garito01

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About garito01

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  1. @elefromoz, it's been a great reading! Excellent report with lots of very nice pictures. And you captured this dominant sand very well. For me the meeting with rhinos is unbeatable, however. It must have been so fascinating to witness that from such a close distance. I truly envy you having this opportunity. As for the Okaukejo we were not that happy with this lodge, either. Yet, we were still quite inexperienced with Namibia and were telling ourselves: it's just Africa. Not that we despise it by any means. We just need to take another perspective while there. But staying within the park greatly increases one's chances for good sightings and from your photos it's clear you saw a great abundance of wildlife in Etosha. It was very enjoyable to go through your report.
  2. namibia

    Hi @Levante, no problem at all. Yes, we had to pass the gates, which are normally closed. We got the key at a reception and we kept it with us.
  3. namibia

    Day 8 From Swakopmund we wanted to leave relatively early since we wanted to arrive at Sesriem around 4 pm. We really did not know what to expect on the way and how tiring it would be, but we had a good rest, hence we left in good mood. It was about 8 am when we got to our Fortuner. It was quite foggy on that morning and one could hardly see the sun through a misty veil. It was pretty chilly as well. What I forgot to say is that the day before upon arrival at Swakopmund we did not realize how cool it became compared to temperatures we experienced around midday, which was an hour worth of driving to Swakop. Not until we got out of the car did we feel a cold breeze and we immediately put on some fleece. The temperature from approx. 30 degrees dropped to 18. Quite shocking. Closer to Walvis Bay all the fog was already gone and we could enjoy a regular clarity, which was so common during our trip. Up until Kuiseb pass the drive was boring, but we knew that would be the case from all the descriptions we could read beforehand. Not to say that we disliked it, yet it was hard to be excited by such monotonous views that were stretching ahead of us for so long. The Kuiseb pass itself was quite interesting and we stopped a couple of times there to be able to appreciate the landscape. What was surprising was that it all appeared out of nothing. You travel through flat surfaces and suddenly you almost dive into those ravines, canyons and gorges. Next, rather obvious stop we made when crossing the Tropic of Capricorn. From this point the landscape was more diverse, but quite different compared to what we were seeing until now. What we truly appreciated was that road conditions here were much better than in Damaraland. Honestly, anything out of Damaraland was a treat even if not recently graded. All four of us had the same opinion in this respect. Given that we were able to arrive at Solitaire quite early. It was about half past noon when we stopped at he filling station in Solitare. Then we immediately headed to the Desert Bakery to try the legendary apple crumble. The pie lived up to our expectations and even topped it by some margin. Before we left I took a couple of minutes to take pictures of the old cars that in my opinion complement an atmosphere of this place quite well. I just wonder how much time it will take for the paint to go off, because when it happens Solitaire will be far less colorful. We continued our journey undisturbed and already at half past 2 pm we showed up at Sesriem gates. We paid the park fees there and decided we would go to the Sesriem Canyon first. Outside it was about 30 degrees and we thought coming down to the canyon would be a good idea. There were plenty of cars at a parking place. We were afraid it would be crowded, but it turned out we were wrong. The canyon stretches quite a distance and all those people were kind of spread over a larger area, so it was nice to walk down at he bottom. And indeed, we could feel it was cooler by good couple of degrees compared to a parking area. Then we went to the Sossus Dune Lodge. We parked at a place under a canvas shade and did not wait long until the NWR vehicle appeared to get us to the lodge. After a welcome drink we were shown to main areas and finally went to our chalet. We liked an entire lodge very much. The setting is stunning and we could already see some dunes in a distance. There was a distinct scent which was pervading around the lodge area. Later we figured out it was coming from the bushes that were growing just beyond our chalet's terrace and elsewhere as well. It was most intense during a day, while almost not discernible both in the evening and in the morning. Since we have not asked a question to anyone at the camp we're clueless as to what plant it actually was. Having unpacked and rested a little we wanted still to see the Elim dune before sunset. So we packed some stuff and moved out of our chalets. At a reception we saw one of the lodge guides and asked him how much time we would need to climb the Elim dune. He said about 10-15 minutes. The dune itself is only about 5 km from the SDL so to get there was quick. We started to climb the dune at half past 4 pm. Jeez, was the guide wrong !!! It was really a hard work to go to the top of Elim. Not only did we fail to climb it in 15 minutes, but we were still not there after 40 minutes. We drank plenty of water on our way up as we were sweating profusely. The sand did not feel too compact and two steps up were always followed by sliding one step down (at least). When for a moment we thought we were reaching the top some new higher sections could be seen and this repeated a couple of times. I'm not even sure if we have reached the very top or not. But it was getting already late and we decided not continue any more upwards. Instead we just admired the landscape around from the place where we stopped. Again the views in the late afternoon light were something special. At half past five we started our descent and reached the parking place pretty quickly. It was almost dark when we were back at the lodge. The dinner was excellent and that made our day. tbc Greg
  4. namibia

    Thank you @Kitsafari for your comments.
  5. namibia

    Not that I know of. Greg
  6. namibia

    Thanks Levante. Yes, I went to the bridge by car after sunset. It was before 9 pm, so pretty much in the dark. I would not say it was dangerous. I was just moving slowly and carefully in order not to lose a way and not to have any encounters with animals. It's about 4,5 km from the lodge itself. Hope this helps. Greg
  7. namibia

    Thanks @xelas for your acknowledgment. My dunes shots were inspired by Georg Erb. He's running a business in Swakopmund and you may check his facebook. Some superb stuff as well. Greg
  8. namibia

    @xelas, I might have removed some dust spots for the saltworks pics, but otherwise no colors added which were not there. They are enhanced somewhat, but I was also susprised to see this location so rich in various shades and colorful. As to ND filter, I was carrying two of them all the time with me, but never used them, in fact. There were no clouds at all over 2 weeks and we did not see any flowing water either. So, there was no trigger for me to resort to NDs whatsoever. Greg
  9. namibia

    Let's continue, then. Once we left the saltworks we proceeded onwards and entered the Namib Naukluft Park. All the time Jaun was feeding us with interesting info on the area and I have to say he's extremely competent. He shared with us plenty of details as well as general background stories and did not let us get bored for a second. We were driving in a 4.8 l Toyota Landcruiser and it was awesome. Both comfort-wise and power-wise we were not missing a bit. Here's the beast: Getting closer to the ocean we were passing by some baby dunes which only in 200 thousand years time will turn into mature ones. After we made our first track prints in a softer sand we asked Jaun if there was any chance of seeing a web-footed gecko somewhere around. He said he would try his best and started leaning out of the window and looking for specific marks on the sandy surface. After a while we stopped and Jaun started digging in the sand, but to no avail. In fact he found a gecko's tunnel, but it was abandoned. So we continued further and in less than 5 minutes we stopped again. This time the search was successful. We could see a gecko in the hands of Jaun. He was very delicate and cautious with her (yes, it was her as Jaun explained us). We did not want to stress the animal and told Jaun to let her go whenever he thought it was time to do so. But Jaun concluded she was very relaxed and only care should have been taken not to expose her to sunlight too long. So, we watched the gecko for 2 minutes or so and then she was released. Initially Jaun wanted to drive between the dunes and the water but the tide was pretty high and it was too soft for a safe cruising. We even saw one of the vehicles stuck in-between and waiting for the water to recede. That's way we went up on a dune and observed the scene from there. Next we experienced some serious driving over the sand dunes. Boy, is Jaun a great driver! We all were delighted with his skills and not for a moment did we feel unsafe. He showed us a couple of tricks and even in some more challenging places he kept his composure all the time. Driving in this sea of sand was something I would not forget for a long time, if ever. Adventurous ascents, brave descents, unbelievable angles, tilted driving - we had it all, with lots of adrenaline. But we could also stop in a couple of places and I could take some shots of the dunes. And I do not have to tell you I was taaaaaaaaking my tiiiiimeeee. At around half past 4pm Jaun decided it was time to eat something. He found a nice sheltered spot among the dunes and we had our late lunch there. Jaun is a very entertaining guy and it was a real pleasure to talk to him. We covered a lot of topics and it felt like talking to your old time friend. And the meal which was prepared for us was yummy as well. Then there was even more driving and I could shoot to my heart's content. Jaun was choosing places and I was just looking for a good subject and framing. A delicate play of light and shadows on the dunes was something I particularly enjoyed on this afternoon. Time was passing quickly, though, and we finally had to come back. Last sunset over the ocean pic and that was it. tbc Greg
  10. namibia

    Thanks @michael-ibk. Info on klipspringers well noted.
  11. namibia

    Dave, I remember your words from the first page concerning the warning which our trip should be to the others attempting to unnecessrily rush like us. Good that the report proves it was still doable. Joking aside, though, I entirely agree with you and strongly advise all soon-to-be in Namibia to take some time, read the fora beforehand and benefit from the hints of other users who share their invaluable experiences. That we were lucky this time, does not guarantee we would follow this pattern next time round. But indeed, still we do consider ourselves quite lucky. Thanks for comments. Greg
  12. namibia

    Thanks a lot @Atravelynn for your comments and I am really glad you liked the pictures. Regarding the speeder these were exactly my thoughts during those 20 minutes we stood there. Greg
  13. namibia

    Day 7 Next day seemed to be as busy as previous ones, but straight in the morning we had a discussion on what to do. Myself I was opting for leaving early to Ameib Ranch and spend about 2 hours there and try to see the Bulls' Party, the Elephant's Head and possibly the Philip's Cave. Quite ambitious I admit, especially that we then were supposed to go to Swakopmund where at 2 pm we had our Sandwich Harbor tour organized. Still, though, we have not seen some interesting places around Spitzkoppe. Kids voted for staying longer at Spitzkoppe and having more relaxed trip to Swakopmund. My wife slowly tended to favor this choice, so being in minority I finally gave up. Which means another compromise was done as compared to our initial itinerary. On the other hand this is one more reason to cover Ameib Ranch some when in the future, right ? Ok, with the decision made we were ready to further explore the area. We quickly ordered our tour, as some places could only be seen with a guide. Uno was our guide and he turned out to be a very knowledgeable and easy-going person. He picked us up at the chalet and we headed towards the gate. But before still we could admire outstanding views in the morning light. First we visited the Bushmen Paradise. To reach it we needed to climb up the rocks which took a fair bit of effort and at times we had to resort to using chains as a help on our way up. It was a cool morning, slightly after 7 am, so it was not bad to make this exercise. Slight wind gusts provided nice conditions, so it did not feel arduous at all. However, probably I would change my mind if I had to do the same path in the summertime at whatever time different from an early morning or a late evening. On top of the rocks the view was splendid. Inside the cave we could admire rock paintings made by ancient bushmen. Although not as iconic as the ones of Twyfelfontein those paintings made up for our missed opportunity from the previous day. Going out of the cave we could see droppings of klipspringers, but were not lucky enough to see the animal itself. They are kind of elusive and more of a nocturnal specie, thus the chances were rather thin. How about your experiences with klipspringers ? Is it really difficult to see them out in the wild ? This time we had to be happy only with this: Later we descended using chains again and went to the Small Bushmen Paradise where we watched other rock paintings. From there we moved to the Zebra Pool. Despite winter and a dry season there was still some water in it and we could see some tadpoles as well. We sat there for a while just to take in the views around. Really, we could have spent there an eternity. It's such a great place, Spitzkoppe. Next we went to see the Golden Snake painting which was well hidden among the rocks. Uno told us they do not sign post it to prevent occasional visitors from unauthorized access. He told us stories about guests sprinkling the paintings with water and what not to improve contrast and take better pictures. We also saw some 'contemporary paintings' or rock carvings made by careless tourists. We enjoyed the Golden Snake quite a lot, but it was already a time to leave. We came back to the camp to have a late breakfast and then were back to our rooms to quickly pack up. After 11 am we were on our way to Swakopmund. Apart from a gravel connection part the road was tarred and very comfortable to drive. We let know our guide from the Desert Tracks that we would be able to start our tour around quarter past 1 pm. Having arrived at Swakopmund Guesthouse we quickly dropped our stuff in the room. Right after that Jaun came in his vehicle and we were ready to go. We first went to Walvis Bay where we made a short stop to enable Jaun to deflate the tires. In the meantime I tried to spot flamingos in the area, but they were pretty far away and strongly back-lit. There were both greater flamingos and lesser flamingos there. Then Jaun suggested that we drive some smaller dunes in the vicinity to see if we were all fine to do that before moving to to Sandwich Harbor. No problems for us, fortunately. We came to a nice vantage point from where we could see salt works. Later we were driving among those salt fields, but the views from up above were plain spectacular. tbc Greg
  14. Really wonderful picture of lions drinking. Nice close-up. Congratulations. Greg
  15. namibia

    Thanks @xelas, from today's perspective not so much effort. But to remember about everything needed to do that on location, that was a challenge . Greg

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