Tag Archives: Namibia

“Second gear Papa” – to climb that dune

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Driving through the Namib desert was a great experience, an art which we as “town clowns” do not master. It does not always bring out the best in people, but when you do succeed to cross this sea of sand as a team, after getting stuck many times, it feels like quite an accomplishment. To begin with you have to be patient and take your time to decide which route to take or you might end up in a sink hole. In the glaring light it is difficult to judge depth of field. To drive up a dune in sugary soft sand can take more than a few attempts. But if you stay in the same track and prevent the wheels from spinning,  every run compacts the sand further and finally you reach the top. Then comes the drive down over nearly vertical slopes. The first time I refused to stay in the car. I walked down and watched from below. My heart nearly stopped when I saw the car going over the edge. But the sand seemed to carry it down. It made a muffled sound, like driving through fresh snow, though the temperatures were far from that. The days could be hot with more then 40 degrees Celsius and the nights cold from the winds and the fog being carried in from the ocean. The stunning landscape with its beautiful colors and shapes is full of life with creatures who have adapted to this harsh climate. Little beatles, toktoks, lizards, snakes, scorpions, they all leave their tracks to tell their story. We even spotted a few oryx and a brown hyena walked past our camp on an early morning patrol, hoping to find a few scrapes of our food, just like the crows who kept on following us.

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Adventurous drive along skeleton coast

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During our recent trip to Namibia we drove up all the way to Angola, along the Skeleton Coast. Due to the cold Benguela Current, the coastline was blanketed by mist most of the time, making the remains of the ships of the poor souls who stranded there even more eerie. Although the area is desolate, the wildlife is amazing. We saw seal colonies and predators, like jackals and brown hyena. We even spotted one of the famous desert lions who had managed to kill a porcupine. Not an easy prey, but in this environment you can’t be choosy. Some of the desert lions are monitored and are known to cover hundreds of miles to find their prey. Camping on the beach was quite an experience and the nights sleepless because of the wind and the harmless but noisy crabs trying to find a way into our tent.

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Desert Rhino camp – rocky deserts and ancient beasts

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We just returned from a great trip to Namibia. Our first stop was Desert Rhino Camp in Damaraland, where they have the largest free-ranging population of black rhino in Africa. The rhinos are well protected due to a unique conservation approach where the local community plays an important role, together with Save the Rhino Trust and the government. We hope that this model will be able to withstand the changing rules of the game, where poaching has become a multimillion dollar business. Around Desert Rhino Camp the sweeping valleys are dotted with scattered euphorbia and ancient welwitschia plants, with impressive table top mountains in the background. In the early mornings trackers will go out and try to find the rhinos, who seem to prefer the most remote areas. It is amazing that they are able to survive in this rocky desert. We were lucky to witness the last traces of the rain which had turned part of the area into a green meadow for a short time. This resulted in a concentration of mountain zebras, oryx and springbok on the grassy plains. Even a big family of lions had a feast in this short time of plenty. We enjoyed most of our meals outside, around the campfire, while listening to the staff singing songs and Chris Bakkes reciting poems. He is a noted South African writer, but also a passionate guide and conservation who has lived and worked in this area for years.

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