On OpenStreetMap, at S 18.0906°, E 021.5637°.
Here we learn what it means to travel during the rainy season in the Kalahari. Everything is juicily green. High grass, fresh leaves, resulting in barely any wildlife vistas because you can only see through one bush row, which in turn is quite scary. But for a giraffe it is difficult to hide ;) The plenty permanent water holes are visited only by birds and a few warthogs during the day. But at least we find fresh cat tracks in the size of my foot nearby!
During nighttime the elephants party hard ploughing the sand tracks, making them even less traversible, twisting concrete direction signs for the confusion/amusement of passing tourists and pushing trees and bushes onto the track. I send Daniel with a saw and axe ahead to clear the way :D
On the open plains a lot of game: Oryxes, wildebeests and lovely roans with their fancy long ears and curious look! Khaudum is one of the few unfenced national parks, allowing animals to freely migrate to and fro. Most other parks, especially private ones in more urban areas, are rather huge zoos, filled with not necessarily native stock.Read more
Since Cape Town we are planning to put a step into Khaudum National Park. After re-fuelling and re-wifing in Tsumkwe we enter from the south. Today is the day! It feels like the most remote place in Namibia: We are the only two guys in the whole park and according to the registration office the last visitors before us entered on January 6th. Yeeehaaaaaw!
Luckily rainy seasons means that paths which are labelled "caution, deep sand" are pretty drivable because it's deep but wet sand. Some 60 km we drive through window-heigh grass and the radiator seed net proves to be a good investment even though you should definitely check and clean it more often than just every 20/30 km. Now, every morning our air condition sends the scent of roasted grass seeds into the car *yum yum* :-DRead more
From Grootfontein we rush east, Tsumkwe being our next gate in the search of remoteness. 240 km gravel ahead, without any infrastructure inbetween. We do not find anything but dust there and continue for a night into Nyae Nyae Conservancy via narrow bush tracks until we reach the community campsite Djxokhoe under a giant Baobab tree, perfectly in time for sunset and moonrise. 4315 km from Cape Town to find one of those Baobabs! The night is dominated by wine-loving moths.
The next morning we start early into the wild, hopping from water pan to dried water pan, not encountering any human soul. Colourful bee-eaters (Merops nubicoides) and lilac-brested rollers (Coracias caudatus) fight herds of ugly wildebeests. Who will win? The monstrous spider on my bonnet!Read more
By incident I manage to find an original Toyota alloy rim for my second spare tyre, for an unbeatable price, yeehaaaw! There are some workshops around with friendly, helpful, spontaneous people and great service. If you need your Toyota fixed in Windhoek, go to Auto Repairs Etzold! Otherwise there is not much to catch around here :-DRead more
My favourite passage until now! We leave the Skeleton Coast at Ugab river and follow its riverbed eastbound. Many different paths into all directions exist, as if everybody except us knows the correct way without any signs. Google Maps quickly renders useless, but our paper map gives me some hope. I use paper maps from Freytag & Berndt quite often on my trips and love them! If they show a path, then there is a path. (Here around Africa maps from Tracks4Africa are supposed to be state of the art, I got the most recent for Sambia.) So, the detailed path finding we finally do digitally in Open Street Map. Let the mapping community be praised to the max! The path starts next to the river and changes into the riverbed after some 10-20, 30 or 40 km. Who knows, distances become irrelevant here. A barely visible track in sand, dried mud and rock 'n' roll! Hell yeah, this is fun! Welwitschias are predominant, being an endemic Namibian desert plant which can get older than Old Amsterdam.
Our destination: Brandberg west mine, a deserted tin mine with a water pond deep inside. Supposed to be campable but turns out to be already occupied by one of those tourists with a rented, white Toyota Hilux and a roof tent (you don't see anything else around here). We enjoy the scenary and return down to the Ugab river base camp which we prefer a lot! Total tranquility, in the middle of the riverbed, surrounded by spiked trees, by mountains and sometimes visited by rare mountain elephants (according to their dried dung) and by lions (which probably is a myth). It's a Save the Rhino Trust camp where you pay as voluntary donation. The African Black Rhino is nearly extinct and exists in natural environment just in these mountain areas. Apart from that you probably find it in Etosha National Park, but that's it.Read more