FUN-travel: Namibia – Part 2

November 16, 2010 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Namibia – Part 2 

The ABC’s of Africa

A = Awesome
B = Bummer
C = Celebration
AA = Awesome Adventure
BB = Big Bummer
OO = Outrageously Overpriced
RBB = Really Big Bummer
TA = Totally Awesome
TAA = Totally Awesome Adventure
VG = Very Good

Day 31 – Sunday, October 3 – Swakopmund – cold low 60’s

Sylvester the Seal

  • A – 9 am Atlantic Ocean Safari – Boat Cruise in Walvis Bay
  • TA – 9:30 Seal Show on boat – 3 different seals jump on – can pet them
  • A – Cape Corinth sits on captain’s shoulder
  • A – 11:00 Bottle Nose Dolphin Show
  • A – see huge cape fur seal colony & flamingos
  • A – 11:30 champagne, oysters, snacks
  • A – arrive back to room 1 pm before next adventure
  • RBB – in bathroom, front door open, hear kids yelling – go out, tell me my purse was stolen by 2 boys – attempt pursuit
  • A – Peter (my angel) owns Cornerstone Guesthouse across street (met him this morn) is just pulling out & takes the 6 boys to find the thieves
  • B – 1:45 have pickup for next adventure now & must leave – no word on the purse
  • A – 3 hour Aerial Safari – see Spitzkoppe, Namibia’s Matterhorn, vast granite dome rising 700 m, sw side same height as Empire State building, vertical rock w/o ledges or breaks is highest continual rock wall in SA, fly between them – YIKES! – then see Brandberg, huge wilderness of volcanic rock – then Skeleton Coast, littered w/whalebones, shipwrecks, remains of sailors & explorers – then Cape Cross – largest breeding colony of Cape fur seals & they are the largest of the species


  • A – arrive back & purse was found!

Donny the Dolphin

  • BB – completely emptied – only thing of real value are prescription sunglasses (cell phone had rang at 3 am, thought it was off, have no idea who called, took out to recharge along w/my travel mouse) – lesson learned from past travel – thieves will throw away everything of no value to them – go to 4 block area where they were spotted & dig through trash cans
  • TA – I am a LUCKY GIRL! what are the chances – find sunglasses after checking 10 trash cans – never find anything else (biz cards, travel log notes, pens, lipstick, thumb drive – nothing expensive & that can’t be replaced) – thank goodness I had updated my travel log on Friday
  • C – take walk to find FUN place for dinner – pick Noona’s – meet Wayne, local guide (quite a character) & English couple I met from breakfast – good calamari pasta & cheap house wine

Skeleton Coast

Not so FF (FUN Facts) – Tourists are targets and so are purses.  I never carry money or credit cards in them, except in transit, and then it never leaves my possession. I assume everyone is out to rob me. I put everything in the safe upon arrival. I have never been violated in my hotel room until now. New travel rule: we will never stay in rooms that are vulnerable to the street. Every place we have stayed so far was gated and walled, clearly for that reason.

Day 32 – Monday, October 4 – Swakopmund to Twyfelfontein – cold 60’s, windy, thick ominous clouds, distant thunder, light rain

Roadside Stand

  • A – depart 8 am – drive up Skeleton Coast – see ship wreck – lots of flat sand scattered w/mounds of thick green ground cover – gravel roads return – stop in small town of Uis – landscape of red, brown, black hills, rolling & jagged mountains some w/huge boulders balanced on top of one another, then flat topped, dry grass color of wheat
  • A – arrive 1:30Twyfelfontein – windy pleasant low 80’s
  • A – 3 pm drive to see sandstone rock paintings and engravings – largest concentration dating from 2000 to 6000 yrs old – very steep walk up, uneven rocky steps & thick, soft sand – stark white barren trees & silvery gray dry shrubs & grasses contrast deep red/brown sandstone boulders – then drive to burnt mountain – ancient volcanic rock formations
  • B – roads like driving on a grate – shake & shimmy, shake & shimmy

Day 33 – Tuesday, October 5 – Twyfelfontein to Erindi Private Game Reserve – cool morning, high clouds – hot by noon

Rock Art

  • B – 7:30 am depart – more gravel roads
  • A – 9:30 HEAVEN! tarmac roads
  • A – stop @ Petrified Forest – pine trees from central Africa deposited from great flood 280,000,000 years ago
  • B – supposed to stay @ Erongo Wilderness Lodge – tented chalets w/thatched roofs built on raised wooden decks around large boulders on stilts – overbooked
  • A – Erindi is 5 star! has AC & CNN! waterhole next to dining room & huge deck – lots of animals

Kalahari Ferrari

  • AA – 4:30 game drive – see 1st ever Black Rhino, Red Hartebeest, Damara dik dik – then find pride of 4 lions lounging @ waterhole
  • C – fabulous dinner & entertainment featuring Roxy & Ray the Rhinos (white), elephants, zebra, warthogs

FF – difference between white & black rhinos – white rhinos are larger & are grazers – black rhinos are smaller, more aggressive & are browsers

Day 34 – Wednesday, October 6 – Erindi to Windhoek to Johannesburg

  • A – 6:30 – 9 am game drive – see 1st ever African wild dog & African wild cat & the usual suspects
  • A – 10 am depart after wonderful breakfast – see 3rd kill – Tawny Eagle w/rabbit on road
  • A – stop @ craft market – more carvings, fabrics, masks, etc. – looking for drum for Amy – don’t see so ask & sure enough find perfect one – beautifully carved – only problem, they want $550 Namibian & only have $150
  • TA – after much haggling & numerous attempts to walk away, get if for $150 plus change in pocket (roughly $22 US)
  • B – more wild fires
  • A – get to airport 1:30 for 4:15 flight
  • B – delayed – told tires need to cool off
  • A – arrive Joburg w/all bags intact (paid $10 to shrink wrap mine)
  • C – back to Airport Grand Hotel (where we stayed our first night) – free shuttle – acceptable for transit hotel – clean, decent food, good wine & free internet

FF – Safari lodges require you to sign a waiver that you won’t sue them in the event you are hurt or killed by the animals. (As I write this, I read that a man was mauled by a lion and killed while taking an outside shower this past week)


Namibia Recap: The sand dunes were spectacular! The driving got to be a bit monotonous, but I think that is because we had spent the week before driving in Botswana. We wished we would have gone to Etosha, but that would have required a flight. Also, we had already done 9 days of safari which is quite a bit for most people. We loved it! There are always tradeoffs. Another lesson learned: We thought the Skeleton Coast included the Sossusvlei sand dunes. Make sure you’re scheduled for what you think you’re doing to eliminate any disappointment.

FUN-travel: Namibia – Part 1

November 15, 2010 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Namibia – Part 1 

The ABC’s of Africa

A = Awesome
B = Bummer
C = Celebration
AA = Awesome Adventure
BB = Big Bummer
OO = Outrageously Overpriced
RBB = Really Big Bummer
TA = Totally Awesome
TAA = Totally Awesome Adventure
VG = Very Good

Day 28 – Thursday, September 30 – Windhoek, Namibia – cool 60’s to hot 90’s


  • A – 6:45 am good hot coffee, followed by real hot shower, full breakfast
  • A – 8:30 depart w/stop in real town @ mall for souvenirs, snacks & wine (feels like SA)
  • A – smooth, paved roads!
  • A – 160 miles to Desert Homestead in Namib Desert – terrain is granite mountains, dry grass
  • B – wild fires create thick haze
  • A – 1st 90 minutes paved roads
  • B – next 3.5 hours gravel roads (at least they’ve been graded)
  • A – mostly dry, sparse vegetation w/green trees by dry river beds fed by ground water

FF (FUN–Facts) – Desert Homestead consists of 20 thatch-roofed, whitewashed walled bungalows w/private verandas overlooking plain w/craggy mountains in every direction, beds come w/mosquito netting so you can leave windows open at night

  • B – very cute, but no AC & very, very hot!
  • A – have cool plunge pool

Day 29 – Friday, October 1 – Namib Desert – low 70’s to hot high 90’s

Sossusvlei Highest Dune

  • A – quick coffee before heading out to Sossusvlei & Sesriem
  • A – 6:30 start, get to main park gate @ 7:00 – still cool
  • A – only 20 miles of gravel road & then 35 miles paved
  • A – stop for walk up sand dune

Dry River Bed

  • B – still have vertigo – very steep, narrow walk & windy – too dizzy & feel unbalanced – turn around
  • AA – Sossusvlei has highest sand dune in world – over a1050’ high – dunes go on forever
  • A – take a 1.5 mile round trip walk to dead pan – dried up river bed & dead trees caused by sand dunes cutting of water source
  • A – Sesriem is a mini grand canyon – take a walk down to the bottom – very narrow & cool due to some water – see where huge boulders have broken off from top and blocked path – realize this is not the place you want to be in an earthquake
  • C – spontaneous African after dinner singing & dancing by staff

FF – The dune colors are varying ranges of red, orange, brown & change throughout the day depending on the position of the sun and the shadows that it casts. The sand starts out very cool, then to warm & then to hot by mid morning.

Day 30 – Saturday, October 2 – Namib Desert to Swakopmund – cool 60’s to hot 90’s to cold low 60”s

Oliver the Ostrich

  • A – depart 8 am for drive to Swakopmund
  • A – 1st stop Solitaire – town consists of one lodge, gas station, bakery & camel rides


  • A – experience 4 different terrains on way – terra cotta colored brown/orange/red sand – jagged, then rounded, then flat top mountains – dry wheat colored grasses turn to soft yellow & deep golden colors – trees scattered on dry river beds
  • A – 2nd stop lunch – see oryx, ostrich & springbok
  • A – 3rd stop Kuiseb Canyon – see layered rock formations & dry river beds
  • B – 4th stop Welwitschia Plains – not much to see but odd looking plant that lives 2,000 years and sprouts a single pair of leaves that lie in a tangled heap on the ground
  • A – 5th stop Moonlandscape – expansive view of canyons – more different shapes & colors created by water over 1000’s of years
  • A – arrive Swakopmund Guest House 3:00

  • A – have internet after 12 days of none
  • B – very slow & intermittent
  • B – no hot water – office closed
  • A – dinner @ Eric’s – seafood, very German (80% of town speaks German)

FF – Namibia “Big 3” is oryx, ostrich, & springbok