Hi to those who are kind enough to have followed me on Diary of an Adventurous Retiree. I have blogged here for eight years but have now exhausted my storage space of 3 gigs. Paying for an upgrade is not an option so I have started a new free plan blog.
My new blog is called Adventuring into Retirement
I am continuing my Namibia and Kgalagadi story on the new blog.
2 November 2018
We were up and about by 7, got the caravan packed and then our hostess, Anthea, cooked us a delicious English breakfast. Her freshly baked muffins are to die for!
Anthea is a perfect B&B hostess and her establishment is delightful. Each room opens onto the bird friendly garden, the dogs are inquisitive so don’t leave your door open unless you want their company and the bathroom is lovely. There is a kettle, a fridge and free WiFi, A perfect place to stay if you are passing through Windhoek.
We were on the road just after nine and the trip to the Waterberg went smoothly until the dirt road leading up to the resort which is in serious need of grading.
It was 1 o’clock when we arrived and the mercury was well in the thirties. After checking in we found a suitable place to camp and set up fairly quickly. It is a site with great potential and in the past has been well maintained but now the paths and roads are deeply eroded and the ablutions, though clean, need a bit of maintenance. The washing up area is fine, as is the laundry room. There are no washing machines – so only hand washing. There is an enclosed courtyard with wash lines which need replacing.
We like visiting The Waterberg because of the bird life. This time we did not see as many species as in the past but we were pleased with what turned up.
After setting up camp and having a bite to eat we set off to explore the pool and cabin area.
At the cottage area there was quite a bit to see. Warthogs were mowing the front lawns.
Mom and Dad dik dik with their baby nearby were also enjoying a graze.
The bird life was interesting and among others we saw red-billed spur-fowl and a beautiful purple roller
It was disappointing to find that the pool was not at its sparkling best but we still had a swim in the murky waters.
We saw and heard the Go Away bird and enjoyed the ground-scraper thrush.
Back at camp we were delighted to find rosy faced love birds pecking alongside laughing doves.
3 November 2018
We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and Pat and I did a clean up and some laundry. We wanted to go for a game drive on the plateau but the fee of $650 is exorbitantly high. We took a walk to reception to negotiate a discount. “There are four of us – all pensioners – please can you make a plan,’ we asked. Unfortunately the manageress does not work on Saturdays and the duty staff did not have the authority to help us. They tried to phone but told us their boss was unreachable. We discussed it and decided that we would be seeing plenty of game in Etosha so we’d give it a miss.
In the afternoon we went for our own little game drive around the camp and then thought we might take a dip in the pool. But there were crowds of people there, loud music playing and children splashing excitedly in the water. We all decided to leave them to their joyful antics and went to the restaurant for a drink instead. It was pleasant sitting there and we enjoyed watching a familiar chat, ground scraper thrush and later found a puff back in a tree. At camp we found a Green-winged Pytilia. The paradise fly catchers were around but impossible to photograph.
The baboon are both amusing and a nuisance. One has to be very careful to make sure they cannot get into you tent or caravan. Don’t even leave bags lying around – they will rip them apart to see if there’s food inside.
Later we found out why there were so many people at the pool – It was a staff function for employees of a furniture company and their families. A large group of them came to camp next to us. They all dressed up with colourful paper flower chains round their necks, played traditional music and set up their tents. We found them quite entertaining and chatted with one or two. Some slept under the stars but four very cute children – two boys two girls between the ages of 4 and 6 were really excited to be sharing a tent which they helped erect. A parks board employee came round a little later and asked them to turn down the music – No problem – they did! However, at 1:30 am we were woken by loud talking! Those sleeping under the stars were calling to each other!
But it was all part of the adventure. They were very pleasant and friendly so we forgave them the night interruption.
Having a view like this makes it all worthwhile. Each evening we were here the little bush babies came scampering through the trees and warthogs came to mow the lawns. What a privilege to be able to enjoy all this beauty around us.
1 November 2018
This morning Earl and I packed up and went to have breakfast at “The Redeeming Feature” of Hardap Dam Resort. The Mools decided to do coffee and cereal at camp which gave them more time to pack up their tent.
Breakfast included yogurt and fruit, cold meat and cheese, eggs, bacon and sausage and coffee and was not bad at all!
By 8:15 we were on the road to Windhoek. We enjoyed a bit of birding on our way out and were lucky enough to spot several go away birds, three Namaqua sandgrouse, a black sparrowhawk flying over head and a mountain wheatear.
We arrived at our B&B, Anjo Guesthouse, at 11 o’clock and were allowed to check in straight away. Anthea had assured us that there would be space to park our caravan and The Earl expertly reversed it into its reserved spot. Thank Anthea and John for allowing us to park it for the night.
We then went off to shop for supplies, get a Namibian sim card and data bundle and have a good German coffee and Apple Strudel!
Anjo’s has a lovely bird friendly garden and we enjoyed watching dozens of red-billed quelea, common waxbill, blue waxbill, red-billed firefinch, wattled starling, bronze mannikin and black-throated canary.
We also had a cooling swim in the pool
In the evening we went to Joe’s Beerhouse for dinner. This establishment is awesome and totally novel. It’s a huge Boma divided into several sections and it serves a variety of beers and other beverages as well as wonderful food. Joe collects – well everything that’s interesting – and displays it all over his Boma. Each piece has a story and you can read about some of them in the menu!
We did not book but were seated at a large table shared with other people. You can get smaller tables for your group if you reserve ahead of time. It turned out to be the best evening as we got chatting to the Dutch couple on our left and the Swiss couple on our right. The fun thing about travelling is meeting interesting people from other countries. Both couples were en route to do safaris in hired 4×4 vehicles with roof top tents. What fun!
The food was excellent – Tony and Pat had eisbein, Earl lamb shank and I had kudu steak.
We all had to take doggy bags as the portions were so generous. In spite of the place been very busy, the service was quick and efficient.
31 October 2018
Today we left Ai Ais and made our way to Hardap Dam, one of the Namibia Wild Resort rest camps.
The landscape was at first rocky and dry with interesting vegetation from time to time.
We last visited Hardap in 2005. Before booking in at the time I read a review about the place which proclaimed that it’s only Redeeming Feature was the Restaurant – We’ve joked about that ever since! The Redeeming Feature boasted an awesome view of The Dam and served reasonable meals. Soon after we stayed the resort was closed for several years and some major renovations took place. It is now much improved with upgraded cabins, pleasant campsites and modern ablutions.
We enjoyed a refreshing swim in the lovely pool which overlooks the dam then had drinks at the restaurant before going back to our campsite to braai.
We expected high temperatures after Springbok but were pleasantly surprised to have cooler evenings and morning in both Ai Ais and Hardap.
As we spent only one night here we did not do a game reserve in the reserve. However, they do have guided tours with a competent guide and you are likely to see black rhino, Gemsbok, giraffe and other game. There are no predators besides black-backed jackal.
The bird life in the area is also interesting. We saw white-browed sparrow weavers, mouse-birds, Namaqua Sandgrouse among others.
30 October 2018
Today we had a pleasant day relaxing at Ai Ais Rest Camp. Early this morning we were woken by the local feral cat population! There were more than half a dozen of them and it seemed that there was competition for the turf! They were all rather beautiful looking cats and The Earl just wanted to pet them, feed them and take them home!
Later in the morning the rhythmic sound of music caught our attention and we became aware that a group of local people were being videoed for a television show. They were gaily dressed and doing some traditional dancing in the car park.
Along with all the other foreign tourists we thoroughly enjoyed the show! At the end they invited to spectators to join in. There was a group of French tourists who did not need a second invitation.
We also had fun doing a spot of bird watching and saw many pale winged starlings, mountain wheat-ear, rock martins, Cape robin and a few very pretty swallow-tailed bee-eaters
We also enjoyed ‘taking the waters’ and in the evening we enjoyed a braai before turning in for the night.
Wild Adventure – Namibia an Kgalagadi – Day 3 – Springbok to Ai Ais
29 October 2018
This morning we were all up at 7 getting ready for departure. We had rusks, cereal and coffee for breakfast and The Earl and I set off ahead of The Mools as we would be travelling a tad slower. It’s a good thing we did this because as we neared Steinskop we became aware of an awful knocking sound on the rear right of the car. We contacted the Mools who had not yet left Springbok and told them we would turn into the Steinkopf to have it checked out. Well, the mechanics at the local garage didn’t have a high lift so we had to head back to Ford in Springbok. The Mools had just left but turned back saying they thought they should rather wait for us.
I phoned ahead to tell the mechanics that we needed emergency assistance and they were quite willing to see us immediately. The Mools had a flask of boiling water and we found a shady spot, set out my cups on a chopping board, hauled out the cookies and rusks and had a little coffee party next to the forecourt!
Luckily it was an easily sorted problem – the paper label had come loose from the prop shaft and was hitting against it making an unholy noise. With that sorted were back on the road by 10:30.
We reached Vioolsdrift just before midday and the border crossing went smoothly. It was not at all busy
Then we were in Namibia!
We filled up with fuel then drove through the desolate landscape of semis dessert. The rocks are phenomenal! Sometimes it looked like a pile of boulders had been poured onto the side of the road by a huge dump truck. It felt like we were driving on another moon like planet.
Check in at Ai Ais went smoothly and we set up camp under some shady trees. By five we were ready for our first swim in the hot pools
The wind got up in the evening so we decided not to braai and instead ate at the restaurant. Pat had Schnitzel, I had chicken breast with cheese sauce and the men had rump steak. The steak was a bit sinewy but very tasty. We all enjoyed our meal but had to fetch our own wine as they had run out of the type they sold by the glass. That saved us R40 each!
Our first day in Namibia went well! More of our adventure to follow.