Jaycees2012

Southern Namibia – A Great Trip – But We Miss the Elephants

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I largely wrote this trip report shortly after we got back – however due to having a really bad year it got put on hold. However things are calming down and we have finally got a bit more back on track – so here is our trip report for Southern Namibia September/October 2016.

 

Wednesday 28th September

 

It is four o clock in the afternoon and I’ve been in work since quarter to eight this morning – so now I can put the out of office on, turn the phone to voicemail and lock the laptop in the cupboard. I grab the bag carrying my travelling clothes and get changed in the ladies room before waving goodbye to my colleagues. That’s it, no more work for three whole lovely weeks – I’ve a tube to catch to Hatton Garden where I meet J and then we head off to Heathrow to catch our South African flight to Johannesburg.

 

Thursday 29th September

 

It’s an overnight flight from Heathrow, arriving around nine in the morning, and we head off through transit – only to come to a grinding halt. Johannesburg airport are carrying out some new biometric procedures which mean that (like the USA) they are taking photos and fingerprints – and it is slow; slow, and even slower. The queue is barely moving at all – they actually have someone walking down the line pulling out those who have transit times close to departure and moving them up to try and get them through quicker, but it’s making the rest of the queue move even slower. We have nearly four hours for transit and are actually grateful for the long transfer. It takes over an hour to get through the queue.

 

We still have nearly three hours left so we head to the business lounge and pay our entry fee, and settle down to have a wash up in the bathrooms and a nice meal, before heading off to catch our flight up to Windhoek.

 

So finally we get to Windhoek  - about three pm. We head to the Avis desk in the airport to pick up our car. We hand over our paperwork and J signs all the various paperwork (in blood) – confirms that we have a second spare tyre (pre-paid for),  and that we need a letter to take the car across the South African border. (They seem to have forgotten the letter but once reminded they prepare it immediately without any argument – so no problems.) We were expecting a Toyota Hilux, but are told that we have been upgraded to a Toyota Fortuner. The  car, which was South African registered was almost new, there was 14840 kilometres on the clock, and in fact it was a new model which had only been released fairly recently (according to various people we ran into). Even so it already had one small-ish ding, and a number of other little issues on the paintwork. We made sure that all of the marks were annotated on the documentation and also took a number of photos so that everyone was clear what condition we collected the car in. We had to chase the second spare tyre and as it was not brand new took photos of that as well. We checked that we had a jack – roads in Namiba are notorious for eating tyres – and indeed there was one – but dear lord it looked pathetic when you consider the size and weight of the vehicle. We hoped we wouldn’t need to use it often.

 

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Then we headed off out of Windhoek airport and down towards the city, and our first night’s accommodation at The Olive Grove. The Olive Grove is a pretty little hotel, with secured parking, and a nice little patio area with a small plunge pool.  We are allocated room 10 which is down on the ground floor.

 

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We repack the bags for the actual holiday (rather than airport travel), and then decide we will go out for dinner. The last time we were in Namibia, just over three years ago we arrived into Windhoek a lot earlier in the day, did not stop in Windhoek – and therefore did not have a chance to go to the famous “Joe’s Beer House”. The Olive Grove is fairly close so we booked a taxi and headed off to see if it could possibly live up to its reputation. It does. The place is amazing. On a Thursday night it is packed. It is a largely outdoor restaurant, although most of the tables are covered by thatched umbrellas. It is lit with candles and lanterns and buzzes with the energy in the place. We sat at the bar while waiting for a table and chatted briefly with another couple who had just finished their tour. Within five minutes we were seated at a big round table with a number of other people, mostly German, but also with a group who were working in Namibia. We chatted about the roads, and some suggestions for things to do whilst we ate.  I had a beautiful Gemsbok steak (the only complaint was that there was a bit too much meat) whilst J had the Jaegerscnitzel.  Joe’s has a reputation as a great place to go before and after safari – and it is certainly a well-deserved reputation. It’s also reasonably priced - our meal and drinks came to less than N$350.

 

Back at the Olive Grove we tumbled into bed – exhausted from lack of sleep but excited for the real start of the trip tomorrow.

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Great start, following! Joe`s is awesome, isn`t it? :-) 

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Friday 30th September

 

Breakfast at the Olive Grove is in the courtyard. It is a very pleasant area with a couple of big trees that are full of birds, lots of the little cape sparrows, cordon bleus, doves and some of the mousebirds. There is plenty of food available on the buffet and also a number of options for breakfast which will be cooked fresh. Just after breakfast J got talking with a couple of German ladies who had just finished their two week trip around the South of Namibia in a Fortuna. They told J they had had three punctures in their two weeks, and that they had problems with the pathetic jack in the car. Oh dear this is not looking so good!

 

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Breakfast over we head out on our adventure.

 

So where are we going!  Well as said previously we came to Namibia just over three years ago. During the planning we looked at a number of the trips and gaped at the distances they were travelling. They seemed to do the whole country in two weeks – spending a day or two in Etosha and then making their way all the way down to Fish Canyon. We thought then that such a trip needed far more time and decided to just cover the North of Windhoek, and to come back to do the South. This trip was therefore our return to cover the South of Namibia, but with a side trip to KTP (Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park) just across the South African border.

 

The itinerary:

    1 night        The Olive Grove - Windhoek

    2 nights      Kalahari Farmhouse - Kalahari

    5 nights      KTP (2 at Mata Mata / 2 at Bitterpan / 1 at Nossob)

    1 night        Kalahari Game Ranch

    2 nights      Canyon Village - Fish River Canyon

    2 nights      Nest Hotel - Luderitz

    2 nights      Wolwedans Dune Lodge – Namibrand Nature Reserve

    2 nights      Desert Homestead Outpost  - Sossusvlei

    2 nights      Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge

    1 night        Olive Grove

 

So the first stop is to get some food etc. J has found an app called Tracks4Africa which is effectively a Sat Nav for his iphone. Between that and the instructions provided we head off for the road to the Kalahari Farmhouse. The route takes us past the Chequers Supermarket which has good parking for the large SUV. There is a huge choice of stuff here, and usefully some very reasonable cool boxes. We buy one of these and lots and lots of water, various snacks, some juice and soft drinks and some tinned food ready for KTP.

 

The B1 road out of Windhoek is tarmacked and an easy drive.  We drive along taking in the scenery and enjoying the lack of traffic. We take a quick break at Rehoboth in a nice café, (really very good cupcakes), before continuing on along the B1. We then turn onto the C20 (also tarmacked all the way – even though we were expecting it to be partially dirt) which leads us through to Stampriet and the Kalahari Farmhouse Lodge. It is a really very pretty location, the lodge is set out around a large circle with the restaurant / reception area taking up one side and the cottages set out around the other. There is a small stream running through the property and the whole place is like an oasis in the middle of the arid Kalahari. There are quite a lot of birds around here (wagtails / doves) as well as ground squirrels and a quick sighting of a yellow mongoose. At one point a Pearl Spotted Owlet was sitting in one of the big trees looking at us. (It flew away before we could get close but it was nice to see it). 

 

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The evening meal was very nice. Whilst at dinner we were offered the opportunity to go on a sunset drive at the sister hotel tomorrow evening - the Kalahari Anib hotel.

 

Saturday 1st October

 

We had a good night’s sleep – the hotel is beautifully quiet, and after a wander round the grounds just taking in the warmth and the noises of Africa, we had a nice breakfast. We then had a little wander around Stampriet but there is really very little to see or do in this town. 

 

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J decided to head to Hardap Dam National Park, which was a bit of a way back along the road, but it is all tarmac so an easy drive. At the gate to the dam we paid our entrance fees (NAM $50 for the car and NAM $10 per person). The drive around the dam area is pretty basic, we saw some Rock Dassie (Hyrax) who looked back at us curiously, until another car raced past us and frightened them all away from their sunbathing. However after having used the facilities there we headed out of the gate and towards the National Park entrance.

 

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I seem to remember that there was no requirement for a four wheel drive for this part, but in all honesty some of the roads are pretty rough and I would prefer to have a four wheel drive. You might be able to get away with a sturdy two wheel but not anything without substantial road clearance. This was J’s first opportunity to use the 4 wheel drive, and boy did he take the opportunity. Prior to our trip he had taken a half day course to learn to handle the car properly and now he thoroughly enjoyed himself. 

 

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Hardap is a pretty little park with some decent cover, and we actually saw a reasonable number of animals including Kudu, Warthog, lots of Springbok and Gemsbok, Zebra, Mongooses and a reasonable number of birds. This was an opportunity to get our animal spotting skills back in practice and a pleasant way to spend the mid-morning and early afternoon before heading back to the Farmhouse and our evening trip.

 

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We drove over to the Farmhouse’s sister lodge – Kalahari Anib. It is huge! I have no idea how many guests they have staying there but it looked like a giant glass spaceship had come down and landed. There were lots of coaches and minibuses and what looked like a dozen or more safari vehicles which were packed waiting to head out into the Kalahari Reserve. It is not what we particularly like but as it happened the guide driving (Raymond) was very good and very knowledgeable and we enjoyed the drive for what it was. He provided some interesting information on the various trees and birds. There were some huge sociable weaver nests (never stand under them – there is the danger of snakes dropping from them).

 

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There were nice sightings of Giraffe, Kudu and Steenbok and lots and lots of holes dug by Aardvarks – no Aardvarks though!

 

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We had our sunset drinks, as the sun went down. And now we have the beautiful light that comes with an African sunset. Drinks finished we then headed back to the Kalahari Anib Lodge – and now we saw Zebra, more Impala and Eland in the half light. 

 

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Now it is truly dark and we need to get back to our room for the night – driving at night in Africa is always challenging – you really need to have your wits about you. Here we are on tarmac and the roadside is fenced so it should be a bit safer, but both of us are on full alert – eyes wide open …looking …. searching, and definitely driving slower! Just as well – as suddenly from the corners of our eyes we spot movement in the grass on the left. J slows the car quickly and flying across the road – through the light cast by the headlights, comes a furry bundle with a long fluffy tail. It seems to skim across the front of the car and disappears into the long grass on the other side of the road. We breathe a sigh of relief and with a quick glance at each other confirm that we both thought it was a fox (probably a Cape Fox). Thankfully the rest of the journey was calm.

 

We get back to our nice Farmhouse, relieved to be away from the Anib Lodge, and are welcomed by Fifi, the Farmhouse cat which has figured out that looking starving to well fed tourists is a lot more profitable (in the way of treats) that catching mice on the actual farm. A nice dinner and we head off to bed and to get ready for our drive to KTP the next day.

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Sunday 2nd October

 

So after a lovely breakfast we are heading off to KTP, and finally we are off the tarmac and onto the gravel roads of Namibia. Avis had said change to four wheel drive as soon as we were off the tarmac, so J shifted to four wheel drive and off we head down the C15 towards Gochas. Although dirt, the road is in good condition and we get a move on.

 

There is various wildlife along the route although it tends to be well back from the road. There is very little traffic; we see less than a dozen vehicles along the whole 165 kilometre journey. At one point we become aware of a set of very narrow winding tracks, far too narrow for a car – even a small one. Finally we come across a lovely little horse drawn cart trotting smartly along the road, clearly it had been swerving across to find the best footing for the two horses pulling it and the single horse following along without any leading rein, which we assume must have been learning the job. We all waved as we drove very slowly past the trotting horses.

 

We probably caused some confusion as not long after we passed them we found a mole snake on the road.  J swerved to avoid it and then turned around to go and have a look at it. By the time the horses came trotting past we were sitting in the middle of the road photographing the snake. The horses shook their heads – clearly thinking “mad tourists”.

 

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We finally get close to the border for KTP around midday. We can see the gate ahead but standing in the middle of the gate is a Ground Squirrel.  J turns in – and the squirrel stays there. J edges forward – and the squirrel stays there, he edges forward again, and now we can’t see the very front of the car or the squirrel but there is no sign of the squirrel having come out. Finally I get out of the car, and walk round to the front. The squirrel is still standing there, up on its back legs, looking around no more than six inches in front of the bumper. I laugh and walk slowly towards it gently shooing the squirrel out of the way. It looks as me and then finally, reluctantly moves away to allow our car to pull into the border crossing at Mata Mata.

 

We deal with the paperwork to exit Namibia, including customs. We are warned that because we have a South African car, when we come back we will have to pay road tax to allow the car back into Namibia. (We are a bit surprised and annoyed that Avis failed to tell us about this & will defiantly have words with them when we get back to Windhoek). Luckily it is less than £15, so not a major problem.

 

Having exited Namibia, we head into KTP. There is no Government paperwork to do on this side because we never actually enter South Africa – we just arrive in a kind of no-mans-land for a while. We do have to complete the San Park registration documents. When we looked for guidance on what you could take across the border from Namibia into KTP we could not find anything definitive, and our paperwork suggested no meat and no vegetables. As it was only a five night visit and we did not feel like losing a lot of stuff we only took tinned stuff, thinking we could buy whatever we needed. However for anyone else wanting to do this trip we asked if there was anything that could not be taken across the border – the only things that cannot be taken across are guns and firewood. As it happened, the shops both at Mata Mata and Nossob had pretty much everything you could need – plenty of frozen meat, and lots of tinned veggies etc. They were a bit short on fresh vegetables and fruit, but you can catch up on that later. In addition there is a little shop just back on the Namibian side of the border which you can walk to, however today – Sunday – it is closed. 

 

So we have the key to our little cottage (cottage 12) which is one of the new ones built to overlook the waterhole. It is absolutely gorgeous. There is a lovely lounge with double doors onto a patio which overlooks the dry river bed and the waterhole. There is a small kitchen in the corner of the lounge which has a small hob and a large fridge. There is a good sized twin bedroom and a large bathroom. All of the rooms wonderfully clean and there is even a TV on the wall – mind you we never turned it on so I couldn’t say if it worked.

 

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On the patio area there is a substantial barbeque. More important though – off to one side is a large tree, and under that are a number of Ground Squirrel holes. The squirrels are clearly habituated to the guests and merrily go about their daily lives with J and I sitting on the wall watching as they dig, and scrabble around finding their lunch. Out the front of the patio there is a Yellow Mongoose, who sits for a while watching the world from under a thorn bush, before heading off on an excursion across the river bed and out into the main park.

 

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At about 3.30pm we decided to head out into the park to see what we could see. We went and collected our pass (the pass system means that the camps know if you have not returned when expected to do so) and told them that we would be back to camp that evening and set out through the gates:

 

We have barely left Mata Mata when we see a pair of Ostrich and then a whole wobble of baby Ostrich. (We just looked up the collective noun for ostrich and there seem to be a number of them including flock, pride and wobble – but I just like wobble better). Anyway we sit for a while watching these lovely stripy little ones pottering around on legs that seem far too big and chunky for their small bodies. The adults carefully set themselves between us and the babies but the babies dodge around more interested in the food they can find that in avoiding us. Eventually the adults succeed in herding them away from the road (did you know ostrich can be trained to herd sheep?) and we drive on.

 

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We see quite a lot of birds along our drive including Sociable Weavers, Cape Glossy Starlings, Scaly-feathered Weavers, Fork-tailed Drongo, Karoo Scrub Robins, and a Swallow-tailed Bee-eater. At Sitas waterhole there are Gemsbok. At Dalkeith there is a huge herd of Springbok all trying to crowd into the shade of one big tree.

 

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Now we find the Giraffe. Apparently Giraffe were extinct in KTP until fairly recently when a small number were translocated to the park. They are now breeding, but tend to stay around the area they were first released in.  These guys were enjoying their evening meal in the late afternoon sunlight.

 

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There’s a family of Black-winged Kites looking out over the park, and a small number of Wildebeest chewing on the last of the grass (the park looks very dry at the moment). It’s getting late and we don’t want to be late so we turn around on the loop road round the Veertiende Boorgat and head back slowly towards Mata Mata.

 

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We take one of the loop roads round Dalkeith and we can tell there is something interesting ahead as there is a collection of cars. There is a big male lion lying on the side of the road. As we approach he gets up and wanders across the road, before slumping down in the long grass. He lies sprawled flat, but every so often he lifts his head calling and looking   around before once more slumping back. Looking through the long grass he makes a lovely picture. We stop with the lion for a while but need to head off so we can take a comfortable drive back and make it well before the gates shut.

 

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We meander back along the roads, seeing Africa’s most popular bird the Lilac Breasted Rroller and one of J’s favourites the Crimson-breasted Shrike.  There’s a Kori Bustard marching proudly along the side of the road.

 

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And then... we see a car pulled across the road, we cruise up to see what they can see, and there, in the tree, is a Wildcat. The other car pulls away, leaving us alone with the Wildcat. We nudge the car to get angles, and to enjoy this beautiful little predator. It is incredibly tiny – looks so much like a domestic moggie, and yet lives out in this huge environment. We are joined by three other cars who seem to enjoy the wildcat as much as we do.

 

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Finally we and the other cars just have to leave – we are really pushing it to make the gates by this time. All four of the cars are trailing each other, keeping to the speed limit, but probably only just and we make the gates with six minutes to spare. 

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@Jaycees2012, I think your secrets out, "gender - not telling". Second  paragraph "and get changed in the ladies room"!

 I hope your really bad year is behind you and it's nice you've made the effort with the trip report, they are a lot of work. I really like your itinerary  and wished we'd added a side trip to KTP on our trip, it makes sense. What a great afternoon drive with the Lion and Wildcat, your photos are lovely.

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@elefromoz

 

14 hours ago, elefromoz said:

@Jaycees2012, I think your secrets out, "gender - not telling". Second  paragraph "and get changed in the ladies room"!

 I hope your really bad year is behind you and it's nice you've made the effort with the trip report, they are a lot of work. I really like your itinerary  and wished we'd added a side trip to KTP on our trip, it makes sense. What a great afternoon drive with the Lion and Wildcat, your photos are lovely.

 

Afraid the 'gender - not telling' hasn't been a secret for a while .......  See this response on our first TR (selous-and-ruaha_response64). Unfortunately, the gender box doesn't allow for 'team' efforts (me with text, J with photos)

 

The decision to go to KTP  was definitely a good one. Although there is some wildlife in the rest of the report, the majority is the amazing scenery of Southern Namibia.

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Monday 3rd October

 

Today is our full day drive is KTP, so we are up early, and I go and collect the pass so we are through the gates by just after 6am which is gate opening time at this time of year.

 

The plan today was to head as far down the road to Twee Rivers as possible, ensuring we were back in time for gate closing. We had our lunch packed in the cool box and we were ready to go see what we could see. The first thing we found was African Hoopoes. I really like these birds they have such character, and somehow we’ve always missed them when we have been in Africa (and even in Portugal we’ve only managed to see them as they fly away) so it was really nice to see them – mind you then every time we looked at a bush we seemed to find another pair.

 

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Other birds this morning were a nice Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, a Tawny Eagle, Namaqua Dove, Kori Bustard, a Secretary Bird, Black-winged Kite and Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill.

 

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While watching the Tawny Eagle we became aware of something else watching the Tawny Eagle. These rather cute little Gerbils (I think) needed to keep a much sharper eye on the eagle than we did. 

 

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We saw a number of antelopes including Gemsbok, Hartebeast, Springbok and Wildebeest during the day.

 

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A couple parked in a car under one of the trees told us that there was a Spotted Eagle-owl nest just above. After a few minutes scanning with the binoculars we found it tucked down into the bole of the tree, and in it there were a couple of pairs of very fluffy ears, and occasionally eyes, but they weren’t that keen on opening them. We passed this tree quite frequently and stopped on most occasions to see how they were doing, and even by our last day (only a few days on) they seemed to have grown and to be more active.

 

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When approaching Dertiende Boorgat waterhole we slowed as there was a car stopped. Suddenly there was a clatter of noise and a large black cape crow landed on the wing mirror. It held on quite firmly looking in the car to see if there was anything to eat. Once over my shock I gently shooed it away. These corvids are always a bit too bright and out for any opportunity. 

 

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We stopped for lunch at Kamqua picnic site before heading off a little further down the road.

 

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Just after the Montrose waterhole, was a very sleepy little Cape Fox. She was curled up in a very neat little ball with her nose tucked under her tail. We stopped to look at her, whilst a number of cars carried on past us. After a few minutes of sitting quietly an even smaller nose appeared, and a small cub came out from the den. And then another, and another, and yet another. Four charming little Cape Fox cubs who proceeded with a couple of interruptions when other cars went past (when they dived into the den) to jump and bounce around, clambering on and over their mother and generally just having fun. It was wonderful. They totally ignored us – even when we repositioned the car without starting the engine. And even though quite a few cars drove past no-one else stopped to enjoy this wonderful show. After a while (quite a while because we sat with the Cape Fox family for some time) mum got up to stretch her legs. A rather inattentive Ground Squirrel got a bit of a surprise when he found himself much closer than he intended to her. Luckily for him he realised in time and managed to disappear. She did a little walk around the den area before settling back down in her favourite spot, and once again the cubs all came bounding out to greet her.

 

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We travelled a little further down the road, but had to turn back as we had spent so long with the Cape Foxes. J spotted this substantial hare at the junction with the upper dune road. We’re not quite sure what kind of hare he is – we think a Cape Hare, but he was very comfortable and didn’t move even when another car stopped to look at him too.

 

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Just before the loop for Veertiende Boorgat waterhole we found another tree with another spotted eagle-owl nest, this time with visible adults in attendance, and this time with four youngsters (who were quite a bit older than at the other nest and also quite a bit more awake).

 

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Travelling along the road towards Mata Mata we had to come to a halt due to a small traffick jam. All of the books suggest that you can drive KTP in a two wheel drive, but my view is that if your do, you risk getting stuck on a semi regular basis. There are a very limited number of roads and they can end up in pretty poor condition. There were at least a couple of patches that were really deep, soft sand. Today one of the smaller two wheel drives had got itself well and truly bogged down. A large four wheel drive had come to the rescue – probably the rangers or a local as they had a very efficient tow rope, and once they had gotten themselves onto firm ground they yanked the car very neatly out of the sand trap. (We were aware of at least one other two wheel drive that got bogged down because as we were leaving KTP another guest was reporting a car stuck in the sand).

 

Now we are really getting close to Mata Mata, and after the Craig Lockhart waterhole we find cheetah. Four juvenile cheetah – they are watching the cars that have pulled over to watch them. We sit watching – and listening – young cheetahs make such a strange noise. You would never think that the high pitched chirping that they make would come from a big cat. Anyway after a while of them calling, mum came over the top of the dune and they all headed off to meet her before disappearing over the other side.

 

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We saw a Yellow Mongoose, sitting frozen on the ground. It wasn’t moving – not even its head – just staring in the same direction. Following its gaze up to the trees we found an adult Verreaux’s Eagle-owl. I guess it wanted to make sure that if it was spotted it got the best chance to escape.

 

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Today we make it back to camp a little earlier – we have a whole 10 minutes before the gates close. So having popped in to the shop we headed back to our chalet for our dinner and a good night’s sleep.

 

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Tuesday 4th October

 

Today we have to drive all the way to Bitterpan, but first we have to get to Nossob where you check in for the drive to Bitterpan. It is cold this morning – the car says its 3 degrees, and the ice warning light has come on. We don’t really think there is any danger of ice, but it is definitely a bit chilly even for those of us from the UK.

 

So we head out the gate and we’ve barely gone any distance at all. In fact the sun is barely climbing above the horizon, when up on the top of the ridge we see the cheetah family again. They are clearly enjoying the first rays of the sun, and looking for breakfast. After a short while they disappear down the other side of the ridge.

 

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Along the route we saw a juvenile Bateleur Eagle, we stop briefly to say good morning to the fluffy Spotted Eagle Owl chicks (one of the chicks had gone exploring and was in a different part of the tree to the others). This morning we saw a nice Steenbok in the long dry grass, more Wildebeest and whilst still on the Auob Road we found another Cape Fox den. The little fox was enjoying the early morning sunshine. 

 

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We stopped for breakfast at the Kamqua Picnic spot at about 9.00 am, and were almost the only people there before heading across the Upper Dune Road.

 

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For some reason there seemed to be a number of birds of prey along the Upper Dune Road including Greater Kestrel and Pale Chanting Goshawk,  as well as other birds such as the Northern Black Korhaan. There were also quite a few antelope including some nice Red Hartebeast.

 

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Once we crossed the park we dropped into the Dikbaardskolk Picnic site which was awash with birds including Cape Glossy Starlings, White-Backed Mousebirds, Familiar Chats, African Red-eyed Bulbuls, and flocks of Red-headed Finches and Sociable Weavers. At some point people had set up homemade water dispensers for the birds on the picnic tables. There were also a small group of Four-striped Grass Mice that were totally un-phased by humanity, which were wandering around the picnic tables, and these put on a lovely display of clambering around in the bushes. Having dutifully topped up the water dispenser we headed up the road towards Nossob.

 

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The waterholes along this route had substantial herds of Gemsbok and some Wildebeest. We also see a Black-headed Heron. About half way to Nossob we found a very pretty little female Steenbok. She seemed totally unworried by the car so we sat and watched her for a while. After a bit she moved over to a thick thorn bush and started grazing, carefully folding her ears tightly back against her head, presumable to avoid them catching on the thorns. After a while we noticed a pair of smaller ears tucked down in the grass under the thorn bush. Presumably this was her fawn. The whole time that we watched it stayed safely tucked down where mum could keep an eye on it.

 

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We arrived at Nossob around 2pm and had a quick look around the camp, before we signed it so that we could head onwards along the four wheel track to Bitterpan.

 

So now we need to get to Bitterpan. Bitterpan is right in the middle of KTP – you are not actually allowed to stay there unless you are driving a four wheel drive vehicle. J has been looking forward to driving this “road” ever since we plotted this trip. He booked himself a half day four wheel driving course (as he has never driven four wheel drive before). The road is definitely interesting – and is a good two and a half hours of pretty intensive four wheel driving. Some of the roads are sand, including one very steep sand dune, which we did manage to slightly bog down in. After a careful scan of the surroundings for lions (or indeed anything else which might eat us), we got out of the vehicle, moved some sand by digging with our hands (no shovels provided) from behind the wheels and managed to get free to back up and have another go (a bit faster), which got us safely to the top. J reckons that with the greater experience he now has he would be able to get us up first time. But to be honest I reckon he did a great job. The road rolls along with the dunes, some of it sand and some of it a bit firmer, but all of it very clearly four wheel drive. There is some wildlife along the road (a male Steenbok, a fabulous sighting of a Secretary Bird) but it is limited, probably because it is so dry.

 

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We arrive at Bitterpan around 5pm and are shown to our cabin. This is one of the wilderness camps in KTP so it is a lot more basic than the main camps. The cabin is probably around eight foot square with a bunk down each side of the room and a bit of storage at the end of the bunk. There are private bathrooms for each of the four cabins but they are not en-suite but are across an open air corridor. At the front of the cabin there is a small balcony where you can sit and look out across the pan, and the waterhole. Down below the balcony there is a small enclosed area where there is a barbeque – the fencing is no more than three feet high, and would not stop anything coming in. The camp itself is not fenced so you do need to pay attention to what is around especially at night, and when going to the bathroom.

 

We settle in and watch the sun go down whilst setting up our barbeque for the night. This is a wonderful place to barbeque – there are a truly huge number of Laughing Gecko’s that reside at Bitterpan. You can see their holes all around the place, but you very rarely see them (we did actually see one who liked the residual heat of the barbeque after we had finished cooking) but you can hear them everywhere. The sound of their “laughing”, echoes around the whole pan, making it sound like there must be hundreds of thousands of them in this area.

 

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There are two other couples stopping at Bitterpan tonight, both of them are South African. After we have eaten we all sit around their fire chatting the evening away and looking up at the stars which are particularly clear tonight. J spent quite a bit of the summer trying to hone his barbeque skills ready for this part of the trip, and managed well – all of our barbeques took and we managed to cook our meat. The South African’s however did not use the usual paper, kindling, firelighters, but instead used what looked like a flamethrower to me – some kind of device with a gas burner and a long pipe which they pushed into the centre of their wood tower and which immediately created a huge blaze. They called it efficient – we called it cheating!! But - having got past that - we spent a pleasant evening just nattering before heading off for an early bed. 

 

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Posted (edited)

18 hours ago, Jaycees2012 said:

 "did not use the usual paper, kindling, firelighters, but instead used what looked like a flamethrower to me – some kind of device with a gas burner and a long pipe which they pushed into the centre of their wood tower and which immediately created a huge blaze. They called it efficient – we called it cheating!!

 

 

My opinion ( as a professionally opinionated person): the moment you use anything more technically advanced than two sticks or two rocks, you are cheating.

 

After that, we are just talking degrees.

Personally, I use parrafin.

 

Fantastic photography and wonderful sightings of little ones!

Edited by Peter Connan
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@Peter Connan   :)

 

Personally, if we tried to use flint or 2 sticks we would have long ago died of starvation!!! So not sure firelighters are 'cheating' but we get your point.

 

Glad you like the photos - we have more to come ....

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4 hours ago, Jaycees2012 said:

 

 

Glad you like the photos - we have more to come ....

 

That is good news @Jaycees2012

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Wednesday 5th October 

 

So this morning we wake up early, but we don’t have to be anywhere urgently. We have both been suffering with stinking colds, picked up on the flight and are definitely feeling a bit tired. So we lie in bed and watch the sun come up through the open door of our cabin. Having got up we wave goodbye to the South Africans who are heading home today – driving all the way to Cape Town, before we have breakfast. 

 

You can tell it is going to be hot today, so we head out early to do the loop drive that is only available to Bitterpan residents. It’s fairly quiet up here – I suspect it is too dry to attract too many animals at the moment but there are some of the usual birds including Northern Black Korhaan and there are Gemsbok around the loop and back at the camp. 

 

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Back at camp we pull some of the comfortable chairs from the communal kitchen and sit on the communal balcony above the firepit reading and reviewing photos. It’s a pleasant way to spend a day in Africa.

 

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There are a couple of crows around, and after a while we notice that they are being particularly noisy. We check them out but can’t see anything so go back to reviewing the photos. Suddenly one of the crows is shrieking, it lunges from its tree, diving at the ground at the edge of the firepit area. “What the hell” we wonder as it half disappears behind the concrete circle into the sand. And then a yellow hooded head rears up. “Snake” I half shout. The crow and the Cape Cobra are lunging at each other. Then the snake takes off across the sand with the crow in pursuit. The snake is a good five foot long and that crow is chasing it like a bat out of hell. The snake dives into the vegetation with the crow flying after it. Once again the crow dives landing in the bush right next to the snake. I watch stunned from the balcony. J goes down to the edge of the concrete – keeping clear of both the crow and the snake and checking for any other snake and watches the snake and the crow, until it appears the snake finally finds a hole to escape down. Who would have thought a crow would be such an efficient snake warden, or that it would take on such a venomous creature. 

 

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Later we would see the crow hunting down one of the striped mice that live around the camp. It marched determinedly under the cabins – looking, hunting and then lunged, stabbing with its beak and came out with a sad little body dangling. It then proceeded to tear the body into chunks sharing its successful hunt with the other crow. 

 

Sometimes the creatures you would normally overlook provide you with some of the most amazing animal behaviour, and remind you that all creatures are incredible.

 

Later in the afternoon more guests arrived, and for a while a juvenile Lanner Falcon sat in one of the trees in front of the cabins. The crows chased it off after a short while, but as they had dealt with the snake so efficiently earlier we forgave them. 

 

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We cooked our dinner to the sound of the gecko’s watching the sun going down, and again joined the other guests for stargazing and chatting around the fire, before heading to bed. We planned to be on our way early tomorrow, back to the more main area of KTP.

 

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Thursday 6th October

 

This morning we are up and ready to depart Bitterpan by 6.30. It’s a lovely morning and we head down the escape road from Bitterpan, having got permission from the warden, which is only around half an hour of rolling dune road before you hit the main Upper Dune park road. We turn onto the Upper Dune park road and almost immediately find a really big male cheetah. He has just crossed the road and is walking around fifty meters away from the road but along it. We cruise along slowly keeping pace with him. He is absolutely stunning in the morning light, and poses beautifully at the top of one of the dunes, before turning and heading straight back towards the road, and in particular to a tree which is probably one of his normal calling places. He totally ignores us, sniffing around the base of the tree which is no more than six foot from the road. Having checked if anyone else has been there he turns tail and heads off into the dunes. This was a wonderful private sighting of this beautiful predator in the prime of his life. 

 

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No more than ten minutes later we find a pair of Black-backed Jackals at a waterhole. They seem quite relaxed in the early morning light, and one of them actually heads towards the car apparently investigating us. At one point she finds an ostrich feather and for a couple of minutes she prances around with the feather in her mouth proudly showing off her find. Eventually they decide that the tourists are not going to do anything particularly interesting and head off into the park.

 

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On our journey up to Nossob we also see Red Hartebeast, Steenbok, Springbok, Pale Chanting Goshawk, African Hoopoe, and a juvenile Gemsbok (they really don’t look much like the adults, but they have the same way of staring at passing tourists). We also see one of a very few Lappet-faced Vultures.

 

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We arrive at Nossob a bit early and decide to drive through and have a look at some of the waterholes North of Nossob. We find some nice groups of Springbok and another good sighting of a Secretary Bird at Cubitje Quap waterhole. Our only previous sightings of this bird have been of its tail feathers as it rapidly races off in another direction, so it’s wonderful to get some good sightings of this schoolmasterly bird.

 

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We pass another South African registered vehicle and they slow, so we slow to see if they have anything interesting to tell us of. J leans forward and they say… “Is that the new Fortuner – we haven’t seen one before!” J answers  “uhhh.... yeah I think so.” They are very keen to see the car and J finally asks “Is this the most interesting thing you have seen this morning?” “No they say but it is the second!” They tell us about a male Lion (to the South of Nossob Camp) and where it was last seen so we head on to see what else we can find. There wasn’t much around in the heat of the day so we drive back to Nossob to check in.

 

We book into our chalet at Nossob (chalet 2). It’s a little bit strange with a kitchen on one side and a pleasant enough bathroom. There is a small patio out front with the ever present braii. Then there is a large twin bedroom with a ceiling fan, and behind that a room that has been turned into a twin room, but which looks as if at one time it was a kind of storage area, and it has a door back to where the car can be parked. It is nice and clean however and more than adequate for the two of us.

 

We unpack the car and J runs into the couple we met earlier who were keen on the Fortuner – they ask if they can have a good look, and J stands chatting to them. She is apparently British but married to a South African, and they and their daughter are taking a brief tour of KTP. They are really surprised to see Brits in KTP.

 

We head out from Nossob at about 3pm and go south. We are looking for the lion that was mentioned this morning and eventually we find a male Lion literally on the side of the road. He has been in the same spot since early this morning, so we drove past him on our way to Nossob. In our defence the slope of the road totally hid the dip he is in from the other direction. He’s lying flat on his back with his paws in the air, showing his stomach and much else to all who pass.

 

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Driving around we see a lot more Pale Chanting Goshawk. At Marie Se Draai waterhole there is huge flock of Cape Sparrows, hundreds of these birds dart to the water and back to the bushes in a similar way to the murmurations of starlings seen in the UK in Autumn. They move like a single creature composed of hundreds of little birds. We see more Gemsbok, and Black-backed Jackal, and in the road there is a male Steenbok, who is very unwilling to move for the car. Tonight – our last night in KTP there is a lovely sunset as we head back to camp.

 

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Tonight is our last braii or barbeque and we have chicken skewers which cook nice and quickly. There are a few biting insects here so we don’t sit out for too long tonight – a bit of a shame seeing as it is our last night in KTP, but it will help us with getting up early for our last day. Overnight we can hear lions roaring not far from the camp.

 
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Friday 7th October 

 

We pack our luggage into the car and head out from Nossob for our last real drive through KTP. The immigration post that we have to cross to get back into Namibia closes at 4.30pm – so that means we need to be back to Mata Mata by 4.00pm at the absolute latest (preferably closer to 3.30pm as you never know how long the paperwork is going to take).

 

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It is a beautiful morning with a stunning sunrise as we exit through the gate. We have barely exited Nossob when we find a Black-backed Jackal; he is kicking up some dust in the morning light and makes an amazing evocative scene. He has barely trotted off when we find some of the lions who may have been roaring overnight. You really can’t miss them because they (a female and a young male) are walking and sitting down in the middle of the road creating a minor traffic jam. We follow them for a while and then, because there is quite a train of cars, we squeeze past the lions to let other people see them. As J carefully edges past I look out of the car window straight down into the curious eyes of the young male.

 

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The Black-backed Jackals seem to be out in force today, and we sit for a while watching a group of four at one of the waterholes. A Kori Bustard strides past us, and we see another Crimson-breasted Shrike, along with a number of other birds. There are plenty of Gemsbok around, including a Gemsbok at Eland Waterhole (posing for a standard tourist photo with an old fashioned water pump, rather than the modern solar powered ones).

 

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Once again the Upper Dune Road was good for birds of prey, including a nice pair of Lanner Falcons, Black-wing Kite and a number of Greater Kestrels. There was also a Northern Black Korhaan which was being extremely noisy.

 

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Following a quick comfort break we headed back towards Mata Mata. Tucked away at the back of the bushes near Kamqua Picnic Spot was a Spotted Thick Knee. Along the route we saw the usual wildlife including Springbok, some nice Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills. We paid our final visits to the two Spotted Eagle Owl chicks, waved a distant farewell to a pair of lions who were snoozing under a tree. The Ostrich and its flock of youngsters trotted along the side of the road for a while, and we saw a very impressive Martial Eagle sitting high up in a tree – surveying its kingdom.

 

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We make it back to Mata Mata just after 3.30pm (perfect) and deal with all of the paperwork. There is virtually nothing to get out of South Africa, but you have to do all the paperwork to re-enter Namibia (the same forms that you do flying into Windhoek). If we do anything like this again I will grab a number of the forms when we first enter Namibia and complete them all in peace and quiet one evening. We complete all the documentation – including paying the tax for the South African registered car to be driven on Namibian roads.

 

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So by the time we left KTP it was close to 4.30pm. Now we take a short drive down the road to our overnight stop at the Kalahari Game Lodge.

 

This is a very nice lodge – it has lovely big rooms that look out over a dried river bed. (This is the Aoub River which flows past Mata Mata Camp before going downs the Western side of KTP before it joins the Nossob River near Twee Rivieren Camp). There are some animals that come down to the small waterhole, and some nice birds. The food here is excellent and they offer some interesting game options including lion tracking – however we are only here for one night before heading down to Fish River Canyon.

 

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@Jaycees2012 I am really enjoying your detailed report of KTP. Thanks for the photos of the area around Bitterpan, haven't seen anything recent from here for a while now.

 

The Cape Fox pups are so cute.

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The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, already the best park we have visited, becomes even more attractive through your mesmerizing sightings and photos. The Cape Fox cubs are oh so cute, and the crow vs. cobra sequence would push some adrenaline through my veins.

 

Not only in February or in April, but also in October, the light is just the best one can hope for! Once you can get a great photo with an iPhone that is to say a lot about the light available, and how good it is. Not to mention all your sunrises and sunsets. After reading your TR, and enjoying your photos, the 2019 and our next visit to KTP cannot come early enough!

 

Not an accomplished birder myself bu I think the Martial Eagle is in fact a Black-chested Snake Eagle. 

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On 11/26/2017 at 9:11 AM, Treepol said:

@Jaycees2012 I am really enjoying your detailed report of KTP. Thanks for the photos of the area around Bitterpan, haven't seen anything recent from here for a while now.

 

The Cape Fox pups are so cute.

 

Glad that you're enjoying the TR - Bitterpan was 'interesting' as we never expected the humble Cape Crow to be the star of the show! 

 

The little Cape Fox pups were super cute and very, very active.  :)

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12 hours ago, xelas said:

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, already the best park we have visited, becomes even more attractive through your mesmerizing sightings and photos. The Cape Fox cubs are oh so cute, and the crow vs. cobra sequence would push some adrenaline through my veins.

 

Not only in February or in April, but also in October, the light is just the best one can hope for! Once you can get a great photo with an iPhone that is to say a lot about the light available, and how good it is. Not to mention all your sunrises and sunsets. After reading your TR, and enjoying your photos, the 2019 and our next visit to KTP cannot come early enough!

 

Not an accomplished birder myself bu I think the Martial Eagle is in fact a Black-chested Snake Eagle. 

 

Oops!! :huh:  Thank-you for the 'correction' regarding the eagle. Just re-checked our field guide and would agree that the lack of spots on the lower chest confirms that this is a Black-chested Snake Eagle rather than the suggested Martial Eagle. Re-posting the relevant photography with a corrected title.

 

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We enjoyed KTP - probably not enough time spent there though as there is a lot more to see. Hopefully, we'll get the opportunity to go back in the near future.

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Beautiful  photo's of your time in KTP, thank you for sharing your journey. Great selection of birds and scenery etc but the "young pretender" is captured brilliantly. Cheers

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Saturday 8th October

 

Today we have a long drive down to Fish River Canyon.  The day is still bright but it’s a lot cooler (it never actually gets above 18 degrees). So we head out along the roads, it starts fairly similar to the roads we drove to get to KTP, however we have the joy of seeing a small pack of Meerkat’s race across the road. We stop and try to look for them but they keep running until they are only just in binocular range.

 

The D511 road is a slight cross country diversion (our directions suggested we carry on up the C15 and then go back along the C17 – two sides of a triangle) and it is really, really hilly. The road feels like it has been graded recently but is just like a roller coaster, sweeping up and down over the dunes. It is actually a really nice road and we enjoyed it.

 

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We had intended to stop at the Quiver Tree Forest but somehow managed to miss it. We did however see a number of quiver trees, which were lovely against the skyline, and some of the standing stones. All along the road you can see trees where the Sociable Weavers have built their cities in the sky (or at least in the tree). They are massive constructions of grass, and hay carefully constructed to provide mass housing for these little birds. Where there are no trees old telegraph poles will do! Travelling along there a occasional sightings including birds and monitor lizards.

 

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We hit tarmac just before Keetmanshoop, and headed south. Again we ended up taking a slight diversion from the written instructions, and driving past the Naute Dam. We also found what looks like a fairly new café, which has been set up as the front end of a distillery (Naute Kristall Cellar and Distillery). There were huge rows of grapes and various other fruits (e.g. date palms) and the option to try various kinds of their distilled products (which were very nice). They are clearly trying to get Namibian wine going (I suppose that with it being very close to South Africa there should be good options for wine making). We ended up buying some date Brandy which J assures me is very nice, and was a lot cheaper than it was at the airport duty free shop. J tells me that due the Naute Dam, this area of Namibia is one of the few with a water surplus, so the Government is encouraging agriculture to use this water).

 

We continued on down the road, and the scenery got bigger and bigger, it started to remind us of Arizona, and then the CD player started playing the Dixie Chicks “Wide Open Spaces” – we looked at each other and grinned - one thing that we certainly had was very, very wide open spaces.

 

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We pulled into the Canyon Road House intending to get to diesel. J got out and was chatting with the attendant when a car with a flat tyre pulled over from the Road House. The attendant said to J “He must think that we can fix his flat tyre – we can’t, we just do fuel.” The car pulled up and the driver opened the window and said “fill it up please.” J and the attendant looked at each other “Errrr – don’t you want to deal with the flat tyre.” The driver said “what flat tyre?”. J and the attendant pointed to his tyre and he got out “Scheister” he said. As it happened the service station guys pretty much changed the tyre for the German driver even though they were only supposed to deal with petrol.

 

The grounds of the Canyon Road House are interesting to say the least. There are a large number of old car wrecks scattered in a very artistic fashion around the grounds. There is a really lovely garden with a lot of birds. There is a lovely café (which continues the theme of the old cars) which has a lively buzzing atmosphere. We had a drink, but it was too close to dinner to eat despite what looked to be a nice little menu.

 

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So we carry on a little further before turning off towards Canyon Village. It’s a larger place than most we have stayed at, there are at least a couple of coaches here already. So we squeeze the car into the last parking spot and scramble out to be greeted by a trio of donkeys. They watch curiously from their stable, so I have a little chat with them, and give them a pat. At this lodge the rooms are tucked away behind reception – they do not allow cars round near the rooms, and if you are a single car with a few bags the staff will carry them round. However for a coach with twenty / thirty or more bags, they harness two of the donkeys up to a small cart and they take the luggage round to the rooms. It doesn’t seem a bad life for the donkeys.

 

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Anyway we are tucked away into room 20, and there is just time to unpack before we head off for the sunset walk. It’s a fairly short walk and a small climb up one of the large rocky kopje. It would normally be a pleasant way to spend the evening, sitting watching the sun going down – but tonight it is freezing, the wind is blowing a gale and despite wearing our fleeces we duck down behind the rocks trying to get out of the wind. As soon as the sun has gone we scramble down and head back to the rooms for a warm shower and a meal. Tonight it’s a buffet. 

 

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After dinner we settled into the lounge to make a few notes on the day, when the lodge cat arrived. It looked at us, before calmly leaping up to settle itself very comfortably on my lap. After finishing our notes and coffee, and finally persuading a disgruntled cat that it had to move from my lap we headed off to bed.

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Sunday 9th October

 

This morning we are up early as we want to head to Fish River Canyon. Fish River Canyon is the fifth biggest Canyon in the world (only just smaller than The Grand Canyon in the USA). Day visitors can’t go down into the canyon but there is one main place to view it. We head down the road, and pay our entry fee into the park. We drive onward and come to a large viewing platform - the views are spectacular. You can see for miles into and across the canyon.

 

There are a couple of four wheel tracks that run out from the main view point which give different views into the canyon. First off, we head north along the side of the Canyon, and then we head south, we park up and walk further along the canyon to the picnic spot. The views are spectacular.

 

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After a fair bit of trekking around the top of the canyon we head away - and stop off at the Canyon Roadhouse for lunch. It’s been cool again today but it is starting to warm up and we sit in the sunshine watching the birds and having a nice relaxed lunch amid the old cars.

 

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After lunch we head off to see the hot springs at Ai-Ais.  We drive along the road, and then suddenly J brakes and starts backing up. “What is it” I ask, but he’s too busy looking over his shoulder, and then he stops. Standing about ten meters back from the road looking at us curiously, surprisingly undisturbed by the swift braking, is a pair of Klipspringers. We have seen these little antelopes before but generally at a distance. This is a really great sighting, they seem totally unbothered, she carries on munching the vegetation, he wanders around finding some rocks so he can pose on the skyline – and we sit in the car watching and photographing them for around half an hour before they finally wander behind their rocks. Klipspringers appear to have a really unusual coat; it is short and mottled in a way that makes them disappear into the rocks in a really efficient way. This sighting was a real bonus and we headed onward in a very happy mood.

 

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We arrived at Ai-Ais and paid our $10 fee – but oh what a disappointment. The hot springs were - well to be honest - pathetic. It is really a hotel with camping grounds – and one of the very few places that we saw baboons. The baboons had found the campsite bins and despite clear attempts to keep them out had figured out the way to get into them. We had a cold drink and a sit in the shade watching the birds (it was getting really hot now) before we headed back to Canyon Village.

 

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We turned down the road to Canyon Village, this bit of road is really rough so we are travelling slowly and suddenly we see .... a Klipspinger.  The little male Klipspringer was no more than ten meters from the road, again he is totally relaxed. He crossed the road ahead of us and is wandering towards the rocky hill that the hotel is behind. We open the window and take some photographs, looking to see if we can see the female. We look where he is going – scanning the rocky area, we look where he has come from, trying to see behind various rocks. J gets the binoculars out and scans more carefully and I sit watching the male. There’s a gentle sound – something that is just slightly out of place – slowly it makes its way into my head. “Damn” I say to J “I know where she is!” “Where” says J. “She’s behind that bush” – about a meter in front of the car “I can hear her eating!” We both look carefully at the bush and just peeking out the back of the bush is a mottled back end – and then she reverses out. She glances at us, grabs another mouthful of the bush and then casually wanders across to join her partner. J and I look at each other and grin. Today has been a good day – the lovely canyon and then two absolutely fabulous sightings of Klipspringers. Now we understand why the logo used for Canyon Village is a Klipspringer.

 

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Back at the Canyon Village we say hello to the donkeys, and then wander towards the entrance. Watching us approach are a group of Rock Hyrax. They are lounging in the last bits of today’s sun warming up before the day cools down. It is always nice to see these cute little guys and they are more than happy to pose for photos.

 

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Monday 10th October

 

Today we are leaving Fish River Canyon and heading to Luderitz. Our directions send us north, using  the same road that we came in by, but J has been looking at the maps again, and has decided he wants to work his way south, around the bottom of Fish River Canyon and along the South African border. This will mean travelling along the edge of the Orange River. It will add a couple of hours to our travel time – but what the heck!

 

What an absolutely fantastic decision – this is a scenic drive and a half. We go from the wide open spaces around Canyon Village, then to light desert, into the stony hills, then we head into proper dry desert with no plants growing, now we are driving through pink rock mountains, and the land opens up again stretching wide, (a nice big male kudu watches us), and finally there is a mix of the pink and black mountains. 

 

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Down at the bottom of the canyon there is now a park gate which checks you through. There is a vehicle stopped here which has a flat tyre which is being changed. The gate office is very new and there are also some very nice clean loos. Now we head onto the narrow winding roads that go along the bottom of the park. There is restriction on vehicles that are allowed to take this route – no coaches are allowed because of the narrow winding roads. You do not need a four wheel drive but should be ok with a robust two wheel drive. The roads wind through the rocky hills and sand and then you find yourself travelling along the edge of the Orange River. It is quite stunningly beautiful. This clear bright blue river, with its edges cloaked in bright green winds through the desert like a ribbon thrown down on the dusty, dry, orange ground. There are herons and other water birds along this route enjoying the relief that the river brings to this area. This bit of Namibia is totally undeveloped – at least at the moment, but it would be a beautiful place to spend a few days.

 

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We finally finish our drive along the river and head up the road towards Rosh Pinah. This is a zinc mining town. It is very modern and there is obviously a lot of employment and quite a bit of money around. It is a decent place to grab a cold drink and a sandwich before heading on. Now we have the only bit of this route that we did not like. Rosh Pinah to Aus is tarmacked (for all the zinc lorries), it is dead straight (the Romans would be proud), there are very few changes of scenery – and the only real traffic on the roads are the empty zinc trucks coming back to Rosh Pinah. This is probably one of the most dangerous roads we drove the whole time we were in Namibia (tarmac/ straight and incredibly boring) – because we struggled to keep our eyes open. We turned the music on loud, something up beat and lively and just about managed to get to Aus in one piece.

 

At Aus we decided a break was required, and called in to the Bahnhoff Hotel for a coffee. They have a lovely veranda that overlooks Aus and it was pleasant to sit watching the street life. We parked the car opposite, right behind another white Fortuner. The passengers of the other Fortuner exited the hotel whilst we were sitting on the veranda, and whilst the driver managed to pick the correct vehicle we watched with amusement as the passenger tried to get into our vehicle, and was confused when the door would not open.

 

Now we headed from Aus to Luderitz, and there was a big coach in front of us. They turned down the track to go and see the wild horses, so we decided that we would visit the horses when we came back from Luderitz. 

 

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We are booked into the Nest Hotel in Luderitz – room 120. We walk in and suddenly there is a view out across the ocean – it’s clean and fresh and smells of the sea. It is such a change from the long dusty road since Rosh Pinah that it is breath-taking. It is also a lot, lot cooler here. The breeze is coming in off the sea and it is pleasant to have the moisture in the air, rather than the normal dry air of Namibia. We have a little wander round the grounds and sit looking at the sea and the sunset, before getting ready for dinner.

 

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Tonight it is a fish buffet. You can choose what fish you want from the raw fish on offer, and then you take it to the chef who cooks it rapidly for you on a very hot hotplate. It is absolutely delicious.

 

J says that overnight he woke up at one point, and could not figure out what the noise was outside the room, as it did not sound like normal bush noises. Eventually he figured out it was the waves on the beach and happily went back to sleep.

 
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Views from Roadhouse side over the Firsh river canyo are indeed spectacular, even more then those from Fish River Lodge. The whole road trip from KTP to Luderitz is a fantastic judging by your excellent landscape photos. Specially driving by the Orange river; many rivers can be crossed in Namibia but none with that much water.

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I spent a night there next to the orange river in July, and must agree, that section is worth a couple of days at least.

 

Lovely photos!

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Great travel story so far am really enjoying this, Fish River Canyon and Orange river pic's are sweet.

The interaction with the klipspringers is something special in my mind, they are are an animal that intriques me and i have only seen them once before,thanks guys for sharing. 

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