I’m back in Lusaka after spending the last 3 weeks in Namibia. Not cycling but going around by bus and car. And not alone which made for a nice change with the right company :)
We went to the coast first, staying in Swakopmund where the sand dunes of the Namib desert meet the ocean. Of course we went on a trip into the Dunes with a guide to help us find the well hidden animals living there.
The dark powder on the dunes is iron. This is what happens when you collect some of it with a magnet.
The first animal we saw was the Namib Sand Gecko. It will normally stay buried in the sand during the day so the sun won’t burn it. It’s skin is almost transparent.
A “dancing white lady” spider
The Shovel-Snouted Desert Lizard…
…does not like being disturbed.
A Sidewinder Snake
A Namaqua Chamelion moving through one of the bushes
…and eating a juicy “Tok Tokkie” beetle.
Another one, perfectly adapted to the color of the rocks.
The “moon landscape” after leaving the area with the sand dunes. The place we stopped here has some special boulders that sound like musical instruments when you hit on them with another rock.
Ice plant. As there is extremely little rain here most plants and some animals get their water from the fog in the morning.
They survive by eating plants like these !Nara “Melons”. The seeds are also harvested to make oil.
The Welwitschia is the national plant of Namibia and endemic to the Namib region. It was described to us as an “underground tree” with just the top sticking out of the ground. They can get very old and grow extremely slowly.
On a daytrip to nearby Walvis bay we saw big groups of Flamingos.
There is salt produced here and the water in the evaporation pools is sometimes pink in color.
For the next part of the trip we rented a 4x4 pickup with a roof tent and headed for Etosha national park.
Groups of Sociable weaver birds build there impressive nests that sometimes seem to break down the trees carrying them.
There are several camps near waterholes in the park which allows you to see quite a few animals if it is dry enough to force them to come here to drink. Drinking out of a pool of water on ground level is not easy for Giraffes.
There had been some rain before we arrived but there were sill lots of animals to be seen there in the early morning and evening. We saw several Black Rhino each day while we were in the park.
The first lions we saw stayed in the darkness as the Rhinos would not leave the water hole. Can you see him in the dark background?
That is until a group of Elephants arrives and the Rhinos run away themselves.
The Rhinos were very protective of the water hole and obviously did not like most other Rhinos to be there with them. These two had a long staring contest which then turned violent for a short moment.
But there’s also those that come in groups or families that do get along.
The most impressive bird we saw, a Martial Eagle with it’s prey. This bird is huge.
The park consists of the area around the Etosha pan, a prehistoric dried out lake turned into a salt pan.
Some of the animals had young ones with them like this Zebra
or this family of Ostriches.
…or this Wildebeest.
Two more big birds.
Another Rhino, this time during the day, with a group of Oryx antelopes.
It’s very hot during the day, many animals seek shelter under trees.
Parking by another waterhole this lioness suddenly showed up and walked just a few meters by our car.
The Zebras nearby were of course alarmed but did not run away. They must have understood that the lion was just there to drink and not to hunt.
The next lion we saw at the water hole near the camp just before sunrise. It was sleeping there, occupationally getting up to roar which is quite an impressive sound. When the sun came up it drank and disappeared.
On the way back to Windhoek we stopped over in Erongo. We were lucky to run into Otjohotozu guest farm which was clearly the most comfortable stay on this trip. A dip in the pool was just the right thing to do in the intense head and we had a nice time chatting with the owners and other guests.
Baboons, conveniently on the other side of the river to be watched from the comfort of our tent.
I’ve collected my bike in Lusaka now and did some well needed repairs. Finally, new tires :)
I changed my mind about the coming route once again. Instead of going to Namibia again I’ll head South tomorrow and go to Zimbabwe. Dave (tiredofit.ca) who is clearly the one who has done the most cycling in Africa of all the persons I met gave me some pointers. And he was also nice enough to host me at his place while I got set up again.