Namibia has once again triumphed as a place of surprises, diversity and guides having to tell little white lies. Our Exploration guide Regan Fransman relates the following.
I was on a Great Namibian Journey with 2 single guests, who had gotten to know each other the night prior to departure. Before we left Windhoek we went to see some old and interesting buildings in Windhoek like the Memorial Museum, the Old and the New State House, the Christus Kirche and then we also visited Heroes Acre. We did not do that much of a city tour since we left it for the last day. They were amazed about the cleanliness of Windhoek, since we only did th e CBD area. We took lunch packs and had lunch under a nice big tree on our way to Kulala Reserve. They were also amazed by the amount of people and livestock that live in this arid area, with only the basic resources. We saw some baboons, kudu’s, springbok, oryx and a lot of domestic animals. When we went t hrough certain areas of the semi – desert area they were amazed to see water and were astonished about that. We did not do anything that afternoon as we only arrived at around 5 in the afternoon and had a nice sun downer at camp.
Due to the weather condition, it was nice and cool and made it nice to climb the dunes. We climbed Dune 45 although Helen did it alone, and Grant opted to stay behind as he recently had a knee operation, and could not walk far distances and do climbing. We drove down to Sossusvlei and he decided he will take his chances and walk down to Dead Vlei. We all took the walk at a slow pace and made it down to Dead Vlei and it was nice and cool, they loved it, and were amazed how the dunes can move past places like Sossusvlei without filling it up with sand. After that we vis ited Sesriem Canyon and did a short walk there, and had the Valley to ourselves. In the afternoon we too a drive out to the surrounding mountains, for a sun downer which they thought was amazing. They thought they were on the moon. The next day they did a scenic flight from Sossusvlei to Swakopmund and flew over some interesting places. Grant did quad biking in the afternoon and Helen did some window shopping and town hopping. We had dinner at the Hansa hotel and a nice chat about the history of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. The next day they did the boat cruise in Sandwich Harbour and we had dinner at The Lighthouse. They went down to Sandwich Harbour where we drove on the beach as it was low tide and then they had the dune lunch, which they thought was one of the best places to have lunch and they loved the dune drive after that.
The next morning we went for rhino tracking and the guests got up at 4, an d 4.30 we left. We took breakfast packs since they wanted to see sunrise in the bush. The rhino trackers also went in our vehicle, and we went to the Springbokwasser, but we had our breakfast and sunrise at Dopsteek. The guests said that it felt like they were in a dream to be there and to experience what they experienced. When the sun was up we went down pass the hunter’s camp and maybe 10 minutes after that we saw rhino tracks. Trackers got out but the tracks went over the mountain and it was only rocks t hat were there, making the tracking impossible for us. But the rhino trackers got out went after the tracks and the guests said they will never find the rhino on the tracks as it was only rocks. I said to them that the trackers have certain ways to read the signs and I kept myself busy explaining some flora in that area. After about 20 minutes one rhino tracker came running back and said they found 3 rhinos, the guests could not believe it. We had to go around the mountain and upper valley and then we walked over some serious rocks. We got to the three rhinos, but they heard us approaching and they slowly started to walk away. But the guests did manage to take some pictures. We decided to go back and we had our lunch at camp. After lunch, we went to Peter’s pools and then at about 5, we returned to the camp. The next day we went down as we heard some lions during the night. We found some tracks in the riverbed and we were tracking the tracks. It was so confusing, but the guest enjoyed the tracking attempt. They got very excited when they saw the tracks getting fresher and fresher. We tracked it up to Salvadora where the tracks ended. So we knew the lions were in there, we sat there for about 45 minutes but the elusive lion did not show his balls. We had a nice cup of tea with Garth Owen Smith who was camping in the river bed. And we had a nice talk about conservancies with him. We had dinner that evening where the guests drank and partied up to 2 o’clock.
The next day we went for a full day in Etosha. The waterholes in Etosha were relatively quiet, because the majority of the game moved to the north eastern side of Etosha, since there hasn’t been a lot of rain in the western side, so we focused on the smal ler things like lizards and stuff, which the guests also found interesting. We had lunch at Halali and returned to camp.
When we returned at the camp, the guests said that they wanted to eat early that evening, but they didn’t know that we had a bush dinne r surprise for them. The lions were in camp again and we were watching them, while the staff prepared the area for the bush dinner. They did not want to go for a drive, so I had to ‘convince them’ by telling them about a possible hyena with a kill. We drove to the bush dinner; they almost fainted when they saw the setup. They couldn’t believe that we eat where elephant, rhino and lion move through.