Homeward Bound – Namibia


17-23 August 2018

A bit of a slow start on the morning of the 17th as we met a couple who are cycling from Amsterdam to Knysna – and she turned out to be the sister of a friend of Richard’s! The drive through the border was fun – I realised as we got in the car leaving the Botswana that the Custom’s official had removed the wrong slip of paper from our Carnet! So back we went, and very kindly the Custom’s officer escorted us to the Namibian side and explained what had happened on their side, so the error could be corrected. His suggestion, all sorted, and therefore no stress. Paid our fees for using Namibian roads and off we went.


We zipped through the Caprivi on the long straight tar road, listening to music, and on came…


Ngepi Camp, on the Okovango River was our destination as I had read much about it – we got there at 16h30 – we hadn’t booked but got a campsite on the river. Ngepi is in a stunning location, the camp and lodge area is really lovely, but they are famous for their quirky signage, and magnificent outdoor ablutions….

Looking at the swimming area!!
The Throne
Emma and I enjoyed a lekka bath!!
Big herd, which splashed around for about an hour after dark somewhere in front of the campsite
Morning cup of tea, binoculars – Sue is happy
Turned out to be the last night we slept in Klippie!

Next morning we headed south through Grootfontein to Otavi and checked in to Khorab Lodge.

Near Grootfontein

This was going to be our last night of camping, but the chalet process were really good, so we checked in and could enjoy a fabulous shower, I could do a little bird watching and writing blog, and then enjoy a lovely meal in the lodge. Very hospitable and a fabulous stop over even for a couple of nights.

one of the Khorab campsites

Another Khorab campsite

Back on the road after a good breakfast and headed west south west to Swakopmund. Incredible how the vegetation changes as one descends the escarpment, and soon we in the oldest desert in the world, with the Atlantic breeze bringing in the fresh ocean air – beginning to feel like I am almost home.

Thanks to Sue and Keith Wright whose house we stayed in for 3 nights. We had a delicious late lunch/early supper altogether overlooking the sea and enjoying the rare sun and no breeze and no fog for this time of the year

Rich is as happy as a clam, as he and Keith got some fishing done – kabeljou and blacktail and barbel.

Prepping for a day on the water

I did a half day Eco Dune Tour with Batis Birding Safaris. It was great – they fetched from the house and dropped me back here at the end of the tour. The tour is in the controlled area on the south side of the Swakop River and the aim is to show one the 4 of the little 5, as they are called in this area:

The Swakop River is in front of the houses – it flows underground – only about once every 10 years does water flow on the surface. Average annual rainfall here is 5mm!!!

We got to see:Web-footed Gecko; Side-winding adder, Horned Adder, Namaqua Chameleon and Shovel-snouted lizard. We didn’t see the cart-wheeling spider of the scorpion, but that really didn’t matter.

Tractrac Chat

Love his markings

Horned adder
Side-winding adder
Now you see me, Now you don’t – the side-winder wiggles like a belly dancer into the sand.
Beautiful web-footed gecko – we kept it in the shade as they are nocturnal, and returned it to a suitable spot as soon as possible so it could burrow back into the sand .

Shovel-snouted lizard – these are the ones that lift their feet to stop them from burning on the hot sand

Beautiful out there, so harsh, and the ecology of this area is absolutely fascinating – the base of the food chain being detritus blown down from the escarpment, that collects in the lee of the barchan dunes, which is softened by the fog (the predominant form of precipitation in this area), and fed on by species of silver fish insects, beetles and others. These are eaten by geckos and lizards, who are eaten by the snakes – very simply put. I learnt a lot.

Detritus – start of the food chain here

Yesterday we relaxed and also did a little retail therapy – bought Dad a pair of famous Swakop Veldskoens and visited the weavers.  One can send them a photo, and they will weave you a rug/wall-hanging to your colour spec using the beautiful Karakul wool.

Tomorrow we are leaving Swakop and are planning to stay as close to the border with SA as possible – so we will keep going until we are too tired to carry on.


The many faces of the desert around Swakopmund