Strathspey Wildlife
Discover Namibia- An African safari with Exodus Travel 2008

Wednesday17th.
September 2008

Sun.14th.Sep.2008 Mon.15th.Sep.2008 Tue.16th.Sep.2008 Wed.17th.Sep.2008 Thu.18th.Sep.2008 Fri.19th.Sep.2008 Sat.20th.Sep.2008
Sun.21st.Sep.2008 Mon.22nd.Sep.2008 Tue.23rd.Sep.2008 Wed.24th.Sep.2008 Thu.25th.Sep.2008 Fri.26th.Sep.2008 Sat.27th.Sep.2008
HOME PAGE CLICK PHOTOGRAPHS FOR LARGER IMAGE AFRICA INDEX

A 4.45 am reveille - and no early-morning brew!! This had better be worth it I thought as I dragged myself out of my sleeping bag. We were soon on our way in the darkness of the early dawn. A drive of around half an hour saw us arriving at the car park beneath the 150 metre dune. It was quite cool as we started the ascent, but the effort of plodding our way through the soft sand soon warmed us up. The first section was probably the steepest, with a distinct feeling of climbing three feet and falling back two, such was the effect of the sand. Unfortunately we were not the first to set out this morning, with a group of walkers already halfway up. But as we made our way up we could see the headlights of vehicles heading through the desert to join us. As we looked east towards the rising

sun, the western side was bathed by moonlight, and it was only around half an hour later that we settled down on top of the dune to witness the sun rising over the distant horizon, and all was quiet as the sun finally appeared, and the colours of the vast expanse of the desert beneath began to change from the pre-dawn darkness to the familiar red glow of the Namib sand. There was some level of excitement as we were all eager to capture this moment in time on camera. We stayed awhile perched on the ridge as we began to feel the warmth of the early sun. It was very tempting to linger, but with the lure of a belated early-morning brew and breakfast being prepared at the bottom we started our way down, meeting up with numerous other walkers who had arrived after us.

  In the early light of day we could see below that the car parking area at the foot of the dune had now become quite a hive of activity with several safari trucks and all manner of vehicles, some of them, as were Gecko and Jonas, preparing breakfast. On return, following a very welcome cooked breakfast and one or two cups of tea we strolled around taking in the scene, watching others taking the walk to the top. It was now we appreciated the wisdom of Maxwell's early start, and the benefits of making the ascent in the cool of the early morning. After breakfast and a little rest and recuperation we were off for yet another walk. We only had to drive a short distance where we met up with Frans, a Damara bushman turned park ranger who was to conduct us on a 3 hour walk through the

dunes. He guided us to a corner of the car-park where a number of snazzy 4 x 4 Toyota Land Cruisers were waiting. Also present was a small pick-up, the type one would use to convey sheep from place to place. Sure enough - this was ours!! We all had a giggle with cries of "Baaah .... baaah ..... baaaah....."  as we climbed aboard for the (mercifully) short journey to our starting point. Frans gave us a short introductory talk, giving a demonstration of the unique "click language" that they use - hard to explain, but many words are preceded with a pronounced click, the absence of which would render him being unable to be understood by his fellow bushmen. Frans, barefoot, brought up as a bushman hunter was very experienced with a great depth of knowledge with regard to not only

the many creatures, insects and snakes that  inhabited the desert, but also of the various plants, many of which can be used to provide drinking water and can mean the difference between life and death, whilst some of the insects and lizards can provide the protein to prolong survival in such a harsh environment. He pointed out several plant species, one of which, "ostrich salad" appeared dead, but stored its seeds within, and as Frans sprinkled a few drops of water on the buds they opened within seconds to release the seeds, which may well have been dormant for years. Frans also pointed out that the darker streaks that marked the surrounding dunes in many places were in fact iron ore, and demonstrating this by taking a handful of sand and attracting a cluster of iron with a

magnet. Whilst many countries may have plundered this valuable resource, the Namibian government have granted protection to the area, and thankfully, viewing the value of its natural beauty as far more important than the minerals within. Frans gave us a great insight into life within the desert, and, ending up with a run down a steep dune, we retraced our steps back to the little pick-up and were returned to our safari truck. It was back then to our camp at Sesriem for a salad lunch, and very soon it was time to pack up once again to make our way to our next destination at Agama Camp. On route we stopped for yet another walk at Sesriem Canyon. Maxwell assured us that this walk was to be relatively leisurely, and cool within the confines of the walls of the canyon, and thankfully, this was the case, as we threaded our way from 

the upper reaches of the canyon to its floor, walking into an area that just a few months before would have been inaccessible due to the high levels of water, the torrential nature of which had of course formed the steep-sided canyon. There was little wildlife within, but one resident we did encounter was a horned adder basking in the sun on a rock. Some queried whether it was dead, but nobody, including me volunteered to give it a prod, and we left it in peace. We made our way out of the canyon and back into the truck for the remainder of our journey to Agama Camp. We went to the nearby bar for some welcome refreshment as Max, Gecko and Jonas prepared camp. We dined on sausage and mash, with corn in a tomato sauce - very nice - but give me a British banger any day of the week!!

 The "facilities" - a word that Max would always use when referring to the toilets were first class at Agama, (and indeed were always excellent throughout the tour) They were built by the owner, himself an engineer, and the shower block, a round building finished in local stone was quite unique. The interior was as neat as any modern fitted bathroom, but was built to cater for rough and tumble ham-fisted campers. (Not that there were any on our trip mind you!) The wash-basins were tin, and the huge shower-rooms were tiled, again, with local stone. No fancy taps either - just plain stop-valves controlling water-flow. Built to last a lifetime.
And so drew to a close probably the most active day of the tour. Several of us retired to the campsite bar to watch the sun going down, turning the nearby mountains a deep shade of red, and, as ever, with the promise of a 6 am reveille, many of us chose to take an early night once again.

   

Other Photographs of The Day
 

.
 

 

 

 


 


 

 

 
Next day - Thursday 18th.Sep.2008
 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

,,, ,,,

 

,,

 

 

 

 

**

***** *****

***** *****

***** *****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

,,

 

 

 

 

**

***** *****

***** *****

***** *****