African wildlife drawing

SOUTHERN AFRICA

In June 2009 I did a three week overland tour around Southern Africa, visiting South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana. The trip was booked through World Expeditions but was run locally by Kiboko Adventures. Highlights of the tour included Cape Town, the Fish River Canyon, the giant sand dunes of the Namib desert, Etosha National Park, Victoria Falls and the Chobe River. This trip provided numerous wildlife experiences and a great variety of scenery. A selection of photographs from this trip is contained below. Click on the thumbnails to see larger images:




Table

The first day of the trip was spent in Cape Town, which is one of the most spectacular cities in the world. In the morning we caught the cablecar to the top of Table Mountain, which rises about 1000 metres directly above the city. The cablecar ride is very spectacular and the revolving floor provides great views of the cliffs of Table Mountain and of the city below.



Table Mountain

View from the top of Table Mountain. On the summit we walked along a series of walkways to various lookouts which provided views of the city and beaches below us, and of the Atlantic coastline to the south, with the Cape Peninsula in the far distance.



Lions Head

View of Lion's Head and Robben Island from Table Mountain.



Cape Point

From Cape Town we drove south for two hours to the Cape Point Nature Reserve and spent time wandering around the dramatic cliffs of Cape Point at the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula. We walked up to the old lighthouse at the top of the point and admired the views of the Cape of Good Hope, False Bay and the 300 metre high cliffs directly below us.



Cape of Good Hope

The Cape of Good Hope and Dias Beach. Bartolomeu Dias was the first European to view this area and originally named this peninsula the Cape of Storms, but changed the name to the Cape of Good Hope on his return journey to the area.



Kiboko Adventures truck

Our Kiboko overland truck at the Cape of Good Hope. The truck could hold 18 passengers and had a large luggage compartment at the back for storing camping gear and luggage.



Namaqualand scenery

The next day we left Cape Town and headed north into Namaqualand. This long drive took us through farmland, citrus growing areas, past spectacular escarpments and mountain ranges into the drier region of Namaqualand, known for its spectacular wildflower displays in spring.



Campsite

We camped for the first night near the town of Springbok. We were provided with large two-person dome tents which were comfortable but fairly heavy to erect. We had our meals on tables and chairs out in the open. Most nights were clear and cold at this time of the year..



Orange River

Orange River. The following day we headed north towards Namibia where our truck subsequently broke down. We spent that night at a campsite next to the Orange River, which forms the border between South Africa and Namibia.



Quiver Tree

Quiver Tree, the national tree of Namibia. The name is derived from the lightweight branches which were formerly used as quivers by San hunters. After crossing the border we headed through a moonscape desert towards the Fish River Canyon in southern Namibia.



Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon. This canyon is the largest in Africa and is similar to the Grand Canyon but on a smaller scale. The gorge is 160km long, up to 27km wide and 550 metres deep. We visited the viewpoint and did a two km walk along the rim of the canyon. Below us was the sharp river bend known as Hell's Corner.



Fish River Canyon panorama

A panorama of the Fish River Canyon.



Road in Namibia

We then headed north towards the giant sand dunes of the Namibian desert. There was dramatic mountain scenery along the way and the gravel roads were generally in good condition. We stayed overnight in the small town of Sesriem, gateway to Sossusvlei, which is Namibia's number one tourist attraction.



At Sossusvlei

From Sesriem we drove 60km along a good bitumen road to Sossusvlei from where we did a five km walk to Deadvlei, a flat white pan dotted with the skeletons of dessicated trees that is surrounded by giant red sand dunes..



Sand Dune

Giant sand dune in the Namibian desert. Sossusvlei is the most accessible part of the 300 km long by 150 km wide sea of sand that contains the world's highest and oldest sand dunes. Most dunes in this area are about 200 metres high, with the highest being approximately 400 metres high.



Deadvlei

Our group at Deadvlei. The sand dunes, dead trees and shadows were very spectacular, especially in the late afternoon sun.



Dune 45

Early the next morning we drove from Sesriem back towards Sossusvlei and climbed Dune 45 to watch the sunrise over the Namibian desert. This 150 metre high dune has been set aside for people to climb, and is a popular destination for viewing the sunrise or sunset over the desert.



Sesriem Canyon

On the outskirts of Sesriem is the Sesriem Canyon, a spectacular gorge about two km long and 30 metres deep carved by the Tsauchab River through deposits of sand and conglomerate.



Swakopmund

Swakopmund. From Sesriem we headed northwest to the Namibian coast and spent two nights in the old German colonial town of Swakopmund. This is Namibia's most popular holiday area and is also the adventure-sports capital of Namibia, offering quad biking, sand boarding, ballooning, ski-diving and desert tours.



Swakopmund

The waterfront at Swakopmund, with the museum and lighthouse in the background. The lighthouse was built in 1910.



Swakopmund

Swakopmund contains many old colonial buildings from the time of German rule early last century. We spent time wandering around the town taking photographs of the colonial architecture.



The Living Desert Tour

We spent a morning in Swakopmund doing the Living Desert Tour, which was a 4WD drive tour across the sand dunes on the outskirts of Swakopmund searching for and learning about the animals living amongst the dunes. This was a very interesting and informative tour.



Sidewinder Snake

A Sidewinder snake on the dunes near Swakopmund.



Namib Chameleon

A Namib chameleon. We found a few of these chameleons amongst the dunes and were able to watch them change colour as they walked or ate insects.



Campsite at Spitzkoppe

We left the coast and headed inland to the mountains at Spitzkoppe. This is a major rock climbing region in Africa. Here we spent an afternoon exploring the bushman paintings, the rocky outcrops and enormous granite domes, and watching the colours of the mountains change at sunset.



Spitzkoppe

Spitzkoppe peak at sunrise. This 1728 metre peak is known as the Matterhorn of Africa due to its dramatic shape.



Engravings at Twyfelfontein

Twyfelfontein. We headed north into Damaraland to visit the 6000 year old rock engravings at Twyfelfontein, a World Heritage site. This is one of the most extensive galleries of rock art in Africa, and there are numerous engravings of animals throughout the site.



At Twyfelfontein

Our group being shown rock engravings at Twyfelfontein by a local guide.



Himba Village

Himba Village. We spent a morning visiting a group of Himba people in their village near the town of Kamanjab. These are a semi-nomadic tribe living in scattered settlements throughout the region, famous for their practice of smearing red ochre over their bodies and wearing minimal attire.



Himba Tribe women

Some Himba women in the village. They have unique hair styles!



Okaukuejo

Okaukuejo. We then spent three days in Etosha National Park in northern Namibia. This is one of the largest and best wildlife reserves in Africa and contains a large variety of habitat and wildlife. The first two nights were spent in the restcamp of Okaukuejo, dominated by the old stone tower built during German occupation. This is one of three rest camps in the park. We did game drives throughout the park on each day.



Okaukuejo Waterhole

The waterhole at Okaukuejo is a major attraction, attracting large numbers of animals day and night. We saw zebras, springbok, oryx, wildebeest and giraffe at the waterhole during the day, and elephants, rhino and lion at the waterhole at night.



Zebras

Zebras drinking at the Okaukuejo waterhole.



Rhino

A rhino at the Okaukuejo waterhole at night. The waterhole is floodlit, allowing visitors to watch the animals come and go during the night.



Oryx

An oryx on the grassy plains at Etosha.



Lion

We saw some lions resting near a waterhole during a game drive. They were very inactive and mostly sleeping during the day.



Elephant at Etosha waterhole

An elephant at a waterhole in Etosha.



Ostriches

Ostriches running across a plain in Etosha.



Springbok herd

A herd of springbok in Etosha.



Elephants at Halali waterhole

Elephant herd at Halali waterhole. From Okaukuejo we headed to the eastern part of the park and stopped at the restcamp of Halali on the way. We were lucky enough to see a large herd of elephants drinking at the local waterhole.



Etosha Pan

Etosha Pan. We stopped to view the Etosha Pan, a huge salt lake about 130 km by 70 km in size after which the park is named. Etosha means "Great White Place".



Giraffe

The eastern part of Etosha National Park is wetter and more vegetated than the western parts, and we saw many giraffes in this area.



Namutoni Fort

Namutoni Fort. We spent one night at the restcamp of Namutoni in eastern Etosha National Park. The restcamp contains an old German fort built in 1899 which now houses shops and cafes for the tourists.



Ngepi Camp

From Etosha we headed east into the Caprivi Strip in northern Namibia. This strip of land located between Angola and Botswana contains many large rivers and is heavily vegetated and more populated than further west. We spent two nights at Ngepi Camp, located downstream from Popa Falls on the Okavango River, from where we did a nature walk and a river cruise.



Kwando River cruise

We then headed east to Namushasha Lodge, situated overlooking the wetlands of the Kwando River. Here we did an afternoon river cruise amongst the reeds and wetlands of the river.



Hippos in Kwando River

A group of hippos in the Kwando River wetlands.



Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls. We then crossed into Zambia and headed to Livingstone to see the Victoria Falls. I had previously visited Iguassu Falls in South America and was keen to see how these falls compared to them. Southern Africa had recently experienced heavy flooding and the Zambezi River was still running very high while we were there, which meant that the falls were mostly hidden behind a large cloud of mist.



Knife Edge Bridge

We explored the walkways on the Zambian side of the falls in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park. We walked across the Knife-Edge Bridge through swirling clouds of mist and got absolutely drenched, but the sound and sight of the falling water was awesome. We did not get a good view of the falls or abyss due to the mist.



Above Victoria Falls

The following morning I did a helicopter flight over Victoria Falls, as this was the best way to see the full extent of the falls. The flight provided good views of the one mile wide falls, the Batoka Gorge and the township of Victoria Falls across the river in Zimbabwe.



Victoria Falls

I returned to the falls the next morning and saw some great rainbows in the mist covered gorge.



Boiling Pot

The Boiling Pot, a giant whirlpool where the Zambezi River flows through a narrow gorge below the Victoria Falls Bridge.



Kazungula Ferry

We departed Livingstone and headed west to Kazungula, where we caught a vehicular ferry across the Zambezi River into Botswana.



Hippos in Chobe River

We set up camp at the luxurious Chobe Safari Lodge close to the town of Kasane, then spent the afternoon doing a boat cruise on the Chobe River, where we saw an abundance of wildlife and birdlife. We had some great views of hippos eating grasses in the river.



Elephant herd at Chobe River

Chobe National Park has one of the largest concentrations of elephants in Africa, and we saw some large elephant herds drinking at the river late in the day.



Sunset over Chobe River

Sunset on the Chobe River.



Union Buildings

Pretoria. We then headed south through Botswana back into South Africa. We visited the Union Buildings in Pretoria before finishing the overland trip in Johannesburg. The Union Buildings, which house the South African presidential offices, are surrounded by expansive gardens and overlook the city of Pretoria.




Contact "alanlevy at pcug dot org dot au" for more information.

View my other pages: [Home] [Nepal] [Kashmir] [Sikkim] [Patagonia] [Delhi, Agra & Jaipur] [Antarctic Peninsula] [Antarctic Flight] [Shackleton Odyssey] [South Georgia] [Easter Island] [Egypt] [US National Parks] [Galapagos Islands] [China] [Inca Trail] [US & Canada National Parks] [Hawaii] [Cross Country Skiing Photographs]


Related Links: [Kiboko Adventures] [World Expeditions]


Page last modified on Monday 6 January 2014