We made our way from Rio to the last stop (☹) over our trip, Namibia and Botswana. Flying from South America to the south of Africa is not a very typical route. So we booked with Air Angola and flew from Sao Paolo with a stopover in Angola to Namibia. Beforehand we were not really sure what to expect from the Angolan airline TAAG, but it turned out that our worries were for nothing and we had a very pleasant flight in a quite modern 777. As it took us about 24 hours traveling from Rio to Windhoek and it was the last long flight of our world trip, we booked the first night in one of the most fancy hotels in Windhoek, the Hotel Heinitzburg. It’s an old castle with a wonderful view over the city. And the shower was the best in along time!
The next day we picked up our 4×4 car with roof top tent from Asco Car Hire. The instructions and the shape of the car were perfect… especially compared to New Zealand and the odyssey we had with our Juicy campervan over there.
After we got our car, we drove to a big shopping mall close to the town to get some food for the next days and weeks and to buy a sleeping bag for the cold nights – yes, it can get really cold in Namibia and Botswana around June! On our trip it got close to 0° a couple of times during night.
On our previous stop in Rio we had to go through some shopping malls to replace our camera that actually stopped working. Coming to Namibia we were really surprised to see that the shopping malls in Windhoek are super modern compared to Brazil… Definitely not something we expected that way. We learned later on though that Windhoek is quite modern, but the rest of the country is mostly poor and rural, especially in the north of Namibia.
Sossusvlei and Deadvlei:
Our first stop took us towards the west coast to Sossusvlei, where the highest sand dune in the world is located. In the same national park you also have Deadvlei, one of the most photographed place in Africa. It is a white clay pan with dead trees on it. It is a very special place and absolutely stunning to see. Even though it is quite touristy it’s definitely still worth to visit. We recommend driving with your own car so you can decide on your pace and can avoid the tourist busses. On the day we visited a sand storm was coming up in the afternoon, so nearly all tourist groups headed back again. But we decided to hang out in our car for a bit and drink some coffee. And got rewarded in the end… After an hour the storm was over and we enjoyed Deadvlei nearly completely alone!
During our visit of Sossusvlei, we stayed at a campsite within the national park for 2 nights and made our first experiences with the roof top tent. It turned out to be super easy and quick. After 3 weeks in the tent we still loved it and if we wouldn’t have flown back home to our own bed, we would have certainly missed the comfy rooftop mattresses afterwards.
We headed along the coast further north to the town Swakopmund. The landscape during our drive was really diverse, starting from the desert and dunes over some mountains to Swakopmund, located at the Atlantic ocean. The town was built in the 18th century from German colonist and today you still find loads of Germans living there, together with German restaurants, bars and hotels. So that night we went to a German Brauhaus and had a Jägerschnitzel together with a proper Weissbier 🙂 And we ordered in German which felt a bit strange after 6 months traveling.
Before we started our trip we got the recommendation to visit Spitzkoppe, a mountain with special rock formations in the middle of nowhere. So as it is located on the way from Swakopmund to the Etosha national park, we gave it a try. And it was definitely worth it! The scenery is really beautiful with a view over the entire surrounding dessert. There were about 10 campsites around Spitzkoppe. More or less all the campers went to see the sunset from one of the main rocks. It would have been really peaceful if it wouldn’t be for a drone that was flying around. It ruined the moment for everyone and we couldn’t see the owner unfortunately… Sometimes we think please get us back 20 years to a time before drones, selfie sticks and chronic neck pain from cell phone usage.
The campsite itself we liked a lot and it was one of our top 3 favorites of the entire Namibia/Botswana trip. Plus we got some nice shots of the Milky Way 🙂
On the way back we bought some handmade jewelry from the local families and gave some water and chocolate to the children. The kids immediately poured down the water and it was sad to see, that water is still not sufficiently available to everyone. When talking to the locals we learned that they have to walk a few hours to get some water. What a contrast to the life in Windhoek!
Excited like kids we arrived at Etosha National Park the next day after almost 6 hours driving. During the previous days we’ve only seen from time to time some animals as Impalas, an Onyx or an ostrich. So we were definitely ready and excited to see some bigger animals. We planned to sleep 3 nights in the Park and to explore the animal wildlife on our own. As we passed the gate to the park we got a leaflet with a map of the park and it also showed most of the animals that are known in Etosha. The first night we stayed on a campsite close to the south gate, Okaukuejo. It has a waterhole that is floodlit during night. So you could literally sit there and wait until the wild animal show up one after another. As soon we got there we already saw some giraffes and elephants. Later on even some black rhinos showed up! Amazed we went to sleep and got up early to explore the park further. We loved to drive around and search for animals. It was really helpful to have the leaflet of the park and its animals, so we could most of the time figure out which bird or animal we’re looking at.
We drove through the Park for 3 days sleeping in another camp every day. On the second day we also did a night tour… We were a bit disappointed by it though. In contrast to the jungle, nearly all of the non-predators don’t roam around during night. And predators are predators, so you hardly ever see them, especially at night. So better focus on early mornings and sunset time, when animals are most active.
On the fourth day we then exited the park in the east and drove further north to the Caprivi Strip.
What we’ve seen in Etosha:
– About 1 millions of crazy Zebras. They are either always eating or goofing around
– More than a million of funnily jumping Springboks
– Loads of colorful birds and not so colorful vultures
– Groups of Elephants and solo elephant bulls – one of the latter was chasing our car for about 10 minutes. Don’t mess with the true king of the jungle
– A lion with two females hunting and eating an Impala. And mating right afterwards 🙂
– Big family of hyenas being very curious and surrounding our car
– Scared giraffes running faster than our car
After we left the Etosha we drove towards the Caprivi Strip in the North of Namibia and ended up in a town called Divundu. We booked a night on the Ngepi Campsite located directly at the Okavango river. Very nice and hip place to stay. We made a barbeque at our campsite during a beautiful sunset. But as soon as the sun went down we could hear nearby some hippos making a lot of noise. In the beginning we were a bit scared, as hippos can get quite aggressive if you’re standing in their way. So in the end our barbeque was rather short and we made our way to our rooftop tent early that night. In there we felt protected and slept well in the end.
On our way to see the Victoria falls we had to drive through the Caprivi strip and stayed for another night in the Bwabwata Nationalpark. To get to the Campground we had to drive about an hour through deep sand. No chance without a 4×4 and even then it was quite challenging. Luckily this time there was no elephant chasing us 🙂
We didn’t see other people at all in this park as it is not touristy. The campground wasn’t fenced, so we had to adjust to the fact that wild animals can come reeeeally close… And we also had to force us to ignore the fact that elephant poo was all around our campground 🙂 As you can imagine it was another quick dinner…