetmanshop / FishRiverCanyon east side - Km.221 We filled the tanks and left Keetmanshop via Klein Karas Scenic Route (D608) a beautiful road with incredible landscapes. Also the last part of the road before taking the C12 is wonderful with red sand and many weaverbirds nests Approaching the Fish River Canyon
  21. Ok, let's start. We were not very lucky with the weather. We had heavy rain at Etosha, no water at Epupa falls, incredible wind at Sandwich Harbour and - may be we are the only ones - Deadvlei with the fog !!! We arrived at WIndhoek airport on a saturday morning at 10.30 more than half an hour before than expected. So we had time to change some money, to buy a sim card with a bundle at MTC shop inside the airport and waiting for the driver sent by the rental company. Once arrived there, we saw our car and we were so happy to discover how beautiful it was and a little bit worried to drop it off as it was ! Stefan explained everything and finally we left. Luckily the company was located in south Windhoek since the day after we had to take that direction, so I chose an hotel very close to it. We went to the hotel to drop the luggages and to have a small rest and then we went to the Spar supermarket at Grove Mall to buy some stuff for our trip and to the gas station to fill up the tanks. Day 1 Windhoek - / Keetmanshop - Km.557 Just a transfer trip along B1, very boring road. We slept at Quiver Inn Guesthouse, very recommended place. In the late afternoon we went to Quiver Forest, beautiful walk
  22. No problem. Relocate it as you prefer. Actually I didn't know in which section post it. The agreement with African Sun was to have the camping equipment without the tent, but when we collect the car it was fully equipped. May be for them it was easier to keep them on the car. I also forgot to say that the car had 2 small opening/door one per side (see first picture it is closed and second/third picture it is opened) which prevent the dust to enter into the car.
  23. namibia

    Sorry Greg to insist on this subject. Did you pass / open any gate going from the Lodge to the Arch in the night ? Thanks
  24. namibia

    Beautiful sunset pictures :-)
  25. namibia

    Thanks Greg. So, I presume it is allowed to travel within the park in the night. Any restrictions ?

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