Day 5 After we crossed the border, our first disappointment was that we couldn’t go hot air ballooning, early the next morning, over Sossusvlei as it was too windy. It was supposed to be Derek’s 50th birthday present. We had checked the weather at Mariental before turning down to Sossusvlei. They told us it wouldn’t be worth coming as it was not good weather.
We decided to change our route and head onto Keetmanshoop. My cousin had told us about the Quiver Tree Forest so we went looking for it. Some of the trees are nearly 3 centuries old. We was flabbergasted at what we saw and felt honoured to see such a unique forest. It is not a forest how you would normally imagine which is lush; you have to see it to believe it. The trees were dotted around looking more like lonely pillars sticking out of the ground; they are big branching succulent plants (Aloidendron dichotomum) formerly known as Aloe dichotoma. I felt like I was on a different planet. Unfortunately I only got some evening photos but here is a link with lovely photos Where is the Quiver Tree Forest in Namibia?
We found our first real camp site there, out in nature! Quiver tree forest rest camp.
The next day (day 6)
We visited the Giants Playground just next to the Quiver Tree Forest before continuing onto Rehoboth. It was quite eerie walking around in this area as it felt like some giants had just been there and played with the rocks as if they were bricks, making constructions. It was so quiet and peaceful. I had never seen geography like this before.
Derek in Giants Playground
Rehoboth is a little village with a unique group of people living there but it was not a place that I wanted to explore out of respect for the people. I would personally hate to be a curiosity! There is a lot of history there and it is both interesting and contentious. I don’t want to mix politics with this travel blog but I encourage you to do a little digging of your own if you are interested. I believe in being fully informed about humanity.
I had read about Oanob dam Nature reserve; it had Lake Oanob Resort and I suggested we stay there. I was quite concerned that it would be a nice camp site because I had chosen it mostly because of the dam. I was yearning to see water again. All the rivers we had driven past, so far, looked like they had last had water hundreds of years ago and I began to wonder if the dam would look the same way. Not only did the dam have water but it was a very special camping site. Derek was quite impressed as not only was the ablution block clean and have hot water, the the lights were triggered by motion so they came on just as you got there. There was also a shop, restaurant and swimming pool at the reception.
One of our preferences was that we found our destination during the day so that we had time to set up came, cook our food and retire to bed when the sun went down; we managed to get there in good time to enjoy part of the afternoon there. When we left the next morning we saw zebra, antelope, giraffe for the first time on our trip.
Tips for keeping warm.
At night we used mohair and fleecy blankets. They can be rolled up as a side bumper and wind deflectors. Temperatures vary from 1 degrees C (33,8 F) at night to 32 degrees C (89,6 F) in the day.
Our second skins didn’t work for Derek and me. For various reasons our bodies don’t like nylon and polyester. It is much better for me to layer garments of cotton and wool or wool mix. We landed up using our llama hats, scarves, gloves and jackets. I also had a shawl that could be used for shoulders or knees or even head at night when the cold seemed to seep through the wall near our heads.
Derek witticism of the day was: ‘I know why God put hair on animals snouts: to keep them warm.’
When we left I decided to drive so that I could practice driving on dust roads. Remember I am an anxious person and one of the ways I deal with anxiety is to get well informed about the thing I am afraid of so in this case I was concerned about being fully prepared. My question was: I could manage driving on these roads under pressure if there was ever a time when I needed to in an emergency so I wanted to be used to driving on these types of roads.
Here are some of my tips I wrote down afterwards:
- DON’T SWERVE or JERK the wheel: hold firmly in order to steer your car.
- Drive no faster than 80 km.
- Taking corners: slow down gradually. REMEMBER: you can’t break quickly – it takes time to stop!
- Obviously don’t drive too close to someone in front of you as you can’t see anything in the cloud of dust.
The Namibian roads are a good place to learn to drive on dust roads as one of our traveling friends said: ‘they are made by Germans with German precision.’ The roads are kept in good condition by graders which regularly smooth the roads. On this trip I wanted to be proficient at all the tasks and know how to do everything for myself and not just rely on Derek. This is one of the changes I noticed in myself after having breast cancer the year before and road tripping for the first time.
Soon I will tell you about Etosha Nature Reserve and all the animals we saw.
Remember in these times when we are facing Covid 19 please don’t travel, stay at home if you need to and enjoy armchair traveling instead.
African Trip: The quiver tree forest and Giant playground.
Etosha Nature Reserve