Off the beaten track – Namibia

A few days ago, I was haven a twitter chat and we somehow got onto the topic of Africa and our trips to Namibia, South Africa and Botswana.  The next thee blogs will be about one trip in Namibia, when three of us drove from Windhoek to Cape Town with a Range Rover and Caravan. A large part of our trip was off the beaten track and we visited places that I have never been to.  The trip started in Kapps Farm, near Windhoek, with a few days of R&R (rest & relaxation) contemplating life and watching birds flitter from flower to flower.

Bird watching in Kapps Farm, near Windhoek

Namibia is a country of contrasts, with natural beauty at the top of the list, while the concept of time stands still, in many different ways. Here you need patience – the concept of time is non-existent.  Windhoek, the capital city,  is a small city, but it is becoming more and more commercialized every time I visit – in town everybody is in a rush, as if they are all want to get out into the wide open spaces again. For the first few days of the holiday I am spending a few days Kapps Farm near Windhoek. I wake up early and, if lucky, still get to see the last of the night sky, including the Southern Cross and Orion constellation. Sunrise is at 7 am, with a coffee and my friend Knatters the cat (knatters is colloquial for testicles, he does not have any).  Then I spend about an hour just watching the sunrise and waiting for the sunbirds to come and feed on the aloe and cactus flowers in the garden. There are at least three sunbirds that visit regularly; South Africans often call these sugarbirds, from the Afrikaans name “suikerbekkie” (sugar beak). There are also weaver birds starting to build nests and yesterday I saw some of them fighting with a sunbird for feeding time on the cactus. Some vultures have also been spotted, but too far away for a decent photograph, and I have also heard a fish eagle in the distance. Every now-and-then a Cessna flies overhead; tourists going on safari or a farmer’s family going shopping? Once a day, in the distance, I can hear the train on its slow trip to Gobabis in the east; stops are by request with no scheduled time-of-arrival.

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Scarletchested sunbird, male; Marico sunbird, female & male

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Sunbird and weaverbird squabbling over dinner

Windhoek to Cape Town – planning the trip

The next part of the trip is to Cape Town through the Namib Desert, Richtersveld and west coast of South Africa. It’s about 1,000 miles on the tar road, but we plan to take the “back” roads to see the “real” Namibia. Having done several trips through the Namib Desert and Kaokoveld already, I have a fair idea of what may come, but this country is full of surprises. There is a local saying that when God made the earth, he had several pieces left over, and these he put together to make Namibia. The geology and rock formations are amazing, the golden veld hypnotic in its beauty. We are taking a Range Rover with a caravan – I am expecting somewhat of an adventure. In the meantime, the caravan needs to be fitted out (lights, fridge, microwave) and stocked up for the trip, so most of the day is spent in the workshop. 

The golden glow of the grass, the twittering of the birds, watching the flowers open and close as the sun passes overhead – life in the slow lane. Wunderbar!

Next post: Off the beaten track – Windhoek towards the Orange River & South Africa 

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