Best time to visit:
The period from May to October, characterized by a cool and dry climate, is ideal for observing wildlife. The average daytime temperature is around 25 °. At night in the desert, the temperature can drop significantly. Dry heat usually prevails from October to December. The most beautiful light occurs in the warm rainy season which lasts from January to April.
In a word:
Recommended Antitific, Prophylaxis Antimalarial (chloroquine-resistant)
- In some regions malaria is present from November to June;
- The country has a satisfactory health system and, thanks to the dry climate, involves fewer risks than other African states
Meeting with the Himba tribe in one of their natural villages; Night at the right at the foot of Spitzkoppe Trekking to discover the Fish River Canyon
In this great adventure we rented a 4 × 4 truck in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and after admiring the mighty waterfalls, we slowly began the crossing to the south, towards the Cape of Good Hope, crossing boundless landscapes, deserts, savannahs, rivers up to the impact with the industrial and modern Cape Town, in South Africa. We will sleep almost every night in tents, we will cook using our camping kitchen.
Our suggested itinerary (18 days)
|Halali, Etosha NP (game drive), Onankali, Epupa Falls (Himba tribe visit)|
Palmwag, Spitzkoppe (nature camp)
|Cape Cross (visit to the seal colony), Swakopmund, Walvis Bay|
Sesriem (passage over the Tropic of Capricorn)
|three days:||Seeheim, Fish River Canyon|
Wake up at dawn and, after a few hours of travel, we are at the border with Namibia.
The background suddenly changes: the green prairies of Botswana are replaced by villages of straw huts on the red earth; naked children who flock to see this strange medium greeting us with huge and sincere smiles ... our destination is Rundu, a village on Okavango in front of Angola...
Mark contracted to have a boat, we quickly set up the tents and, shortly after, we are again on the waters of this mythical river!
It is late afternoon, the clouds turn yellow, then orange, purple, red ... along the river bank we see scenes of local daily life, small groups of women doing laundry, children diving and swimming regardless of the danger of the crocodiles, two men relax completely soaped ...
... on the Angolan bank, half a dozen girls sing us a religious song ...
.. let's go down from the boat, Calai, in Angola, and admire this sunset so special!
After replenishing the galley, we head towards the Etosha National Park...
We spend several hours wandering inside the park in search of animals ... we see herds of zebras, impalas, wildebeests, oryxes , giraffes, gazelles, jackals and even three rhinos ...
Before the sun sets we have already assembled the entire field ... there are those who prepare dinner, those who assemble chairs, those who write the diary, those who light the fire, those who fill the bottles with water, those who coordinate with the drivers l itinerary the following day ... there is great harmony and you can hear it in the air!
With a starry sky that seems to fall on you ... we return to our tents to rest, tomorrow we will have another departure at dawn ... like every day!
We spend the whole morning exploring Etosha NP aboard our two trucks; we arrive up to the Etosha Pan, a saline depression of 5000 square kilometers created 12 million years ago; reminds me a lot of the Bolivian Salares.
The temperature is almost 44 ° and the heat is really hot ... we see few animals, with these temperatures seek shelter as they can ...
In the late afternoon we begin the long crossing that will take us to Epupa Falls ... The sun is almost setting when we stop in Onankali, a small village in the middle of nowhere, we see an old sign with the word "lodge" but even the shadow of structures , only a small courtyard with 4 mud walls ...
We agree the price with Mrs Pauline and we assemble our tents ... but the lady is keen to specify that we can only use a bathroom inside the huts ... after seeing it we decide to do it outdoors!
There is a small bar next to our "lodge" (Africans sometimes use high-sounding big words!) ... at least we can drink something fresh tonight!
“Now that man has crossed the threshold of 2000 and conquered new space destinations, the dream of visiting new worlds is no longer so remote. But until a vacation on Mars does not become a reality, it is comforting to know that on the Earth there are places that offer the same emotions as space exploration. Venture into the unknown: visit Namibia"!
What a great slogan the Lonely Planet uses to advertise this place!
Here there are places where the look embraces long coastal stretches and not even a blade of grass interrupts the indistinct grayness; roads on which you can walk for hours with the sky as the only roof ... expanses of dunes on the borders with the realm of fantasy ... plains of rocks burned by the sun ...
The stifling heat is almost unnerving, this is the realm of the Himba, this picturesque population that has pushed us so far, on the river Kunene, again before Angola.
We are at Epupa Falls, a fence of intertwined branches in a semi-desert area ... around only a few skeletal bushes ...
Some naked children appear on the door of this fence and watch us amused and curious ... our guide enters, asks if we can visit them offering oil, flour and salt just bought for them
Three women with impressive braids kneaded in ocher, long and drooping earthy red breasts, many jewels on the ankles, at the wrists, a kind of brownish fur around the neck, a belt of dark leather along the waist, an ocher sculpture on the head ... they smile at us and welcome us to their ancient language ....
The children joke, chase each other, laugh, want to play with us ... some are beautiful, elegant, they take care of the younger brothers with so much love ... in a hut there is a woman with a baby a few days old, it is full of dust , flies, earth ...
In another: an old lady asks us for medicines because she is not well, she tells us that any medicine is good for her ... a child without a hand plays with a balloon, another chews a paper ball as if it were chewing gum ...
... the men are out with the pastures ... we spend several hours observing their daily life, surprising us, as always, with how varied and sometimes hard our world is.
Back at our camp we decide to take a dip in a puddle along the Kunene River following some local kids, just a few meters from the waterfall!
We travel for about 9 hours ... around us only arid land burned by the sun, again skeletal trees, bushes without leaves that continue to be taken by assault by the many goats that graze observed by a himba in a skirt and with a stick in his hands ...
In the late afternoon we stop in Palmwag, just to break this long transfer.
We're back in the middle of nowhere, it's already lucky to have water here ... let's mount the camp inside a lovely campsite!
A starry sky will be the roof of our evening ... we decide to sleep without covering the tent so as to enjoy even more this umpteenth show offered by Mother Nature in Southern Africa!
It is still dark outside when the alarm goes off ... it is chilly ... illuminated by the light of the frontal torch we dismantle our tents and leave again ... there is still a long way to go today!
The landscape is lunar, not a tree, nor a bit of green if not for small " welwitschia mirabilis ", succulent plants present only here, on the Skeleton Coast!
This is one of the most desolate stretches in all of Africa.
Finally we arrive at Cape Cross. A large cross stands in the middle of the bay; the stench is strong, in the distance we see a dark spot moving disorderly ... there is a colony of thousands of cape seals with their young, this is the time of birth ...
I've seen so many puppies dead or abandoned along the beach, big sea lions fight violently, some sleep on the shore, others swim in the waves ... in the distance some jackal patiently watches the scene, they wait for the right moment to approach ...
There were small groups of puppies massed because their mothers had gone fishing and, on their return, they found them thanks only to their sense of smell! The smell, the cries of thousands of specimens came into you.
I thought to myself that the law of Nature is this ... as fascinating as it is raw!
In the afternoon we arrive in an absolutely magical place: majestic boulders all around us in a desert landscape ... Spitzkoppe.
Tonight we will plant our tents right here, in the middle of nowhere ... there is no electricity, no water: nothing! And this "nothing" makes this place magical! "
All the guys are working hard because we have to rely only on our supplies, let's sip our water!
The evening at the foot of Spitzkoppe (1736 meters, called the Cervino of Africa) is truly magical ... these immense blocks of ageless red rock they surround us and protect us ... it's just us, our tents, our trucks and an infinite starry sky ...
To make the place even more mystical contribute to the numerous rock paintings that we are going to visit following some paths with our guide ... we climb up a huge rock, we slip into a hollow of the boulder and here are these timeless drawings ... after thousands of years before our astonished eyes ... who knows who had made them, who knows how many over the years they had admired them, who knows who had lived in that place and who knows for how long ... who knows ... how many who knows ... here is one of those things that makes you understand how much we are small ...
In late morning we reach Swakopmund ... a town completely out of place in this background!
It's quite cold! Neat and clean streets, almost only whites around that seem to come from an American 80s sitcom!
A few black tramps at the exit of the well-stocked Spar who asks for alms, blonde children running around barefoot, so many white houses that wave German flags and are protected by barbed wire on the walls, various pubs with white men who drink jugs of frozen beer, coffee shops that sell strudel, a long pier that takes you to the endless ocean ...
Walvis Bay. A town not far from Swakopmund with a bay that houses an impressive colony of pink flamingos. They are beautiful, it's a pleasure to photograph them!
We leave again, we have a long way to go, all dusty dirt road and with a strong temperature range, in a short time we reach 40 ° as we approach the Namib desert...
We pass the sign of the Tropic of Capricorn and shortly after we arrive at Solitaire... the name fits perfectly ... it looks like a ghost village abandoned in Far West... some rusty carcass of old cars while we stop at the famous " Desert Baker ", a real desert oasis famous for the apple pie!
At 04.30 we are already back in our truck headed to the base of the most majestic dune: dune 45 (365 meters). We climb it easily while the sun shyly begins to rise high in the sky ... in twenty minutes we reach the top, the red sand is soft and it is pleasant to walk barefoot, we sit along the ridge to admire this umpteenth show!
The sun rises: a new day begins here in Africa!
We spend most of the day traveling to Seeheim, the last Namibian stop; it's very hot and a very hot wind blows, as if we are struggling to set up the tents ...
Fish River Canyon. The second largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon.
We walk a couple of kilometers along the ridge and we remain enchanted and amazed before such great majesty. It really seems to see the bones of the Planet Earth...
Not far away we stop at Noordewer, the border between Namibia and South Africa! But this is another story!
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