Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Namibia May 2011

May saw us on a two week tour of Namibia - well only a small portion of this vast, beautiful country can be seen by road in two weeks, but we didn't do too badly.  Despite the roads being quite difficult following record breaking summer rains, we got around in our little Honda CRV quite easily.  One can drive for hours and hours and not see another soul - the first time we overtook another vehicle was on the 150 km stretch of tar on the way back to the airport.

Flying in to Windhoek we overnighted there (we could probably have made it on to the Sossusvlei but as newbies to the country we decided to err on the side of caution).  The next day bright and early we set off for the dunes, and they were everything we expected them to be, and more. The only mistake we made was not staying in accommodation inside the park, but next time we will know better.  From their Walvis Bay to Swakopmund, the latter I can give a miss next time, but I had the best calamari of my life in a little waterside pub in Walvis Bay.  On to the Seal Colony at Cape Cross - yes it did pong!  Luckily the wind was in the right direction for us not to smell them from the hotel.  What a setting - nothing on either side of the hotel/colony for hundreds of kilometres.

Then we drove a beautifully scenic route into Damaraland where the ancient volcano has spewed giant rocks into the air to land precariously on top of each other and remain balanced like that for millions of years.  Fascinating scenery, and equally interesting rock carvings and paintings at Twyvelfontein.  We didn't bother to go on the excursion to see the Desert Elephants as our next stop was Etosha for five nights and we figured we would see plenty there.  WRONG!  There had been so much rain the bush was still thick and lush, and the animals had plentiful water without coming to the pan or the watering holes.  We saw a single ellie the first night which came right up to the lodge watering hole, plenty of plains game, a fleeting leopard and birds birds birds.  It is truly an amazing place, the pan was full and glimmering in the sunlight.  We were sorry to leave after our five nights in the park but keen to get home and look at all the photographs!  There were many.  Below are just a few to give you a taste of this country which brings to mind lots of superlatives but I am not going to use any more here.

Ostrich against a dune. The colours are real

David attempting to walk to the top of Dune 45.

Walking through "Dead Vlei"

At Sesriem Canyon

See what I mean about the remoteness of Cape Cross!

Going to view the rock art at Twyvelfontein

Early morning mist from our lodge in Damarland

The lone Etosha Elephant

Early morning drive - Springbok

Lilac Breasted Roller

Black faced impala

Usually one can drive right out to a view point - not this year!

We just sat at this watering hole and the game came to us!

We quad biked to the top of this mountain

Sunday, 6 November 2011


For our 24th wedding anniversary we treated ourselves to a luxurious long weekend at the marvellous Komati Tented Camp in this reserve.  This is a relatively new reserve and is only 15 000 hectares.  It has Lion, Elephant and Rhino of the big five, and many different species of antelope.  It was a lovely relaxing weekend and we were treated like royalty.  The "tents" are huge canvas structures, with a private deck and your own plunge pool.  As you can see from the way we are dressed, it was a little chilly to be plunging into anything, but we had a wonderful time.
Beautiful scenery

A Coral Tree

Yes it was freezing!

Wattled Lapwing

Brown Hooded Kingfisher

Firey necked nightjar

Friday, 4 November 2011

Madikwe October 11

So at the end of October I spent a few days at Mosethla Bush Camp in Madikwe with a group of amateur photographers.  The temperature was in the mid 40s while we were there, and those who know Mosethla will appreciate the challenges of no running water and no electricity, no pool to jump into and cool off!  The first two nights the camp was full (about 20) with people from all over the world, Norway, England, USA, and of course South Africa. We had some lovely chats around the fire after dinner under the stars.  I am hoping to stay in touch with some of them.

The game viewing was second to none.  The rains have not come yet and the land is still parched.  The area around Vlei Pan was as busy as usual with the elephants and rhinos (white and black) trying to get the best mud patch for wallowing.  Zebra, impala, wildebeest, rhino, elephant, buffalo all come to this pan to drink.

Not too far from the Vlei Pan is a jackal den where a mum and two pups hide during the day and just before sunset when the temperature has dropped (slightly) they are allowed to come out to play.  Very curious they wanted to sniff and look at everything, including our vehicle, although when they got too close mum called them back.

The lions were also quite active, even though the males usually were doing what they do best, sleeping off a big meal.  One pride of two males, three females and five cubs were particularly entertaining one afternoon.

The bird life around Mosethla is fantastic too.  Just a small bird bath under a tree is enough to attract a steady stream of traffic.  I was lucky enough to be able to sit quietly on the steps to my room and take some photographs of the birds coming and going.  Of particular interest is the Klaas's cuckoo, not because it is a good shot but because the green and white colouring really stands out. Sometimes they can look quite dull when in full sun.

Hope you enjoy looking at the pictures.
This giraffe looked quite surprised to find himself amongst a herd of buffalo

How cute is this cub?

Another beautiful African sunset

Plenty of fighting going on for the attention of the females

Klaas's Cuckoo

Black collared barbet - all the birds sat with their beaks open trying to stay cool

He had just had a lovely wallow in the mud

This kudu took ages to approach the water as it was very nervous - then caught sight of its own reflection!

Having a refreshing drink

These two were feeding their young inside the tree

The resident lizard at Mosethla in the tree next to the breakfast table

These cubs were very playful

But still best of friends

Jackal pups - about three months old