Skeleton Coast

7 - 10 November 2015. Filed under category Travel.

Special treat today! I will give you an insight into my journal! Ooooh! Yes, I write a journal, which alongside my Daily Photo page helps me fight my memory erosion.

And because I’m falling behind on the blogging and mostly want to show some pictures from my road trip around Namibia, I’m just going to copy and paste my journal text, and add photos. It is lazy, yes, but also a different format. Let me know what you think of it in the comments.

Saturday 7: To White Lady Lodge, Desert Elephants, 4×4 driving

We checked out of the best fucking hotel room in the world early in the morning and set of in our new rented 4×4 car. This old German gay couple rented it to us. Pretty sure they were gay. Doesn’t matter.

Almost four hour driving through vast and desolate desert landscapes later and we were at the White Lady Lodge. The receptionist told us that wild desert elephants had been spotted not too far away. One of the staff got in our 4×4 and showed us how to drive to where they elephants were walking, which required us to get of the gravel road and onto first soft sand and then an even softer dry-river-bed. This was proper off-roading, and the 4-wheel drive struggled to keep going. We got stuck for a bit at one point. Fun!

And we did find elephants! Lots of them! Like 20. And they were close. First, we saw a bunch of them walk by not too far away, and we had to stand on a small rocky hill to be safe. Then we drove to a watering hole and saw them really close up, out of the car. Awesome!

We spent the rest of the day relaxing by the pool, or in it. For sunset, we walked up this mountain and watched the sunset. Windy!

Overlooking White Lady Lodge

Overlooking White Lady Lodge

Sunday 8: White Lady and Twyfelfontein

After our early breakfast, we drove to the White Lady entrance where a guide took us on a 45 minute walk through a valley to where the White Lady cave paintings are located. Between 5000 and 7000 years old. Pretty impressive, and fully visible. It was a hot walk, even at 8am, but worth it.

On our drive back, we saw an elephant standing right by the road. Dangerously close. Didn’t stop me from stopping and we admired him or her for a while. Then we drove on towards Twyfelfontein.

Twyfelfontein was another long walk to see a series of rock carvings, made by the Bushmen a long long time ago. Some were eroded a bit, but most were clearly visible.

What the White Lady and Twyfelfontein had in common was that they depicted shamans entering a trance where they become animal spirits. So the lions in the rock engravings had five toes instead of four, and the White Lady animals also had human aspects and vice versa.

After lunch, we decided to skip the Organ Pipes and the Burnt Mountain as we were both pretty tired and it was getting really hot. So, we drove on towards Palmwag.

On the way, we encountered a road that was absolutely appalling. A complete washboard road, and even with our 4×4 we got properly shaken. And around there, our A/C cut out, then a warning light lit up, and then the speedometer died and finally my blinker indicator lamps cut out. We made it to the Palmwag lodge and called the car rental place. The lodge mechanic will have a look at it tomorrow.

The rest of the evening, I got stuff done, then dinner and an early night.

Monday 9: Palmwag Safari Drive

After a really early breakfast, we set of for a four hour game drive. Alex, I, an old German couple and our driver. We were not particularly lucky with the animals. We saw plenty of oryxes, a few giraffes and zebras and a few antelopes. Meh. It was nice, but I don’t think I’m much of a safari person.

When we got back, we found out that our car has been fixed, so that’s good. The rest of the day, I spent photo editing.

Tuesday 10: Skeleton Coast

Alex and I set of early morning for our drive back to Swakopmund via the Skeleton Coast. It took 8 hours and 20 minutes and covered 474 km.

The drive was awesomely desolate. Flat white sand interrupted by a few white-blackened dunes here and there, all under a steel grey sky. I sort of enjoyed the drive, listening to some audiobooks or chatting with Alex. And, we made a few stops here and there.

First stop was an old crumbled up oil rig out in the desert, near the coast, all rusted and spooky out there in the wilderness. Apparently, it was built as part of a bank-scam. Some guy knowingly fooled the banks into believing that he had found oil, and he got loans and investments to go ahead and drill it. But there was never any oil, and anyone with an engineering degree could have seen that this oil rig would never actually work, but it was enough to fool the bankers.

Skeleton coast is famous for its shipwrecks, and we visited a couple. They were not very impressive. Just a bit of wood and metal, both very small. The second one involved some 4×4 driving along the beach which was pretty fun.

We also stopped at the Cape Cross seal colony. Thousands of seals were gathered, making a lot of noise and stinking up the place something awful. Truly disgusting smell. It was also pupping time, and sadly the place was littered with dead cubs, but then there were also many live ones, suckling their mothers, so … interesting.

Travel Updates

After the skeleton coast trip, I flew to Cape Town. The day of writing this is four weeks into my Cape Town visit, and I’m leaving in two days. All is well. Looking forward to Christmas.


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  1. Craig Brown says:

    What a great photo of you at the fake ghost oil rig. It looks like a Burning Man art installation!

    1. Sorry for the delay in replying. Turns out my site has stopped sending out email alerts for new comments. Craig, if you get an email telling you that I’ve replied to your comment, do let me know. Thanks.

  2. Sylvia says:

    I liked that it was direct from the journal, however I thought you might’ve been even lazier and just photographed it, I was quite looking forward to seeing what your handwriting was like.

    Next time?

  3. Crys Klier-Hoffman says:

    I do like this journal format. It feels very personal since it is your immediate daily experience.
    I have always enjoyed your photos of trips around the world but seeing even a small part of Africa, in particular this round , has proven to be especially moving. There is something raw and authentic in these pictures which hits me hard. Maybe it is the political state we are in, particularly in the U.S., which is so emotionally debilitating and the
    juxtaposition of that against the beauty of Africa, somehow settles me down. I know there are cities which are teaming with people in Africa but I prefer to see this, especially the elephants, slogging on, doing there thing just like nothing else matters. It’s a good respite from the craziness.

  4. […] Image source: The Modern Nomad […]

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