Namibia day 1

Trip Start Apr 24, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Namibia  , Central Plateau,
Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Namibia Leg 1

At long last, we start the Namibian part of our trip. We have waited a long time to visit Namibia.  We are thus just a little more excited than at any other point of the trip so far.

Leaving Kgalagadi, our vehicle and trailer was searched (on the SA side) at Mata Mata. Once on the Namibian side, a couple of formalities later and we were on the road.  And may I say a FANTASTIC road!!  The road is wide and smooth with a bit of gravel.   If this was an indication of the roads in Nambia, we are ecstatic.

The countryside changed somewhat with much more beautiful golden grasslands to see. Kameeldoringbome are everywhere.  The so called "besembos" too.

Not long after my “song of joy” – die Suidwesterlied, singing the praises of the fantastic roads, the GIANT corrugation started.  I don't know how else to describe it.  The road is wide and smooth, that has not changed.  But just like a roller coaster, it goes up and down and up again.  Climbing anything from 5-15 m, with 20-300 meters in between.   The 50km or so that this carried on was enough to make me beg for Kgalagadies horrible normal corrugation.  (I got carsick as I last did when I was a child) It ended just in time and road-bliss was ours again. The speed limit in Namibia is between 80-100 km p/h.  For as far as we go, we are impressed with the condition of the roads.    Mostly dirt roads – but better than most SA tar (potholed) roads.

On the “Tracks for Africa” map diamond appears to indicate an attraction in the area.  There are three attractions on the way to Keetmanshoop.  First is the Mesosaurus Fossils.  The owner of the farm, Giel Steenkamp, who calls himself - “Giel fosiel”-   a very pleasant man, keen to show off his “treasure”.  The “tour” takes about an hour. An easy 5km drive in one’s own vehicle. Giel drives ahead.  He starts off with the fossils.  How he came across them, (+- 20 years ago). He tells of who verified the find, as well as the type of the fossil.   The general history of the farm.  Besides the fossils, the farm has the most spectacular Quiver tree forest (+-5000 trees) in a setting on the hill among dolomite pillars.  The dolomite  pillars are striking in black against the otherwise pale landscape.  He showed us that the typical black colour is due to oxidation and not the colour of the rock itself. Giel played two songs for us on one of the dolomite pillars. One can hardly believe the incredible clear sound. See photo’s.  Springbok and Richtersveld certainly did not begin to compare with this farm when it came to Quiver trees. This is the most Quiver trees, and in the best setting, that we had seen to date.  Giel explained how the Quiver tree got its name.  The indigenous people (Nama’s) would take a branch of the tree and remove the sponge like insides, leaving a hollow chamber in which they would keep their arrows.  The Quiver tree grows in areas with minimal rainfall.  Less than 150mm per annum.  The tree (Aloe) has many short thick roots to absorb what little rainfall there is and then stores in the branches.  Sort of like a sponge.  Because it belongs to the Aloe family, the sap is extremely bitter. Therefor humans or animals in general will not try to utilize the water.  Giel however said that on occasion he has witnessed a kudu breaking of a branch and eating it.  Apparently,  to control parasites. 

There are two old graves on the farm. The one he showed us is of a  man that was killed on the farm (Spitzkoppen) by the indigenous Nama people in 1904.  The Nama believe that a person should be buried exactly where they died.  This young man came a long way just to die at a very young age in a foreign country.

Visiting the Mesosaurus Fossils and Quiver tree farm has been a highlight on this first leg of our Namimbian trip.

 Next up was the Giant’s playground.  Honestly, after seeing Giels place, this was not even worth a stop.  Especially seeing that one had to make an effort to go to pay entry fees to the playground (dolomite pillars) at the Quiver Tree Forest’s office before being able to enter.  The same goes for the Quiver tree forest.  Giel’s place spoiled it for us, I guess.  We turned around at the gate and headed for Keetmans where we are going to spend the night.  The caravan park is in poor condition and in an industrial setting. The ablutions are clean and have lovely hot showers at least.

 Keetmands is big town with a different look (it looks so bare).  It has a big hospital, airport and the normal shops and industries. It still is a strange sight to see houses and towns without gardens.

We stocked up on groceries at a Spar. Next was a Namibian SIM card for data and Diesel. 
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Linda Berthelson on

Hi guys, looks like you are having a fantastic time. Thanks for all the blog entries and the beautiful photos. You are making us have itchy feet!! Lots of love.......

carlos.quijano on

Well, if the feet are hitching, get going and join us for the Botswana leg!!!!!

carlos.quijano on

Hi Linda, how is PA? We will do all the test drives and then we can all do the NICE ones again. Deal? Lots of love to the family.

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