(The link above takes you to all the photos I took on the 23rd October. There are a lot!)
After a very enjoyable stay at Hoodia Desert Lodge we set off for Namtib Desert Lodge. Namtib was going to be a one night stop so we had little expectation of the place. We thought it would simply be a means of breaking up the long drive to Fish River Canyon. We were wrong!
But first we had to get there and the journey was the most memorable of our trip. The scenery – mountains poking out of sand – was wonderful.
We continued south on the C27 until we came to Spes Bona where we turned right onto the D707 – and stopped in amazement to look at an amazing cactus garden. Apparently it is a cactus farm but I have not been able to find anything about it on the internet.
So far on our driving through Namibia we had found the driving easy. Occasionally it had been very bumpy but we had few problems. We could have done everything in a two wheel drive car with a higher than normal suspension. I was beginning to think that our monster four wheel drive Toyota was overkill. It was not long before taking this panorama that we became stuck in deep, soft sand. If we had been on the other side of the road it would have been OK, but the rear wheels spun but we did not move!
We got out the huge book that came with the truck and found out how to engage four wheel drive and low range gears. We followed the instructions and got out of the soft sand in a stately manner. A great relief!
A few hundred metres further on we came across another truck, heading in the opposite direction, who were stuck, even more deeply than we had been. We stopped but could offer no assistance. We were about to go off and see if we could get some assistance when another Good Samaritan arrived who had a winch and knew what to do. So we continued on to Namtib with an easy mind.
We soon arrived at Namtib Desert Lodge. This is a small (by Namibian standards) 16,000 hectare farm of which 7,000 hectares are farmable. As it takes 40 hectares to keep a cow, a supplement to farm income is required and tourism is that supplement. And they do it very well!
Meals are home made and eaten with the owners and the other guests in the farmhouse. The ones we had were pretty good. Also very good is the conversation with the owners, who have an encyclopaedic knowledge of their area and a love of their land.
Tuesday 24th October
After breakfast we set off for Fish River Canyon.