Namibia Safari October 2000
Last Revised: $Revision: 1.15 $, $Date: 2003/02/26 19:53:35 $
Namibia is a bizarre combination of English, and Africans language,
German colonial culture, black and white people.
It has only a population of 1.5 million where the black Ovambo,
which live mostly far in the north, are dominating and due to the dry climate
1.5 millon is what the land can bear. Cities are small and the country side is empty,
so you often do not meet any other car for half an hour.
Although every square meter of the 850000 square kilometer is used as farm land,
but due to the dry climate a cow needs 20 hectare land to feed.
Namibia is safe, so to say the Switzerland of Africa, but in large cities
there are always a few children begging for money.
White people have usually German origin and German names and infrastructure
often dominates the city life.
Currency is the Namibia Dollar (approximately 1 EUR = 1 USD = 6 NAD = 2 DEM) which is
one-to-one linked to the Sout African Rand. Tourist accommodation matches western
price levels with around 300 NAD per night and other local accommodation
goes down to 125 NAD per night. Camping costs from 20 to 80 NAD mostly for
the supplied water, toilet and shower. German Hotels usually are operated properly,
else where service is lacking (pre-used linen ...).
After the flight we arrived at 7:40 in the morning, pass the typical border
control formalities and picked up our car in Windhoek.
The Toyota Hilux and the equipment was pretty warn out and gave us lots of
trouble later adding more difficulties to driving on the left alone.
One can drink all water that comes out of a crane without any treatment we where
told at the car rental. However the water in Windhoek tastes awful and one
should go out side. You can get tap water e.g. at gas stations.
All water is pupmed out of the ground except far in the noths where it comes
from the Okavanko river and ther you should not drink it.
There is (effectifly)no malaria risk we were told from the car rental and
also a traveler were told this in three pharamcies in Windhuk. As any body tells
Malaria is only in the far north and only in the rain season. We stopped medicla
The car rental I got with my local European drivers license
and we did not need the international drivers license and even most of
the times at police-checks this is enough we were told by the rental company.
However having and international drivers license is on the save side.
Most important equipment.
- sun hat
- heavy hiking boots. You need them always when leaving thew car.
- your flashlight - it is 12 hours dark a head light for (7 EUR ) proved most useful.
- sharp knife
- water bottle
In Windhoek we went to the shopping mall, to the bank and did our initial
gossery shopping, .This is the only place where you can park you car save in a
concrete parking house. Even if most of Namibia
is save a lot of CD-people hanging around in Windhoek and Mariendal
and one of us always stayed at the car here except at the parking mentioned
Food is incredible cheap and we got a whole large shopping card full for
200 NAD=35EUR. We did not forget plastic bags and mineral water and paper towels/toilet
For all parks camps in Namibia you only can book here for 700 NAD altogether.
The permits you get at the camps.
We departed south and headed the B1 to Rehoboth and get gas and water there.
The we turned into the D 1280 to the Lake Oanob Dam Resort, where we camped the
night for 80 NAD. THis camp was very well maintand with a nich bath with hot shower.
In the car we measured 41°C while around 4:00h in the night it was 9°C. The
light sleeping-bag supplied by the car rental was far to cool.
Wednesday 2000-10-4, Finger clip
Next Morning we continued down south the tarmac road B1, pass the Tropic of
Caprihorn to Mariental where we did some shopping.
You should always fill up gas and water where ever possible, you never
know when the next gas station is available. This especially important if
you are not used to the car. Most gar gauge are defect and will stay
at full until the tank is half empty and then drop at once.
Gas stations are often 100 km apart.
Always ask where the next gas station is with your type of gas.
After 290 km we reached the village of Asab. The man at the gas station is to
lazy to sell us gas and we turn left into the DR3939 to the collapsed finger
It was an impressive 13 meter high rock pile standing on a tip before it
collapsed in 1988.
We decided to camp here in the middle of nowhere. We had rice with peppers for
Keetmanshoop, Thursday 2000-10-5
Since we made only 300 km good we decided to skip the most southern part of
Namibia and continue to Keetmanshoop and Lüderitz.
We were surprised when we the gas meter went from 3/4 to empty in just
100 km, while it took us 200 km from full to 3/4. Our Toyota Hilux uses
14 liter per 100 km has a 80 liter tank and 20 liters reserve and one liter is
around 3.5 NAD.
We made a fast ride with no further stops to Keetmanshoop. It is a very relaxed
and trusty peaceful town. We refill gas and spotted Uschís Parking and
restaurant where we had dinner in a very relaxed atmosphere with regular
German or western food.
At the post office I buy stamps for 2.20 NAD world postcard postage and ask at
the tourist office the way to the Quiver tree forest and camp.
When we returned to the car it appeared that the battery did not start the
engine and did not supply the fridge for at leat 3 hours.
The man at the restaurant showed us the backup switch. And the car started.
We drive to the Quiver tree forest camp got a beautiful camping palace with
shower for 70 NAD. At 5:00 there was the cheetah feeding and to our surprise we
where allowed inside behind the fence and I even was allowed to pet the
otherwise aggressive animal.
Near sunset we went to the Quiver trees for the photo session.
After sunset all kind of strange insect/animal noises appeared - some
quaking like a frog humming and rattling.
The European drivers license was enough for renting the car and most times
good as well for the police the car renting company told us.
But with a international driving license you are on the save side.
Changing Landscapes, Friday 2000-10-06
The morning started with trouble. The weak battery from yesterday added to the
engine starting trouble each morning so we were grounded. After cursing the
rental company for this trash we looked for help. Our very friendly Swiss
neighbor were so kind to help us. Switching batteries did not work out, so we
organized a starter cable. They got a brand new (13000km) Toyota Hilux with new
and clean equipment in perfect state for DEM 4300. The man at the gas station
said one should only rent cars at larger companies like Budget.
Because of the trouble we decided to skip the very south of Namibia and
continue the 337 km to Lüderitz. The landscape changes to stony mountains and
then to high plateau dry gras vegetation, followed by sand dessert before we
finally reach the Atlantic west coast and Lüderitz.
Here we encounter our first smal sand storm - a astonishing experience, when sand
clouds glide over the roads.
We stay at the nice Bay View Hotel for 299 NAD where we get a room with bath
and TV and swimming pool in the yard.
Lüderitz, Saturday 2000-10-07
Lüderitz is a small diamond! mining town founded by Germans 1909 (I think).
Also some of the German colonial charm remains the town is mainly populated by
black people nowadays.
Lüderitz is a very small town with a population of just ??? .
We saw one fish restaurant at the other side of our hotel -but that is it.
There is an Internet Cafe in the center in Bismark street. It is open
8:00 to 17:00 weekdays and 8:00 12:00 Saturdays.
The engine starts tough again as the battery was still low, although we don't
use the fridge anymore. After some search for a dealer we buy a backup battery
for 302 NAD so we could risk driving pads.
Unlike promised there is no Brown German corn bread to buy in Lüderitz as
the white population drops in numbers. Lüderitz is not really worth visiting
it if not for you doing some shopping.
We departed the 122 km back to the village Aus and leaving the tarmac roads,
following the C13 north. After 51 km we hit the D707 at some cafe or alike.
We turn left following the sign to the Namtib Guest Farm, our destination for
today. The savanna looks terrific under the afternoon sun.
After 47 km and some confusion we reach the farm one hour before sun set.
The owner tells us that there is no camping and we could get a room for 290 NAD
if not all 10 rooms were already occupied. We should go the 12km back to the
gravel road and the 30km up to the right there is a camping. Camping
is not allowed in the Naukluft park we just entered.
We enter the sand desert with red tone sand and for its most it turns into a
sand pad so we have to switch the 4-wheel drive on. I like driving there.
Suddenly we discover the most beautiful sun set with a intensive glowing
red over the red desert sand. It was getting dark after 40km and we still
have not encountered the camp. We pass an open gate and decide to camp
in the open desert. The wideness of the sand fields is very impressive and
it was very windy. We constructed a wind shield and had soup with bread and tea
make a small fire from the three pieces wood that were left.
This was one of the bets evenings.
The kid came to us at the gas station and sayed "Hello!". I responed
"I don't give you money". The boy said "I was just greeting you! - Hello!".
I said "Hello" and he started "Give me a dollar, please!"
Tire Killer, Sunday 2000-10-08
The sunrise is beautiful at our camp. Packing goes faster as we getting more
experience. I take and hour walk eastwards to the next hill.
We depart further north to the next gas station and the desert changes into dry
grass vegetation again. We turned into the D407 direction Maltah"he and like
a mimical the gas station appeared out of nowhere, which is really impressive if
you have to doubt all information you get. These D-class roads are not often
maintained an have a lot of corrugations.
Now we continue the D826 north to Sossusvlei, the red desert dunes in the Namib
deserts Naukluft park. A older German couple warns us that they had heard that
the D826 very sandy and a real tire killer.
We do it anyway. After 80km of terrible corrugations and lots of stones a tire bursts.
The tires was ripped apart and not much left.
We continued to Sesriem and stayed in the 4x4 Drive camp.
Christoph has still trouble with his leg so I walked the 2km to the Mövenpick
hotel and restaurant. The Oryx and Crocodile steak is really delicious.
Also I realize the absence of cellular phones and in the silence I can enjoy the
beautiful restaurant. I meat the couple from the gas station and could
confirm that the D826 is a tire killer.
Sossusvlei, Monday 2000-10-09
As we waiting for the eleventh to make use of our reservation for the Sossusvlei.
We drive up to Solitaire. It turned out to be a farm with a shop and a
gas station, not a village like the map suggests. The gas station has been
permanently closed. I talk to some Dutch people and they explained:
The camp Sesriem has noting to do with the entry to Sossusvlei. But you have to
pass the camp in order to get to Sossusvlei and the camp gates open at sun rise
and close at sunset (currently at 19:00h). Sossusvlei itself closes at 20:00h.
This means when you stay in the camp you can watch the sunset and animals
grassing otherwise you have to leave before.
The permit costs 30 NAD per person and 10 per car.
We decided to enter the same day at 14:00h. The 60km to the Dead Valley are
tarmac road and we pass the famous dune 45. After that you can go with a only
go with a four-wheel drive car five kilometer further through a sand field.
If you are skilled and don't stop it is easy.
Otherwise you can make some interesting off-road sand driving
experience, what I really enjoyed. Starting is of course most difficult.
I made a lot of photo stops and but had no difficulties. When we came to an
intersection one direction warned "Soft sand!" and I thought "how much worse could it be?".
The sand hills are higher and with our heavy loaded car I decided to
back up. Everything was fine until I decided to turn on the open field.
Now we stuck with the heavy loaded 4x4. But we digged out ourself and made it back on
the sand tracks.
The dunes where beautiful and the lake was filled with water the first
time since 1907 someone explained. I walked up the dune which is very exhausting
and met an younger couple and we take photos form each other.
You don't need a water filter in Namibia
Gamsberg, Tuesday 2000-10-10
Christoph is and astrophysicist and has arranged a night at the
"Internationale Amateur Sternwarte" (IAS) at the Hakos farm near Gamsberg.
We take up the C36, C14 passed the Kuiseb passage and turned into the C26.
The Gamsberg pass is heavy terrain. The road is heavy rough with corrugations
and dip and of cause high slopes. Most of the time we drive in second gear
the high slopes. At 15:00 we reached the Hakos guest farm at 1921 meter over sea
level. The reception by the traditional German hosts where friendly and we meet
several professional German astronomers.
In the past allot of astronomers took there telescopes down to Namibia and back
to make some observations. Then K.L.-Bath had the idea to bundle the effort and
founded the International Amateur Observatory club to establish a permanent
observatory here and on the Gamsberg. The conditions are perfect, the Seeing is
smaller then one arc-sec.
Currently there are four concrete
foundation pillars and the required building under construction. A C14 telescope
on with Liescher Mounting on a tripod is temporary available. For tourists
there is a old Zeiss telescope in a observatory room.
Internationale Amateur Sternwarte
Westwards, Wednesday 2000-10-11
We drive back the C26 but this time down to Swakopmond.
The last part is through the sand desert but Scrapper were just
before us preparing the gravel road. Thus it is in good condition.
We pass Walvisbay a fishing harbor belonging to South Africa and reach
Swakopmond at 15:00.
We stay at the "Hotel Europa" a old German frame-work building.
Swakopmond, Thursday 2000-10-12
The population of 30000 consists out of many traditional German settlers,
and they keep there tradition.
You find traditional German bakeries, butchers, shops and restaurant
tranformed to Africa - A very interesting composition.
Thus the common language is German and even the black population talked German to you
by default in restaurants.
When paying with a credit card, what you can do here at a view places
the owner ask if I had some relatives here.
There is a Haack family here in Namibia and the father worked as mine worker,
the sons are in Windhoek now. One see how close the relations are here.
We got a new tire here for 970 NAD - relatively cheap for an off-road tire.
There are five Internet cafes in Swakopmund. One in the shopping center
and one at the Kaiser Wilhelm main street. Two at the
Like many places Swakopmond has a Snake park at the end of Kaiser Wilhelm street
to the desert). You can see all local snakes there, before you (hopefully not)
encounter them in the field.
We met the South African traveler in its light blue Hilux again.
Ameib Ranch, 2000-10-13 and 14
After complaining we got a good replacement for the Toyota Hilux.
We drive up the B2 to U...., turned into the D1935, and the D1937.
Vegetarian increases and with that the presence of moskitos and other flies.
We pass the gate of the Ambeit Ranch, where we have to sign in.
11km further we reach the ranch buildings. The range is excellent maintained.
For 50 NAD pp we stayed on the comfortable camping with table and seats,
shower and grill. The ranch is famous for it's many attractions. First we
visit the interesting stone formations, most famous the elephant head. There
and in Philips cave we see some Bushman paintings. We encounter some of the
numerous animals on the farm.
Some told us he just saw three of the four giraffes.
After sun set we prepared our dinner. And the incredible happened it
started raining. Just a shower but rather rare here.
Waterberg Plateau, 2000-10-15 and 16
We drive up north and the vegetation gets greener with trees.
We reach the Waterberg park. Camping is 120 per day. We meet Toni from
Switzerland who has taken a one year break. He drove in his Pizgauer Swiss army
surplus vehicle all the way down from Morocco, West-Sahara Mauretanien, Senegal, Mali,
Benim. Here he shipped to South Africa.
From Namibia he will go to Botswana, Zambia, Malawi Tanzania,
Kenya Etopia, Sudan, Lybia back to Europe.
Some native people told Toni:
If you put up your camp snakes would not come for 2 or 3 days even it
lies on its path because they are confused of the changed environment
and after 3 days they have control back.
Snakes would never move on a smooth plastic sheet.
Otiwijrongo, 2000-10-17 to 21
I just want to relax and walk and Christof wnated to drive and see the Skeleton coast,
so we go seperate ways for four days. I stayed in Otijwarongo.
Otijwarongo is the trading town for the farmers around. It has a dozens
of gas stations, garages and super markets and another 60 stores or so.
Even florist, two photo stores are there. The Internet cafe went bankrot.
The safari store on the main street (Hage Geigob) between Georges and
Bahnhof street has a nice selection and is worth visiting. The German
owneress also can give you some information.
e.g. There is a nice accommodation with pool for 125 NAD called "Out Of Africa".
The German operated Hamburger Hof I stayed in is clean although the furniture
dates from the 1950th and the restaurant is also good. Also they overdo
there service when they took my closes for the laundry without asking for.
I went to the crocodile ranch. The entry is 15 NAD and it has 40 female and
6 male crocodiles that where imported from Botswana in 1985. The owner
explained that you can't estimate there age. They get 140 years old and
get new teeth every two years (?). Crocodiles get feed one a week some
kilos of meat when it is warm. When the temperature drops under 19 C they
stop eating for half a year. The waterpool is very expensive as one cubic
meter water costs 85 NAD.
Further there are crocodiles breeded. They are used to produce leather
products and the meet is sold to restaurants. They got an export license
because only crocodiles that are grown there are used.
Brandberg and Bambatise Longe 2000-10-17 to 21
Christoph goes westwards to the Brandberg mountain seeing the Finger Clip.
He stays at the beautiful Bambatise Longe, which is
one of the most rewarding accomodationds.
At the Brandberg the starter fell apart in two pieces and some locals are helping
to hold it together while Christoph is starting. Then he drives all the 126 km to
Korika to get it replaced for 500 NAD.
Etosha Park, Monday 2000-10-21 and 22
We drive to the Etsosca National Park. Lots of Springbok, and Zebras
come close to the road. You are not allowed to leave the car outside the
camps and few rest places.
At Okaukuejo, the first of three camp sites allot of local tourist are picnicking
at the water hole and make lots of noise so no animal come to drink.
Next day we drive down the pad and see many Giraffes coming close to the
cat and at the Aus water whole a elephant herd is resting. Zebras are used
to the cars and we drive in middle of a heard.
We reach the Halalili camp and I drive to the Goas water whole. Some lion
pass directly 10 m behind my cas but I see them to late. End October and
It is short before the rain season so the sky is cloudy and it showers
for a couple of minutes.
At effectively 20 min before the sun set set the camp gates close and at
the water whole of Halalili people are quite. I watched the play of the
Elephants for 2 hours. No one dares to bother these large predators.
At then they decide to leave and a Rhino, leopard scakal and Hyena drink.
Namutoni Camp and Mokuti guest farm, Monday 2000-10-23
Tsumeb, Tsinsabis and the Baobab Tree, Tuesday 2000-10-24
I wanted to see the Bushman at the Mur... Ranch six km from Tsinsanis.
When arrived the house lady told me that it is closed for the next two days,
then the next busses will arrive, but I could camp for 60 NAD without any
Tsinsanis is a small settlement of Bushmen which only a food and bottle
store. The children where friendly, not like those Dollar begging kids
elsewhere, and I gave away all the caned food we had left to them.
With a smaole and winking went on thr 3016 and 2855 to see the giant
Baobab tree which are up 3000 years old.
I went to the Koukous farm which looked nice from the brochure.
I was the only guest.
In reality the personal conversation with the farmer and his wife during
the dinner I was invited was what I enjoyed most.
It was for sure one of the nicer evenings in Namibia.
The Farmer came here in the 1950 and his wife in 1985.
They live from growing cattle. On need 20 hectare per cow. Altogether they
have 400 cows on 6000 hectare and game. All 15 water installations are diesel
l engine powered as there is not enough wind to power them.
"In the radio came the news that two guides with two tourists going from
Windhoek with Windhoek car hire to Zambia and Botswana. The guides where
known as experienced. On 23-10-2000 suddenly they where attacked and a
bullet hit one guide in the head the other in the lung the tourist were
not hurt . They with many difficulties they drove back and the guide
was treaded in Windhoek and survived. "
The problem in Zambia an Zaire is that the white farmers property were
taken and handed to the poor.
Now operated by incompetent and lazy people everything went down
the drain. And all people went into poverty.
Many black people think the white people just occupied the best
positions without realizing that being responsible is hard work. Now even
in Namibia it the Ovambo occupy many position without any qualification
just gripping money.
The consequence is that all installations are rooting down.
There is literally no wildlife outside farms and park. Bushmen and other
The bush man and other for which hunting was difficult with traditional
weapons now just have killed it for fun. In the 60 one still saw the sky
full of ducks today you are happy to see three
A Utinlop men was killed sneaked around and was killed buy a
arrow and bow and turned out to be a Namib Solitier
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