Namibia: a delight to the senses
Chartered clients, Ann and Ian Fuller, ticked a visit to the untamed Namibian desert of their bucket wheel recently. Feel free to read Ann’s following account of their trip, but, be warned! You may find yourself booking your seat before the end of the tale!
Ian and I have often wanted to experience the vast ‘Sea of Sand’ that hugs the important Skeleton Coast in Namibia.
The opportunity eluded us for about three years. This year, to celebrate Ian’s 70th birthday, we finally booked a week with the brilliant Wilderness Safaris who offer a turnkey experience from arranging lodge bookings to internal plane ‘hops’ between camps.
Our first stop was Desert Rhino Camp in the Palmwag Reserve. What an eye opener! As far as the eye could see were rocks … only rocks … and then more rocks. Huge vast open lands extend to the glorious blue sky, and, as we drove along in the Landie, we saw an immense expanse of green desert springs.
How much life there really is in the desert is surprising: from small insects to beautiful giraffe, oryx, jackal, hyena and, of course, the desert rhino.
Early one morning, the ‘scouts’ reported on finding rhino spoor. We bumped off in the Landie and switched off to wait for confirmation on where the rhino were. While waiting with great anticipation, we heard the awesome roar of a lion … wow, surely not on these rocks! We drove off and followed the rhino on foot, catching a good sight of him before he walked off into another area. Back on the Landie, while we excitedly chattered away about what we had seen, the guide shouted: “Lion!” To our right, an awesome male beast was strutting, feet adept at walking on the rocks, as if he had been made for this area. As we watched in utter amazement and drove closer, he starting running between the rocks … it was something to behold. These majestic creatures have adapted to these adverse conditions with great skill, and, before disappearing over the hill, he glanced back at us and a voice in the Landie whispered in awe: “He knows he is king of the jungle”, and we had to agree.
Our next camp was in Damaraland, one of the most scenic areas in Namibia – this area boasts four different biodiversities.
This is where you find the desert elephant.
We were woken early and taken to the top of a mountain. The lodge had prepared a breakfast for us that was only made sweeter by the sun rising over the mountains – a new day had begun …
Then off we went to try and find these gentle giants … over infinite stretches of open sand against the backdrop a mountain range, then sand, then rocks and then the unmistakable rumble of elephants. To see these magnificent giants in such arid and bleak surroundings is breath-taking. Two little ones, about a week old, nestle between moms’ legs. Then, as silent as their arrival, they trundle off to a water spring – their daily habit.
The heat in Namibia is obviously something to contend with, but a plunge into an ice cold swimming pool just ticks the box.
That night at the lodge, we were led down a path and as we rounded the corner a beautiful ‘boma’ awaited us: candles lit in brown paper bags, a huge orange fire, singers whose voices invited us to join in … and then dinner was served.
Our third and final Lodge was at Little Kulala near Sossusvlei.
The Lodge was something to behold. As we drove there with sand to the left, right, back and front, we came upon this place that is white and a welcome refuge from the blistering heat of the desert.
We were awoken early and taken through to Sossusvlei to see the sand dunes, the colour of which change as the sun rises – it is just magnificent. We walked to Deadvlei, an inland lake that formed about 600 years ago. Walking back we took off our shoes to savour the feeling of cool sand between our toes. We left quickly because, once the sun is up, the heat is incredible and we would definitely not go barefoot then.
There was no cellphone reception or TV … such solitude in an area of our country that enjoys vast expanses of beauty and diversity that many people overlook.
Be adventurous … try Namibia … it is well worth it.