Namibia: Where the Wild Things Are

Our overland truck stopped in Swakopmund, Namibia for three nights in hostel accommodations so the group could do laundry, run errands and participate in several adventure activities. Between the two of us, we’ve already experienced these main attractions in other places (sandboarding in Peru, skydiving and quad biking) so Chis and I took the time to sort out our insurance claim. We had one group dinner out on the town which was followed by a trip to the karaoke bar and a Namibian club for some dancing. Down the road from the hostel was the Mermaid Casino. Chris agreed to give me a whopping 300 Namibian dollars over the course of two days to play with. Nothing is more fun than winning free money. Well, I lost it all ($30 USD) in my failed effort to grow our travel budget so no cocktails for me for the next few days!

The next evening we drove to a bush camp in Spitzkoppe which is most recognized for its desert rock formations. It vaguely reminded us of our trip to Joshua Tree National Park in southern California. We spent the day hiking around the boulders and climbing up the rocks.We caught the sunset at the top of a large rock formation that peered out over the sprawling desert landscape. As the sun was setting in front of us, the moon was rising behind us at the same time. It was an incredible sight to see. Instead of pitching a tent, a group of us climbed up to a flat rock with our sleeping bags and pads and slept under the full moon and stars.Back on the truck, we stopped along the road where an indigenous community was selling handmade jewelry. The people lived in small huts nearby and wore only loin cloths to cover their private areas. They would rub red mud on their hair and bodies as their method of bathing and to keep themselves cool under the hot sun.We continued driving until we reached our campsite set within a cheetah park. We spent time playing and petting three domesticated cheetahs and one cheetah cub. These cheetahs have been raised with domesticated dogs for their entire lives but still have their natural animal instincts. When they purred, it resembled more of a low growl.We piled into the back of a pickup truck to drive around the adjacent sanctuary where wild cheetahs roamed. With a bucket full of donkey meat, we watched as the cheetahs started to stalk the truck for food. The meat was hurled into the air as the cheetahs fought for it and once successful, would trot away to savor its catch.

For dinner (and the subsequent two meals), we enjoyed a whole lamb cooked right on the spit in our campsite…delicious!Our last big stop in Namibia was Etosha National Park. In two days, we had three scheduled game drives that were each four hours long. We saw so many different types of animals and birds we thought we’d just share a few highlights which included herds of giraffe, hundreds of zebra and a small family of lions.We stopped at a watering hole where we spotted a lone elephant. Within minutes, herds of elephants emerged from nearby areas.We saw three of the “Big Five,” which are the most dangerous animals in Africa to hunt. The three we spotted in Etosha were elephants, lions and two black rhinos. We were so lucky to see the black rhino which are hard to spot because they are becoming increasingly endangered. Most people claim to see all of the Big Five but what they normally spot is the white rhino. Only 5,000 black rhinos are left in the world and it’s expected they will become extinct within four to five years.We have not seen a leopard or a cape buffalo yet (the remaining two of the Big Five) but hope to check these off the list in the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park or in the Serengeti. After an amazing week in Namibia, we are off to our next country…Botswana!

Disclosure: We are traveling on an overland safari with Africa Travel Co. and have received a trip discount in exchange for sharing our experience. These thoughts and opinions are completely our own.

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5 thoughts on “Namibia: Where the Wild Things Are

  1. Love the picture of Chris with the cheetah! I just watched a PBS thing about “Odd Animal Couples”, with a cheetah/yellow lab pair.

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