garito01

namibia
Namibia 2017: firsttimers a bit rushed trip

70 posts in this topic

@garito01 When I first saw your planned agenda for this trip I thought you must be mad trying to fit it all in with such a short time to do so much driving but you seem to have maximised your opportunities and appear to have seen much more than we did in a month! I think the time of year helped, you might not have had clouds in the sky to enhance your pictures but you actually saw the stars, you might only have had a short time in Etosha but you saw more of the bigger mammals than we did in 10 days there. We were in Swakopmund for 5 nights and didn't see those views of the salt works and then there's Spitzkoppe, the list goes on about what we didn't do.

All I can say is.....well done! There is more to come and I'm looking forward to reading about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some spectacular landscape shots - Bravo! While there are some areas where Klippspringers are not that difficult (Northern Serengeti or Augrabies where I´ve seen them) I would certainly label them as "special sightings".

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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:

 

36659952051_771d3b4ab9_b.jpg

 

Getting closer to the ocean we were passing by some baby dunes which only in 200 thousand years time will turn into mature ones. :P

 

36659950971_26dd197f34_b.jpg

 

After we made our first track prints in a softer sand 

 

36628767542_4e5b00dd50_b.jpg

 

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.

 

36659950551_7d2afda1e5_b.jpg

 

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.

 

36628765672_6c5bd23eaa_b.jpg

 

36799371815_fda25af128_b.jpg

 

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.

 

36628764812_898cbca3b7_b.jpg

 

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.

 

36659949911_f591604587_b.jpg

 

36751833276_21343b1ed3_b.jpg

 

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.:D

 

36659949341_5b0d596098_b.jpg

 

36659946691_48808c0805_b.jpg

 

36628762712_831834c08b_b.jpg

 

36799373915_ee574f3b56_b.jpg

 

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.

 

36628761482_1ba7af51fa_b.jpg

 

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.

 

36628760442_378693d364_b.jpg

 

36799372515_01dd307a35_b.jpg

 

36628759642_6d9a05d55f_b.jpg

 

Time was passing quickly, though, and we finally had to come back. Last sunset over the ocean pic and that was it.

 

36751825916_ddd141cc0a_b.jpg

 

tbc

Greg

10 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The origin of the avatar becomes clear!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Careless tourits?! Tourons more likely :angry:! The water level in Zebra pool shrinked but the colour is better. Salt pans from above are truly colourful? Who needs Sossusvlei when there are dunes like on your photos ?? Have you usd a ND filter for some of them.

Edited by xelas
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, garito01 said:

There were no clouds at all over 2 weeks and we did not see any flowing water either.

 

Looking at your fabulous sand dune shots I have got the impression of "flowing sand"! One photo technique I have to try next visit.

Having no clouds is bad; having too much clouds is worse :D.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great pictures and great tour ! I have a doubt: you wrote that you reached rock bridge at Spitzkoppe by car at sunset time. Did you go there by car also for the night shooting ? Is it not dangerous ? How far is it ? Thanks

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not that I know of.

 

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what a gorgeous beautiful gecko it is! you got those vibrant brilliant colours so well. Love the dunes as well.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you @Kitsafari for your comments. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

37004580795_5a1ee69f3f_b.jpg

 

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.


36833592702_cb88267eb8_b.jpg

 

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. 

 

36816273976_9c4682b0d1_b.jpg

 

36833105592_066b686581_b.jpg

 

Next, rather obvious stop we made when crossing the Tropic of Capricorn.

 

36833103252_57fd826592_b.jpg

 

From this point the landscape was more diverse, but quite different compared to what we were seeing until now. 

 

37004575405_ed54b6a55a_b.jpg

 

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.


36833101482_f26d7ce182_b.jpg

 

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.:(


36607558980_83496145c5_b.jpg

 

36833098902_80a5d07919_b.jpg

 

36607556750_aa8eb9070c_b.jpg

 

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.

 

36607565990_97cca9360b_b.jpg

 

36816268246_900395c1eb_b.jpg

 

36195960563_4d7217c6aa_b.jpg

 

36864118701_85f4bd9524_b.jpg

 

36607550890_172fe96c55_b.jpg

 

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.


36607549620_ac5a70cd85_b.jpg

 

36864115981_03f16effc6_b.jpg

 

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

 

 

5 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful sunset pictures :-)

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 31/8/2017 at 10:23 PM, garito01 said:

Not that I know of.

 

Greg

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


© 2006 - 2017 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.