Namibia: Holiday (12th to 27th of June 2010)

In June 2010, I decided to take my wife and daughter to my birth country, Namibia. This was their first visit to Namibia. We left just as the chaos (The Soccer World Cup) started in South Africa.

The Route

We started in Schoemansville, and travel through Botswana to Windhoek in Namibia. On the way we stayed over in Kang in Botswana. From Windhoek we traveled to Langstrand at the coast through the Khomas Hochland and the Namib Naukluft Park. At the coast we visited Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, and Cape Cross. From the coast we traveled up the center of Namibia via the Spitzkoppe to the Etosha National Park. From there we went all the way back home via Windhoek and Kang.

In total it took us 17 days and we traveled 5,409 kilometers.

The map shows the route we took and the places we visited:

  • A: Hartbeespoort
  • B: Kang
  • C: Khomas Hochland
  • D: Langstrand
  • E: Swakopmund
  • F: Cape Cross (Wlotzkasbaken and Henties)
  • G: Walvis Bay
  • H: Spitzkoppe
  • I: Epako Game Lodge
  • J: Etosha Safari Camp
  • K: Okaukuejo & Etosha National Park
  • L: Halali
  • M: Erindi Game Reserve (Kalkveld and Omaruru)
  • N: Windhoek

We passed into Botswana at the Skilpadhek/Pioneer gate. This is currently being renovated on both sides, and is in a bit of chaos. So plan to be stuck here for a while. Passing through the border from Botswana to Namibia, at the Buitepos gate, was a breeze. (courtesy Google Maps)

Route taken for 2010 Namibia holiday

A Tawny Eagle we spotted alongside the road in Botswana.

The road through Botswana is in excellent condition. Just take note that there are no fences, so you have livestock wandering across the road on a regular basis.

Botswana: Tawny Eagle
Windhoek

Heinitzburg (originally Heynitzburg, Heinitz' castle) is one of the three castles in Windhoek. It was built in 1914 by architect Wilhelm Sander.

Sander originally built the castle for himself but sold it in 1916 to Hans Bogislav Graf von Schwerin, who named the castle Heynitzburg after his wife Margarete's birth name "von Heynitz".

Heinitzburg is used today as a restaurant and hotel, and has a lovely panoramic view over Windhoek.

Windhoek: Heinitzburg Castle (1914)
Windhoek: Caitlin & Jenny in front of the Heinitzburg Castle (1914)

A Quiver tree or Kokerboom at the Heinitzburg.

Windhoek: Quiver tree or Kokerboom

Sanderburg (Sander's castle) is the smallest of three castles in Windhoek. It was built between 1917 and 1919 by architect Wilhelm Sander who designed it as his own place of residence.

Sanderburg is still a private residence today.

Windhoek: Sanderburg Castle (1917)

An Agama lizard (or Koggelmander) we spotted at the castle. They are common residents in Namibia and come in various colors.

Windhoek: Agama lizard (or Koggelmander)

The Christ Church (or Christuskirche) is a historic landmark and Lutheran church in Windhoek.

After the end of the wars between the Germans and the Khoikhoi, Herero, and Ovambo in 1907, the ground breaking ceremony took place and on October 16, 1910 the church was opened and dedicated as the Church of Peace. The Lutheran Church, which was built in the gothic revival style with Art Nouveau elements, stands in the historic center of Windhoek. Its 24 m high spire was made, like the rest of the church, out of quartz sandstone mined at Guche-Ganus Farm in the vicinity of present Avis Dam. The portal and the altar were made of marble from Italy. The clock and part of the roof was shipped from Germany, as were the three bronze bells cast by Franz Schilling. They bear the inscriptions "Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe" (Glory to God in the highest), "Friede auf Erden" (Piece on earth), and "Den Menschen ein Wohlgefallen" (Goodwill towards men). During a confirmation service in the 1960 the clapper of the main bell came loose, smashed through the window and fell on the street. Window bars were installed in reaction to this.

The colorful stained lead glass windows in the sanctuary were a gift from Emperor Wilhelm II. In the late 1990s a tourist noticed that all of them were installed with the sun protection on the inside. In the two years following this discovery, all window elements were restored and turned around.

Windhoek: The Christ Church (or Christuskirche)

The Tintenpalast (German for "Ink Palace") is the seat of both chambers of the Namibian legislature, the National Council and the National Assembly.

The Tintenpalast was designed by German architect Gottlieb Redecker and built by the company Sander & Kock between 1912 and 1913 out of regional materials as an administration building for the German government, which colonized Namibia at the time. As an allusion to the large ink usage by the workers in the building, it was named "Tintenpalast" or "Ink Palace". The building is surrounded by the Parliament Gardens which is very popular among the inhabitants of Windhoek

Windhoek: The Tintenpalast (German for "Ink Palace")

The Alte Feste (Old Fortress) is a fortress and museum in downtown Windhoek. Set on a hill above the city, the Fort was completed in 1890 during the German colonization of Namibia and is the oldest standing building in the city.

It was home to the German Schutztruppe (colonial military force) until 1915. Colonial Windhoek was developed around the Fort.

 

The Reiterdenkmal (or Suidwes Ridder) is a statue in front of the Alte Feste. The German rider monument was inaugurated on 27 January 1912, and is a reminder of the colonial wars of the German Empire against the Herero and Nama from 1903 to 1907 in German Southwest Africa.

The Reiterdenkmal, designed by the Berlin artist Adolf Kuerle, shows an over-sized Schutztruppe horse rider in uniform. The bronze horseman stands on a pedestal of granite. The overall height is 9.5m. A dedication plaque, that enumerates the victims of the colonial wars on the German side, is embedded in the front. On the 26th February 2010, the monument was moved to its new location next to the entrance to the Alte Feste.

Windhoek: The Alte Feste (Old Fortress) and The Reiterdenkmal (or Suidwes Ridder)
Windhoek: The Reiterdenkmal (or Suidwes Ridder)

Relaxing with brothers and family at Joe's Beer House in Windhoek. Joe's needs to be on the must visit list for anyone travelling through Windhoek. It it's very unique and the food is excellent. (Photo Morne)

Windhoek: Joe's Beer House with Jenny, Koos (brother), me, Kallie (brother), and Estelle (Kallie's wife)
To the Coast via the Khomas Hochland and the Namib Naukluft Park

The Liebig House, just outside of Windhoek on the road to Swakopmund through the Khomas Hochland. Said by many to be haunted.

The house was originally built during the German colonial period in 1911 to house the farm managers of the Karl Liebig Company, which specialised in cattle breeding. One of the managers who lived in the house was Alexander Scotland who served as a British secret agent in Namibia during the German period.

Khomas Hochland: The Liebig House

The Von François Feste. When Major Curt Von François, commander of the German shutztruppe in German Southwest Africa, decided in 1980 to move his headquarters from Tsaobis to Windhoek, he had this fort built to serve as a halfway post between these two places. After the German troops had been established in Windhoek it became an outpost for the troop's horses and oxen and later it also served as a so-called "Trockenposten" for soldier who had imbibed too much.

Khomas Hochland: The Von François Feste
Khomas Hochland: The Von François Feste

At the top is a view over the Khomas Hochland. It goes on and on, but is quite majestic and really worthwhile driving through.

 

At the bottom we came across this signpost indicating that it is still 180kms to Swakopmund.

The gravel road is in good condition and well maintained, but there are almost no one else on the road, so make sure your vehicle is in good condition otherwise you might wait for a very long time before someone comes past to assist.

Khomas Hochland
Khomas Hochland: Jenny & Caitlin

Entrance to the Namib-Naukluft Park. No gate! Just a fence and road sign welcoming you to the park.

 

We saw quite a bit of wildlife on our short drive through the park, and the animals appear to be used to the vehicles driving through. Here are some photos of a Springbok and an Oryx (Gemsbok).

Namib-Naukluft Park
Namib-Naukluft Park: Springbok
Namib-Naukluft Park: Oryx (Gemsbok)

Close to Swakopmund we drove through the Welwitschias. They are not so easy to spot if you do not know what to look for, but there quite a few of them next to the road.

 

The plant, which is considered a living fossil, is named after the Austrian botanist Friedrich Welwitsch who discovered it in 1859. The geographic distribution of Welwitschia mirabilis is limited to the Namib desert within Namibia and Angola.

The age of the plants is difficult to assess, but they are very long-lived, living 1000 years or more. Some individuals may be more than 2000 years old.

The bottom photo shows the Welwitschia Bug (Odontopus sexpunctatis), which you can find all over the Welwitschias.

Namib-Naukluft Park: Welwitschias
Namib-Naukluft Park: Welwitschias
Namib-Naukluft Park: Welwitschia Bug (Odontopus sexpunctatis)
Langstrand

Finally we reached our home at the coast. A lovely apartment in Langstrand, which is halfway between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. (Photo Jenny)

Langstrand: Accommodation

As usual, the sunsets at the coast were just breathtaking!

 

These were all taken at Langstrand. The top one while walking on the beach, the middle one from our apartment's balcony, and the bottom one while having a sundowners on the dunes.

Langstrand: Sunset
Langstrand: Sunset
Langstrand: Sunset

Caitlin building a sand castle from sea shells. She loved being able to hunt up and down the beach for sea shells.

Langstrand: Caitlin building a sand castle from sea shells

The rainbow colors showing on the shell of a black mussel on the beach. Normally the look just brown or black, but if the sun catches them just right, the colors come out.

Langstrand: Black mussel

We had loads of fun quad biking through the dunes, although Jenny's courage left her when she had to go down a very steep dune. We all had to patiently wait while the guide went to "rescue" her.

Langstrand: Quad biking
Langstrand: Quad biking
Walvis Bay

When visiting Walvis Bay, you have to go and climb Dune 7. It's the rule!

It's apparently one of the highest dunes in the world at 383m from its base. You can see how small the cars look from the top on the top photo.

I've climbed it a couple of times in the past, but it was quite a challenge for the family. Caitlin in struggling up on all fours in the middle photo (Photo Jenny), but finally they both made it to the top (bottom photo).

Walvis Bay: Dune 7
Walvis Bay: Dune 7, me and Caitlin
Walvis Bay: Dune 7, Jenny and Caitlin

Caught in the act! Two Greater Flamingo's making a heart shape. This was at the Walvis Bay lagoon, where hundreds of flamingos congregate every year.

Walvis Bay: Greater Flamingo's

A Kelp Gull caught in flight.

Walvis Bay: Kelp Gull

The only pelican (a juvenile White Pelican) we spotted the whole time we were at the coast. They are normally quite common.

Walvis Bay: White Pelican

For some reason the lagoon was filled with Jellyfish. This is a photo of one of them.

Walvis Bay: Jellyfish

A lone fisherman trying his luck in the lagoon.

Walvis Bay: A lone fisherman

They harvest salt in Walvis Bay, by letting sea water dry in big pans (bottom photo). The pink color is due to algae which grows in the salt. After the salt dries, it is collected and cleaned. The clean salt is pilled in huge heaps ready for packing.

Walvis Bay: Salt dune
Walvis Bay: Salt pan

As per our normal tradition, we left our footprints in the sand.

Walvis Bay: Footprints

Caitlin realizing that water from the Atlantic is quite a bit colder that that of Indian ocean on the East coast.

Walvis Bay: Caitlin playing in the waves

The first beacon on Pelican Point was established in June 1915 and consisted of a small automatic acetylene gas lantern, mounted on a wooden pile driven into the sand. Seventeen years later that installation was replaced with a prefabricated cast-iron tower which was acquired in 1913 as a replacement for a lighthouse in Durban but never used there. The 30,7 meter tall tower served its purpose as a navigational aid well for several years.

 

As the harbor town of Walvis Bay grew in size and the shipping activity at its port increased however, the existing light source of the beacon was no longer sufficient and in 1955 was replaced by a 500 mm acetylene gas lantern and four years later by a 250 watt lamp increasing the candlepower to about 15.000 cd. Since the harbor continued to expand at a rapid rate, the tower had to be upgraded even further, resulting in the beacon being fitted with an automatic revolving pedestal providing a 1.300.000 cd group flashing light.

In addition the light house was equipped with a modern electric fog signal in 1971 following the installation of a radio beacon a few years earlier. Furthermore an engine room and living quarters for the lighthouse keepers were erected and redesigned several times to avoid the build up of sand dunes against the structure.

We decided to drive out to the lighthouse, but after the road disappeared and it was clear that we will most probably get stuck in the sand, since I was too lazy to let the air out of my tires, we decided to call it a day and turn around.

Walvis Bay: Pelican Point
Walvis Bay: Pelican Point
Swakopmund

Caitlin posing in front of Martin Luther The Steam Ox. It has been restored and has now been placed inside a building, just outside of Swakopmund, to protect it from the elements.

 

It's a steam traction engine that was the first means of mechanized transport in the German colony of South West Africa. The steam engine soon broke-down owing to inadequate maintenance and was abandoned in 1897 about 1,5km outside of Swakopmund. A long standing Swakopmund urban-legend has it that shortly following this, and during a boozy session in the old Hotel Furst Bismarck, local luminary Dr. Max Rhode announced over his glass, "Did you know that the steam-ox is called Martin Luther now, because it can also say, "Here I stand and, I cannot do otherwise" ?

Swakopmund: Martin Luther The Steam Ox

The Prison Building in Swakopmund was built between 1907 and 1909 and is unique in that it still serves its original administrative purpose to this today. Built in typical German colonial style it was designed by the Government main builder of the day Otto Ertl, and it shares many characteristics of the Old Court Building, also designed by Ertl.

It has an unusual style for a prison building and has been described as 'resembling a large country residence or lodge' and perhaps its commanding architectural appearance has become more important than any historical significance. The prison has been well-maintained over the decades and was restored and extended in 1991/2. It was proclaimed a national monument on 26th October 1973

Swakopmund: Prison Building

The "Jetty' is a favorite attraction in Swakopmund and I can still remember fishing, unsuccessfully, from it as a kid.

The construction of the (steel) iron jetty, commenced in 1912. The jetty was originally planned to be 640m long. However only 262 m of the steel jetty had been completed at the outbreak of the Great War. Drilling and securing into the bedrock overcame foundation problems. Two of the original ‘stamper’ drills bits of 63cm and 93 cm across the chisel ends can be seen mounted on a pedestal at the entry point to the jetty. The unusually heavy rains of 1934 resulted in so much sand being washed down the Swakop River that the shoreline was moved out past the end of the jetty. It took several years for the shoreline to return to its' normal position.

Swakopmund: The "Jetty"
Swakopmund: The "Jetty"

The Strand Café used to be located at the Stand Hotel in the Mole, and I had many milkshakes and meals there as a kid. The hotel has now been demolished and a new hotel will be built in its place.

The new Strand Café was opened in 2010, across from the Swakopmund museum in the Mole, and the food and service is still just as good.

Swakopmund: The Strand Café

Caitlin in front off the world’s largest quartz crystal cluster on display at the Kristall Galerie in Swakopmund.

Swakopmund: Kristall Galerie

Hanging out at the Tiger Reef Beach Bar.

Swakopmund: Caitlin & Jenny at the Tiger Reef Beach Bar
Swakopmund: Tiger Reef Beach Bar

Caught in the act by my wife. Sunset with the kids using the last light to build a sand castle.

Swakopmund

Microlight flying past at sunset, with some surfers catching the last light.

Swakopmund

Western Saloon restaurant in Swakopmund.

Swakopmund: Western Saloon restaurant

The house of Damara and Namaqua Trading Company was designed by architect Mr. Friedrich Hoft.

The building was completed in 1905. The tower was named ''Damara Tower'' from where observers used to look for ships in the ocean and ox wagons in the desert.

In April 1909 the Damara and Namaqua Trading Company sold all its shares to the company C. Woermann and to their shareholders and was renamed to ''Woermann Brock & Co. which is the present day name. Mr. Carl Woermann (1813-1880) was a founder of the company which also owned Woermann Line. At the time the company was run by Adolf and Eduard Woermann, sons of Carl Woermann, and their in-laws Max Brock and Arnold Amsinck. Mr. E. Wardesky who was the manager of Damara company had remained as the manager of Woermann Brock & Co.

E. Wardesky and his family stayed in the building on the ground floor in the front. The bedroom was a step higher up. At the arcades were the rooms of the employees and guests. Next to the tower was a small dining room, a kitchen and working rooms for employees. The stairs lead down to a wine cellar. In the northern part of the house was a room called ''Vorstekamer'' which was used as a reception, music room and a dining room that could host up to sixty people. Boasting gracefully panelled walls and stucco ceiling were manufactured in Germany at the end of nineteenth century.

In April 1907 Prince Albrecht of Prussia stayed in the Woermann House when he attended annual gathering in Fabersaal where 150 people were invited. During this time he named the three front rooms ''Vorstekamers''. The Woermann House was most of the time fully occupied by workers and students who attended schools in Swakopmund. Boers who travelled with ox wagons to Swakopmund to buy their groceries and other supplies also stayed in the House.

E. Wardesky went to Germany and came back after the war in early 1920s. He died in 1929 in Swakopmund. After his death the management was taken over by Wilhelm Brock, son of Max Brock.

On the 18th of June 1924 Woermann Brock Co. sold the erf with the Woermann House to the Administrator of South West Africa and on the 10th of December the building was declared a historic monument. On the 1st of July 1975 the building was given to Swakopmund administration. In 1976 Woermann House was restored at the final costs of R230 000.

Swakopmund: Woermann House (1905)
Cape Cross

Cape Cross is the desolate and remote rocky outcrop of land at latitude 26° 27’ South on which Diogo Cão, the Portuguese explorer navigator, erected a limestone Padrão (Cross, his 4th) in January 1486. This marked the furthest point south that any European has been known to travel at the time.

The discoveries made on this voyage were the foundation of the planning of the 1487-1488 voyage, on which Bartholomew Diaz first rounded the Cape of Good Hope at latitude 34° 22 South showing that trade with the east could be accessed by sea.

Cape Cross: Information Stone
Cape Cross: The Padrão of Diogo Cão

Cape Fur seals at Cape Cross. The noise and smell was unbearable!

Cape Cross: Cape Fur Seal
Cape Cross: Cape Fur Seals

The day we went to Cape Cross, a severe sand storm hit the area (East weather, as the local call it). You could not see more than a car length in front of you!

Cape Cross: Sand storm

Along the way we came across the wreck of the Zeila, which ran aground on the 25th of August 2008.

Below is me braving the sand storm to take pictures of the Zeila.

Cape Cross: Zeila (25th August 2008)
Cape Cross: Zeila (25th August 2008)
Cape Cross: Sand storm
Wlotzkasbaken and Henties

Wlotzkasbaken is just north of Henties. It is a totally self sufficient community which has no water or electricity supply.

Wlotzkasbaken
Wlotzkasbaken

Spitzkoppe restaurant in Henties.

Henties: Spitzkoppe restaurant

The Namib desert appears to be bare of plant life, however, lichens grow in great diversity on west facing slopes and surfaces where they are able to draw moisture from the sea fogs. If it were not for the fog, the plants would have no source of water. Lichens are a combination of algae and fungi, so technically they are not true plants, and it is the fungus that forms the body, called the thallus. They lack common names and usually occur on the central Namib's gypsum crusts, in huge numbers and a variety unknown to the rest of the planet. Some of the intricately branched Namib lichens almost resemble corals, whilst others look like dried leaves.

Lichens grow where there is a combination of light and high humidity; the light to provide energy for photosynthesis, and the moisture to keep the association between fungi and algae hydrated. This goes someway to explaining their abundance in the Namib, where large amounts of sunshine, fog and dew provide the daily light and moisture requirement.

Lichens grow extremely slowly, but stabilize the surface and prevent soil erosion. These plants are now recognized as a vital component of the Namib environment, and most areas are protected. They provide food for a variety of invertebrates and even springbok at times. It is estimated that some of these lichen fields are hundreds or even thousands of years old, as they can survive long periods of drought. However, the plants die if they are disturbed. Unfortunately, vehicle tracks are one of the most evident threats to lichen fields, and once they are damaged, require decades to grow back. The bright, orange-colored lacy lichens on the surface of pebbles are often carried away by visitors wanting a memento of the Namib. This is to be discouraged, as the lichen will gradually fade and die when removed from its natural habitat. The most extensive lichen fields are found north of Swakopmund.

These two photos were taken shortly after each other. The top one before we poured water on the lichen, and the bottom one shortly thereafter. You can clearly see how the lichen's leaves have unfolded.

Henties: Lichen
Henties: Lichen
Spitzkoppe
South African and German World War I graves we found close to Spitzkoppe (Location on Google Maps). Spitzkoppe: South African 1st World War Graves
Spitzkoppe: German 1st World War Graves

Bushman Paradise up in the Spitzkoppe. We found the Bushman painting, below, at the cave behind Jenny.

Spitzkoppe
Spitzkoppe

Bushman paintings at the Spitzkoppe.

Spitzkoppe: Bushman paintings
Spitzkoppe: Bushman paintings
You have to use this chain to get up the Spitzkoppe to the Bushman Paradise. It is quite a climb! Spitzkoppe
Spitzkoppe
Caitlin and Jenny taking a rest after climbing up the Spitzkoppe. Spitzkoppe

The entrance to the Bushman Paradise at the Spitzkoppe.

Spitzkoppe: Bushman Paradise
The Spitzkoppe. Spitzkoppe
Epako Game Lodge

Kudu and her calf.

Epako Game Lodge: Kudu

White Rhinoceros. The one broke it's horn while a baby and therefore the reason for the horn going the wrong way.

Epako Game Lodge: White Rhinoceros

"The Great Photographer" caught in action.

Epako Game Lodge: The Great Photographer

Bennett’s Woodpecker.

Epako Game Lodge: Bennett’s Woodpecker

They got these Cheetah as cubs and unfortunately they cannot be reintroduced into the wild.

Epako Game Lodge: Cheetah
Epako Game Lodge: Cheetah

The Namibia Waterbuck is easily recognized by the distinctive white ring around the tail and shaggy appearance. These animals do not live in water but spend most of their time some distance from the water as they dehydrate easily and must replenish their moisture requirements often in hot weather.

An oily secretion gives the waterbuck a musky smell which taints the meat and if it is not skinned well makes the meat inedible and most often carry ticks. The female holds her tail erect if she wants her calf to follow her.

Epako Game Lodge: Waterbuck

Having a sundowner while watching a beautiful sunset.

Epako Game Lodge: Sundowner
Epako Game Lodge: Sunset

I noticed this interesting patterns in the rocks. Almost looks like it was folded.

Also came across these different colored lichen on a rock.

Epako Game Lodge: Rock formations
Epako Game Lodge: Colorful lichen

Giraffe, my wife favorite animal.

Epako Game Lodge: Giraffe
Epako Game Lodge: Giraffe
Oryx (Gemsbok). Epako Game Lodge: Oryx (Gemsbok)

Ground Squirrel 

Epako Game Lodge: Ground Squirrel

Blue Wildebeest (Blou Wildebees). You looking at me?

Epako Game Lodge: Blue Wildebeest (Blou Wildebees)

Eland, the largest antelope in Africa.

Epako Game Lodge: Eland

A view of the Epako Game Lodge.

The waterhole, in front of the deck, at night.

Epako Game Lodge
Epako Game Lodge: Waterhole at night

Caitlin playing with the resident mutt, in front of all the trophies.

The fireplace in the lounge was a welcome attraction in the middle of winter.


 
Epako Game Lodge: Caitlin playing with the resident mutt
Epako Game Lodge: Lounge
Etosha National Park

Etosha was first established in 1907, when Namibia was a German colony known as South West Africa. At the time, the park’s original 100,000 km² (38,500 mile²) made it the largest game reserve in the world. Due to political changes since its original establishment, the park is now slightly less than a quarter of its original area, but still remains a very large and significant area in which wildlife is protected.

The Etosha Pan dominates the park. The salt pan desert is roughly 130 km long and as wide as 50 km in places.

We stopped at "The Farm House" in Outjo, for a bite to eat.

Outjo is the last town on the way to Etosha's Andreson gate.

Outjo: The Farm House

Black-backed Jackal (Rooijakkals), the first animal we came across in Etosha.

Etosha: Black-backed Jackal (Rooijakkals)

Okaukuejo is the oldest camp in the park and also the is the largest of the three camps (the others are Halali and Namutoni). It opened in October 1957. It was established in the end of last century as a control post to combat the spread of foot-and-mouth disease of cattle, illegal hunting and gun trading.

It currently functions as the administrative hub of the park, and the home of the Etosha Ecological Institute. It is situated at the western end of the pan

The water tower was built in 1963. The last two photos are from the water tower.

Etosha: Okaukuejo Camp
Etosha: Okaukuejo Camp
Etosha: Okaukuejo Camp, water tower.
Etosha: Okaukuejo Camp, view from the water tower.
Etosha: Okaukuejo Camp, Caitlin posing on the water tower.

We came across a heard of Giraffe. Was amazing to witness.

Etosha: Giraffe
Etosha: Giraffe

Crowned Plover.

Etosha: Crowned Plover

Male Whitequilled Korhaan.

Etosha: Whitequilled Korhaan (Male)

Kori Bustard.

Etosha: Kori Bustard

Female Whitequilled Korhaan.

Etosha: Whitequilled Korhaan (Female)

African White Backed Vulture in nest. Well spotted by Jenny.

Etosha: African White Backed Vulture in nest

The Haunted Forest (Sprokies-woud) is a forest of contorted African moringa trees.

Etosha: Haunted Forest (Sprokies-woud)
Etosha: Haunted Forest (Sprokies-woud)

Namaqua Sandgrouse.

Etosha: Namaqua Sandgrouse

Oryx (Gemsbok)

Etosha: Oryx (Gemsbok)

Ground Squirrel.

Etosha: Ground Squirrel

Animals on the Etosha pan.

Etosha: Animals on the Etosha pan

 Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk.

Etosha: Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk

African White Backed Vulture.

Etosha: African White Backed Vulture
 

Elephant up close. Caitlin nearly had a heart attack.

Etosha: Elephant up close

Animals (Zebra, Ostrich, Springbok) at waterhole.

Etosha: Animals at waterhole.

Martial Eagle.

Etosha: Martial Eagle

Island in the Etosha pan.

Etosha: Etosha pan island.

 

Salt layers of the Etosha pan.

Etosha: Salt layers.

 Bat-eared Fox (Bakoor Jakkals).

Etosha: Bat-eared Fox (Bakoor Jakkals)

Helmeted Guineafowl.

Etosha: Helmeted Guineafowl

Marabou Stork. Ugly bird!

Etosha: Marabou Stork

Elephants at waterhole.

Etosha: Elephants at waterhole.
 Hooded Vulture on it's perch. Etosha: Hooded Vulture

Secretary bird.

Etosha: Secretary bird

Lionesses lying in wait for their prey (Springbok).

Then it is a sudden blur and dust as they give chase ...

... and missing the Springbok. Looks like they are all standing around wondering what just happened.

Etosha: Lionesses lying in wait for their prey.
Etosha: Lionesses chasing the Springbok.
Etosha: ... and missing the Springbok.

While the lionesses was still wondering about their missed opportunity, we saw an elephant stomping around the waterhole.

After a while the lionesses noticed the elephant and started running away, ...

... but the elephant continued giving chase. After a while the elephant started chasing the vehicles. It was quite funny to see all the tourists charging away.

Etosha: Elephant stomping around the watehole.
Etosha: Lionesses running away.
Etosha: Elephant chasing vehicles.
When we were visiting the Dorsland Trekker graves (see below), the escaping lioness came past us and walked all around our car. Etosha: Lionesses still moving away from the elephant.

Dorsland trekker graves.

On 20 May 1874, Gert Alberts and a group of trekkers set off northwards in search of political independence. The trek became known as the "Dorsland Trek" or the "Thirstland Trek", a reflection of the hardship that faced the trekkers. A number of treks followed. The name "Thirstland Trek" applied to all of them.

The first trek departed from Pretoria and headed into the Kalahari in what was then Bechuanaland (now Botswana). Then headed into what is now the Southern Kalahari area of Namibia across the point which is now Rietfontein. After this leg of the journey, the trekkers who had survived starvation and thirst travelled through the relatively ‘water-rich’ country and headed onwards towards what is now Angola. In northern Namibia, they faced their second major challenge, malaria, which decimated them even further.

Over a period of five years the survivors arrived in the Humpata Highlands of South-western Angola. The Portuguese colonists encouraged the Boers to settle, however friction arose between the two groups as the Portuguese attempted to convert the staunchly Protestant Boers to Catholicism. They also forbade the Boers to use their language in schools.

A number of trekkers returned southwards. On their trek northwards, they had been met with and been assisted by the trader William Worthington Jordan. This trader negotiated a farming and mineral concession with Chief Kambonde for the land stretching downwards from north-eastern Etosha, covering the area on which Otavi, Grootfontein and Tsumeb now lie.

Etosha: Dorsland Trekker graves.

We came across herds of Zebra, but this one stood out. It appeared that not all the black washed out as it was growing up.

Etosha: Odd Zebra

The is one spot where you can actually drive out on the pan (in the dry season). It is kilometers of nothing.

On the last photo, Caitlin and Jenny is posing in front of out trusty steed. Took some convincing to get them out of the vehicle.

Etosha: On the Etosha pan.
Etosha: On the Etosha pan.
Etosha: On the Etosha pan, Caitlin & Jenny posing in front of the car.

When traveling in Africa you need to be ready for anything and have loads of patience. We had to wait quite a while for this natural elephant roadblock to clear and let us safely pass.

Etosha: Elephant roadblock.

Kudu.

Etosha: Kudu
 

Impala dueling.

Etosha: Impala dueling.

Lion checking out the herds.

Etosha: Lion checking out the herds.

At a rest stop with some giraffes in the background.

Etosha: Rest stop with giraffes in the background.

African Jacana.

Etosha: African Jacana.

A Gymnogene chasing a Martial Eagle. I've never heard of a Gymnogene before!

Etosha: Gymnogene chasing a Martial Eagle.

African Grey Hornbill (Female).

Etosha: African Grey Hornbill (Female).
Etosha Safari Camp

We stayed at the Etosha Safari Camp while visiting Etosha National Park. It is just a couple of kilometers from the Anderson gate, and a lot cheaper than staying at any of the camps inside the park. It was basic, but clean and good food.

It did have very interesting decor. The decor and themes dated from the period just before independence up to the elections. Quite unique and we really enjoyed our stay. See Favourite Places for the location and contact details.

Etosha Safari Camp Etosha Safari Camp Etosha Safari Camp Etosha Safari Camp Etosha Safari Camp Etosha Safari Camp Etosha Safari Camp Etosha Safari Camp
Dinosaur Tracks (Kalkveld)

On the farm Otjihaenamaparero, close to Kalkveld, you can see some dinosaur tracks.

The tracks occur in sandstones of the 190 million years old Etjo Formation. The sands formed these sandstones accumulated under increasingly arid conditions as wind blown dunes similar to the Namib Desert today. Numerous reptiles lived in the interdune areas, but as the climate became drier, these animals were forced to concentrate near waterholes, small lakes and rivers fed by occasional rainfalls and thunderstorms. Inevitably, their feet left imprints in the wet sediment around the water. Later these imprints were covered by other layers of wind blown sand, and were preserved as trace fossils when the sand solidified into rock due to the pressure that built up as they were buried deeper and deeper.

At Otjihaenamaparero, two crossing tracks consist of more than 30 imprints with a size of approximately 45 by 35 cm. The longer tracks can be followed for about 28 meters. There is a distance of some 70 to 90 cm between individual imprints as well as some tracks comprising smaller imprints of about 7 cm length and spaced about 28 to 33 cm apart. All tracks show the form of a three toed, clawed foot very well, and from their arrangement it can be deducted that they were made by the hind feet of a bipedal animal. Unfortunately, no body fossils of creatures that could be responsible for the tracks have been found in the area so far, and one can therefore only use comparison with other sites for identification.

Worldwide, about 900 dinosaur species are known through the finds of body fossils, however, only a few dozen footprint types have been discovered. From these it can be concluded that the dinosaur who left the footprints at Otjihaenamaparero possibly belonged to the large order of Therapoda, which comprises all the carnivores. The dimensions and the depth of the imprints suggest that the dinosaur had an appreciable size. Due to the unfavourable changes in climate described above, it can be assumed that the animals became extinct not long after they left their footprints. It is thought that the big tracks were made by a Ceratosauria and the small tracks by a Syntarsus.

There are a number of localities in the Etjo Sandstone that contain dinosaur footprints, however, Otjihaenamaparero is the most impressive one. The site has been declared a
National Monument, and the footprints are protected by law.

Age of the tracks are approximately 219 million years.

Kalkveld: Dinosaur Tracks Kalkveld: Dinosaur Tracks Kalkveld: Dinosaur Tracks

Just outside the farm is a stone commemorating a battle between the German companies and the Herero's in 1904.

Kalkveld: German and Herero battle commemoration stone (1904)
Omaruru

We did a quick stopover, for lunch, at a quaint little restaurant in Omaruru on the way from Etosha to Erindi. It had some very interesting art in the garden.

When you are in Omaruru, make sure to go past the chocolate factory in the industrial area.

Omaruru
Omaruru

During the 1904 Herero uprising the town of Omaruru was besieged by a 3,000 strong Herero force. When Hauptmann (Captain) Franke of the Schutztruppe, heard of the blockade, he decided to march his 7 officers, 2 doctors, 126 soldiers and 2 cannons to Omaruru. In what was to become known as the "epic march" Captain Franke and his troops crossed flooded rivers and covered over 900 km in 20 days to reach Omaruru. On 4 February 1904, after an eight hour battle the siege of Omaruru ended. During the battle 7 German soldiers and an estimated 100 Herero's lost their lives.

After the war the community of Omaruru decided to build a monument to honour Captain Franke and to commemorate the fallen German soldiers. The Franke Tower, situated on a section of the battlefield, was inaugurated on 4 February 1908 and proclaimed a national monument on 21 April 1972 . In 2008 the Franke Tower was rededicated to commemorate the fallen soldiers of both sides.

Omaruru: Franke Tower (1908)
Erindi Private Game Reserve

Our stay at the Erindi (which translates to "a place of water") Private Game Reserve was a real treat and a spoil. It is huge at 79,000ha with close to 2,000 animals. It also has it's own airstrip, for those who want to do a fly-in.

We stayed at the Old Traders Lodge, where the personal service and food was out of this world. We can really recommend Erindi to those who want to have 5 star luxury in the wilderness.

See Favourite Places for the location and contact details.

Erindi Game Reserve entrance from the Omaruru access road.

Erindi Game Reserve: Entrance from Omaruru

Damara Dik-dik.

Erindi Game Reserve: Damara Dik-dik

Erindi has a number of female lions, but only one male. They are quite used to the game drives, and just go on with their daily business (e.g. do very little).

No, I was not standing outside taking pictures. I was in another vehicle.

Erindi Game Reserve: Game drive and lions

As I said, their day is spent doing as little as possible.

The cubs were a little more interested in us.

Erindi Game Reserve: Lions
Erindi Game Reserve: Lions

Stopping for a sundowner, watching a beautiful African sunset.

Also got a nice photo of the moon with the color bands on the horizon opposite to the setting sun.

Erindi Game Reserve: Sundowner, sunset
Erindi Game Reserve: Sundowner, moon

They also have a Wild Dog breading program at Erindi.

Erindi Game Reserve: Wild Dog

We came across a troop of elephants, and as usual, had to wait patiently for them to cross. This calf was extremely skitish.

Erindi Game Reserve: Elephant and calf

Stopping for something hot after a freezing morning drive!

Our two very competent game rangers dressed up for the cold weather and giving us warm smiles.

Erindi Game Reserve: Morning drive
Erindi Game Reserve: Game rangers

In front of the main lodge is a big waterhole. With the draught in the area, we were treated to a number of animals in the evenings.

The hippos and crocodiles were permanent residents.

Erindi Game Reserve: Hippos at the Waterhole
Erindi Game Reserve: Crocodiles at the Waterhole

The top photo is of the main lodge and in the middle one is our bungalow. At the bottom is the main entrance.

Erindi Game Reserve: Main lodge
Erindi Game Reserve: Our bungalow
Erindi Game Reserve: Main entrance
This is the main gate to the Erindi Game Reserve when you enter from the Okahandja side. Erindi Game Reserve: Main gate