Spirit of the Namib: 11-20 February 2009

Mar 18, 2009 Andersson's Camp
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Having landed at Ongava Game Reserve and checked into Andersson's Camp at around 12h00 we headed off on an afternoon game drive on the reserve with Lesley, one of the guides from camp. We saw several herds of plains game and were lucky enough to find a new born baby springbok only 15-30 minutes old. Leaving this delicate creature we headed across Leopard Clearing but all the recent downpours had left the roads a morass and we duly got stuck. Realising how mired we were, we quickly arranged for another guide to collect our guests and get them back to camp for dinner, while we worked to free the vehicle, getting home at 24h00.

Having learnt our lesson, the next day we headed into the Etosha National Park for a full day trip and covered a large area with visits to productive waterholes like Rietfontein, Sueda, Salvadora, and Homob just to mention few. We encountered healthy herds of plains game such as springbok, gemsbok, zebra and blue wildebeest and after a relaxing lunch at Halali Camp in the central reaches of the park we headed back to Andersson's Camp. While enjoying dinner we were lucky enough to see a white rhino come down to drink and both nights while at Andersson's we were serenaded in our beds by lions roaring nearby. What an experience! It was also very special to hear the staff singing for us on our second night.

We left Andersson's on the third morning and headed to Palmwag Lodge where we arrived in time for lunch and had an excellent afternoon walk. Seeing that the weather did not bode well the following day we changed our itinerary and headed straight down to Damaraland Camp for the night, returning the following night. We then spent three days exploring the enormous Palmwag Concession reaching spectacular remote sites such as Aub Canyon or Van Zyl's Gat just to name few. While doing rhino tracking we saw black rhino close to the confluence of the Agab and Uniab Rivers and if that was not enough we also saw six lions that morning in the area of Groot Agab Spring. What an experience and luck! I personally didn't see any lions in the concession the whole of 2008! Summer in the Palmwag Concession is also the time for beautiful flowers - like the pictured string-of-stars (Heliotropium sp), aptly named indeed!

From Palmwag we headed south to Damaraland Camp via Twyfelfontein, Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes. We had lunch there, and after check in and siesta we went for lovely afternoon walk to explore the beauty of this magnificent area. Leaving early the next morning we headed to Swakomund via Uis and Henties Bay. Halfway between the camp and Uis we managed to get stuck again, but were very lucky to have the help and skills of local Damara people. We arrived for lunch in Swakopmund, where we tried local fish for lunch. A free afternoon in this lovely coastal town followed before we headed for bed at The Stiltz.

The next day after an early breakfast we headed to Walvis Bay to do the kayaking and after that the guests did a scenic flight across the Namib all the way down to Kulala Wilderness Camp at Sossusvlei. We drove through and met the guests for sundowners in camp with guests. The last full day of the trip we slept in and after brunch headed to Sesriem Canyon, thereafter proceeding to the enormous red dunes of Sossusvlei where we took nice relaxed afternoon walk into Dead Vlei. We had our sundowners back in camp again.

The last day of the trip we drove to Windhoek via the Spreetshoogte Pass and Rehoboth, and had lunch at Goche Ganas before we all took leave of each other with heavy hearts and a longing to be back out in Namibia's spectacular desert wilderness.

-Rosta Janik-

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