Namibia – it’s like a virus!

We always visit Namibia whenever we are on a long trip. Sometimes even twice! We made good progress through the Caprivi, westwards from our entry point at Katimo Mulilo, and chose to stay at N’Gepi again instead of trying one of the campsites on the Kavango river near Rundu. 

Sue and Pieter also visit N’Gepi and enjoy the quirky signs

The SA schools were on holiday and our favourite stands were already taken. We got the Hippo site with wash up area and a good view of the river. The river was very much higher than in January.

Croc cage “diving” pool in the Okavango River at N’Gepi

We stayed for two glorious days and caught up on photo editing and our blog while chilling. 

Crazy outdoor shower at N’Gepi

Rundu is an odd town that has an infrastructure left behind by South Africa during the bush war and now it’s a mixture of a border town and modern supermarkets and malls. After topping up data and buying provisions we returned to the older African border town section where Solveig bought more chitengas from the stall holders at the street markets. We then continued our trip southwards to Roy’s Camp, nearer to Grootfontein.  We love the quirkyness of Roy’s.
It was quite full, mostly from South Africa, including a family of first time tenters, that usually caravaned. We watched with amusement as they assembled their camp site. We met Kenyans on their way to Windhoek and had a lovely contact with them also.

We could not leave out Okahandja and the Closwa butchery for their fantastic biltong and vacuum packed Namibian steak from our schedule either. We ended up camping there at the Ombonde Campsite, part of the Okahandja Country Hotel just north of the town. One of the nicest camps we’ve stayed at near Windhoek. We visited Windhoek the next day but returned to Ombonde for another night.

The old pier at Swakopmund

In Swakopmund we tried out the Mile 4 camp just outside town as we really wanted to be next to the sea again. We’d just completed the crossing of the continent. 

Mile 4…….Not a campsite to chill at!!

A week had passed since entering Namibia and staying in lovely campsites. Now we chose one of the worst camps we’d ever stayed in!  It looked like a cemetery.  Can you imagine how dreadful it gets around Christmas when full!

The next day we were off to try our luck in Walvis Bay after looking at alternative places in Swakopmund.  Alte Brucke was fully booked. The only place with space available was over R500 per night to camp! 

The lagoon at Walvis Bay

We enjoyed our day at the Walvis Bay lagoon but the camping wasn’t great there either. We’d made the move from a huge bleak camp in Swakop to a cramped site here. 

We decided that we’d be far better off wildcamping, so set off into the desert the following day through a dust storm near Walvis. 

Mirabib off the C14 near Walvis Bay

We wanted to camp at Mirabib in the Namib Nauklauft but needed a permit, only obtainable in Swakopmund, so continued towards Sesriem. 

Approaching storm

On the way the dust storm turned into a massive thunderstorm and the rain bucketed down accompanied by lightning and rainbows. 

The storm left pools of water on the road

The road turned into a river and we had to be extra cautious. The evening light was amazing! 
By having to slow down because of the rain we realised we’d never get to Solitaire by dark and looked out for a place to stay. The Kuiseb canyon didn’t look too inviting as it was still raining hard and there were no camping signs in all the nice spots. 

It was evening when we reached the Gaob river canyon and decided we had to camp here. We drove off the road into the river bed and proceeded up stream. 

Gaob river canyon

The main river had pools of water, and debris from a recent flood trapped in trees about 3 meters above the river bed, so we turned back and drove up a short tributary which was dry. I decided we’d be safe from any storm here. 

Our campsite for a night of wildcamping

The next morning there was no sign of rain and everything was dry again. We realised that we had spent the night at the Tropic of Capricorn. 

Our GPS suggested that we had already crossed the Tropic in the canyon!

Joe and Pam Stallebras had stayed at a campsite near to Solitaire at the summit of the Spreetshoogte pass for a few nights and really enjoyed themselves. We were always open to exploring suggestions fellow overlanders made. We headed there after a detour to Solitaire first, as we had plenty of time. The campsite was named Namibgrens. The Spreetshoogte pass is extremely steep and is paved with concrete bricks to assist you with your ascent. 

On arriving at the farmhouse where we booked in we found this oxwagon which brought back memories of  Balfour and the good times shared with our friends Chris and Mandy.

I won a photo competition with a similar picture of Haldane about 40 years ago!

The campsite was well worth the effort in getting there. There were 12 campsites and a number of chalets too. The camps had individual ablutions located amongst the rocks as well as canvas kitchen shelters and tents, although we chose to sleep in Twiga of course!

Kitchen beneath canvas shelter
Private camps in the rocks

We spent two night there and most of the day in the rock pool. 

After leaving we carried on passed Sesriem canyon and Sosusvlei because of the school holidays…We prefered to camp on our own or with just a few campers and hoped to reach Aus that night. 

Again we drove through the incredible Namibian landscape which we’ve become to love so much.

A farmhouse in the Nauklauft
Tiras valley

We realised we would not reach Aus so stopped early at Betta near Duiseb where we met two incredible cyclists from Nederlands, Alice and Jaap. They were 68 and 70!!

Jaap and Alice. Amazing cyclists!

We enjoyed a tea break at Helmeringshausen, and a treat! Namibia is well known for its Apple pie and it was on the menu at the only hotel in the small village, so we ordered two… did we get a surprise when we got the bill…R50 each for the pie and there was no cream either, just castor sugar!

Another day enjoying the beautiful landscapes….

On the way to Aus

There were animals along the route too…..

A lone Gemsbok

We arrived at Aus too early so we continued towards the Gariep River on the border instead. 

It became more arid the further south we ventured
The mountains of the Richtersveld in the distance

We wildcamped in an abandoned campsite along the Gariep. 

A vein of green in a harsh desert

There are not too many places one can do that anymore, especially during school holidays!

A Kudu female in the early morning light
Farm labourers village at Ausenkehr 
No comment!
Mile after mile of vineyards at Ausenkehr

Just another 50 kms to Noordoever and a Wimpy breakfast! 

We left the river for awhile and were back in the desert once again…

Dried grasses in a dry environment

After breakfast, a quick and efficient border crossing followed by Springbok!

Our first morning back in South Africa!

Author: Ian & Solveig's Overland Adventures

Although we never achieved our original goal of reaching Norway overland through Africa, our experience was so unexpectedly rewarding that we've not been able to settled down again! So we added new destinations to our lust for adventure. We hope that you will join us in sharing new exciting places and encounters with the amazing people we meet along the way.

4 thoughts on “Namibia – it’s like a virus!”

  1. Somehow or another I found your blog and look forward so much to reading about your adventures . So many of them have brought back so many happy memories (Nam, Zam, Tan). Your latest one on Namibia was so special as we were there from April 5 to May this year and visited many of the places you mentioned. Maybe we passed you on the road somewhere!! We’ve been visiting Africa from Australia for the past 20 years visiting Nam, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Zanzibar (and my partner more than that ). Do keep up your travels and blog. Cheers Anne

    1. We were in Namibia from 3rd April to 15th April. It’s very likely that we crossed paths. Meeting up with like minded people is one of our passions and we’ve made many new friends through our travels. We’ll continue as long as we are able and hope to meet you someday.

    2. Dear Anne,
      Thanks again for your interest in our blog. I’d like to know more about you and your partner? Are you self drive overlanders like us? Do you rent or own a vehicle in Africa? Have you travelled in Australia or elsewhere?
      We are always on the lookout for new adventures.
      After purchasing a camper in South America in 2015 we drove from Argentina to Texas in six months. A wonderful experience we’d like to do again in some other part of the world perhaps. Although Africa is still calling! Please reply.
      Fond regards. Ian and Solveig

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