Levante

7160 kM.AROUND NAMIBIA

67 posts in this topic

Great pictures. Particularly evocative and almost haunting images of the great sand dunes engulfed in fog. How far were you from the coast here? Thanks for sharing this beautiful trip report. 

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@Levantethanks for the detailed TR. I particularly enjoyed the photos of Luderitz and Kolmanskop as I've not seen anything recent from this area for a long time. Where did you stay at Luderitz?

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Posted (edited)

Deadvlei in the mist is pretty spectacular and rather unusual to see!

 

Those night sky shots are actually pretty good. D700 is obviously still a good camera for that type of work, and the Samyang is one of the very best for this particular application. I little bit of knowing post processing will do marvels for those two photos.

Edited by Peter Connan
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4 hours ago, Peter Connan said:

Deadvlei in the mist is pretty spectacular and rather unusual to see!

 

Those night sky shots are actually pretty good. D700 is obviously still a good camera for that type of work, and the Samyang is one of the very best for this particular application. I little bit of knowing post processing will do marvels for those two photos.

 

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 :)

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8 hours ago, Treepol said:

@Levantethanks for the detailed TR. I particularly enjoyed the photos of Luderitz and Kolmanskop as I've not seen anything recent from this area for a long time. Where did you stay at Luderitz?

 

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.

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14 hours ago, AKR1 said:

Great pictures. Particularly evocative and almost haunting images of the great sand dunes engulfed in fog. How far were you from the coast here? Thanks for sharing this beautiful trip report. 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This was the gift that Sandwich Harbour dunes offered. An ostrich family

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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.

 

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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.

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Real Skeleton :D

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Sand storm.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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This is a picture taken from same position (thanks to https://www.africanreservations.com/accommodation/namibia/northern-region/epupa-falls)

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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.

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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

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Nice view along the road

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The terrace facing the river

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Sunse cruise

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3 hours ago, Levante said:

We expected the fog in Swako

 You cannot have fog at every stop :D. Nice photo of salt pans from above, and lovely ostrich family. Day 11: so the long hours on gravel roads finally showed up :). I am sorry for you missing the waterfalls ... and Zeila. One day I need to come to Kunene also, beautiful sunsets there.

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@Levante, I agree, your photos of the fog hanging over Deadvlei and the Dunes are lovely and unique. The Ostrich family on the Dune is great too, those little babies will need to be tough.

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@Levante  Enjoying your TR. Amazing to see Deadvlei in the fog - but at least you had the opportunity to go back into the dunes the next day as well.

 

We've not (yet!) been that far north in Namibia - but the Kunene River Lodge looks stunning.

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Day 15 : Kunene River Lodge / Eenhana (in the middle of nowhere just to split the road) - Km.302

 

When we started to think about the itinerary we had taken into consideration to do a one long stretch till Rundu also because the only accomodation were in Oshakati whose obliged us to make e detour.

But just some days before leaving reading one topic I found that in Eenhana there were accomodations (not found neither in the web, nor in any guide till that moment). So we decided to make a break there.

The road from Kunene to Ruacana is good with some steep climb and descend. From Ruacana the road is tarred with a lot of small villages and fruit/vegetable markets along the road.

We stopped in Outapi at Ombalantu Baobab Tree Heritage Centre but since it was sunday it was closed, so we saw the baobab through the gate. Along the road we stopped to see a football match

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Eenhana is a small village, but you can find everything you need: there is fuel station, some markets, some shops, bank and so on.

We slept at Montecarlo guest house which was a good choice. The value for money is excellent (just 500 Nam breakfast included), there is a restaurant, a pool and a neat garden. Is it built motel style (you can park the car in front of the room door).

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@Levante so glad you continue this excellent trip report!

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Day 16 : Eenhana / Rundu - Km.418

 

The road is tarred all the way down, but a little bit boring. You have to pay attention to the lot of cows and goats that are off the road and may decide to cross it when you arrive :huh:

There were also many people looking for a ride, so we decided to stop and give it to a mum with her child.

About 10 Km.before Rundu we took the detour for the Hakusembe River Lodge and asked the man at the gate if it was possible to drink something. He was very kind and friendly and let us enter.

The place is beautiful: green grass and a lot of flowers just close to the river. We sat on the terrace and took a fruit salad with ice-cream, it was peaceful and relaxing.

Then, from the lodge we continue on a sandy road towards the Mbunza Living Museum. We decided to stop since the aim of the Living Museums is to fight against poverty, to preserve the traditional culture, to create a cultural exchange and to give a source of income in rural areas.

The community explain their way of life, what they eat, how they hunt and cook, how they make weapons, dress, crafts, etc. At the end of the visit they sing and dance some traditional songs and invite you to buy some crafts. The entrance cost is 150 Nam/each. To be honest I didn't like very much this visit, I was happy to contribute in some way to the village, but it didn't give me the feeling of authenticity.

 

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Rundu is a big town with a lot of people, everywhere there were flowered flame and jacaranda trees.

 

The picture is not good, but just to give you and idea....

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It was a little bit difficult to reach the Tambuti Lodge since the road was closed due to works. I reccomend this lodge, good value for money, 810 Nam included a full buffet breakfast. The rooms are beautiful and huge with tube and shower.

 

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Posted (edited)

Day 17 : Rundu / Mahangu Game Reserve Divundu - Km.226

 

In the morning we had a walk in Rundu market and did some grocery shopping. The B8 is tarred and again boring, the only distraction is given by the river reed, sold along the road.

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We stopped at Popa Falls Resort to visit the falls - entrance 20 Nam/each - we sat on the terrace, but also here the water level was low therefore the falls was not visible.

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Around 4 pm we arrived at Mahangu Safari Lodge. I loved this place, it was one of my favourite. At 5 we left for the sunset cruise, we were 6 plus the boatman and it was wonderful. We saw many many animals and birds and the sunset was incredible :lol:

 

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The dinner is served on the terrace and it was very good with iced beer. We heard hyppos, frogs, cicadas and saw a wonderful starry sky.

 

Edited by Levante
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Posted (edited)

Day 18 : Mahangu Game Reserve Divundu / River Dance Lodge Divundu - Km.126

 

The lodge is very very close to the park entrance, just few Km. We asked for a breakfast box in order to be at the park very early in the morning. At the entrance we filled some papers, we paid 50 Nam/each, we received a map with detailed roads and instructions.

There are 2 roads to take, both branching from the main road about 1 Km. from the entrance. The one on the left is good and accessible to all cars, it overlooks the floodplain and return to the main road close to the Botswana border. At the time of our visit it was not possible to travel all the way since it was closed at about half way. So, at some point, you must come back to the beginning and take the road again from the south entrance.

The one on the right is accesible to 4wd only. The instruction received at the entrance was to travel this road for 10 km. till a waterhole and then come back to the beginning.

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Till the waterhole the rood was very good. Unfortunately, instead of coming back, we continued along the road with the intention to come back after few km. BAD BAD decision, the road is very very narrow with any possibility to come back and deeply sandy. I was quite nervous because I knew the instructions were to come back, there was no phone coverage, we didn't deflate the tyres since till that moment absolutely no need and we couldn't get out from the car because of the animals. Therefore the only possibility was to continue crossing our fingers. Finally after 19 unending Km.we reached the main road :)

In front of the loop exit we took again the other road to see the big baobab and to stop at Kwetche picnic spot to have our breakfast and recover after the big scare.

 

The park was a surprise. There were very few people, many animals and birds and the sightings were very easy, it is a birdwatcher paradise. We took some bird pictures even if we don't have the proper equipment.

 

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We left the park and continue towards River Dance Lodge. This was the worst choice of our trip, I don't reccomend this lodge. We had dinner on the terrace facing the river, but nothing to do with the one we had yesterday at Mahangu. The correct decision would have been to stay two nights at Mahangu.

 

Edited by Levante
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You won one, you lost other ... on the balance you still had a great journey! Birder's paradise ... that is a sweet music to my ears. And those birds can be so easily identified :)!

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@xelas apart from the carmin bee eater and the vulture I don't know the others birds. Can you tell me the name ? Thanks

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Day 19 : River Dance Lodge Divundu / Mururani Camp - Km.367

 

I forgot to tell that along the Caprivi from Epupa till Divundu the temperature was of about 40° so it was very difficult to sleep during the night.

Today we didn't expect any visit. We did again the B8 till Rundu and then we continued south on that road till the veterinary gate of Mururani. The road is boring all the way. Since we arrived there early,  around 2 pm, we decided to visit the Mangetti Park which is not too famous. We knew that it was not the best hour to visit it, but during the 3 hours we stayed inside we didn't see any animal apart from a group of gnus at a waterhole and a lot of yellow billed hornills. Sightings are difficult also because the vegetation is very thick.

Very few people visit that park, when we filled the registration book at the entrance we saw that the last visit was 5 days before us !!!

 

Here is the map of the park with the road that can be driven.

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One road inside the park

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@xelas, I suppose this is a bird of prey, but which kind ?

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For the night we stayed at Mururani Camp, just after the veterinary gate. It is managed by a very kind family, there is a basic shop where you can also find meat, a very small pool, an outside bar and braai facilities.

That night we were the only ones and opted for a very new chalet, they have 2 and just finished to build them, on the day of our arrival they were installing the aircon.

They are equipped with a living area with fully equipped kitchen apart from microwawe or burner, table and chairs and 2 single beds. Then, there is a bedroom and a bathroom with tube.

The value for money is good, 600 Nam. The only problem was the mosquitos even with the windows closed and the aircon on.

 

The pictures of the room have been taken with a phone and no flash so they are very bad, but just to give you an idea of the chalet.

 

The living room

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The kitchen

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The 2 single beds in the living room

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The bathroom

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The bedroom

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The new air con and the thatched roof

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The big window in the living room (no curtain, but I think they will put them in the near future)

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Great report to read especially because we are going to visit some of the same areas in February next year. It’s a shame the River Dance lodge was a disappointment, but the Mahangu game reserve sounds like my cup of tea! Apart from the ( stunning) Carmine Bee-eater and the Vultures your photos are: Lilac- breasted Roller, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater and Red- billed Quelea. Thanks for sharing all this info!

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Day 20 : Mururani Camp / Ohange Namibia Lodge - Km.269

 

From scenic point of view the road from Mururani to Grootfontein is not so bad and the 130 Km. till there passed quickly. In Grootfontein there is a big Spar and we stopped to buy some foods.

Then we continue through D2859 to Hoba Meteorite. From then we reached the D2860 which is a beautiful road which runs along the railway.

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After having reached again the B8 we continued till Kombat where we took the D2863. In my opinion a wonderful road not to be missed if you are in that area.

We reached the D3022 junction and we turn left, we passed in front of Ghaub Guest Farm and arrived at Ohange Safari Lodge.

I loved so much this place :-) The rooms are basic, anyway there is all you need to pass a comfortable night (good bed, big shower, hot water). The pool is fantastic and the common area (breakfast area, reception, bar and so on) is wonderful, warm and cozy, with fireplace and a lot of books. The dinner and breakfast were superbe and the hosts welcoming and very kind.

 

The beautiful sunset from the veranda

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This is the common area from the garden

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The dinner was served under the sky with just fire and lanterns to light :-)

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This is the waterhole in front of the lodge with the animals we could saw while dining.

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Another wonderful starry night

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