Awesome post. Looks fun! ZA wine is goood.
Awesome post. Looks fun! ZA wine is goood.
We continue with our border crossing info updates also for Africa. First one out is Noordover between South Africa and Namibia, just in case you are going over one of these days...
more up to date pics and info on our Facebook page
We had a pretty long day ahead of us with about 450 km to drive and some sightseeing on the way. Since crossing the border from South Africa to Namibia we had also crossed a timeline and we had to adjust our watches one hour back. By “keeping” Espen on South African time in the morning I managed to get him out of bed at 07.00 (told him it was 08.00). After an early breakfast the plan was to jump in the pool for a morning swim since we camped at Ai Ais hot spring.
But plans do change.
Opening our food drawer we saw the evidence of an uninvited visitor. A rodent had chewed on Espens breakfast cereal, a packet of Wasa crisp bread and a few other items. Then we could see other pieces of evidence in the car as well.
To deal with this we needed breakfast. Found some untouched food that we ate and Espen had his coffee, and then we were ready to find who had got into the Patrol.
Boxes, bags, more stuff, and eventually the food drawer came out of the car, and then we could spot some movement. It was a mouse. By using a stick we managed to get the mouse out of where it was hiding, but it just found a new place to hide. We thought we had control, and we tried to block off possible escape routes before we forced the mouse out of its hiding place behind the aux batteries.
The mouse was quick and found another way. We tried again, but the mouse escaped us again, and this time we could not see where it went except from forward in the car. We hoped it had jumped out of the car without us noticing. Just to make sure we kept on checking and hitting on places where it could hide to scare it out, but we did not see it again. Then we just had to pack all our stuff back into the car. Our early start turned out to be a ten o’clock departure and the swim was cancelled.
Ai Ais Hot Spring is next to Fish River and is the exit point for the five day hike of the Fish River Canyon. We drove up to the best viewpoints of the Fish River Canyon and it was pretty impressive.
It was not our intention to do the hike so we continued our drive north. Somebody had recommended us a Roadhouse just up the road, and it was a fascinating place to have some refreshments.
Here in Namibia it gets dark at 17.30, so at 16.00 and after a 300 km drive, we started to look for a place to camp. We found a nice campsite in the small town off Bethanien. There hadn’t been a sign of the mouse all day so we hoped it had jumped out, but to be sure we had saved the packed of breakfast cereal that it had enjoyed last night. As I was cooking dinner I could hear a noise in the car. Running quickly to the passenger side of the car where I had left the breakfast cereal I could see the mouse sitting next to the bag. Before I was able to get it out it ran and hid underneath the dashboard. After dinner Espen made his own trap using a piece of a plastic bag that made a lot of noise, breakfast cereal on top, and covering this was a pot held up with a stick with a string attached. With the string Espen could sit outside the car (drinking beer, he claimed) while waiting for the mouse. It took only a couple of minutes before we could hear the mouse. It must have been starved because it had nothing to eat all day as we spent a lot of time driving. Espen managed to trap the mouse and we released it outside the car.
It looked pretty confused as it was running around, not finding anything familiar after travelling 330 km in a car. It found a place to hide in a fence on our campsite and we felt so sorry for it. Hope it will be able to adapt to its new surroundings. We are at least really happy that it only travelled with us for a day.
plans through Southern Africa. Details are of course still being worked out, but this would be the rough outline of our way east and then north.
At the moment we are in Kamanjab. Since crossing the border from South Africa we have driven 1850 km on Namibian roads and of those about 100 km is on paved roads. Our guidebook says “Namibia has one Africa’s lowest population densities” and it has been a lot of open space. The largest city we have driven through was Swakopmund with 42,000 inhabitants. Most of the distance has been in the Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world.
It has been an incredible landscape to drive through and one of the highlights was Sossusvlei with the red sand dunes. Some of the dunes are as high as 325 meters. Sossusvlei is Namibia’s tourist destination number one and most people would like to be there for the sunrise so the dunes are even redder. At sunrise we were 300 km away, but we arrived there in good time before the park closed so we got the sunset instead. There were a few other vehicles in the park, but it was a great time to visit as we had it almost to our self.
From Sossusvlei you can travel on the main roads in the Namib-Naukluft Park, but to be able to drive on all the small roads you see on your map you have to buy a permit. Permits are sold at Namib Wildlife Resort (NWR) in Sesriem or one of their other offices depending on where you are. A day permit costs 40 Namibian Dollar (ND) per person and 10 for the car, total of 12 USD. We booked to stay at a basic campsite at Bloetkoppe, that is in the Namib-Naukluft Park, for one night, and then our vehicle permit was automatically valid for two days. Perfect
Our campsite at Bloetkoppe.
A “moon landscape” we drove through on our way to Swakopmund.
From Swakopmund we wanted to drive north on the Skeleton Coast. The “Skeleton Coast” is divided into three sections. The first 200 km north of Swakopmund is called the National West Coast Recreational Area and there you can enter for free. Middle section is The Skeleton Coast Park that stretches from Ugabmund to Möwe Bay. To enter the park you need a permit from NWR and you need to have a reservation to stay at the campsites. If you have not booked a campsite you can get a permit to drive from Ugabmund to Springbokwater, roughly half of the Park in a day. A permit for the two of us and the vehicle for a day would cost 170 ND, about 22 USD. The northern third of the Skeleton Coast is called the Skeleton Coast Wilderness and the entire area is a private concession, and to enter that part of the Skeleton Coast is not for our budget. We were considering buying the day permit for the middle section, but it would have ended up being a bit of a detour for us.
As we were driving north along the first section and the fog rolled in we said it was enough of the coast and turned inland.
After a night in Uis we asked the GPS for the shortest way to Twyfelfontain. It was probably the shortest way, but definitely not the fastest. As we were driving along this road we realized we had not really checked what kind of road it was. When we later checked, it said deep soft sand and serious 4WD needed.
It was not that bad, but at one stage I gave up the driver’s seat to Espen as he is better to drive in soft sand than me. The drive was the best we have done so far in Namibia. Great landscape and just us on the road.
In one area we saw a lot of elephant dung, but not the desert elephant itself. At a water hole we came across our first giraffes and a few kilometers further our first rhino. And it was all for free, not in a National Park where you have to pay entrance fees.
Some hours later than expected we arrived at Twyfelfontain and had a look at some of the 2500 rock engravings that has been discovered in the area. The engravings and paintings were probably done by San hunters for as long as 6000 years ago. Fascinating to see 6000 years old engravings of the animals that we had seen along the road the same day.
In Kamanjab we are only halfway through our trip in Namibia so there are probably more nice drives ahead of us.
Malin, Espen, you both are doing an excellent job making us all jealous!!! Thanks for your great down-to-earth writing style. Now I want to put 37s on my expedition rig.
Glad to see you guys are well and are in Africa now... have a safe yet fun trip, I look forward to reading your posts!
2012 BMW R1200 GSA Triple Black and 2007 Triumph Rocket III 2.3L
13' JKUR CG 6-Spd 4.10
Past rides (4X4s.. there is not enough space for all the cars I have owned):2007 Tundra 5.7L 4X4 TRD, 1996 Hilux Surf Limited 4X4 RHD, 1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 4X4 5-Spd, 2000 Tundra 4.7L 4X4