Due to a broken Laptop and slow internet connections in Africa I'm currently unable to upload pictures. I'll do that later when I'm back in South Africa or home.
Day 4: of the Overland truck / Camping tour: Fish River Canyon, Namibia (180 km, 5h (including boarder crossing): Highlight of the day was the visit of arguably second largest canyon in world and the sunset seen from the viewing platform. Especially as the sunset was accompanied by an “Apero” with wine and cheese! The drinking games, singing and Macarena dance performances chased away the other tour groups, and the party could go on.
Day 5: Namib dessert (560km, 10h): Challenging day for the bum, as we were driving all day long more or less bumpy roads. In the late afternoon we could present our terrific volleyball skills in minor swimming pool.
Day 6: Namib dessert (200km 5h): We woke up early and set off for a pre-dawn climb of the mighty Dune 45 to see the sunrise and the amazing color changing of the dunes. After a desert breakfast we moved on to the ancient dead trees, which were cut-off from water supply by the moving dunes. We spent the night at an amazing campsite with a man made waterhole for animals. After dusk, hundreds of Oryx and Zebras and few Jackals passed by to quench their thirst. To clarify the pecking order between Oryx and Zebras and between the various Zebra families small fights entertained the observers. Fortunately no animal got hurt, as the fights were more a show of force or a competition than real battle.
Day 7-9: Swakopmund is considered to be the Adrenalin capital of Namibia. Skydiving, Quadbiking and Sandboarding are the common activities here. As the the sky was mostly clouded I dismissed skydiving, but went Quadbiking in the sand dunes. Unfortunately the operator forbade fishtailing, wheelies and jumping. No risk no fun versus safety but no fun. Despite all those restrictions the excursion into the dunes was quite fun, and the guide wasn't strictly enforcing the rules. In the evening we went to a casino, as on this Sunday all bars and clubs were already closed. As I didn't do the skydiving I had some excess cash ready for gambling. After losing the first 80 USD at Black Jack I moved on to the Roulette table and went all in with the remaining 20 bucks. I won three consecutive times with all in! The winnings were invested in drinks for the group and the next day sand boarding activity. But before we could enjoy the rapid ride on some wooden planks down the sand dunes we had to carry the gear uphill the dunes. Hot, dusty and exhausting, but well worth the effort. The reward: incredible rides downhill with up to 72 km/h, measured with a professional speed camera. Needless to say, that a competition about the highest speed was inevitable. Everybody was quite close, but in the end the girl that was most scared reached the highest velocity. Our next campsite, one of the most beautiful of the entire trip, was nestled below some beautiful "Spitzkoppe" (round mountains resembling heads). After an unsuccessful attempt to hike to the top (we learned only later that a couple of weeks ago two hikers died there climbing) we slept under the stars, just the sleeping bag protecting us from snakes, spiders and scorpions. But as our sleeping places were high atop the rocks, such an undesirable encounter was unlikely.
Day 10: A day spent mainly on the road, with an optional stop to visit ancient rock engravings. Bushmen carved maps of waterholes and animals on the red sandstone rocks and due to the arid climate the carvings are still in perfect condition, despite their age.
Day 11-13 Etosha Nationpark: In the dry season this park is considered to be an ultimate game spotting place, as there are many natural and artificial waterholes along the game drive roads. But as we visited the park during the wet season the animals have much easier access to water and are therefore less likely to gather around the waterholes. The most amazing lion encounter took place just on the road, where three lionesses stopped for drinking some water out of a minor pond next to the truck! Just few minutes later our driver spotted a black rhino in the distance, slowly moving towards one of the waterholes. Despite we were running out of time (the park closes at sunset) we reversed and could see this endangered animal from close! Our expectations were more than met, but we're also aware that we were exceptional lucky on that day.
Day 14 Rainy day in Windhoek and a slight change in the tour group, two persons left and an American couple joined in, leaving the group size of 21 travelers unchanged.
Previous destination: South
Next destination: Botswana