Approaching the half way mark in her 21 day Cape Town to Vic Falls overland trip, Tamzyn's affection for the Namib Desert, the creatures that inhabit it, and her overland truck, grows.
Day 10: Spitzkoppe
We spent our final morning in Swakopmund walking through enchanting streets, visiting the market squares, soaking up the German-styled architecture and crashing seashore views of the paved palm tree promenade. I gulped down a piping hot cup of local coffee from one of the many quaint coffee shops whilst looking out at the fog-covered pier and saying goodbye to Swakopmund.
Mars Landing in Namibia
After a winding, scenic five-hour drive through the Namib Desert, our Overland truck arrived at the Spitzkoppe community campsite to explore the towering granite peaks and crazy rock formations of Africa’s Matterhorn. We set up our campsite and then hiked off on a guided expedition through the mind-blowing beauty of Spizkoppe’s striking 700 million year-old peaks; the lunar ridges rising up out of the barren flat desert landscape giving me a sense of alien perspective.
James, our local tour guide, showed us the fascinating San rock paintings and told us about the rich history of the Bushman, how to use the plants to survive off the land and taught us a few choice Damara phrases and games. We climbed the kopje behind our campsite and watched the changing light and sunset colours dance across the sky.
Dancing with the Stars
We then returned to camp for another punch night, carried on the back of songs while we watched the energetic dancing of a local entertainment group performing around our roaring fire.
After dinner we climbed the kopje again to spend our night under the clear canopy of stars, drinking in the fresh African air. This is why I came Overlanding! We settled in for the night, blessed with expansive views across the bush and out toward the towering peaks in the distance. The absolute stillness of the night tricked us into believing we’d found solitude, that is until the rumble of a snore rattled the still bushveld air and brought us back to the present. (Handy Tip: If you are planning to sleep outside in your sleeping bag, strip down to your undies. It actually keeps you warmer. Huh, who knew?)
Day 11: Otjitotongwe Cheetah Park
There is something so magical about waking up on the mountainside to a sunrise. We heard a noise in the middle of the night which sounded like a growl and Johan swore he saw an ominous shape, turns out it was probably a donkey!!
Cheetahs, Cheetahs and more Cheetahs
Arriving at the Otjitotongwe Cheetah Park we got our pictures taken with the three (sort of) tame cheetahs before driving into their main camp of ‘wild’ cheetahs for frenzied feeding time.
It was chaos as donkey meat went flying and we watched the cheetahs battle each other for the biggest pieces. We got some amazing photographs though! My heart melted for the cheetah that is blind in one eye, but still fierce and giving it horns. The park has seventeen wild cheetah, three tameish cheetahs and a fearless fox terrier (Voksie) who commands the lot. Otjitotongwe Cheetah Park was started when Tollie, a cattle farmer with a pesky cheetah problem caught a pregnant cheetah. The litter brought in tourists and they decided to convert the farm into a cheetah conservation project.
Licking Warthog B**ls
We beat it back to the campsite bar for a cold Namibian beer and some well deserved games of pool. The losers had to lick the stuffed pair of warthog balls hanging on the wall, though this wasn’t nearly as demanding a forfeit offered by the stuffed bull-elephant’s fifth leg.
Day 12: Australia Day
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie
We celebrated Aussie Day today with an Aussie style breakfast of vegemite on toast!!! We all got into the spirit covering ourselves in flags, bandana’s and tattoos of the Aussie flag before bundling back onto the truck and bounding down the rocky Namibian roads. We arrived, hot and dusty, at the Etosha Safari Lodge just outside of the Etosha National Park and all dove straight in to the cool pool where we spent the rest of our afternoon chilled with cold beers, glorious sun and good books. That night we made Dampa (Stokbrood - 'Stick Bread') round the braai. Recipe:
You wrap it round a stick, cook it in the open fire and then enjoy with cheese, syrup or honey. YUM! We all almost took off running when we mistook someone snoring for a roaring Lion, and then we decided to film it for laughs tomorrow. Life on safari, is there anything better? Stay tuned for the next excerpt from Tamzyn's Overland Diary.
For information about overlanding in Africa or to find out more about this trip, contact the team at OverlandingAfrica.com