Due to the many questions we have had, we put a page together with a few tips for other overlanders planning to do this trip. Please have a look, read and ask more questions! Look on the left under the tab TIPS and leave your comments under this blog post. thnx :) Bart & Jasmin
In the north we visited the Etosha National Park and were able to see almost all the wild animals we could think of. Elephants, hyenas, zebras, giraffes etc etc. We were so stunned of the number of animals we saw in one day. We were planning to have to stay a week to see everything but we managed to see everything in a day! We camped in the park anyway and I’m glad we did. We didn’t get much sleep as the lions were very active making love and making a lot of noises. We could see the humour of it and just slept in a bit longer the next day. Things like that don’t happen every night.
In Kamanjab there is a camp ground called Oppi Koppi, owned by a Belgian couple that allow overlanders stay for free as long as they eat at the restaurant every day. It being low season, they were very happy to have us there and we ended up staying much longer than intended. The food was great, we slept great, the beer was cold and we were finally able to not to stress about visas anymore. It was time to relax and that’s what we did. No more having to worry about where to get money, water, food or a place to camp.
At the day of leaving Oppi Koppi, guess who we see at the local supermarket. It was the overland truck we have been meeting many times before! Thousands of kilometres and two countries further we just meet them again. What a small world it is. We caught up on stories and decided to meet up in Swakopmund a few days later to go out and have some fun. In the meantime we visited the Petrified Forest with big trees turned into stone over time, we camped next to hyena dens in the desert just because the sunset was so amazing, visited the cape fur seals colony and drove down the coast famous for shipwrecks.
When we arrived in Swakopmund we met up with the overland group on the truck again. As the overland tour was going straight to Cape Town after this, we knew it would be the end of the journey together. We celebrated the success of our journey together by going out in the lively (kuch) nightlife of swakop.
Swakopmund being the first tourist town for us to arrive in, we decided to take a tour in the dunes. Instead of taking our heavy car into the sand we hired a few quads with a guide and raced through the massive sand dunes. In the end we had sand everywhere again, but luckily the campground had a good shower.
Every morning in Swakopmund a strange thing occurred. Around 11 there would appear a blanket of clouds coming from the ocean, covering the whole coast and it would disappear a few hours later. In this time the temperature would stay very cold, keeping the sun away and the ocean breeze very cold. It happened every morning like clockwork.
Our next destination was the capitol Windhoek, but first on the way was the Spitzberg National Park. We just drove through, but what a spectacular place. Big skies with the little clouds, giant boulders to climb on and the temperature was finally above 20 degrees again.
Windhoek itself wasn’t to interesting as it was Easter Friday when we arrived. That meant that basically everything was closed or fully booked. We overnighted in the backpackers, stocked up on fuel and food and hit the road again the next day. We took the shortcut on the gravel road going directly to the famous Sossusvlei valley and sand dunes. On the way at our lunch stop and every photo stop we met up with 3 Namibian families that had the same idea as us. The first time it was pretty obvious that the elders (including drivers) were all a bit tipsy already and it was only early afternoon. We decided not to get bothered about it, refused their offers to have drink with them and drove away every time. In the end of the day we were looking for a camp spot, so we drove into the Nukluft national park. Halfway into the park we hear a tire rumbling so we stopped to found out we had our second flat tire. No big deal, we start changing it and when i was about to take off the wheel spacer when Jasmin was pushing the brake, the brake line breaks and spits all the brake fluid all over me. Double trouble! But this was no good. I try to stop the leaking immediately by bending the end a bit but nothing seems to work. Guess who arrives at this moment, the 3 Namibian families. Even though we had been very cold to them earlier they were still very happy to help us. They helped us get to the park camp without brakes. When we arrived there it was soon clear that the whole park had been fully booked for months as this was the Easter holiday. The three families had booked ahead but something went wrong with their booking. Luckily there were still two cabins left which the families were able to book with a discount. They invited us to camp next to the cabins and before we knew it were having a beer and a proper braai. This is southern African for a bbq, except you eat when all the food has been prepared. This meant it was about 11 in the evening before we ate. After this much time the food always tastes great!
In the morning everyone was a bit hangover but they helped us blocking the leaking pipe and we were able to brake again. I didn’t dare pushing it too hard, so we took it easy until the next proper town 600 kms away.
On the way we did a bit of slow off-roading and visited Sossusvlei. We were still travelling with the Namibian families and they were very generous to us. They gave us so much meat and alcohol we were totally stuffed after two days. We couldn’t eat anymore meat so we were happy to eat some porridge for lunch and declined the braai they offered us. I don’t think they understood us very well and took it a bit offensively. We camped one more night with them and splitted our ways the next day as they were heading back to Windhoek.
On the way to the next proper town, Keetmanshoop, we visited the Brukkaros Crater. From the outside it appears to be a large mountain in the middle of a flat desert. Driving up with the car and then climbing into the opening, was such an experience. Standing inside the crater, there was no wind or noise. Great place for echoes.
In Keetmanshoop we changed the brake line ourselves, bled the system from air bubbles and off we were two nights later.
Next we visited the Kolmanskop. A deserted diamond mining town, left behind to be taken over by the desert. Slowly the sand dunes are moving into the historic buildings. A fantastic place to make some pictures and get an impression of the times when diamonds were just laying around on the floor.
Before entering South Africa we had a quick visit to the fish river canyon lookout point. Great views but busy with tourists.
We stayed almost a month in Namibia and have a great impression of it. It was a great place to relax after the visa run down the whole west coast. We were able to slow down end enjoy this gem of a country. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip so far.
South Africa, Vioolsdrift
Crossing the border was a dream! Ten minutes later we had our passports and carnet stamped in and out. The fastest border crossing so far! What are we going to do with the rest of our day?
Just having entered SA we got bored of the good road very fast, so we looked on the map and started the Namaqua 4wd trail. The trail itself is very good, but when we took the side trail towards the road to hell we stopped halfway and turned back. Normally Jasmin is the one stopping me to drive further over bad roads, but this time even I didn’t want to. It still made a brilliant bush camp as we were awaken in the middle of the night by sudden screaming of all the animals around. Monkeys, donkeys, wild dogs and more. It stopped as fast as it came, very spooky.
The western coast didn’t have too much to offer this time of year, as it was becoming winter. We did camp next to the ocean spotting whales while making dinner. They were not the big humpback whales, but you could hear them flapping on the water and making noises when the wind died. Waking up in the morning and the first thing you see are whales in the water is a great thing indeed.
Slowly arriving into Cape Town we could spot the table mountain from far away. It was soon clear our journey had come to an end. We had rented an apartment through Airbnb for a month to see whether we wanted to stay longer. If not, we would commence our journey back on the East coast of Africa. As you know by now we have moved on. We both received job offers but nothing good enough to make a decent living or doing something that would benefit our experience.
One month flew by. We did many little fixes to the car and had a good rest to prepare for the next journey. We did a bit of sightseeing around the area of Cape Town. During this time it soon became clear that our buddy Bryan, whom we travelled with in Mauritania and Mali, would fly to Cape Town to meet up again. We picked him up from the airport and shared our stories over a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant in the city. Our time at the apartment had come to an end so we decided to do a little road trip together. We have an extra third seat that finally came in handy.
Just when we were about to start our little road trip we get a message from another overlanding couple that have been following our footsteps all along the west coast. Very soon we were having a braai together talking about the strangest experiences we have had on the trip. It’s funny how stories can differ even though we travelled the same route a month apart. This evening was a brilliant end to an amazing journey and a promising start to a new one. We have left civilization again, now at the famous victoria falls in zimbabwe.