Category Archives: Namibia

Camping at Own Risk: Transiting Through the Caprivi Strip

After leaving the Okavango Delta, we drove back into Namibia. On paper, the route sounds confusing: Namibia to Botswana, then back to Namibia before driving into Botswana again? Rest assured that we weren’t actually backtracking; instead, we were transiting through and spending the night in the Caprivi Strip – Namibia’s 450km-long panhandle, which juts out over Botswana and underneath Angola and Zambia.1

The border post where we exited Botswana deposited us directly into Namibia’s Bwabwata National Park, where we were treated to an informal game drive as we drove north towards the Caprivi Strip’s main east/west highway. Although we didn’t seek out watering holes or anywhere that animals might congregate, we still had incredible luck with our sightings. We saw everything from the more common animals (impala, kudu, warthogs) to some of the iconic African animals (elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, hippos, wildebeests) to varieties of antelope we hadn’t yet spotted (roan antelopes and red lechwes). One of the more memorable sightings was an enormous troop of baboons with many small baboons romping around.

Giraffes, Caprivi Strip, Namibia
Giraffes on the move.

Continue reading Camping at Own Risk: Transiting Through the Caprivi Strip

Traveling from Namibia to Botswana (Or, Walking with the San People)

From the early days of our planning for this adventure across Southern Africa, we had intended to first travel through Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, and South Africa, before going north to explore Namibia, and then heading east, through Botswana, on our way to Victoria Falls. One of the hurdles in this aspirational routing, however, was the lack of public transportation between Windhoek (where we would be wrapping up our two weeks of travels through Namibia) and Maun (the principal jumping-off point for travels in the Okavango Delta, and one of the only towns of any size in Northern Botswana). After considering a couple of expensive/unappealing options for independent overland travel – renting a car to make the one-way journey or hitchhiking through a sparsely populated stretch of the Kalahari Desert – we decided to go all in with Wild Dog Safaris and tack a nine-day, one way trip from Windhoek, through Botswana and Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, to Victoria Falls onto the end of our Namibian travels.1 Continue reading Traveling from Namibia to Botswana (Or, Walking with the San People)

Seals, Skeletons, & Swakopmund

After we decamped from the Worst Campsite in the World, we set off for the Skeleton Coast, a famously treacherous portion of Namibia’s Atlantic coastline. The area is so named for the ships and their crew that met their fates there. The drive to the coast from Damaraland was impressive, as we passed near the largest mountains in Namibia before transiting through a parched, barren stretch of the Namib Desert. As we drove towards the coast, we watched for an hour as a bank of coastal fog grew from a faint, distant line across the horizon to a sea of gray which eventually enveloped our vehicle.

Panorama of the drive.
Seagulls along the Skeleton Coast.

Continue reading Seals, Skeletons, & Swakopmund

Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings, Burnt Mountain, & the Organ Pipes

The scenery on our drive through Damaraland and over Grootberg Pass from Hoada Campsite to our next campsite was stunning, and we stopped several times along the way to marvel at it (and, once, at a scorpion that was crossing the road).

The top!
Red rocks along the Grootberg Pass drive.

Continue reading Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings, Burnt Mountain, & the Organ Pipes

Etosha National Park: Lions and Elephants and Rhinos, Oh My!

Our visit with Wahu and his friends primed us for the next stop on our tour of Northern Namibia, and we were excited to see the animals that roamed Etosha National Park. Our itinerary gave us two days and nights in Etosha: we would arrive around noon on the first day and set up camp at Namutoni Camp before setting out an afternoon game drive, and our second day would begin with a morning game drive, a brief respite for lunch at Halali Camp, and then a drive to Okaukuejo Camp, where we could visit the watering hole around which the camp was set after dark. Our guides suggested that, if we were lucky, we might see a black rhino during the evening at the floodlit Okaukuejo watering hole.

Welcome to Etosha National Park.

Continue reading Etosha National Park: Lions and Elephants and Rhinos, Oh My!

Hanging out with the AfriCats

As with the first day of our weeklong tour through Southern Namibia, our seven-day circuit through Northern Namibia began with an early start from the Wild Dog Safaris office in Windhoek. While our Southern Namibian travel group had been fairly small, with just five other people, the group for our northern trek included eleven additional travelers.1 After meeting up with our new guides, we were quickly on our way out of town, heading north from Windhoek on the B1 – Namibia’s main highway linking its southern border with South Africa to its northern border to Angola. Continue reading Hanging out with the AfriCats

Fish River Canyon (Which Contains No Fish)

On the third day of our camping trip, we arrived at one of the highlights of Namibia: the Fish River Canyon. The Fish River Canyon, which is 160km long and up to 27km wide with a depth of 550m, is the second-largest canyon in the world (after the Grand Canyon).

The Fish River Canyon is one of things that I was most excited to see in Namibia, and it didn’t disappoint. The gaping mouth of the canyon, with its striations and jagged edges, was awe-inspiring. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, we’ve included plenty of pictures of the canyon here!

Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Informal hiking in the canyon is prohibited (although serious hikers can embark upon a five-day hike through the canyon),1 so we stuck to the short trail along the rim of the canyon.

Selfie at the Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Gratuitous glamour shot.

We maintained a leisurely pace, stopping frequently to take pictures, look at the wildlife (mostly birds and a snake), and just sit and marvel at the canyon.

Snake at the Fish River Canyon, Namibia
The aforementioned snake.
Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Marc contemplating the canyon.

Once our group reconvened at the canyon’s main viewpoint, we had our lunch on the picnic tables there. The amazing view made our shredded cheese and mystery lunchmeat sandwiches much more palatable.

Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Wouldn’t this make you enjoy a dubious sandwich that much more?

After we left the Fish River Canyon, we headed to the small town of Aus, where we would be camping for the night.2 We set up camp at Klein-Aus Vista, where the campsite, surrounded by mountains, had an arguably even more stunning setting than our campsite at Ai-Ais. Because the campsite was isolated (it was even 2 km from the lodge), there was hardly any light pollution and we had an amazing view of the stars.

Where We Stayed:
☆ Klein-Aus Vista Campsite. Four goats. The scenery was amazing, and the shared shower facilities were nice (albeit a little far down a dark path, making finding the bathroom in the middle of the night a bit of an adventure).

1 Our guide told us the story of a man who, despite the numerous signs prohibiting day hiking, ventured down into the canyon and was never seen again.
2 Fun fact we learned from the German girls in our group: In German, “aus” is what you say to a dog to get it to stop barking.