The Skeleton Coast

on Wednesday, October 24, 2012
A spooky name, and rightly so- the Skeleton Coast is one of Namibia's favourite destinations, and is eerily named for the bones of whales and seals from the days of the whaling industry, and also the skeletons of wrecked ships. The coast experiences dense ocean fogs, and these combined with offshore rocks have wrecked many a ship!

Despite the slightly unsettling name and history, the Skeleton Coast is a great place to visit as it is full of history and is a stunning and untouched coastline. Protected by the Skeleton Coast National Park, the landscape includes sand dunes, canyons and mountain ranges.

The National Park is home to elephants, rhinos, lions, cheetahs, and more. There are comnpanies which do Skeleton Coast safaris, which you could combine with your motorhome holiday! The shipwrecks are somewhat of a morbid attraction but fascinating none the less for their history. Noteable wreck sites include the Dunedin Star, a Blue Star Liner which ran aground along the coast and has an interesting story of several disastrous rescue attempts. Others are the Montrose, Suiderkus, Sir Charles Elliot, Kaio Maru, Seal and Luanda. Often a scenic flight is the best way to see the wrecks.

 by Joachim Huber Flickr Creative Commons

Base yourself in Swakopmund to visit the Skeleton Coast- try the Alte Brucke campground  or Torra Bay.

Swakopmund and Walvis Bay

on Wednesday, February 15, 2012
By Mara 1 - Flickr Commons

Many may think Namibia is a no-go African Country, but you'd be happy to know the country is perfect for lots of sightseeing, meeting with friendly locals and having a great adventure. With so much to do this blog wouldn't do Namibia justice. But we'll take a sample of the fantastic nation. Swakopmund is Namibia's playground, a holiday destination and a place to escape the overwhelming heat of inland Namibia.

The city itself resembles a small German town and creates a timeless holiday feel with palm lined streets, seaside promenades and cafes and museums. But the real fun happens in the desert.

Take up the amazing opportunity to go Quad biking, sand-boarding, sand skiing, parasailing or another of the many adrenalin cajoling activities.

Quad biking, Swakopmund
Quad biking, Swakopmund
By coda - flickr commons

At Walvis Bay, you can enjoy a dolphin cruise, a kayak tour or explore the lagoon.

Relax and have fun in this amazing area, but don't stop here. Continue your roadtrip in your cool Namibian camper to somewhere else in the country.

Find a Namibian Camper at Motorhome Republic!

Namibia Campervan Hire Early Bird Special

on Thursday, October 27, 2011
Caprivi Car Hire currently is running a special for those looking for a great Nambia campervan hire deal before the end of 2011. You can receive 5% off your daily hire rates for any booking travelling in 2012 when booked before 31 December 2011.

PROMO CODE: 5offcaprivicampervan
Valid from 28-Sep-2011 to 31-Dec-2011

Camper Hire Special  Terms and Conditions
1. Subject to new bookings only.
2. Subject to vehicle availability.
3. Only applies to the base rental portion of the hire. Is not extended or able to be transferred to other components like insurances and extra options.
4. Booking must be made between 01 October - 31 December 2011 5. Travel must commence and completed between 01 Jan 2012 - 31 December 2012.
6. Normal terms and conditions apply.

Leopards, mud, and donkey tracks – A road trip through Namibia.

on Tuesday, February 15, 2011
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.

Namibia Roadtrip Day 3 & 4

on Monday, February 14, 2011
Day 3.

DISTANCE: Tar road 560.8km, gravel road 18.5km – 7 hours 45 minutes.
WEATHER: Hot sunshine during the day, rain in the evening.

We woke up just as the sun was rising this morning. A quick breakfast, shower, and then it was time to hit the B1 again for a long drive North up to the Etosha National Park. Just like our first day we saw hardly any traffic and the road was very straight, so easy in fact that even I managed to drive without incident! We stopped off for lunch at one of the picnic spots. Jeff is known for always wanting a ‘proper’ lunch, and as we also had a fridge onboard out came everything, we even cooked up an excellent cup of tea.

We arrived at our next campsite in the park, Namutoni, at 4pm just before….the rain! This time it was not just rain, thunder, and lightening accompanied by terrific winds. The wind was so strong that after only being up for half an hour we decided to collapse the tent in case it broke, and so another night of eating our evening meal in the front of the truck.

Day 4.

DISTANCE: Gravel/Dirt road 87.5km
WEATHER: Overcast/Hot sunshine during the day, rain during the night.

The overland trucks and some of the other campsite occupants left early this morning, around 5am. We on the other hand did not. We left the site after breakfast at around 7.30 and within ten minutes came across a heard of Zebra with their young, Impala, Oryx, and Kudu. The park was virtually deserted as most of the other vehicles were long gone, we continued and came across four lions, 2 male, 2 female in the long grass. We sat and watched them as they watched us and then moved on to one of the smaller side roads towards a watering hole known as Chudob. During the dry season the watering holes are where the best sightings are found, but of course now there had been plenty of rain so we as we weren’t expecting to almost run into a Leopard!

Leopards are illusive animals and are rarely seen on the ground in the daytime, let alone by the side of the road stalking an Impala. How exited were we? This was the most incredible experience. We sat and watched as both animals looked at each other, but the Impala knew that the terrain wasn’t right for the Leopard, so continued to graze. How many times can I include INCREDIBLE in a day! After half an hour the Leopard gave up and walked straight in front of the truck and then off into the bush… incredible. We were pretty much on a high, and it didn’t matter now whether we saw another animal or not. We had just witnessed an extremely rare sighting, and were full of it!

After all that excitement there was a great need for a toilet stop, and after what we had just seen, there was no way I was getting out of the truck! After all, leopards can be extremely dangerous animals. The park has designated toilets, so after locating the nearest one on the map we were off. However, dirt roads and rain make…mud and the route to the toilet was impassable for us. We stopped and turned round only to see a confident young Belgian in a Land Rover put his foot down and swerve his way through deep mud almost up to the drivers door whilst looking particularly cool with his wavy blonde hair, tan and dark sunglasses. “Not in a rental truck” I warned Jeff as his eyes lit up, eagerly wanting to follow the intrepid young driver’s path. “We’ll find another stop”.
We never did find another stop, just lots more mud, so we made our way to the next rest camp Halali, just in time for lunch.

One lesson we learned very quickly today having lunch and then putting the tent up is something you only do once. The combination of hot sun on metal ladders on top of the tent roof rack, make a very painful combination! So we cooled our burnt hands in the camp swimming pool and bought a very expensive ice cream and water from the camp shop before heading off to the water hole, which was deserted, but we didn’t mind. Tonight, we ate outside for the first time, and content we went to bed before being rudely awakened by a polecat who knocked over our bin in search of scraps.

Namibia Roadtrip Day 5 & 6

on Sunday, February 13, 2011
Day 5.

DISTANCE: Gravel/Dirt road 132km
WEATHER: Rain/Sun/Thunder & lightening.

Lots of rain in the night again, but still our fellow travellers were up at the crack of dawn on early morning game drives. We did five hours of driving today between the watering holes and saw Hyena and mainly the grazers such as Impala and Kudu with their young. It was also a day for sighting birds, although I’m not really very good with all the names of the 600 plus species you can see in Namibia. Etosha Pan was also on our list today; this was a totally different experience, the long salt road travels right out into the pan, no trees, no animals, just us, it was quite an experience.

With all the rain the roads were getting quite badly cut up in places, one of the large overland Scania trucks with a group travelling from Cape Town to Cairo was stuck as it avoided a large expanse of water and took the muddy alternative at the side. All the excited students were peering out of their windows whilst the driver and the group leader were looking rather worried at the back wheels, both buried very deep in mud. We drove straight through the water causing quite a tidal wave, nothing we could do, we didn’t dare stop or we could have been in the same boat! Another point which I quickly established was that although Jeff thought it was really fun to drive through every bit of mud and water he could find and get the truck really dirty and looking extremely cool, it was not quite so cool getting in and out of the truck as no matter how much you tried not to, the back of your legs rubbed the door mouldings as you got out, which by now, were caked heavily in thick, wet mud, leaving a slimy mud line across the back of your legs…. lovely!

Back to Halali, this time we picked a different pitch to try and avoid the polecat, needless to say it didn’t work. After our meal we thought we’d give the waterhole one last try. On our way there it started raining and by the time we got there, it was torrential. We ran all the way back to the campsite in the dark as there had been a power cut. We went straight to bed, it was too dark for me to notice that although the fly screen had been zipped up the outer windows were still open. Oh dear.

Day 6.

DISTANCE: Gravel/Dirt road 98km
WEATHER: Overcast/Sun/Rain.

Today started early, 1.30 am to be precise. That’s when we decided to abandon ship and sleep in the truck! The rain was just too much for the tent, water was dripping in everywhere, especially as I hadn’t closed the windows properly. We were very damp, so plan B into action, dive into the truck and with seats fully reclined we were pretty comfortable as we finished the night in relative dryness. By now, I was thinking, thank heavens I chose the 4 door cab, where you can recline the front seats. The camp was pretty flooded in parts at daybreak, so we decided to do a short game drive and then arrive early at our next site within the park, Okaukuejo. They had a large washing line so the sleeping bags dried out in no time, and the mattress also cooked in the hot sunshine. Bliss, dry again…until the rains came, this time earlier than expected. Luckily, I had remembered to zip up the windows of the tent this time. Unfortunately Jeff hadn’t remembered to close the tailgate of the truck so our food got rather wet! The rain continued into the late afternoon when all the overland trucks started pulling in. We did feel sorry for the occupants as they were forced to put up their tents in the pouring rain whilst we were sitting comfortably in our truck drinking tea. Best decision of the day was to eat out at the camp restaurant rather than the car. Jeff, being somewhat technical, established that although there were electrical points in the shower blocks they weren’t working so he decided to rig up the gas stove in the shower block so we could dry our hair over it, just so we didn’t look like something the cat dragged in. Today we finished the fuel in our first tank, so we had completed around 800km.

Namibia Roadtrip Day 7

on Saturday, February 12, 2011
Day 7.

DISTANCE: Tar roads 246.2km, gravel roads 86.8km - 333Km
WEATHER: Overcast/Hot and sunny/Wind

We left Etosha National Park this morning after a wonderful few days of game drives and mud. We started our journey south with a stop at Outjo, a small town for more supplies. The town was a mix of locals and people on their way to and from the park, and it was obvious that this was the place to stock up on food and fuel. We visited the local supermarket and were soon surrounded by the ‘skanky students’ from the truck that we had seen stuck in the mud a few days ago. Their truck has also pulled in for provisions. Wherever there are tourists there are people selling all those wonderful souvenirs you could really do without. Here at Outjo it was key rings made from chestnuts, and a bargain at only 100 Namibia dollars for two, a special discounted price which equates to around £10 or $15. After politely advising them that in Kenya the same sort of thing would only cost 20 Namibian dollars each, we were subsequently the proud owners of two key rings, at a slightly reduced price with our names engraved on them!
We called in at the garage to fill up with fuel and tried to pay with South African Rand notes which were declined as there had been a lot of forgeries recently, so we had to make a trip to the bank to get the notes changed before we could go anywhere! Time for coffee, and as the sign indicated we had arrived at the best coffee shop in town we called in at the Dinner Farm House owned and run by Ansta Gabathuler, a Namibian who promised the best Cappuccino in town, her carrot cake was exceptional too. We whiled away the time talking to Ansta and her Swiss husband Urs for far too long, and promised to keep in touch before hitting the tar road again. Not for long…suddenly the C39 tar road very abruptly became gravel...ouch. There definitely hadn’t been any rain here; the road was very dusty. Today’s campsite was Abu-Huab, run by the local community of Damara people. This was a lovely site, basic but clean and thankfully only us, and two Belgian couples were resident as the toilets were bush style with no doors! We awarded Abu Huab the award of best toilet and shower as the shower was integrated into the tree, it was also the first night where we were able to sit outside all night without rain and enjoy the sunset. We even danced under the stars, how romantic! Abu–Huab also won the award of the hottest hot water, on arrival and again the following morning one of the staff stoked up the wood burning hot water tank to make sure there was plenty of hot water for us – excellent.