James and Robyn were looking to return to Africa with two friends and this time take in areas they had not yet visited. They began with taking the Blue Train from Johannesburg to Cape Town, where they spent a few days before heading off to Namibia for an in-depth experience taking in the vast desert scenery by both air and land, visiting iconic areas including Sossusvlei, Wolwedans, Swakopmund, a stunning under canvas experience in Damaraland before game viewing in Etosha National Park and finishing with some luxury on Onguma Reserve. Their Namibia trip combined a fly in safari as well as privately guided road safari offering the best of both worlds. For these keen photographers Namibia offered a magical combination of stunning desert scenery and wildlife viewing.
Well where do I start?
I knew that it was going to be a big ask to get anywhere near our first foray into Africa with our Botswana/ Zimbabwe Wilderness Adventure. That was nothing short of amazing. This was completely different, certainly no restful holiday but an experience that’s for sure!
All flights went well, can’t imagine how we would have managed without the comforts of Business class, certainly spoilt there! The Blue Train was an interesting trip, but I actually wasn’t feeling at all well on it and so I couldn’t appreciate the benefits of this once in a lifetime journey.
Loved Cape Town, a very easy place to get around and explore. Actually the apartment that Margaret organised in the Waterfront area worked very well for us, certainly plenty of food options and access to touristy things, the new art gallery is a fascinating transformation. Think my brains were blown out to sea down at the Cape of Good Hope! (thats my excuse anyway!)
Loved Kulala Desert Lodge and the dunes of course. My fitness level was severely tested there! The early morning balloon ride was a highlight. Our guide certainly introduced us to desert conditions with the amount of driving, the transfer to Wolwedans Boulders camp was very long and exhausting. It certainly highlighted that our last trip with all the fly in fly out transfers were so easy and comfortable.
Wolwedans Boulders Camp was a highlight. Think the time that it took to get there made it all worthwhile, so small and quiet and the staff were amazing. Loved the interactions with everyone. James and Glenn gave the guys there the DFO suit jackets they had taken for the Blue Train..hilarious reactions.
Swakopmund was an interesting place and the Strand hotel there was a welcome break, didn’t feel as guilty doing a hair wash there as water conservation was such a major concern throughout Namibia.
The rest of the trip with our guide Will from Ultimate Safaris was terrific. He was an amazing young man, so knowledgeable and proud of the country. He is a true asset to the company and worked tirelessly for us everyday. Again I think we were a little naive about the distances and road conditions. The vehicle was certainly put into many and varied driving situations particularly in Damaraland.
“The hide close to the camp was a fabulous place to finally see our rhino at the floodlit waterhole!”
Huab under Canvas was a fascinating base in true wilderness. Again it never ceases to amaze me the hospitality that they offer under the most remote circumstances. it was disappointing that we didn’t have any interaction with The Save the Rhino Trust Team but that is obviously the luck of the draw. Will made sure our days were occupied with full days in the vehicle searching for animals and giving us the most amazing views of the truly rugged terrain. The 3 days there very tiring but the simplicity and solitude that we experienced was nothing short of incredible.
By this time of the safari ‘ the boys’ were getting very anxious to see and photograph some wildlife. Etosha National Park was a welcome relief, we finally had some sightings. Although it was a completely different experience compared to the private conservancies of Botswana it was uplifting and inspirational to see their adaptive behaviours in such an arid environment.
Anderssons Camp was a great base. The hide close to the camp was a fabulous place to finally see our rhino at the floodlit waterhole! We spent full days driving in Etosha and explored it from end to end.
Onguma the Fort was a truly luxurious way to end the adventure. Again the level of hospitality and service was incredible. We seemed to be out in the vehicle all the time and didn’t have time to appreciate the facilities at the camp but slept very well. The evening game drive in the Onguma Private Reserve was a highlight as it offered up close and personal interactions with lions and cubs, cheetahs and giraffes. Gotta love a sundowner with that view!!
The drive back to Windhoek was satisfying. We had finally got our dose of wildlife in those last few days.
The Villa Guest House was a pleasant last night stay. We had dinner with Will our guide who had been been a fountain of knowledge and great company on a personal level. He was very accommodating with James and Glenn’s needs from a photographic basis.
Thank you. The organisation that went into it all was truly appreciated. The extra help that we received when we arrived at Johannesburg airport was a great relief and the transfers were seamless.
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