Well folks, I’ve enjoyed re-living my exploratory trip into northern Namibia, but this will be the last chapter to this report. The actual travel portion will be pretty simple. Basically, we left Khowarib and headed south to Otjiwarongo.
Along the way, we stopped a few times to photo zebras
We also stopped to photograph some locals. For each we donated some of our remaining food supplies in appreciation for modeling for us.
and also some large rock formations we had seen between Grootberg Lodge and Kamanjab.
We stopped in Otjiwarongo to break up the driving time to Windhoek. In hindsight, the drive was short enough that we could have pushed on through, but I’m really glad we didn’t. Otjiwarongo had it’s moments.
We stayed at the Hadassa Guest House B&B. In walking into the lobby. I had selected this lodging because of superior reviews on Trip Advisor. Parking in front of the office and walking in, we were greeted with a gentleman saying in a French accent, “Hey, you were in Etosha last week. I recognize you and your vehicles. You had big lenses!” It was nice to see the owner had a sharp recollection of details and also liked nature. I told him why we had picked his guest house and he responded with “I hate to disappoint you, but those reviews were all about the previous owners. We just bought this place and took over managing less than a month ago.” My thoughts were immediately “Oh my, will the quality be as good as the reviews?” I asked his background. He and his wife and children were from the south of France. They had tired of the hassles of cities and the life they were in and decided to make a clean break and by a small hotel in, of all places, Otjiwarongo!
This may have been my worry, but my fellow travelers were more worried about food and asked the new proprietor about local restaurants. He noted a local Italian, a fast food place, maybe something else, but also noted that his wife was organizing the kitchen and they could serve us dinner as long as a plan was made early (as in right now). The Italian and fast food options did not sound like the Namibian experience, so we put our fate in the hands of new head of the kitchen.
We also asked if there was a local grocery and a local craft shop. Yes, to both and off we headed. Both were in the same shopping location, so this was easy. The local crafts were nice: carvings, jewelry, some cloth items. Several of the guys bought necklaces made of broken bits of ostrich shell. Meanwhile, I start looking through the Namibia landscape calendars they had there. To my surprise, the rock formation we had just photographed were featured in one of the calendars. I guess our ‘find’ wasn’t as unique as I had thought.
Did you catch that they were from France? That should have been a hint. It turns out, the wife had been to culinary school and was really into the ‘farm to table’ movement. She sourced everything locally except the dark chocolate in the dessert as she felt that Africa has not bested Belgium in that department. The appetizer was an amazing. The main course, (backstrap of eland accompanied with a pinotage) was to die for, the desert of warmed pears and dark chocolate was excellent. As we pushed back from this excellent final meal, the owner came out with a bottle of Amarula and 4 small glasses. Perfect ending.
The next day was a short drive south to drop off our vehicles, ride to the Windhoek airport and our connecting flights in Jo’burg to home.
All stories must come to and end and this is the end of this travel story.
It has been a great trip and I am eager to return to Namibia, but first, I visit the Kgalagadi Transfrontier in Feb. 2017 and May and June is a month of visiting lodges in Botswana and South Africa. Looks like 2018 before I get back to Namibia … but I will go back.
The Best of the Trip (in no particular order):
· Zebra in Etosha
· Etosha Pan
· Moringa (Halali) Waterhole at night
· Late Afternoons at the Okaukuejo Waterhole
· Okondeka Waterhole and predators
· Nebrownii and the ‘white ghost’ elephants
· Mornings at Goas Waterhole
· Western side of Etosha to Galton Gate
· Grootberg Lodge
· Khowarib Lodge
· The Himba (I need second chance to photograph them)
· The Hoanib Riverbed
· The overall landscape
· The overall wildlife
The not so good:
· Check in process at Etosha
· Power outages at both Halali and Okaukuejo
· Bad experience with other guests on shooting flash at waterholes at night (not the fault of the other guests, but misunderstanding of the protocol at the waterhole. More homework needed)
· Himba selling circle to sell trinkets/crafts (I don’t mind paying ‘modeling fee’, but would like to avoid this aspect of a visit to them)
· The long driving distances between locations (I know, it’s a big country)
I’m really having to dig deep to find very minor things wrong, yet, without blinking, I can rattle off all of the positives from this destination … and that is probably why (I repeat) I will go back!
Thanks to all of have taken the time to read and commented on this travel report and a special thanks for the patience as I know I was slow to write some of the chapters. I have already 'kicked off' my trip report on the Kgalagadi. That report can be found at this link.
I hope you will also follow that story and add comments.
Best Regards, Buddy Eleazer