Leopards, mud, and donkey tracks – A road trip through Namibia.
Introductions are always good, so I’m Wendy, and along with my very tolerant husband Jeff, are undertaking a road trip through northern and central Namibia in the rainy season. We love travelling and especially travel in Africa, so when the opportunity to travel to Namibia arose he didn’t really have a lot of choice!
December to March sees rainfall in Namibia, for the rest of the year the country is dry, so when the South African holidaymakers return after the Christmas break the country is very quiet. Roads which are never busy even during the peak season are empty, and the National Parks are blissfully full of flowers and wild animals with their young.
Days 1 and 2.
DISTANCE: Tar road 41.7km, gravel road 18.5km
WEATHER: Hot sunshine during the day, rain in the evening.
Initially I didn’t envisage starting the blog until Day 3, the day when the road trip was due to start in earnest, but how wrong I was! We collected our camping equipped 4x4, stocked up on supplies of food and fuel and headed out on the B1, one of the two major tar roads in Namibia. Our ‘truck’ a Toyota Hi-Lux is equipped with a roof tent, double fuel tanks with a range of 1600km, and three spare tyres, just in case. There are two things we picked up on quite quickly, the first was the ‘four way stop’. Just like in South Africa, some junctions are crossroads where all vehicles are supposed to stop. Whoever arrives first has the right of way, quite tricky to master, especially if you’re a polite foreigner. The second was the police roadblocks. However, a truck with a tent on the roof is a bit of a giveaway. It was a bit like being the Queen; you wave your British passport, or even the mention of Wayne Rooney and they simply bow and let you through! The road was excellent, as we thought very little traffic and well signposted, and just before we got too comfortable we turned off for our first experience of Namibia’s famous gravel roads. We headed for Dusternbrook Guest Farm, our base for the first two nights, we crossed our first river which wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately, there was no way we were getting through the second one, so we took an alternative route. Travelling through the back roads which were tracks really, we got our first sightings of Warthog, Eland, and Oryx, how exciting!
After arriving at the farm and picking one of their riverside sites, we put up our tent for the first time and set about organising a place for everything. Each of the riverside sites has its own braai, or barbeque pit. We collected some wood and after a hot shower started to cook our T-bone steaks, and then…the heavens opened. Luckily the steaks were cooked and the salad was already prepared, so we enjoyed out first meal in the front seats of the truck!
Next morning after a terrific nights sleep, the birds were singing and the flowers were in full bloom. Dusterbrook is a guest farm which also has a leopard and five cheetah which live in large enclosures, as well as three hippo that live at the dam. We arranged to take a game drive with Jan, one of the rangers to see the big cats. We were the only two on the game drive and we really didn’t believe that we could get so close to a leopard, it was truly amazing. The cheetahs too were incredible, and we were able to take some excellent pictures. Our evening meal tonight was at the farm with Johann the owner and some the other guests who were staying in the cabins. We were glad to escape the rain showers, and after a wonderful day we were off to bed early before tomorrow’s long drive north.