Sand, more sand, dunes, lizards and bugs….the Namib desert was the best of the visit…

A great heave of a Landy turned up at the hotel to take us on our tour of the desert, yes ok it does sound a bit Club 18-30 but there is no way a trip into the middle of the Namib should be taken lightly and Turnstone Tours are ace. 

The highlight of the trip for me was seeing the bacteria filled red water which is responsible for the pinkish hue of the local Flamingo. 

Flamingo red...well not quite but that is some fierce bacteria

Lesser or Greater Flamingo - not sure which...look it up

The area before Sandwich bay is home to a massive set of salt pans where solar evaporation allows for the creation of 400 000 tonnes of salt per annum -yes that it not snow you see in the photo.

I never thought salt could be beautiful...but this really was..

We drove along the beach, inches from the sea for around an hour or so, this is the beginning of what is known as the Skeleton coast and sure enough we saw hundreds of dead seals etc…but due to the extreme conditions they do not decompose rapidly and neither are they eaten away, very weird, (no photos of these  – far too grim).

Picnic anyone, Rufus it would be far too hot for you and no Herdies to chase....

A bit of a march up the dunes for a look at the lagoon and the strange adapted wildlife and then we went dune bashing, which was absolutely fantastic.  Ernest, our guide, would not let me take the wheel, shame but with a 32 degree drop things were a bit challenging for a female driver (apparently)…

I am pretending to be dead....but I don't think they believe me..

After our picnic on top of the dunes we drove at pace across the desert only to find that the intense rainfall over this wet season (my burnt nose would suggest otherwise) had caused our route to become flooded, quick detour up and over made it pretty exciting. 

We ended the day with supper at the Jetty1905 restaurant with window views to a sunset, the food was not amazing but the glass floor over the sea was.

A truly great day and my last in Namibia, back to Cape Town on Thursday and London on Saturday.  I may share my trip to a landmark CT restaurant for my last post….if you are very lucky.

Swakopmund – Dolphins, Sunfish, Seal and Pink Pelicans….with a few Oysters to wash them down

Swakopmund, famous for its fantastic Oysters, sea life and sand dunes, is our final stop on this three week Safari.  The Hansa Hotel, very historic and fairly grand in its own way, is our residence for three nights.  Today we trekked along the sea road for 33k to Walvis Bay, site of a unique landscape which lends itself to stunning wildlife due to a huge protective sand spit.

The boats are well known to the seals, birds and dolphins so getting up close is never in doubt.  We saw everything we expected and also found a 300Kg Ocean Sunfish, not great photos so none of those, nor the heavyside dolphins which we saw hundreds off.

Now where is that fish...Rufus they are starving me...

We were dive bombed by a series of stunning pinkish Pelican who were expecting us to throw them our lunch, I think.  I am not a birdy but they are pretty awesome.

Pelicans dive bombing the boat

As we raced past Pelican Point sand spit we caught sight of this Black Backed Jackal stealing fish from the Pelicans I guess.  Brilliant.

Get off its mine...

A great day in a growing town, I fancied the sea kayaking, dune boarding, quad biking and other risky activities but no one else was playing…time for the shops I think.

Little Ongava – the hunt for Black Rhino – ummmm we had already seen one…ooops

Our trip from Epacha to Little Ongava took a mere 40 minutes, hurrah.  Wow, who knew that a Safari could be as fabulous as this.  An entirely private guide, chef and suites, all in a tree top setting overlooking the extensive wildlife.  I could not recommend it more. 

Our stated aim was to continue the hunt for the elusive Black Rhino, ummm when our guide checked out our photos it turned out the Rhino we thought was white was indeed Black…..Good grief did we feel dumb.  So for completeness I include a picture of one of the White Rhino we saw at Little Ongava.

I am bigger, have a wider mouth and a gap between my horn, I am a White Rhino twit

I love a Defender and just in case I am invited to work at an Auto Show I got some practice in with a full length pose on our guide’s truck….ha ha.

Ummm a bit scruffy and not the best background but its a Landrover so who cares..

Being slightly disappointed with our trip to Etosha in the morning everything took a turn for the better when we saw a Lion with a full mane playing around with his mate.  Not a great pic but I include it anyway.

A fuzzy Lion having an argument with his mate...sorry no pic of the mate...

Today we race off to Swakopmund, along the Trans Kalahari Express and through the Namib desert, at the seaside, for Oysters, desert safari and a glimpse of some Dolphins from a boat.   But before we leave a quick picture of Wilhelm sliding about in the water checking our route…..he got v muddy but never actually fell in…

This was almost a point of no return, Wilhelm saved the day but almost met with disaster...

Apols for the style of the Safari Blog, I have specific requests as to what I should include and that is “pictures of animals”…so there you are.

The hunt for Black Rhino failed so a bit of a swim and a picnic instead….

Giraffe snaffling before the storm hits in Etosha park

Almost a fiasco…our chef, a young lad who played Rugby for France and Belgium, wrote his Landcruiser off yesterday, when trying to avoid a Black Backed Jackal.  Jackal survived but our dinner was cooked by a sub, no worries at all, we had an excellent Kudo fillet and some other local treats….

Epacha is set in the hills outside Etosha, with a game park of its own, hosting Black Rhino, Sable and all the other local wildlife, (Giraffe, Oryx etc).  Waking up early and diving into the Defender we set off at pace looking for waterholes which the Rhino typically frequent, no such luck today.  The whole area is very wet at present and as such the water holes are not really seeing as much wildlife, no matter, we did spot our first hertybeest. (spelling)

One glass of champagne too many and as for the crisps....swimming lengths later I think

A quick glass of the local Champagne was served by Klaus and then back to the swimming pool and Jacuzzi…

No glamour shots I am afraid, we are all a bit modest for that

Annie is happy again.

Tomorrow, Saturday, we set off bright and early for a swift 40 minute drive to Little Ongava where we will stay for two nights.  Renowned for their Black Rhino we should be in luck.  No Jacuzzi here but a private plunge pool awaits….swimmers are at the ready.

Ah a late addition the Bull Elephant from Etosha…sorry he was a bit distant..

Billy No Mates here....where is everybody?

Now where did that Elephant go….ah there he is.

White Rhino, one of the big Five and pretty special at that....mud glorious mud

Moses having recognised that we were serious about seeing Elephant, held us at our word, an Elephant hunt it was, yee hah!  Driving something over 100k, we saw a multitude of wonderful creatures, the now common Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, Black Backed Jackal, every bird you can imagine, a Cheetah (very special) and………..a lone Bull Elephant.  Noting that at this time of year the Elephant are a pretty rare find as most of them have departed for Angola,we were happy indeed.  Oh and we saw another White Rhino, lucky days.

I'm just a baby and the sun is pretty fierce today....

After a 05.30 start our 7 hour adventure meant an afternoon in the pool with a G and T, no photos don’t fret.

A few Impala from close to our fantastic hotel….the Onguma Fort

A swift drink for the team before we go and hide from the Lions...

Tomorrow we have a 150k drive to the Epacha Spa, in the hills just outside Etosha, where I am expecting great things, I will be doing game drives, perhaps a jacuzzi and swim but certainly not manicures, unlike some.

Annie loving Africa

Today was more about driving than about safari

….or so we thought On arriving at Onguma Plains Camp, The Fort, having supped our fruity cocktail, (no alcohol), we shimmied into the LandCruiser with Moses, an expert on all things Etosha, Lions, Rhino etc, for a four hour scoot around.

Lo res due to bandwidth but still a handsome beast

This was real safari.

I made it clear that top of my agenda was Lions and guess what we saw Lions….ah I said well what about Rhino… we saw Rhino…..what about Elephant….well then I had pushed my luck.

7 Lions, snapped 2, here they are watching the Giraffe

A few snaps to take your fancy, or not, with a few from our early morning  look at OkonJima’s Cheetahs.

PS the tan is coming along nicely thanks…but so is the belly as the food is fantastic, Oryx, Kudo and Springbok so far, deeeelicious, (sorry guys).

Not the best shot of me....see the Giraffe in the background

Come out come out wherever you are…..Annie the Cheetah catcher…

Up at 05.30 for Cheetah tracking, as if. Turned out to be a Land Cruiser tastic adventure with a fantastic sunrise over the hills, the long grass, Giraffe and Acacia trees all bringing it together. 

Would we or would we not see the Cheetah today?  Jonah and Rohan, our helpful guides, were doing their best but after an hour stalking them we almost gave up….ah ha, Jonah at last had found some…four, all lying together asleep wondering why on earth anyone was up at this ungodly hour….good grief guys buzz off. 

Jeeez guys what time do you call this?

We are back out at 16.00 hrs for an evening tracking session, Leopards and Cheetahs this time, cross fingers for us. 

Sorry a rather horrid sight, a brown Hyena snaffling a Wildebeest, one we saw yesterday looking a little poorly had succombed.  The cycle of life I guess.

Its all over for the Wildebeest.....

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