Driving out of Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, our adventure begins as I see a dirt road on the horizon appearing, the realisation then sets in that the luxury of a bitumen road is now behind us and that over the next three weeks we will experience the true authentic African massage as we shake and shutter our way along the gravel roads. First stop Sossusvlei.
Sossusvlei | Namibia
With a sign that reads opening time at ‘sunrise’, we wait at the gates until the gate keeper feels the time is right and then allows us entry to the Sossusvlei National Park. Driving past the likes of Dune 45 and Big Daddy we now understand the size and scale of these natural formations and watch the colours continually changing as the sun climbs up over the dunes. At Dead Vlei we’re able to stretch our legs and walk through the sand to reach the Death Valley. Later that day we enjoy the first, of our many Sundowner experiences, with a glass of G & T in hand we watch the sunset over the Namib Desert!
Swakopmund | Namibia
Back on the road we head towards the coast of Namibia, stopping for a quick photo at the Tropic of Capricorn and then onto the coastal town of Swakopmund. Enjoying a catamaran cruise here surrounded by dolphins, seals and pelicans, it’s hard to fathom that only yesterday we were in the world’s oldest desert.
Continuing north towards the Etosha region we have some long travelling days and get to experience life of the road. Morning tea involves selecting a spot on the side of the road and grabbing the thermos and biscuits, for lunch we open out the folding table and make cheese and tomato sandwiches. Of course, the rules of the bush toilet also apply here, girls to the left and boys to the right of the bus!
Etosha National Park | Namibia
Our animal sightings and game experiences go up a level as we enter Namibia’s famous Etosha National Park. Located on a salt pan, it is referred to as ‘the Great White’ and gives all the animals a greyish tinge. Here we go in search of the Big 4 – no buffalo in Etosha. We’re spoilt with the amount we see on our game drives and witness a recent cheetah kill first thing in the morning just outside the front gates of the lodge!
Travelling towards Namibia’s Caprivi Strip region we drive through many local Zambezi villages, and our driver does an amazing job navigating through the cattle which meander along the road. We’re in hippo country now so we get to tick another animal off the list. We can almost tick off another country, on the other side of the river is Angola. Strangely even though still in Namibia, the Caprivi Strip goes by Botswana time, so remember to put your watch forward one hour.
Moremi Game Reserve | Botswana
During our time in Botswana, we get a true bush experience spending two nights camping in Moremi Game Reserve. We spend the day driving from Maun, while at the same time a team is busy setting up our camp to ensure all our tents will be ready for our arrival. The tents are basic with box toilets and bucket showers. Our days are spent on game drives throughout the reserve and then returning to camp for dinner and a few drinks by the fire.
Lying in bed on the first night I must admit I sleep with one eye open – as the bush comes alive you find yourself just listening, hearing elephants ploughing through the forest, and asking yourself how far away was that lion roar. Knowing I am in safe hands, the second night is certainly a better sleep. We are looked after extremely well here and it is a definite highlight, but I am certainly looking forward to a real shower!
We depart Moremi on a high, literally! Taking off from the airstrip we fly out on a scenic flight over the Okavango Delta and across the waterways and lagoons. It is only when you’re up in the air that you get a true understanding of the huge number of animals and the giant herds below – you see just the tip of the iceberg on the ground. I make the mistake of filming video from the air while looking out the window at the same time, causing some vertigo to kick in, it isn’t long before I need to take advantage of the sick bags – lesson learnt for next time!
Chobe National Park | Botswana
Entering the final week of our journey our animal sighting goes up another level as we enjoy land and sea game drives in Chobe. During the safari game drive, we see a pride of lions with a recent bull buffalo kill and while cruising along the Chobe River, the number of elephant, buffalo and hippo we see is just amazing.
Victoria Falls | Zimbabwe
Our last destination is Zimbabwe, the Zambezi River and of course, Victoria Falls. After travelling to all the falls lookout points we enjoy some free time. Some choose to sample the famous High Tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel and others take to the sky and fly over the natural wonder of Victoria Falls in a helicopter. For our final night together we enjoy an African Boma Dinner with drumming, dancing and everything on the menu – from warthog steaks to mopane worms! The perfect finish to what was an amazing Africa adventure!