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  • Writer's pictureUrsula

South West Namibia 04.04-17.04.21

We drive from Cape Town, with an overnight stay in Springbock, to Namibia. The border crossing with a lot of paperwork on both sides of the border goes relatively smoothly, probably also because there are very few tourists. The first three days are spent at Fish River Lodge, which is situated directly on the edge of the precipice leading to the canyon. The lodge is very stylishly furnished, instead of air conditioning there are ventilation windows under the ceiling where the usually strong wind sweeps through. We take a sunrise hike along the ridge and marvel at the magnificent view of the second largest canyon on earth. You can also rent mountain bikes and cycle along the well-marked routes. On the way, we keep coming across the beautiful quiver trees, actually water-storing succulents like most of the plants in the dry surroundings.

Especially in the mornings and evenings you come across giant grasshoppers and beetles of all kinds, e.g. the threatening-looking but harmless armoured crickets

The full-day excursion down into the canyon goes over partly very steep and narrow bumpy paths to a first level and then all the way down to the river. On the way we can observe klipspringers, springboks and dace (amazing, the closest relative is the elephant).

The landscape is impressive and the stop at the viewpoint on the first level allows us a great view of the riverbed.

Once at the bottom, it's a bit of a walk to the picnic, including a swim in the natural pool.

Our next stop is by the sea in Lüderitz. We have lunch at the Portugese Fisherman overlooking the sea and meet 6 other Swiss tourists there. That means that out of ten guests, eight were Swiss. We notice that there are many more foreign tourists in Namibia than in South Africa, where we only met South Africans. You can feel the German influence in Lüderitz at every corner. But we only came here to see the ghost town of Kolmanskop. This town was built by the Germans because diamonds were found in the early 20th century. A large area between Namibia and South Africa was declared a restricted area so that the stones would not be stolen. After a few years, the town was abandoned again because larger deposits were discovered further south. The stones are very pure and 90% of them are suitable for the jewellery industry. The abandoned town is still in good shape, except that some of the houses have been filled up to the ceiling with sand over the years.

We continue only 100 kilometres to Klein Aus to the Vista Lodge, where we move into a bungalow in the Eagles Nest a few kilometres away from the lodge. You are completely alone out there and watch the birds and animals passing by. On the first evening we get the prepared food from the main lodge, grill chicken, oryx and vegetable kebabs and enjoy the peace and quiet in the desert.

The next morning we set out to find the wild desert horses. The animals were abandoned by the Germans and they have managed to survive on their own, thanks of course to a water hole. We are lucky: we see 2-3 horses on the way, at the waterhole it is quiet at first. After 10 minutes the first ones gallop to the water, drink and splash themselves, roll in the sand and disappear again. We observe about 30-40 animals and after 30 minutes the spook is over and the waterhole lies deserted in the desert again.

In the evening we go on a small desert tour with sundowner through the beautiful landscape where we can watch a herd of oryx at God's Window before dark.

The next day we have a long drive on a gravel road ahead of us. We pass the Naukluft Park and drive through the NamibRand Park to Sesriem, the gateway to the red dunes. The drive through the desert is always amazingly scenic and we observe zebras, springboks and oryx.

The very stylish Death Valley Lodge is located directly at the entrance to the Naukluft Park. Unfortunately, there are so few tourists that the menu does not change much from day to day.

In the morning we go on the 'Must Have' tour to the dunes. We stop at Dune 45 and climb up along the ridge to enjoy the sunrise.

Then it's on to Sossusvleih for breakfast. Since it rained quite a lot some time ago, a lake has formed in front of the dune panorama with the 'Big Mama'.

It gets hot and we walk to the Dead Vleih in the sweltering heat and enjoy the sight of this salt pan in the middle of the dunes.

A short drive to Namib Dune Star Camp brings us to the main lodge, which is surrounded by trees like a little paradise and where we spend the afternoon at the swimming pool. In the evening we are driven to Dune Star Camp, in the middle of a beautiful landscape, where after a very good dinner and stargazing we spend our night under the Southern Cross in the starry sky.

Another long drive through the desert to Swakopmund lies ahead of us. And there is no way past Solitaire where many travellers refuel or repair their tyres...

Finally sea and water again, but unfortunately no cool breeze. It is exceptionally hot and there is no air-conditioning in our flat (because normally it is not necessary). After the covid test in Swakopmund, our last stop brings us to Omaanda Safari Lodge near Windhoek Airport. Here we enjoy another sunrise and sunset safari as a wonderful finale to our Africa trip. The highlights were stalking two rhinos and watching the cute guenons.

Now we're going to Switzerland for about 6 weeks and where we'll go afterwards is still written in the stars.

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