#015 Game Drive: A Roadtrip thru Namibia
Posted on February 08 2022
In September 2021 my brother Adrian and I made a trip to Namibia to explore the country with a Toyota Hilux 4x4 truck for 21 days. We drove from Windhoek up north to the border of Angola, all the way to the Atlantic coast, up into the Naukluft mountains, thru the Namib desert to Anib, where our journey ended. We have summarised the impressions we have gathered in the following blog post. The soundtrack to this project is our new sample pack Game Drive: Sounds recorded in Namibia available on our website and on Splice.com. Have fun while reading!
Stop 1: Windhoek
After a long 10 hour flight and several delays we arrive exhausted at the airport a little outside of Windhoek. We pull some money from the ATM and take a shuttle that takes us to Asco Car Hire where we get a "fast lane briefing" for our Hilux truck. After barely an hour, we make our first stop on the way: Hotel Thule in the middle of Windhoek. Let the adventure begin.
Stop 2: Okonjima
We set off from Windhoek on the way north to Okahandja, where we take a short break to stock up on some groceries. From there we drive another 3 hours until we finally arrive in the Okonjima Nature Reserve. The lodge is definitely one of the most beautiful we have ever seen and, in addition to the breathtaking view of the savannah, also offers the opportunity to see wild animals up close. As soon as we arrive, three Kudu antilopes run in front of the car. We also see giraffes and warthogs.
After a sumptuous dinner (antilope steak and red wine) we fall to bed exhausted where the jackals sing us to sleep. The night will be very short as we will go on a cheetah game drive in the morning. At 7 o'clock after a cup of coffee we go on our early game drive with our ranger Opari. We see a lot of cheetahs and get a great insight into the concept of the park. We learn about the keeping and care of these predators and visit the infirmary. These insights prompt us to sponsor the young cheetah Charlie.
Later in the day we have a late game drive. Again we see cheetahs and leopards deep in the outback. Thankful for this opportunity, we drive back to the camp.
Stop 3: Hoba
The next day we stock up on essentials to prepare for our first stop on a campground near Grootfontein. On the way there we visit the Hoba Meteorite which fell to earth here about 80,000 years ago. When we arrive at our campground, we are initially skeptical because the place looks a bit desolate and degenerate. Nevertheless, we won't let ourselves be deterred and set up our camp. We set up the roof tents and start the grill. With a nice dinner we plan our next route which should bring us to the border of Angola.
After a restful night we get up with the morning sun, pack our tents and prepare breakfast. The warmed up leftovers from yesterday and fresh eggs form a good basis to start the day. We leave the camp and look forward to the next stop.
Stop 4: Rundu
Our journey continues to the border of Angola towards Rundu. After a 3.5 hour drive we reach the Hakusembe river lodge, a green oasis directly on the Okawango river. We drink the first cool cervezas on the terrace before we go on a boat tour in the afternoon. We see crocodiles and otters and on the way back one of the most beautiful sunsets ever!
After dinner we end the evening with cigars and whiskey. We take the next day off and relax from the previous days of travel.
Stop 5: Ugab
The following day, after breakfast, we set off on our longest route to date. We drive a good 7 hours back on our route past Rundu, Grootfontein and Otavi to Outjo where we stop for lunch. We are sitting at the same table that we were sitting at three years ago when we drove through Outjo. Time flies!
We continue to Damara Land and finally reach the Ugab Terrace Lodge with a fantastic 360 ° panoramic view. We take a walk to the edge of the canyon, take a few pictures and enjoy the sunset.
The lodge manager is very friendly and can give us a few helpful tips during dinner (Greetings Meyer!). The next morning we find ourselves on the longest zip line in Namibia. An unbelievable experience! Later we set off towards Khorixas in Damara Land at around 10 o'clock.
Stop 6: Grootberg
On the way we stop at the so-called "petrified forest", a natural spectacle of a special kind: 200,000,000 years ago preserved trees from prehistoric times came to light here.
We drive on and come to one of the toughest gravel roads that puts a strain on our Hilux. After 3 hours we finally reach the Grootberg pass which takes us over immense inclines to the plateau on which the Grootberg lodge is located. Here we have a breathtaking view of the Damara Land.
Stop 7: White Lady
Our next destination is the White Lady Lodge on the Brandberg. The way there leads us a little way back on our route so we take the opportunity to make a stop at the rock formation "Organ Pipes", which has its name due to its similarity to the instrument. Shortly afterwards we see a herd of elephants on the side of the road only a couple meters away.
After another 5 hour drive we finally reach the lodge and after a short upgrade we move into a beautiful chalet. We end the evening at the pool and make plans to extend our trip a little. But first we take a day off and enjoy this place here!
Stop 8: Erongo
After breakfast we drive to Omaruru to stock up on groceries we need for the next few days of camping. Then it goes up to the plateau on which the Erongo Nature Reserve is located. After we arrive at our stop we find that our loading area of our Hilux got flooded with beer as beer bottles have been damaged. All our bed blankets and covers are soaked in beer. Disgusting! Tired and frustrated we start washing and drying our bed sheets etc. before cooking and enjoying the view. Camping 'aint easy!
Stop 9: Naukluft Mountains
The next day we leave the camp and make our way towards the Atlantic Coast to Swakopmund, one of the largest cities in Namibia after Windhoek.
After a short stop and some seafood, the tour continues via Walvis Bay into the Naukluft Mountains. When we arrive at the Naukluft Camp, we set up and warm up our food from yesterday. We pack everything away well because we have been warned about unwanted visits from baboons. The night is bitterly cold!
Stop 10: Namib Desert
So high in the mountains we are woken up early by the morning sun and start the day with some coffee and breakfast in the main building of the camp. Then we continue our journey towards the Malta heights. After a total of 4.5 hours of driving, we reach the Namtib desert camp in the middle of the Namib Desert. We park our Hilux in the shade and set up our camp. In the evening we marvel at the stars before we get hit by a heavy desert storm.
Stop 11: Eagles Nest
The next morning is still very windy and cold so that we have difficulties stowing everything properly. Fortunately, today's route is not particularly long. After only 2 hours we arrive in our chalet Eagles Nest close to the city of Aus. After a short dinner in the main building, we let the evening end on the terrace. The next day we went hiking. We started immediately from our chalet and hiked over a mountain range through the so-called ghost gorge. An old wrecked car in the middle of this gorge is evidence of a chase between gangsters and the police about 100 years ago.
Back in the chalet we enjoy our dinner with a view of the Namib Desert. Breathtaking!
Stop 12: Fish River Canyon
Our next destination brings us south from Aus to the Fish River Canyon. After a 3.5 hour drive we arrive at the Canyon lodge and are immediately caught by the cold weather front: the sun is shining strongly but the wind is bitterly cold. To our surprise, the lodge is relatively touristy so we withdraw a little and do our thing. After an extensive buffet, we relax on our veranda.
The next morning we set off for the Fish River Canyon and are amazingly lucky: the weather suddenly clears up and the large groups of tourists are almost all gone. We enjoy the unbelievable scenery under perfect conditions.
Back at the lodge, we end the day with a sundowner walk.
Stop 13: Anib
The next morning we continue to Anib - our last destination before we continue our trip to Cape Town. We have to stop in Keetmanshoop to do a Corona Test at the State hospital. Things get really weird and funny at the same time! As we finally arrive at Anib lodge we wind down at the beautiful bar and reflect on the past days and experiences. We are more than happy that the test results arrive in time and we both are negative! Tomorrow we will be heading back to Windhoek to take our plane to our second home: South Africa! New country new mission!
Game Drive: Sounds recorded in Namibia out now: Link to the pack!
Additional writing: SVRN
Photo editing: Philipp Levinger