A marvellous adventure!
For lovers of wildlife, nature, wilderness and people, this was the trip of a lifetime. Four months in a jeep/tent, wandering as the mood took us, this was life as good as it gets!
This story is a quick overview. There will be more detail on some of the individual activities/locations.
Picked up Jeep and spent few days in Windhoek-a small but interesting and friendly city -lot of access to history.
Itinerary took us to 4 corners of Namibia and Northern Botswana.
Itinerary was – Southern Kalahari, Quiver Trees, Fish River Canyon, Luderlitz, Betta, Sossusveil, Swakopmund, Spitzkopfe, Twyfelfontein, Epupu Falls, Etosha NP (long stay) Divundu, Kwando, Katimo Mulilo (All Namibia) and then into Botswana, Kasane, Chobe River, Savuti, Moremi, Okavango Delta (all long stay), Maun and back to Windhoek.
The magic travel machine (or so-called Wanderly Wagon!) allowed us the freedom to travel as we wished. It also allowed us to cover some very tricky terrain. The pleasure of living and sleeping in these surrounds was just mind blowing. This was unlike those on fixed itineraries (including Grand Lodges) who had very little time for the experiences.
We witnessed, painted (and lived amongst-literally!) an unbelievable variety of wildlife. This was all in a natural environment with minimal humans.
The variety of landscape was also an artists dream – The Mighty Fish River Canyon, Sossusvlei massive red dunes, Spitzkopfe, Epupu Falls (a hugely understated experience), Kalahari, Rivers, Jungles, etc.
The people also fascinating in their practices and friendly by nature. It is impossible to do justice to the attractiveness and diversity of the wildlife etc of these wonderful places -the following gives a flavour
Windhoek – small but pleasant capital – very friendly.
Southern Kalahari and unique Quiver Tree-a type of aloe
The Extraordinary Fish River Canyon -in SW- would compete with Grand Canyon in scale and beauty!
Luderlitz with its colourful buildings-a coastal town with a distinct German flavour.
The nearby Ghost Town of Kolmanskop, abandoned in 1956 having been a thriving diamond mining town.
Sossusvlei in the Namib Naukluft Desert with its massive Red Sand dunes is a remarkable site. Best seen at dawn and sunset when the colours are at their most dramatic. One remarkable incident was, as I was painting at dawn one morning, a group of travellers arrived. One couple of those remarkably lived about 10 miles away from us in Ireland- no escape!
Swapkopmund on coast, directly East of Winhoek. It is a pleasant medium size town with its own daily fish market. It also has many shops for souvenirs and for stocking up for trip.
Spitzekópfe and “wanderly!”
The remarkable but little visited Epupu Falls. These lie in the remote north west in the heart of Himba Tribe country. A long drive on rough roads but well worth it as these Falls in scale and beauty give many a run for their money.
We stayed in 4 of the camping areas and wandered most of this fantastic place. Every concieveable wildlife animal and bird was to be seen in their natural environment.
It was quite dry, so large numbers of animals visited the waterholes. To see the massive grande damme Elephant appearing over the horizon and leading her multi-generation troup was just mesmerising. Living amongst the herds of various animals and birds was an enduring experience-elephants, lions, leopards(rare), cheetahs(rare), rhino pairs, zebras, giraffes and various antelopes – watching the interactions within and between the groups -remarkable!
Caprivi Strip – a totally different environment.
A close one – we wanted to see hippos. So this local took us out on a raft into the middle of a fairly aggressive group-ye get religion!
Undoubtedly one of worlds richest areas of wildlife – and with few people so very natural, we spent a long time just living with the wildlife – all along from Chobe river to Okavango Delta. We eventually arrived at Maun and back to Winhoek. Border crossing easy – but important to have correct vehicle docs.
Okavango Sunset – Wonderful experience out on the vast delta
It was remarkable to see the exhausted elephant herd arrive at the waterhole, after sunset after a long dry trek and observe the family caring relationships.
We spent many a night looking at the comings and goings and antics of a whole bunch of rhinos – the competition and provocation was remarkable
The number and variety of birds had to be seen to be believed.
Fish Eagle one of hundreds of birds of Okavango
Sociable Weaver nest – Hundreds of inhabitants
Getting Involved! Monkeys prevalent everywhere and always wanted to get in on the act-great fun!
One particular monkey event was, after days of starvation and surviving on stables, I eventually found a pack of buns in a “rural shop”. Had just opened when a pesky monkey grabbed the packet, climbed to top of tree and proceeded to eat my treat and toss the papers at me!
Driving in Northern Botswana – scary!
One unfortunate aspect is that shortly after arrival it rained for 48hrs non-stop. This resulted in a scary time travelling between different points. The nature of the tracks was very up and down, with every “down” filled with water usually up 1-1.5m, over flowing lakes, deep sticky sand, etc. So driving forward was very challenging and even scary – venturing into the unknown! We many times thanked the durability and resilience of the marvelous machine – a Toyoto Hilux. No doubt, with a lesser machine we would have been in trouble many times.
A coffee shop in Addis Ababa – remarkable stop-off on way home. An interesting city. The man in photo is a local schoolteacher who brought us to the interesting places and gave us some insights.