In November 2017 we spent an amazing two weeks travelling around Namibia, with its spectacular landscape, awesome wildlife, friendly people and great accommodation. Add to that an excellent, highly knowledgeable guide and lovely travelling companions (we were on a small group tour), and we had the recipe for a perfect holiday.
Namibia is a country that is approximately four times the size of the UK, but with a population of only 2 million, which means huge areas of uninhabited land and long distances travelled on mainly gravel roads. I took the photo below from our window at one of the places we stayed, vast areas of desert stretching for mile upon mile.
I could write reams of everything we did and saw but will stick to a few of the greatest highlights.
We visited the sand dunes of Sossusvlei, in the Namib desert early one morning to see the sun rising from behind the dunes. I took loads of photos, but these are three of my favourites: the golden glow from the sunrise, the rich red colour and black shadows of the sand dunes and one of the fossilised camel thorn trees in the clay pan surrounded by the dunes. Our challenge for the day was to walk up one of the highest dunes, hard going in the soft sand but worth it for the fantastic views from the top.
We spent a couple of days in the coastal town of Swakopmund, taking a boat trip from nearby Walvis Bay to look for dolphins. Unfortunately, the dolphins were lying low that day, but Peek-a-boo the seal made an excellent travel companion!
On our trip across Namibia, heading from the coast towards Etosha National Park, we paid a visit to a herd of desert-adapted elephants. These elephants are only found in two countries in the world, Namibia and Mali, and we were very fortunate to see them. They aren’t a separate species of elephants, but they have adapted to survive several days without water and to walk long distances to find water. I particularly like this photo with the baby elephant surrounded by and is protected by, the adults in the herd.
En-route to Etosha, we were also lucky enough to visit a Himba settlement. The Himba are a semi-nomadic tribe and we had an exhilarating drive along river beds and rocks to find this particular settlement. Himba women cover themselves with a paste made from fat and ochre pigment. They use this to cleanse their skin instead of water, which is scarce and too valuable to use themselves when they need it for their animals. They also use the paste to colour their hair plaits giving them a very distinctive orange/red colour.
Our next stop was Etosha National Park where we spent two very special days watching animals in their natural environment. We visited lots of waterholes, and the photo below of elephant, giraffe and oryx is typical of what we saw. It was amazing to see different species of animals living in harmony and taking their turn to have a drink.
The dik-diks are cute little animals, with a continually startled look because of the colour around their eyes. They are the smallest antelopes in the world.
We were also lucky to see a martial eagle with a kill at close range. Apparently, it’s quite rare to see them. Our guide was very excited about the sighting, sharing his photos on Facebook!
I was watching the mother and child giraffes walk towards each other, and captured this magical moment when they appear to be kissing!
Our final stop was at the African big cat sanctuary and Okonjima Reserve, which the sanctuary is a part of. At the sanctuary, they take in rescue animals and wherever possible release them into the wild of Okonjima when they have recovered sufficiently. They tag some of these animals before they are released and our guide, with the aid of a tracking device, was able to find some cheetahs and leopards. We were able to get out of our vehicle to search for the cheetahs, walking very quietly and in single file behind our guide. It was truly a fantastic moment when we found them.
My final photo is of a one-year old leopard cub, who was very curious about our vehicle and the people in it. We really did get as close to it as the photo suggests – no long range lens needed.
As this website has grown, along with its community, we realised that not everyone who travels has the time or ability to write an article. So to make the site more universal, we have created this space to allow people from all over the world to share their experience through media, no matter their language or background.