Namibia

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The Misadventures of our Namibian Car Rental

Sliding down the dunes

I was a bit sad leaving the cheetah sanctuary, not only because we were leaving the beautiful animals, but also because of the fact that I was not looking forward to having to drive almost completely across the country down to Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert. It was going to be at least a 9 hour journey covering around 950 km (the speed limit in Namibia is 120 on highways), so we figured leaving bright and early in the morning should give us plenty of time to make it to the national park campsite by sunset. Boy where we wrong – the day turned out to be the most frustrating, most horrible and most brutal of any of our 650+ days on the road.

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Otjitotongwe Cheetah Park

I love this photo :)

We arrived at the Cheetah Park in the afternoon after what had already been quite a full day of animal viewing at Etosha. I was truly beyond excited to be there. The park is an incredible place run by a family who rescues cheetahs from farmers who will otherwise kill them. Cheetahs have a hard time competing for food with the other predators, this coupled with an increasing loss of habitat means that they are often reduced to attacking livestock, which brings them into contact and conflict with humans. A huge number of cheetahs are trapped and killed by farmers each year, so this family pays the farmers for them and gives them a home in their park 200 km’s outside of Etosha. This is especially wonderful since cheetahs are endangered species.

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Etosha National Park

Sunset tree

We hadn’t initially planned on visiting Etosha National Park in the north of Namibia. This was probably because we had never even heard of it before Botswana. I admit my knowledge of game reserves in Southern Africa was limited before arriving on the continent, besides Kruger and Chobe I was pretty much at a loss. Luckily you can pick up all the information you need along the way while you travel. I never like to prepare very much before we visit new countries, besides booking the first night’s accommodation so we don’t have to run around town with our bags, we tend to figure out everything else once we arrive. After all, there is really only so much you can plan in advance and I tend to prefer local information on activities and sights to that of the internet.

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Intro to Namibia: Windhoek and Swakopmund

DSCN1632

For some reason I think that most of my posts start with “we arrived on an overnight bus…” or “after a long bus ride…” and this one is no different. The reality of long term travel is that you do in fact spend a lot of your time on a bus, or train or a plane. Or just waiting for a connection or for your selected mode of transport to finally depart. There is so much idle time that you really become good at killing time. It is true that travel in Africa really tests your patience, but you really just have to go with it and accept that it will take you forever to get places. However, having said that, it hasn’t been that difficult for us to find our way around. We have travelled great distances throughout the southern portion of this continent and it was actually easier than we expected! There are a lot of resources online, but word of mouth and information from locals was by far the most useful resource.

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