Friday, September 23, 2011

Africa for beginners...

"Ah, Namibia... Africa for beginners" said Oddvar when I told him we were heading there on the next break. "Will be easy for you guys, but you'll love it." He was right. It is 'Africa for beginners' and we did love it. It's an easy and fun place to travel. For starters, the roads are brilliant - even the dirt roads are regularly graded and
have views to inspire any photographer.

Top that off with big skies,

great roads,

highly trained medical practitioners who are skilled in a variety of ailments,
great campsites dotted all over the countryside,

with brilliant views,
not to mention, magnificent deserts,

and heaps of wildlife,
which turn up everywhere.
And the signs don't lie...
Luckily the heffalumps are friendly and have a mission (eat everything in sight) which keeps them too busy to bother with us mere humans.

One of the highlights was a two hour flight a couple of hundred feet above the Sossusvlei (a salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes) located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park.

The Namib Naukluft abuts the dunes of the Skeleton Coast and you can see how that piece of coastline got it's name.

If you were a shipwrecked sailor here who couldn't walk 100km of sand-dunes and desert, your chances of survival were slim.
For the more fortunate among us (ie. NOT shipwrecked sailors), the Skeleton Coast is perfect for sand boarding and photography,

scenic flights over amazing dunes,
and four wheel drive camping.

Basically, we picked up a 4WD at the airport, then spent 11 days four-wheel-driving, hiking, lazing and camping.  In between that we did some white water rafting, paddling inflatable canoes down a crocodile infested river,

camping under the stars, and coming eyeball to eyeball with elephants.

Two weeks in Namibia just wasn't long enough and it's official! Namibia is now our favourite African country by a long shot.

Etosha National Park is also the favourite national park (so far) not just for the animals but for the quality of the campsites and value for money.  Serengeti and Ngorogo were great but if you are thinking of visiting a national park in Africa, Etosha in Namibia is definitely the place. Not only do they have wildlife and plains to rival the Serengeti

but you get it to yourself

and the campsites are resort quality. Great places to chill by the pool after the dawn patrol.
If, after a few beers by the pool, you can't be bothered going out at dusk, they have been kind enough to put the campsites beside waterholes where you can simply sit and watch the animals come to you.
It looks pretty remote but basically, the waterholes are simply great places for the rhinos, leopards, deer and their mates, to take turns watching us humans have a glass of wine at sundown...
As for the rest of Namibia, the infrastructure is simply grand, with great facilities and zebra crossings scattered everywhere.
Usually the zebras are pretty laid back

but best you don't try to jump in front of them at a queue as they can be a bit cantankerous...
Who'd have thought they'd bite?

Even the lions don't seem as aggressive and will bring the entire family to be photographed at the sight of a camera (bloody attention seekers that they are).

It's hard to describe just how special the place is. Pictures can't do it justice. Suffice to say, a return visit for 3 or 4 weeks next year is being planned!


  1. Awesome! Thanks for sharing those pics.

  2. Wow! What a treat. Makes me want to schedule a trip.
    Could you get me an appointment with that doctor?

    Thanks guys,
    Ed Oakley