Namibia

My Journey – Namibia “Life’s an adventure – be in it”.

These words were life changing for me! A chance encounter with Rob Bickford of Mirrabac Small Group Tours and a visit to his website where I read this catchphrase, and I was hooked well and truly. I think I signed up for the trip before I really knew where Namibia was exactly. Once my deposit was paid, I was committed and so proceeded to find out as much as I could about Namibia.

The more I read, the more excited I became.

I knew I was in for the adventure of a lifetime. From the moment Rob and his driver picked up our group of travellers from Windhoek airport in the 15‐seater air‐conditioned super‐comfy bus, our next three weeks proved to be three of the most exciting, exhilarating weeks of my life.

Namibian tours

From the weirdly fascinating Quiver tree forest to the spectacular Giant’s Playground of dolomite rocks tossed as if by giants… through the Namib desert to the deserted town of Kolmanskop, filled with history and the romance of another era… where the residents lived extravagantly, and diamonds were plucked from the sands during the boom.

Another day was filled with the sights of the Fish River Canyon, second in size to the Grand Canyon. On to the rich red sand dunes of the Sossusvlei, viewed at sunrise, the sun casting deep shadows for excellent photo opportunities. This ancient land, eroded and reshaped by time is remarkable, the colours and light spectacular especially late afternoon when the colours of the landscape change from pink to lilac to lavender into deeper purple contrasting against the sky as the deep rich red of the African sunset fades into nightfall.

Rob is an excellent photographer and was always happy to help and advise those of us keen amateur photographers with getting the best angles and light for our photos. Something I really appreciated once back in New Zealand showing off my great photos!

From the desert to the Skeleton Coast … seaside Swakopmund, Namibia’s second largest town, is a rich cultural melting pot of old and new, full of elaborate Germanic architecture and a crystal museum displaying the world’s largest crystal. Further up the coast, there’s a seal colony, and a shipwreck pounded mercilessly by the furious surf. The rock engravings at Twyfelfontein, said to be 6,000 years old, were done by early bushmen. They depicted naïve images of animals and their tracks and people.

Game On!

Leaving the coast behind we headed up to Etosha National Park and then it was a case of “game on”. The adrenalin rush as you rounded a bend, never knowing what you might encounter… to suddenly find an elephant ambling across the track or several giraffes nibbling at the tallest trees, as we did, meant we always had ‘cameras at the ready’.

Namibian tours

The sight of the wild

The sight of zebra, wildebeest, springboks, kudu, impala, gemsbok, giraffe (to mention a few of the species taking their turn at the waterholes) fuelled our excitement, especially when we encountered a family of elephants complete with baby, unsteady on his legs but well‐ protected by the females, as they quenched their thirst in the middle of the afternoon.

Our final destination was Okonjima, the famous cheetah conservation lodge and home of the African Foundation, where we tracked cheetah by foot, viewed wild dogs and had close up encounters at dawn with the lions as they “posed” for us, stretching in the early morning sun. Would I return to Namibia? In a heartbeat.

I fell in love with Africa – it was everything I expected and more.

Written by Robin Daggar Namibian Explorer 2008

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