Ilene and I left for another little adventure this past month. As I had mentioned earlier, we set off south and west for a few weeks. The first stop was Livingstone, which is always a pleasure. We have a great little backpacker’s lodge to stay at. Great camping on their lawn and all kinds of ammenities…plus it is a very pretty setting.
Then across the river to Botswana. This was really interesting. A pretty funky ferry, but what really got our attention was the landing from the Botswana side to Zambia. These guys came from everywhere, in dugout canoes, and started unloading all kinds of stuff (tv’s, cases of beer, stereos, tires, etc) off of the ferry and into their canoes. I asked a local what was going on. He just said “smugglers”, in a nonchalant tone. With the immigration office within a distance I could throw a rock, from the ”scene of the crime”, this just didn’t seem possible. I guess I was a little slow to catch on to the larger picture (AND QUITE A BIT OF BACK SCRATCHIN’) that was going on.
- bootleggers…but aren’t they supposed to work under the cover of darkness??
A woman likes her colors!!
And then on to Chobe Park. What a plethora of animals. We camped outside of the park one night and then went on an overnight on a safari. It was a real treat.
first sign as you enter the park region
African sunset in Chobe National Park
hey Ilene….seen any LIONS!!!!
croc stalking lizard
...and my favorite "Elephant Love". It really is quite touching
From Chobe, we headed south right through the Kalahari Desert, to a city called Maun. It is a stopping place to visit the Okavango Delta. Unfortunately, where we wanted to go was washed out and they said that we would have to go on a safari to see the park, as our car could not make it. It would be very expensive, so we had to pass and proceed on to Windhoeck, the capital city. This is a very interesting city….very hilly. It seems like every home has a view and pleasant architecture. But this is not where we were interested in spending our time, so it was on to the Dunes area. The largest sand dunes in the world. We woke at 4:30 one morning, so that we could be at the park gate when it opened at 5 AM, and at one of the dunes to climb, before it got light. The intention was to watch the sunrise from the top of the dune, which we were able to do. It was a very beautiful, enchanting morning.
Sunrise in the Namib Desert
the view from our campsite
And from the dunes region, we travelled by a GREAT bakery, in the middle of nowhere and on to Swakopmund. This had the most barren stretch of desert that I can imagine. In the picture below, this scene went on for HOURS!
Where's the road?
and finally, the Atlantic Ocean. First up...fish and chips!
This area was in the midst of more rain than they had seen in a long time….perhaps since EVER recorded! In one region we heard that they had had more rain in the past three months than they had had in the past FIFTEEN YEARS COMBINED. And we did get dumped on one evening/morning/afternoon. Must say that our REI tent didn’t leak a drop through it all too. From here we went inland a bit (as the coast is just sand to ocean and not all that interesting) and headed north. We saw ancient rock art at the White Lady site and drove on up to an area called Palmwag. It was interesting, but a lot of dirt road driving. It was here that we also started paying the price of trying to make our tires go a bit further than they were ready to offer. After three “incidents” (a flat, a puncture and a blow out), we finally bought a set of new tires all the way around, when we got to an area with a tire store. We eventually made it to Etosha National Park. Camped outside the park in a hell of a thunder and lightning storm and the next morning drove in to the park. It was a real let down. There has been so much rain that the animals are nowhere near the “reliable” water hole sighting areas. They can get water anywhere at present. We were going to camp in the park (outrageous fees), but decided to bag it, as the day was not going all that well. At lunch time, we decided to drive all the way through to the east entrance. Well, what a difference a half of a day makes. The east end was LOADED with wildlife. We had a wonderful time. With Ilene driving, we decided to be “pirates” and go through a blocked off (closed) area. We knew the reason some roads were closed was because of the muddy conditions, but we decided to go as far as we could. It ended up being a great decision…but close to catastrophic, as Ilene had to negotiate a substantial mudhole at the very far end of the road. It was an enchanting afternoon/evening.
setting sun on a giraffe
a day that started off rough, but ended in..... glory
From here, we got so entranced with the adventure, that we really had no plans for where we were going to stay that night. We left the park way after dark and there was nowhere to camp. Not a great situation, but we just started driving and eventually found a place to crash for the night. One of the two nights that we didn’t spend in the tent for the three week period.
The next day we headed for the Caprivi Strip, and again, were turned away, due to our intended destination being flooded out. This became a common theme as we were in northern Namibia. Whoda’ thunk???? And then on to the border crossing in to Zambia and over to Livingstone again. We decided to go out to the falls, to see the water at high level. Basically all you see is a cloud of, well, water….but it is impressive.
at the top of the falls
And then back to Lusaka the next day.
It was an interesting trip, glad we did it, but would be hesitant to do that much driving again. Please let me know if all of these pictures make it combersome to view the blog. I took the time to make them all smaller files, but I’m not sure if it is enough.
Happy Spring to all of you in the Northern Hemisphere!