The time to enjoy a European tour is about three weeks after you unpack. - George Ade

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Thu Sep 1

- Flew to Frankfurt. Took the train into downtown Frankfurt.

Went to the top of the Galeria department store and took in the view of Frankfurt's skyscrapers, sipping on a smoothie and lemonade.

- Had lunch at Vevay Kitchen, a good vegetarian restaurant.

- Walked through the Romerburg district. Old buildings and a church.

- Walked across the Iron Footbridge. Lots of locks.

- Went for gelato. Walked through the Zeil mall to kill some time.

- Back to FRA to catch our flight to Windhoek.

Sat Sep 3

- Flew to Windhoek

- Hornbill Rent A Car picked us up from the airport. We drove to the grocery store and picked up supplies.

- Drove to We Kebi. We were surprised it was paved for more than we thought it would be. Saw a giant lizard and baboons on the way.

- Checked into We Kebi. Saw some [blue wildebeest?] congregating around the water hole.

Started walking back to our room and noticed 2 rhinos were heading our way.

- Went and changed for dinner. During dinner a mother and baby rhino showed up, along with a large owl.

Sun Sep 4

- Had breakfast and relaxed outside. The cat joined us. Had pizza for lunch.

- Changed into our swimsuits to check out the pool. Very cold! CB went in though. While she was in there the rhinos showed up.

- Played Patchwork while sitting on the game deck and watching the sunset. Just as we were about to go in for dinner the rhino and her baby showed up. Followed by some zebras.

Mon Sep 5

- At breakfast we saw some animals we couldn't identify (long horns). Starts with an L ? Leishu?

- Packed up and drove towards Sesriem Canyon (went the wrong way first). Walked through the canyon. On the way back we realized we had missed the most interesting part.

- Drove to Sesriem Campsite. We were pleasantly surprised by our site, which was pretty massive with a huge tree in the center. We were expecting an open field with no shade.

- While setting up our tent we realized we somehow forgot our tent pegs. Bought some new ones from the gas station / overpriced general store.

- Drove out towards Dune 45. On the way we stopped at Elim Dune. Pressing on we stopped at interesting tall dune with a nice spine named simply 'Dune'.

- We made it to Dune 45 and climbed up the 85m-150m dune (conflicting reports of how high it is). At the top we realized coming up the side probably would have been a lot easier.

Took some photos of Dune 45 at the base, and back at 'Dune' on the way home during magic hour.

- Back at camp we made spaghetti and enjoyed the surprisingly warm evening, with our new friends 'the moths'.

Tue Sep 6

- The Italians and howling wind kept us up all night. Packed everything up very efficiently at 5:30 AM.

- Headed to the checkpoint and waited in a lineup of vehicles to be let in. At 6:30 AM it was Amazing Race time.

Arriving at the parking lot we were told we couldn't drive the remaining 3km: 'You will get stuck'

We took the shuttle, and the guy was probably right, we would have got stuck.

The shuttle price was worth the valuable tip from the driver, who dropped us off at a certain point for a shortcut to climb Big Daddy.

- With one other couple we made our way up Big Daddy. It all seemed easy at first, but became more and more challenging to slog through the sand dune near the top. It was also getting windier.

- It probably took us 1/10th the time to come down. At the base we walked across the white, crusty flats to Deadvlei.

- After taking our pictures at Deadvlei we hopped back on shuttle and took another bumpy ride back to our truck, this time with a lot more wind and sand blowing in our faces.

- From here it was a 5 hour journey through some desolate landscape and bumpy dirt roads to reach Swapokmund - Meike's Guesthouse. The owner lived in Calgary back in the 80's and had fond memories of Banff and Lake Louise.

- Went for dinner at Gabriele's Pizza. Delicious.

Wed Sep 7

- Drove to Walvis Bay to meet Eco Marine Kayaking. They drove us along the ocean road where we saw flamingos (lesser and greater), as well as giant piles of salt. We also encountered jackals that live on the beach. Asked about the world's longest wave and was told it only happens 2-3 times a year and is unpredictable.

- Got into our kayaks and headed out towards the seals. The seals were very playful. We were told to use our paddles and water bottles to entice them. Every now and then one would let us pet their belly.

- Drove to the Moon Landscape and had lunch at Goanikontes, a farm / oasis that dates from 1848. My chicken schnitzel was enormous.

- Went to Food Lover's to grab some groceries ($17 worth of chocolate covered almonds).

- Went to Gabriele's for dinner again, for some more delicious pasta and fondue.

Thu Sep 8

- Walked around Swakopmund after breakfast and checked out the beachfront. Swung by Namib Dunes brewery, as we had tried their beers at Gabriele's and liked their wheat's and wit's.

- Drove to Spitzkoppe. Very hot. Took a few photos but were glad we chose not to camp there (so hot, so many flies). But we did see a mammal we've never seen before, a Rock Hyrax.

- Continued on to Okambishi's Rest. Middle of nowhere but nice place to relax after a lot of driving. Made some couscous for dinner.

Fri Sep 9

- Drove to Erongo Winery. Had a wine tasting and a good meal. The guy took us on a tour of the winery, which was now also a distillery and they seemed to be experimenting with a bit of everything, from whiskey to tequila to rum.

- Headed to Erindi. Thought we were going the right way, but after 45 minutes we hit a dead end. We didn't make it to Erindi at 2 PM as planned (more like 4 PM) but did spot some giraffes along the way.

- Checked into Erindi and right away there were already elephants at the small waterhole facing our room.

- Went and had some delicious chocolate cake at the Old Trader's Lodge. Didn't see any animals from the viewing deck facing the large watering hole.

- Back at our room we watched some giraffes make their way to the small waterhole. CM kept accidentally scaring them so it took them a little while to grab a drink. It was interesting to watch how far out they had to spread their feet to be able to bend over and grab a drink.

- Went for a swim and headed back to the room. This time a few elephants came wandering through. They were large elephants and appeared to be the largest species of all elephants, the African Savannah. We would end up seeing 6 elephants before dinner.

- Had our buffet dinner at the Old Trader's Lodge. Saw a hippo in the distance.

- After dinner we saw a few more elephants from the patio at the back of our room. It was interesting how quiet they were as they suddenly meandered out of the trees towards the edge of our view. We wouldn't hear them approaching until the last minute.

Sat Sep 10

- Got up early for breakfast and met Edmond, for our first guided safari. We passed a kori bustard, the heaviest flying bird.

Then we saw a kudo (grey ghost), giraffes, impalas, springboks, a hippo, baboons, a leopard (named honey), a few lions (2 males and 1 female), a warthog, an ostrich, and dik diks.

- Heading back to the room we saw a wildebeest. Had our second breakfast (omelettes).

- After checking out we went and watched the 'group' of hippos and crocodiles from the viewpoint at the far end of the large waterhole. The hippos were hard to photograph, only occasionally bringing anything but their eyes out of the water.

- Left Erindi and drove to the Africat Foundation (Omboroko campsite at Okinjima nature reserve).

- We attempted to make a dinner reservation for the lodge for the following night. It seemed that we had to inform Daniel, the camp attendant, that we wanted to do that.

- Our campsite was massive as expected in Namibia. We had a large concrete building to ourselves at one end of the campsite which gave us a lot of shade as well as an area to cook. We ended up putting our tent up there as well.

- Went for a short hike up the hill behind our campsite. Very hot and one annoying fly. Tried to watch the sunset from there but it was too hot to stick around long.

- Daniel came by to introduce himself. We did talk about our potential dinner reservation and the activities we wanted to do (leopard tracking).

- Made some avocado pasta for dinner.

Sun Sep 11

- Relaxed at the campsite. CB went for a swim. CM sat in the shade. Pool was very cold and a lot of weird looking bugs (perhaps Namibia's version of the dragonfly?)

- Drove up to the day center to try and confirm our dinner plans for that night. She had to call again to double check that we had a reservation for the lodge. She seemed to indicate we had to talk to Daniel again, but we mentioned that we already had. Dinner was proving tough to reserve here.

- Went to the Plains Bushcamp to meet our guide for the leopard tracking. The building was very nice with a great view out back. They did seem to be expecting us for dinner, and took our order for dinner and drinks yet again. We weren't quite convinced all would be well, since the guy wrote our order directly on his hand in pen.

- Had some juice and snacks and met Matthew, our guide for the leopard tracking. Along with 4 people from Boston we headed out.

- We were trying to track a male leopard. We saw some other animals along the way (giraffes, kudo, dik diks, impala) but could not find the leopard.

- We went down to the other side, where fortunately one of the other drivers had found a female leopard, along with her 9 month old cub.

The mother's name was Vamos, the cub had yet to be named. The cub was eating recently killed prey. The mother awaited her turn. Matthew made us some drinks while we continued to watch the leopards, and then the gorgeous sunset.

- After departing the leopards, we saw the recently widowed spouse of the prey, which was a sad reminder of nature's cruelty.

- Went and had dinner at the Plain's Camp. Beautiful setting in front of a waterhole. Candles in paper bags. Fire pits. Dark night sky, with warm temperatures. Tasty appetizers, a bit of a mixup with the main course ('game meat' instead of chicken) and some delicious cheesecake for desert.

Mon Sep 12

- Got up early, too early to checkout properly.

- On the way out we noticed people on the side of the road, what were they watching? A very rare sight, a pangolin!

We watched the 2nd runner up of Miss Namibia, soon to be representing Namibia in Miss Earth, as she took pictures in front of the pangolin.

This particular pangolin was unusual in that it was known not to be afraid of people, and also active during the day. A very rare opportunity.

- Then we were trapped in Okonjima as we weren't allowed to exit the final gate - due to not checking out properly. At first we were asked to drive back, but after explaining we were trying to get somewhere on time, we had a phone call with someone and got it all sorted out.

- Made it to the CCF (Cheetah Conservation Fund). Watched a movie about the cheetahs and walked around the little museum. Santos drove us around inside the cheetah enclosure and we met some of the rescued cheetahs. They were actually somewhat active as they hadn't eaten yet.

The first one we saw was known to always be solitary, as she was rescued later in life.

We also took a look at the Turkish dogs that the CCF gives away to farmers to help protect their livestock from all predators.

- Had some goat milk ice cream, bought some cheese, and we were on our way to Etosha. We stopped at Theo's Superspar in Otijuarango and a bakery in Outjo along the way.

- Checked in at Etosha Camping2Go. Tried to freeze as many liquids as possible for the next few days of driving around Etosha.

The pool at our campground was under maintenance so we were told we could use the pool at the lodge, which had beautiful sunset views across to Etosha.

- Came back to our glamping setup and made couscous for dinner.

Tue Sep 13

- Arrived at Etosha 10-15 minutes before the gate opened, but we still had to go through the process of registering, filling out paperwork, going through a checkpoint and then to a reception area 25 minutes ahead to buy our permit.

- But on the way to the reception area we saw a few safari vehicles pulled off to the side. So we sidled up behind them to see what was up. There was a pride of 7-8 lions on the move! We caught glimpses of a few of them, but they soon wandered away to lay down under a tree in the distance and they became impossible to view. Meanwhile more and more vehicles pulled up, all jockeying for position to try to see them.

- Moved on, bought our permit, and checked out Okakuijo waterhole, the premiere waterhole of Etosha. It was a constant parade of animals coming and going. Zebra, wildebeest, oryx, springbok, impala. They were always in large groups/herds, and never a dull moment. We sat there for a few hours watching them.

- Back to our Camping2Go glamping to relax during the heat of the day.

- Back to the park in the afternoon, passing by where we saw the lions in the morning. Nothing this time. Took the scenic route to Newbronii where we saw 2 elephants and giraffes. It was a unique setting for these animals, as it was so desolate, almost like watching animals on the moon.

- Headed back to Okakuejo for afternoon viewing. Ran into the people we kayaked with a few days earlier. This time some elephants came to the waterhole. We had to leave as we didn't want to get trapped in the park (needed to be out before sunset).

- Came back and had buffet dinner at Etosha Safari Camping. Local band playing that wasn't annoying. Enjoyed their rendition of 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight'. Cute local cat was wandering around tables looking for food.

Wed Sep 14

- Woke up early again, packed up and headed back to Etosha. We were the first car in line at the gate and got in right behind one safari vehicle.

- We had our route already planned but decided to deviate from up when the vehicle ahead took a left at the first turn to Ombika waterhole.

- As luck would have it we immediately came across a pride of lions - one male, two females and five cubs! It was an open area and we had a great view of them. We watached as the females and cubs made their way in front of us. One of the cubs tried to chase a bird and another one went and sat on his mom while she was laying down. The male lion followed. We had an amazing view and no other vehicles to compete with to try to see them unlike the day before!

- From there we continued on our route which turned out to pretty quiet without much going on at the waterholes we stopped at for the rest of the morning. Gemsbokvlakte, Olifantsbad, Sueda, Salvadora, and Homob were all empty except for some turkeys and a couple of springbok.

- We arrived at Rietfontein to find at least 30 elephants along with a herd of zebra at the back of the parking lot. We pulled up to watch the elephants which were entertaining as they threw mud on themselves, wrestled with other elephants and there were some tiny baby ones as well.

- While we were watching more elephants showed up, we counted about 60 in total at one point. The zebra also made a move to the waterhole and it got pretty busy, 2 zebra were fighting aggressively and another herd approached from the other side.. We tried to count the zebra but it was pretty much impossible, maybe 200?

- From there we made our way to Halali and checked into our campground. We chose a site closest to the path to the waterhole. Walked up to the waterhole, it quiet for a bit then some elephants showed up.

- After a lull, we went back to set up our campsite and make some Annies for dinner.

- Went back to the waterhole, took our lawnchairs and got a front row seat. Ran into the kayaking people again!

- After awhile the first rhino showed up followed by 2 more. The males seemed to be sparring over the females.

- Shortly after some elephants arrived and hy,ena also made an apparence at various times in the evening.

- More rhinos came, we probably saw about 6 in total.

Thu Sep 15

- Woke up early again and walked straight to the Halali waterhole. Saw more zebra, turkeys and one hyena.

- Packed up and drove to Goas. Noticed some cars parked along on the side of the parking lot and drove over to see what was there.

- There were 2 male lions napping beside a tree. They also had a recent kill beside them, maybe a Kudu. Watched them for awhile, they were pretty lazy, got a couple of times but mostly wanted to nap.

- From there we contnued on towards Namutoni. Our next notable sighting was a mama cheetah with four tiny cubs! They were under a tree right beside the road and there was a bit of a traffic jam to see them. We got our turn in front of them with just enough time to snap a few photos.

- We continued down the road thinking we'd visit another waterhole but then realized we couldn't get to it that way. We headed back, thinking we'd drive into a cheetah traffic jam but it had cleared as she'd moved to below another tree a bit further from the road. We got a great view of the mom but couldn't see the cubs as they were in the bush. The mom moved back and forth between there and her first tree a couple of times and eventually the cubs followed.

- At this point I was getting tired of being in the car and figured it would be hard to top that. We stopped briefly at Kalkheuw and ate lunch as we watched a couple of elephants.

- Next stop was Chudob and we saw more elephants and zebra. Watched for awhile and then when we were leaving, saw 6 giraffe crossing the road to the waterhole so turned around to try to get some photos with both the elephants and giraffe.

- Stopped a Namutoni to pay our fees for the day. Apparently we were supposed to have paid by 9am but since we couldn't pay at Halali, not sure how that was supposed to have happened.

- Made one last stop at Klein Numatoni, just past we a giant eagle in a tree.

- Checked in at Tamboti campsite. First of all, the keys to the back of the truck were missing when we went to get our tent out. The guy working at reception had asked before we checked in if anyone was missing the time we said no but we walked back to reception and luckily there were ours.

- Set up our tent - the zipper that we had been struggling with all trip finally gave out. Had to get some cellophane tape to try to keep the door shut, we'll see how that works.....

- Relaxed on the porch of the lounge area at the campground then made spaghetti for dinner.

Fri Sep 16

- Just chilled and relaxed for most of the day.

- Went for a sundowner safari. Saw giraffes, zebra, wildebeest. Footprints of a lion and black rhinos but no sightings.

- Learned interesting nesting info about the female hornbill.

- Also saw a glimpse of honey badgers (rare) and vultures.

- Tried eating 'bushmen's gum' from one of the trees. No taste, and very sticky on the teeth. Can't say I would recommend it.

- Drank our gin & tonics while watching yet another beautiful pink Namibian sunset.

- Came back to our campsite and made Annie's for dinner. Spent a while trying to get our tent zipped up again.

Sat Sep 17

- Checked out of our campsite, gave back the tape, and headed to Kambaku Lodge.

- Saw 6 giraffes on the way in, including 2 small baby giraffes.

- Very nice property. Lots of flowers and butterflies.

- Sat with our welcome drink and enjoyed the waterhole view and warthogs.

- Had lunch, followed by a swim in another chilly pool with weird bugs.

- Then we had our afternoon cake and wrote some postcards home - which we were out of practice at!

- Chris went on a game drive and I ride on a horseback ride, saw impala, wildebeast, eland. Unfortanately no giraffes. Then we met up for the sundowner.

- For dinner that night, sat with some other guests from the UK, Switzerland and Germany.

Sun Sept 18

- Another early morning, today it was breakfast followed by clay pigeon shooting. We first tried hitting stationary clays on ground or in trees. I was able to hit 2 our 3, it took Chris a little longer to hit his 2. Chris tried unsuccessly to hit them as they shot through the air. I figured I'd quit while I was ahead - it looked hard and the recoil of the shotgun was pretty intense.

- We then took the mountain bikes out for a short ride. We came across 11 giraffes. They watched us approach on the bikes but started running the other way when we got too close. We put the bikes down and walked to get closer to them instead with 11 sets of eyes watching us closely.

- Had a glass of bubbly when we got back to the lodge and the packed up our stuff to head back to Windhoek to catch our flight home.


Great animals

Pretty good food

Amazing night skies

Beautiful pink sunsets

Good cheap wine

Friendly people


Long drive times on dusty dirt roads

Not the greatest pools