On the Trans Kalahari Highway, we quickly reach Namibia, together with Mongolia, the most sparsely populated country in the world. Until the First World War, the former South West Africa was a German colony and in many places one encounters German cultural heritage, be it the naming, the architecture, or the cuisine. Today, about 30,000 ethnic Germans live in Namibia in the fourth or fifth generation and surprisingly, most of them speak accent-free High German, which is strongly encouraged by many German schools. For us it is a bit unusual to hear German almost everywhere or to be addressed in German.
In Windhoek we go to the Urban Campground which almost every traveler knows, and where one can drink in the good restaurant a freshly tapped Hansa beer, brewed after German purity law. There we also meet Ivonne & Rene again with whom we have already spent a few nice days in South Africa at the beginning of the year.
But now our MOMO has to be serviced in the workshop. Unfortunately, it turns out that the bearings of the rear axle were made only provisionally in South Africa, which means that the complete rear axle is no longer usable. After the first shock is digested we take it easy and book ourselves into a guesthouse for a few days. There we spend our time at the pool or in one of the numerous good restaurants nearby. In between, we take a look at the city and stroll through the pedestrian zone.
After a good week in the workshop our MOMO is as good as new and we can continue our journey. Not far from Windhoek is an Overlander meeting on a large farm area to which we drive together with Ivonne & Rene. The annual meeting takes place for the eleventh time and is well attended with 24 vehicles. German is spoken and we have a lot of fun among like-minded people during the two days.
With Ivonne & Rene we drive via Omaruru into the Erongo Mountains. A dirt road leads through a varied landscape and we find a nice campsite in the middle of nowhere.
Unfortunately, we have to part with our very pleasant travel companions the next day, because our destinations are in opposite directions. We drive back to Windhoek and have the car checked again in the workshop if everything fits. At the campground in Elisenheim we meet Ebi & Elke, our next travel companions who have just arrived from Germany. With Ebi we have already spent some nice days in South Africa in the wine region. From Windhoek we head south to the Oanob Reservoir. And this is indeed for swimming, without crocodiles or hippos mistaking us for prey. A wonderful place to relax and to relieve the (car) stress of the last days/weeks.
We would have liked to stay, but the place is fully booked for the next few days and so we continue to Bagatelle Guest Farm where we have reserved a night at the campground. The area is huge with luxurious bungalows, swimming pool and a good restaurant. And finally we meet a colony of meerkats. Six cheetahs are kept in an enclosure and are fed in the evening as part of the Sunset Game Drive. The cheetahs were rescued as cubs and raised here because their parents were shot by farmers. Unfortunately, they cannot be reintroduced into the wild because they never learned to hunt ang would not survive long in the wild. Afterwards we go to a red dune and celebrate the sunset with a cool drink. In the evening we sit outside until midnight and admire the almost stray light free starry sky and count the shooting stars.
Shortly before Keetmanshoop we visit the Garas Park Campground which is located in a quiver tree forest. The quiver tree is actually not a tree, but an aloe species that can grow up to eight meters tall and several hundred years old. The name comes from the SAN who used to carve arrow quivers from the branches. The plants are only found in the south of Namibia and they almost always grow in black rock regions, which gives the photographer's heart beautiful photo motifs.
Today we have an appointment with Susa & Pit, old travel acquaintances with whom we were together in Oman for a long time. For the meeting we have chosen a nice place at the Naute dam. There we stand directly at the water and can celebrate our reunion in beautiful surroundings extensively. The next weeks we will travel together and explore the natural beauty of Namibia.
After a refreshing morning swim, we continue Southbound. At Whitehouse we make a stop for the night, not to influence the US elections, but to spend a night on the huge farm area. Here there is even a small pool in which we like to dive at 35 degrees outside temperature. We don't have to cook anything either, because the food is served directly at the place in the evening.
We continue through a picturesque landscape to the Canyon Roadhouse. In the middle of the rocky wasteland, a lovingly designed campground with a pool, a vintage car museum and a good restaurant awaits us. The owner must have been on vacation in the U.S. and was inspired by Route 66, which he did very well.
Finally we reach the Fish River Canyon in the very south at the border to South Africa, the third largest in the world after the Grand Canyon in the USA and the Copper Canyon in Mexico. There is nothing going on and we can enjoy the breathtaking view all alone from the various viewpoints. Pit has a drone in his luggage and so there are also great pictures from above and a video. Drone Video
For lunch we make a detour to the Canyon Lodge, a super nice facility that has been fitted into the rocky landscape with a lot of taste. Unfortunately, there is no possibility to camp there, but we are allowed to use the large pool and unceremoniously spend the afternoon there. For the night we drive into a dry riverbed nearby and hope that no tidal wave will surprise us in our sleep. .
In Ais-Ais there is supposed to be a hot spring and we want to have a look at it, but the 20km detour over a bad dirt road is not really worth it. The complete facility is totally run down and unkempt and after a short visit we drive, with a short shopping stop in Aussenkehr, to the Amanzi Campground on the Orange River. This is a place just to our taste and we stay there for a few days.
After we have already seen the Fish River Canyon from one side we want to have a look at it from the other side. Over more than 100km of dirt road we drive to the Fish River Canyon Lodge, a luxury hostel directly at the edge of the canyon with a breathtaking view.
We leave the area and now enter the Namib-Naukluft National Park. What we experience there you will learn as always in the next blog. Until then, enjoy reading and looking at the pictures.