Namibia, October - November 1996

Published by Surfbirds Admin (surfbirds AT


By Dave Hanford

Arrived Windhoek O9:OOhrs 22.10.96, car picked up and all admin and stores dealt with in the a.m. and camped at Daan Viljoen game park by early p.m.

Masses of new birds as can be expected on the first day, Little Swifts, Short-toed Rock Thrush, Red- billed Francolin, amongst them. A nice swim in the pool, and then it was time to watch the Kudu, and Wildebeest coming down to the lake to drink. We started off well that night with a meal in the camp restaurant, and early to bed, but Tillo was still up when another party of Wildebeest were passing the tents, so we all had to get up and have a look at them.

23/10 I called everyone at O6:OOhrs the next morning and found that we didn't have the key to open the valve on the gas cylinder, so no early morning tea, but that was soon solved with a rapid collection of firewood. The kettle was boiling in no time, and we set off for a walk around the lake, another long list of birds Swallow-tailed Bee-eater Scarlet-chested Sunbird, and our first Crimson-breasted Bushshrike, the national bird of Namibia. The next stop was the Waterburg Plateau, a huge 30 mile by 10 mile table mountain to the north and we were installed at the camp site there by mid afternoon and saw one of the endemic birds, Monteiro's Hornbill within minutes. Again it was a civilised site with swimmimg pool and restaurant, and I'd noticed a nearby party with a similar stove so borrowed the spanner to get ours working - tea the following morning was looking good.

24/10 After breakfast we took a walk up to the base of the escarpment, and found a path up onto the plateau, a climb of about 45 minutes, but it was begiming to get a little hot, and decided to do the climb in the cool of the late afternoon when the light would be better for photography, carrying on along the base we saw Rock Dassies, Duikers, and Baboons, and more birds including a Cardinal Woodpecker excavating a nest hole. I enjoyed the little climb later even though we passed a plaque on the cliff face commemorating a German man who had died of a heart attack half way up, a few years previously! We got down just before dark in time for a swim.

25/10 Some distance from the campsite there was a 4 x 4 track up onto the plateau, and the next morning we booked seats on this mini safari, it produced our first Korhaan,- Red-crested, and at a waterhole, Kudu, Tsesebe, and Sable, and our only Pied Babblers of the trip. From here it was a five hour drive to Rundu, passing through Grootfontein with it's Jacaranda and Flame trees a blaze of colour. Sarasunga Lodge was the camp site, and we used the restaurant for a good meal at night and for one of the very few cooked breakfasts we enjoyed.

26/10 Ian and I were up at dawn to see the Okovango river, and were rewarded with the sight of two Clawless Otters, plus birds including Hartlaub's Babbler and Coppery-tailed Coucal. Later as we broke camp we spotted a Red-billed Oxpecker at it's nest hole. Evening found us further west well into the Caprivi Strip at Ngepi camp . The guide book called it very "quaint" It had a lovely location on the bank of the Okovango with very basic loo and showers, and a bar , the entire stock consisted of two bottles of beer, they didn't last long between four of us! Here we were close to Mahango Reserve, we had an hour there the first afternoon, and it was so good we spent all of the next morning there.

27/10 Elephant damage was extensive, we saw many, but the bird list was huge with Carmine, White-fronted, and Little Bee-eaters. Martial, and African Fish Eagles, Hammerkop, Wattled Crane, and Rufous-bellied Heron, to name but a few. By mid-day the temperature was the high thirties so a swim at Popa falls was called for, this was just down the road. The book says there are no Crocodiles in the pool just below the falls, no one is missing any toes or limbs, so it must be right. Again more birds, the only Giant Kingfisher, Plum-coloured Starlings, and Cuckoo Hawk we saw in the five weeks. Back at Ngepi just before dark, got a fire going to help to keep the mosquitoes at bay ,the Caprivi strip has the highest incidence of malaria in the world. It was Derek's first time to a malaria zone so he was a little cautious, in the evening you could smell him at fifty paces, we called him "Pyrethrum Man". As I cooked the rice and heated up the tins of curried chicken we could hear the Hippos snorling in the river below the campsite. Later we had the ultimate story for the bar with no beer, when the barman came over to ask if he could buy a can from us !

28/10 Can you imagine a town called Katima Mulilo? built on the bank of the Zambezi River and you are only a day's drive from it you have to go and have a look. O.K. it was'nt anything extra special, there was a colourful market, and an exhibition of local wood carving. We had a near miss in the car when turning right - another vehicle caught the end of the bull bar - and bent it in rather a forward direction. The determined efforts of four blokes had no effect in tying to to bend it back to it's original shape, so it was left as it was for the moment.

Derek is a very keen swimmer, the camp site had a pool, and the Zambezi had Hippos and Crocs, so it was back to the tents, and luxury that night. we all had a meal of a local fish called Kingklip in the camp restaurant.

29/10 Today we had to make up time and needed really to get to Etosha park, more than 500 miles away, this would be reasonable in Europe with motorways but many of the Namibian roads are gravel. and the recommended speed is 50 miles an hour, because if you brake it's just like being on ice or snow, one skids rapidly oft the road. We hadn't been going very long before we started seeing roadside stalls of local woodcarvings, and Ian decided to stop and have a look at them. Two minutes later he had bought a huge Wooden Elephant and Derek a slightly smaller one both of which had to be fitted in to the vast amount of gear in the back of the truck! It was a long day and we reached Tsumeb, a town not far short of Etosha just before Sunset and settled for the Municipal campsite for the night even though we'd been told there were Serious security problems there, We put the tents up in this large fenced compound, the guy on the gate told us that everything would be locked up - impenetrable by 10pm - and we went in to town looking for recommended eating places, not one of which appeared open that night. Eventually we found a hotel, and the young lady behind reception said that the restaurant was open, although at the time there were no customers, this was no reflection on the food as we all enjoyed the neal, I had Kingklip again, even if it did come out of a dubious deep freeze, We returned to the campsite at 22.05 to find a locked gate and electrified fence, after pressing the bell for 15 minutes a very disgruntled guy in underpants came to let us in.

30/10 Arrived at Namutoni campsite by 10:00hrs the next morning, this is the most westerly of the complexes in Etosha, there being only three in a park the size of Cyprus. We spent the day driving around the different waterholes, hundreds of Gemsbok and Springbok, and many Elephant, Giraffe, and we saw a Spotted Hyena with a cub. The birds included Blue Cranes, Kittlitz Plover, and many Red- capped Larks. One of the items on the restaurant menu that evening was Game Steaks with Monkey Gland sauce. On enquiry, we found that the steak came from farmed Gemsbok, so with clear consciences we all decided to try it. The sauce tasted very much like tomato, but it produced some lustful comments from Tillo the next morning so a democratic decision was taken that he be banned from further intake of that particular sauce.

31/10 Moved onto Halali, about 100km, saw a pride of eight lion near a waterhole, plus Yellow Mongoose, Namaqua and Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Lanner Falcon, and Lappet-faced Vulture. After the evening meal walked to a floodlit waterhole, a Rhino came to drink and a Rufous-cheeked Nightjar was hawking overhead.

1/11 Okaukuejo was our last campsite in Etosha, very interesting to watch how the Elephants, even the tiny ones had learnt to drink straight from the outlet pipe of a borehole. There was a huge Sociable Weavers nest almost above our tents and to our huge delight a Pygmy Falcon was nesting in amongst the weavers, it took little notice of the comings and goings on the campsite. Ian had arranged to meet one of the Park wardens .Johan de Ia Roux, that evening, and he and his family joined us for a meal in the restaurant. He was most informative about Etosha. It is enclosed in a huge fence as most animals that get out are quickly shot either for meat or Lions because they take cattle. The other big problem is anthrax, many of the different antelope and Zebra die each year from this disease. Johan was also very helpful in that he gave us a permit to exit the park at the western gate, Otjovasandu, saving us a 150km drive, and we made Opuwo late the next afternoon.

2/11 This is a very run down small town that built up around a military base during the war of the last decade. Obviosly the soldiers are gone, the barracks are empty and there is no work. We saw a Red Cross vehicle, and I asked the official if he knew of a place where we could camp, he said that he could show us a good place if we followed him, he took us round some side streets past the barracks to a house witha lawn benind it and told us people camped there often. There was nobody in the house, so we waited awhile, a young man came along, and told us that the owner was nor around, he hadn't seen him for days, but that he was sure it would be OK if we put the tents up on the lawn, which we promptly did. The nearest store had tins of curried fish and packets of soya mutton flavoured, so we came down on the side of the soya. The stove was setup on a wall at the side of the lawn, and we had a good meal of pasta and the mutton flavoured soya, we were pretty hungry. During the evening a young German couple had arrived, they were touring Namibia on motorbikes, They had shipped them from Hamburg to Walvis Bay, they were a bit loathe to put their tent up without any permission, but eventually followed our example, and later came over to have a coffee with us, and ask if we could carry some of their gear to Epupa falls which was ourjoint destination the next day.

3/11 Five hour drive over rough, ill defined roads, enlivened only by sighting of White-tailed Shrike, and some Himba settlements, The Himba are the tribe in this area, they are cattle herders and move around looking for grazing, so tend to have a series of basic shelters which are used at different times of the year. They have set up a basic camp site on the bank of the Kunene river, loo and shower, which generates a little income for them.

There is also a luxurious tented lodge here, most clients fly into it, there's an airstrip nearby but they pay £100 a day, we paid £1.30 a day.

4/11 The next morning Johan had a bit of trouble with his ankle so remained in camp, but the rest of us decided to have a good bash at a hill a couple of km from the campsite. We set off at O6:3Ohrs and gained the summit two and a half hours later bathed in sweat. This was a pretty remote part of the world and we thought we could have been the first people to be there in a long time, in fact we named it 'Mount Mallorca' in the best traditions of the Mallorquine Walking Club. The descent back to camp was strenuous and we arrived back hot and completely dehydrated. The top of Epupa Falls was a series of swiftly flowing channels similar to a natural jacuzzi, if one had a good hand hold on a rock, it was quite invigorating to immerse yourself in the water. This was a good way to recover from the early morning exertions. It was really hot after midday 40 Celcius+ but we took the truck along the track towards Ruacana this was ROUGH, four wheel drive, bottom gear, low ratio. We kept looking at the Kunene River, hoping for Crocs, didnt see one, but had two cracking birds, Malachite Kingfisher, and Olive Bee-eater. On our return the German couple said they had been down to the upmarket place, and because there were no clients at the moment they were welcome to call in for a beer. At that time I think we would have sold our souls for an ice cold beer so we got down there a bit sharp. At first the Austrian manageress said she didnt have enough stocks to serve us but eventually relented and said that we could have just one. IT WAS GOOD. This was an area where it hardly ever rains, so I didn't bother with the canopy of my tent, just put the net lining up. It was a mistake, 2am there was a torrential downpour, I just managed to get my sleeping bag and some gear into the truck before it was soaked through. I put the canopy on, mopped out the tent. and just about got back to sleep when it was 6am and time to get going.

5/11 We had a long drive that day, trying to get to the Skeleton Coast Park. Just before dark we arrived at a lodge and campsite called Palmwag, it was FULL. A few miles further we called at a small village, filled up our water cans and asked if we could camp nearby, the guy pointed to a wooded spot a couple of kilometers away and said that people camped there sometimes. We drove over and found some fairly flat ground without too many rocks, and some rough stone circles that had been used for fires, also a lot of Elephant droppings - desert Elephant. Dinner was pasta with canned meatballs, cooked on a fire of dried elephant dung, but the best was yet to come, Derek rummmaged in the rations box with a torch and found a large tin of peaches that we'd forgotten about, they were shared out down to the last fraction.

6/11 First thing next morning we had a walk and a scan about hoping to see some desert Elephants but they must have moved on. Breakfast was maize meal or nothing, Ian was becoming really proficient at producing a palatable version, ie without lumps. The stuff was completely bland, and one had a choice of adding jam or marmite, or waiting till the next meal, which could often be many hours away. A short drive took us to the entrance to The Skeleton Coast Park, at Sprinybok Gate, and a further hour passing through magnificent mountain and desert scenery got us to the coast, where there was a load of new birds to see, Cape Gannets, Cape Cormorant, White-fronted Plover, Antarctic Skua, all in the first five minutes. The track passed south parallel with the beach, the sand each side didn't look soft but when I drove off to the side when we stopped for lunch, there was great hilarity from the others as I got well and truly bogged down the 4x4 drive enabled us to get out easily. Our stop that evening was Mile 108 campsite, rather a bleak place, on a wind swept beach. the damart vest went on and we spent the evening huddled around the campfire, marvelling at the great banks of green phosphorescence that kept appearing a short way out at sea.

7/11 Awoke to a dismal misty dawn, two scavenging Jackals patrolling the tide's edge. From here the track went inland for a while, until we arrived at Cape Cross. Two stone crosses or padroes, mark the spot where Diego Cao first set foot on Namibian soil in 1486. The original cross was removed to Germany in 1893 and replaced by a granite replica. The Cape Fur Seal colony here is one of 16 colonies along the Namibian coast, and can number upto 100,000 at the height of the breeding season. The females are ready to mate again within a couple of weeks of having their pups. Another 120km took us to Swakopmund, on the way we stopped at a large area of salt pans, saw Lesser and Greater Flamingoes, Chestnut-banded Plover, and many Curlew Sandpipers and Little Stints. Back to luxury that night, a campsite with hot water, even had baths, and a restaurant, and a bar at the end ot a short pier, from which you could see a good variety of seabirds flying past . We notched our first White Pelican there.

8/11 Just south of Swakopmund, there is a huge wooden platform offshore. In the thirties a local carpenter had the idea that if he built this structure, it's four acres in area, the sea birds would roost and nest on it and he could harvest the guano, which was a valuable fertilizer at that time. The enterprise was very successful for three or four decades but now has fallen into a state of neglect, the elevated railway leading to it has collapsed. However the main platform is maintained to some degree and we saw thousands of Cormorants, Pelicans, and Cape Gannets on it. We moved onto a small marshy area, where there's an isolated colony of African Marsh Warblers, these are 700 km from the nearest other colony and some Dutch ornithologists are studying them to see if they are sedentary or still migrate. Next stop was Walvis Bay, with thousands of flamingos, terns, and waders and later the Welwitschia plains in the Namib Naukluft Park. Each Welwitschia plant has two long, shredded leaves and is always separated from other plants by some distance. They appear as a tangle of foliage, grey or green, emerging from a stubby wooden base. Each plant can live for more than a thousand years, an amazing fact, as virtually all water is obtained from dew condensing on the leaves, dripping on to the sand, and being absorbed by the surface roots. That evening we met up with Joachim Lenssen and his wife Ursula. Joachim is chief warden for the Namib Park and he had more than kindly offered to take us on a three day trip through the desert to the reserve area of the Skeleton Coast.

9/11 Early the next day we loaded up with supplies and plenty of water and set off to drive across 120km of the highest dunes in the world - Joachim tells everyone it makes the 'Paris- Dakar' look like a Sunday affemoon spin. Many of the dunes are 200 metres high - one face is a gentle slope, but the slip side can be almost vertical, so one has to drive along the ridge hoping for a way down. Joachim has been doing the run regularly for sixteen years, but the first time it took him nine days, putting in markers and having to back track a lot of the time because of impossible gradients. We saw a few signs of life in all that sand, especially where the very hardy Narra Melons grew, here ocurred some lizards, beetles, and small rodents. Late in the afternoon we hit the coast near Conception Bay, saw a huge roost of terns, mostly Arctic, and then had to find a place to pitch camp. The wind off the sea was gale force so we drove along the beach a while until we could pull in behind a dune to give some shelter. Joachim had a large tent that the five of us could get in to avoid the wind , and he produced a splendid chicken casserole which went down well with a couple of beers out of the Freezer he had on his truck.

10/11 We toured around some of the old diamond workings in the area, these were in operation from 1908 to 1935 and everything was brought in by sea and landed in long boats, in the beginning even the water to wash the gravel. The land was stripped down to the bedrock by an army of 800 local labourers with shovels working twelve hours a day. The sand was sieved through hand operated machines and then the final wash was with water hauled up from the coast by teams of oxen. Towards the end of the operation in the area, there were boreholes for water and the soil was removed by ex-first world war tanks converted into bulldozers. Because of the extremely dry climate everything is preserved exactly as it was left. The shovels are still stuck in the sand, the brass radiators of some of the early tractors - with wooden bodies - poke up out of the sand. The four poster bed of the site manager is still in one of the bedrooms of his huge house. The telegraph wire from the police station to different parts of the workings are still there, the owners didn't want anyone nicking the diamonds!

That night we reached Meop prospectors camp. which is now used by the Government Fisheries Research Department. Hundreds of fish are caught each day, tagged and released, in an effort to track movements. so far the furthest recovery is 1100kms to the north. Joachim knew the scientists well and suggested to them that they might be able to supply a fish or two for our supper, we had a bucketful, I cleaned them, five were wrapped in tinfoil with a little onion and herbs, and put to grill over a fire, and the rest went into Joachim's freezer.

While we ate the delicious fish, a Brown Hyena was just visible in the light cast by the camp fire. I slept fittully that night, the Brown Hyena is a big animal, there were all sorts of strange calls coming from the desert beyond my tent, but the next morning Joachim said that they were all Jackal calls, the Brown Hyena is virtualy sient.

11/11 Today we travelled a long way north along the beach, seeing several Fur Seal colonies, and then struck inland over the dunes and eventually back to Swakopmund. Before the start of the desert crossing we had let the tyre pressures down to about quarter nornal, to give more grip on the sand, so before going back to tarmac we had a manual pump to get them back up again. to do this we parked under a convenient large tree. At this stage we still had the problem of the badly bent bull bar, we put a piece of wood between the tree and the bar, and then Johan in low gear drove at the tree, and slowly but surely, the bar went back to it's original position. In the evening we met up with Lorna and Rob Davies, Rob was a Park Warden and worked a lot with Damara Terns.

12/11 Rob took us to see a Damara Tern colony the next morning, they only lay one egg and were just on the point of hatching. The most amazing thing was that some of the nests were within 30 or 40 metres of the busy Swakopmund - Walvis Bay road. The Damara Tern is endemic to the south west coast of Africa and Rob told us that the latest census gives a total population of 17,200 pairs. Later in the morning we went into town, and found a cafe that did three egg omelettes, that was real luxury compared with maize meal. Another look at the birds of Walvis Bay in the pm and then Rob and Lorna had invited us to a Braai (Namibian BBQ) in the evening. They fed us extremely well and a convivial evening was had by all.

13/11 Moved onto Naukluft campsite - mountainous terrain. A recce for a 17km walk the next morning Spaghetti and meatballs around the campfire and early to bed.

14/11 Up at 05.30, followed the yellow footprints - pretty sparse - for 17km, a bit steep in places, but not difficult, returned to camp by 12.30, stopped to have a dip in a mountain pool, couldn't get our water baby, Derek, out of it!! We saw 3 Klipspringers (small antelope), 1 Mountain Zebra, an Augar Buzzard, and a Dusky Sunbird. Pm, we were a little shattered and it was in the high 30's C so a siesta was called for. Later we went along a 4x4 track and had good views of 2 Lanner Falcons, and a pair of Black Eagles.

15/11 By the middle of the day we were camped at Seisrim which is the nearest site to Sossousviei, which has the highest sand dunes in the world. The campsite was a bit bleak and windswept but there was a lodge only a couple of hundred metres away. Tillo walked over and booked a table for us for dinner that night, it was £10, about thee times normal rates and far and away the most expensive meal we had in Namibia. The dunes were half an hour's drive from the site so we went down to have a look in the pm, most impressive, but very,very, hot in the blazing sun. Tillo and Derek set off to climb a high dune, they had boots on, I followed, I had sandals on, I literally could not stand the heat of the sand, my feet were burning so! gave up. A vlei is a flat area on the inland side of a dune that sometimes fills up with water, a bit like a British dune-slack, so can develop quite a lot of vegetation - Camel Thorn trees etc. On the way back to camp there was a small sign to Dead Vlei 2kms follow the markers. There was a line of white poles at about 200 metre intervals stretching off into the burning heat haze. We set off, it wasn't too bad on the flat sand, but going up slopes the sand spilled into my sandals and I was hopping about like the lizards that hold two feet off the ground alternately, to let them cool off. Tillo found a very dessicated corpse which he confidently identified as being that of a Black Eagle, on closer examination it seemed to have a huge sternum and we changed the identification to Ostrich! The VIei was a dramatic sight - about five hectares of dead camelthorn trees- a huge dune had built up on the landward side of the vlei, cutting off the water, and it was lifeless except for one solitary Gemsbok. Back at the tents we had a shower, put on our cleanest clothes, and trotted off to the lodge for a cool beer before dinner - that was a huge buffet. You chose your main course, amongst which were crocodile, ostrich, gemsbok and other meats and fish and that was cooked for you whilst you helped yourself to the starter. Tillo and I went to town on mussels, prawns, squid etc and all sorts of salads and cold meats were available.

16/11 Up at 04:20 to see the sunrise in the high dunes - it was cloudy so we didn't see the brilliant colours, the rising sun casts upon the dunes - you can't win them all! It was fairly easy to climb the dunes in the early morning although one or two people who tackled the slip face were on their hands and knees, hauling themselves up. Moved on to Luderitz later, this is in the middle of the diamond area so there are lots of no go notices around. The weather was cold with gale force winds, we looked at the camp site, and decided we'd try the backpackers hostel that was full, but the guy made a phone call and got us a two bedroom flat for the night for £7 each, and told us that he had a room for us the next night. We managed to book a boat for the next morning to take us out to Halifax Island - Jackass Penguins and then found a cafe serving Kingklip straight out of the sea.

17/11 On the boat - a small high powered, twin hull at 7am in the morning, saw 500 Penguins and a few African Black Oystercatchers, and Heaviside's Dolphins were sounding around the bows of the boat. The boatman had been a diamond diver, they dive with a super vacuum cleaner, suck all the gravel off the sea bed up onto the boat, and then sieve it. His crew had made a find of 4000 carats earlier that year, £200,000 shared between four, so he'd packed in the diving - it's very dangerous, and was making a living taking people out for trips on the boat that he'd bought with his share of the proceeds. Went to a beach in the afternoon famous for agate, but 20 or 30 years too late, the best had long gone, however we added Dune Lark to the list.

18/11 Visited the Ghost Town of Kolmanskop. In 1906 the railway line was completed to Luderitz. Herr August Stauch was appointed railway Supervisor in May 1907. Part of his duties was to keep the line clear. He was interested in his surroundings and told his workers to show him if they found anything of interest while cleaning the lines. In April 1908 he was shown a stone that was confirmed to be a diamond - that triggered off a diamond rush of monumental proportions. So rich were the deposits in some areas, that diamonds could be picked up freely by anyone crawling along on their hands and knees. The "free for all" was soon controlled by the German Government and five million carats had been found in the area by the outbreak of the first world war in 1914 (1000kgs weight). After the war production was taken over by Consolidated Diamond Mines and kolmanskop was at it's zenith in the 1920's, being almost a small German town relocated in west Africa. Residents numbered 300 German adults and 40 children. Their own school was provided. There were also 800 Ovambo workers on contract. A large modern hospital was built which had the first X-ray machine in the whole of southern Africa.

Production ceased here in 1938 and the last people moved out in the 50's. Many of the buildings are in a reasonable state even if half buried in wind blown sand. All the structures are timber and I'll always remember seeing holes in walls caused by sand being blasted against them by the gale force winds. Today if a car is out when sandstorm conditions are really bad, it can be stripped of it's paint in an afternoon. Reached Hobas campsite before dark, within striking distance of Fish River Canyon, the second deepest canyon in the world after Grand Canyon. We did see a Red Bishop, a real striking bird, on the way.

19/11 When we planned the trip, we had hoped to be able to walk the length of the canyon, it takes tour or five days, but after the end of September there is a danger' of flash floods, so we had to be content with a scramble down to the river at the bottom, a quick swim, and climb back up again. It took three hours and would be A++ in a lot of European walking guide books. The scenery was breath taking, and there had been a few showers of rain enough to make the desert around the rim of the canyon blossom with vast carpets of flowers, whites, yellows, reddish purple, and many others. That evening we got talking to a Swiss party camped next to us, they invited us to have an Irish coffee with them, we took our mugs which were promptly filled with a mixture of coffee, whisky, sugar and tots of cream tasted delicious. It was a very cold windy night and it ended up with everyone sat around a blazing fire singing Swiss songs accompanied by a guy on a harmonica and the remains of the bottle of whisky being passed around the circle.

20/11 Time to start moving up towards Windhoek, we stopped at Haute Dam for an hour or two and added lots of birds to the list, Darter, Sacred Ibis, South African Shelduck etc. By mid-day the tents were up in the keetsmanhoop municipal campsite. Later we visited the Quiver Tree Forest. About 300 trees, their alien-like forked branches, rising almost straight into the air grow there. Their trunks seem unnaturally smooth among a landscape of black rocks. From there we saw the Giants Playground - this is a huge area of volcanic balancing boulders, weathered by the elements over millions of years.

Evening meal was Kingklip, yetagain. in Lara's Restaurant in Keetmanshoop..

21 - 22/11 The next two days we spent around Hardap Dam, seeing more birds, Goliath Heron, African Spoonbill, Pearl-fronted Swallow.

23/11 Arrived back in Windhoek late morning in time to do some present shopping. then it was on to Van Diljoen campsite, our resting place for the first night of the trip

24/11 We had failed to see Eland so far so got up early the last day and did a good trek for about three hours but still failed. The fantastic trip was over- brunch in the camp restaurant - flight back to Heathrow - lots of memories and photographs - where next - Chile?

Trip List

Jackass Penguin - Spheniscus dernersus
Dabchick - Tachybaptus ruficoilis
Black-necked Grebe - Podiceps nigricollis
Sooty Shearwater - Puffinus griseus
Cape Gannet - Morus capensis
White-breasted Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo
Bank Conorant - Phalacrocorax neglectus
Cape Cormorant - Phalacrocorax capensis
Reed Connorant - Phalacrocorax africanus
Crowned Cormorant - Phalacrocorax coronatus
Darter - Anhinga melanogaster
Eastern White Pelican - Perecanus onocrotalus
Goliath Heron - Ardea goliath
Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea
Black-headed Heron - Ardea melanocephala
Great White Egret - Egretta alba
Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis
Squacco Heron - Ardeola ralloides
Black Egret - Egretta ardesiaca
Rufous bellied Heron - Ardeola rufiventris
Black-crowned Night Heron - Nycticorax nycticorax
Black Stork - Ciconia nigra
Abdim's Stork - Ciconia abdimii
White Stork - Ciconia ciconia
Yellow-billed Stork - Mycteria ibis
Marabou Stork - Leptoptilos crumeniferus
Saddle-billed Stork - Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis
Open-billed Stork - Anastomus lamelligerus
Greater Flamingo - Phoenicopterus ruber
Lesser Flamingo - Phoenicopterus minor
African Spoonbill - Platalea alba
Hamerkop - Scopus umbretta
Hadeda Ibis - Bostrychia hagedash
Glossy Ibis - Plegadis falcinellus
Sacred Ibis - Threskiomis aethiopicus
Spur-winqed Goose - Plectopterus gambensis
Egyptian Goose - Alopochen aegyptiacus
South African Shelduck - Tadoma cana
Southern Pochard - Netta erythrophthalma
Maccoa Duck - Oxyura maccoa
Cape Shoveler - Anas smithii
Red-billed Teal - Anas erythrorhyncha
Lappet-faced Vulture - Torgos tracheliotus
Cape Vulture - Gyps coprotheres
White-backed Vulture - Gyps africanus
African Fish Eagle - Haliaeetus vocifer
Osprey - Pandion haliaetus
Bateleur - Terathopius ecaudatus
Brown Snake Eagle - Circaetus cinereus
Black-breasted Snake Eagle - Circaetus gallicus
Tawny Eagle - Aquila rapax
Martial Eagle - Polemaetus bellicosus
Black Eagle - Aquila verreauxii
Jackal Buzzard - Buteo rufofuscus
Gymnogene - Polyboroides typus
Black-shouldered Kite - Elanus caeruleus
Pale Chanting Goshawk - Melierax canorus
Yellow-billed Kite - Milvus parasitus
Black Kite - Milvus migrans
Cuckoo Hawk - Avecida cuculoides
Pygmy Falcon - Polihierax semitorquatus
Lanner Falcon - Falco biarmicus
Red-necked Falcon - Falco chicquera
Rock Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Greater Kestrel - Falco rupicoloides
Redbilled Francolin - Francolinus adspersus
Helmeted Guineafowl - Numida meleagris
Ostrich - Struthio camelus
Red-knobbed Coot - Fulica crlstata
Moorten - Gallinula chloropus.
Purple Gallinule - Porphyrio porphyrio
Black Crake - Amaurornis flavirostris
African Jacana - Actophilornis africanus
Blue Crane - Anthropoides paradisea
Secretarybird - Sagittarius serpentarius
Kori Bustard - Ardeotis kori
Ludwig's Bustard - Neotis ludwigii
Ruppell's Korhaan - Eupodotis rueppellii
Karoo Korhaan - Eupodotis vigorsii
Red-crested Kortisan - Eupodotis ruficrista
Northern Black Kornaan - Eupodotis afroides
African Black Oystercatcher - Haematopus moquini
Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus
Avocet - Recurvirostra avosetta
Ringed Plover - Charadrius hiaticula
Three-banded Plover - Charadrius tricollaris
Kittlitz's Plover - Charadrius pecuarius
Chestnut banded Plover - Charadrius pallidus
White-fronted Plover - Charadrius marginatus
Crowned Plover - Vanellus coronatus
Wattled Plover - Vanellus senegallus
Blacksmith Plover - Vanellus armatus
Curlew Sandpiper - Calidris ferruginea
Sanderling - Calidris alba
Little Stint - Calidris minuta
Grey Plover - Pluvialis squatarola
Ruff - Philomachus pugnax.
Tumstone - Arenaria interpres.
Common Sandplper - Tringa hypoleucos
Wood Sandpiper - Tringa Glareola.
Greenshank - Tringa nebularia
Marsh Sandpiper - Tringa stagnatilis
Bartailed Godwit - Limosa lapponica
Whimbrel - Numenius phaeopus
Curlew - Numenius arquata.
Red-winged Pratincole - Glareola pratincola
Spotted Dikkop - Burhinus capensis.
Water Dikkop - Burhinus vermiculatus
Double-banded Courser - Rhinoptilus africanus
Subantarctic Skua - Catharacta antarctica
Kelp Gull - Larus dominicanus
Caspian Tern - Hydroprogne caspia
African Skimmer - Rhynchops flavirostris
Hautlaub's Gull - Larus hautlaubii
Swift Tern - Sterna bergii
Sandwich Tern - Sterna sandvicensis
Common Tern - Sterna hirundo
Arctic Tern - Sterna paradisaea
Little Tern - Sterna albifrons
Damara Tern - Sterna balaenarum
Double-banded Sandgrouse - Pterocles bicinctus
Yellow-throated Sandgrouse - Pterocles gutturalis
Namaqua Sandgrouse - Pterocles namaqua
Burchell's Sandgrouse - Pterocles burchellii
Rock Pigeon - Columba guinea
Mourning Dove - Streptopelia decipiens
Red-eyed Dove - Streptopelia semitorquata
Cape Turtle Dove - Streptopelia capicola
Laughing Dove - Streptopelia senegaIensis
Namaqua Dove - Oena capensis
Meyer's Parrot - Poicephalus meyeri
Rosy-faced Lovebird - Agapomis roseicollis
Grey Loune - Corythaixoictes concolor
African Cuckoo - Cuculus gularis
Coppery-tailed Coucal - Centropus cupreicaudus
Pearl-spotted Owl - Glaucidium perlatum
African Scops Owl - Otus senegalensis
Rufous-cheeked Nightjar - Caprimulgus rufigena
Bradfield's Swift - Apus bradfieldi
European Swift - Apus apus
Alpine Swfrt - Apus melba
Little Swift - Apus affinis
White-rumped Swift - Apus caffer
Palm Swift - Cypsiurus parvus
Red-faced Mousebird - Colitis indicus
White-backed Mousebird - Colius colius
Giant Kingfisher - Ceryle maxima
Pied Kingfisher - Ceryle rudis
Malachite Kingfisher - Alcedo cristata
Woodland Kingfisher - Halcyon senegalensis
European Bee-eater - Merops apiaster
Olive Bee-eater - Merops Superciliosus
White-fronted Bee-eater - Merops bullockoides
Carmine Bee-eater - Merops nubicoides
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater - Merops hirundineus
Little Bee-eater - Merops pusillus
Lilac-breasted Roler - Coracias caudata
Purple Roller - Coracias naevia
Monteiro's Hornbill. - Tockus monteiri
Grey Hornbill. - Tockus nasutus
Southern Yellow-billed Hombill - Tockus flavirostris
Red-billed Hornbill - Tockus erythrorhynchus
Red-billed Woodhoopoe - Phoeniculus purpureus
Violet Woodhoopoe - Phoeniculus damarensis
Hoopoe - Upupa epops
Acacia Pied Barbet - Lybius leucomelas
Yellow-fronted Tinker Barbet - Pogoniulus chrysoconus
Cardinal Woodpecker - Dendropicus fuscescens
Clapper Lark - Mirafra apiata
Monotonous Lark - Mirafra passerina
Long-billed Lark - Certhilauda curvirostris
Sabota Lark - Mirafra sabota
Fawn-coloured Lark - Mirafra africanoides
Red-capped Lark - Calandrella cinerea
Dune Lark - Certhilauda erythrochlamys
Chestnut-backed Finch Lark - Eremopterix leucotis
Greater striped Swallow - Hirundo cucullata
European Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Pearl-breasted Swallow - Hirundo dimidiata
White-throated Swallow - Hirundo albigularis
Banded Martin - Riparia cincta
Sand Martin - Riparia riparia
Brown-throated Martin - Riparia paludicola
Rock Martin - Hirundo fuligula
House Martin - Delichon urbica
Fork-tailed Drongo - Dicrurus adsimilis
African Golden Oriole - Oriolus auratus
Pied Crow - Corvus albus
Black Crow - Corvus capensis
Ashy Tit - Parus cinerascens
Arrow-marked Babbler - Turdoides jardineii
Hartlaub's Babbler - Turdoides hartlaubii
Southern Pied Babbler - Turdoides bicolor
Red-eyed Bulbul - Pycnonotus nigricans
Black-eyed Bulbul - Pycnonotus barbatus
Kurrichane Thrush - Turdus libonyana
Groundscraper Thrush - Turdus litsitsirupa
Short-toed Rock Thrush - Monticola brevipes
Familiar Chat - Cercomela familiaris
Tractrac Chat - Cercomela tractrac
Karoo Chat - Cercomela schlegellii
Mountain Chat - Oenanthe monticola
Arnot's Chat - Thamnolaea arnoti
Stonechat - Saxicola torquata
Herero Chat. - Namibornis herero
White-browed Robin - Erythropygia leucpohrys
Willow Warbler - Phylloscopus trochilus
Whitethroat - Sylvia communis
Yellow-bellied Eremomela - Eremomela icteropygialis
African Marsh Warbler - Acrocephalus baeticatus
Grey-backed Bleating Warbler - Camaroptera brevicaudata
Titbabbler - Parisoma subcaeruleum
Long-billed Crombec - Sylvietta rufescens
Fan-tailed Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
Black-chested Prinia - Prinia flavicans
Marico Flycatcher - Melaenornis mariquensis
Paradise Flycatcher - Terpsiphone viridis
Cape White-eye - Zosterops pallidus
Pririt Batis - Batis pririt
Cape WagtaiI - Motacilla capensis
African Pied Wagtail - Motacilla aguimp
Long-billed Pipit - Anthus similis
Crimson Breasted Shrike - Laniarius atrococcineus
Red-backed Shrike - Lanius collurio
Lesser Grey Shrike - Lanius minor
Fiscal Shrike - Lanius collaris
Swamp Boubou - Laniarlus bicolor
Bokmakierie - Telophorus zeylonus
White Helmet Shrike - Prionops plumatus
White-tailed Shrike - Lanioturdus torquatus
Brubru - Nilaus afer
Glossy Starling - Lamprotornis nitens
Plum-coloured Starling - Cinnyricinclus leucogaster
Pale-winged Starling - Onychognathus nabouroup
Wattled Starling - Creatophora cinerea
Red-billed Oxpecker - Buphagus erythrorhynchus
Scarlet-chested Sunbird - Nectarinia senegalensis
White-bellied Sunbird - Nectarinia talatala
Dusky Sunbird - Nectarinia fusca
Marico Sunbird - Nectarinia mariquensis
Great Sparrow - Passer motitensis
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus
Cape Sparrow - Passer melanuris
Grey-headed Sparrow - Passer griseus
White-browed Sparrow Weaver - Plocepasser mahali
Sociable Weaver - Philetairus socius
Southern Masked Weaver - Ploceus velatus
Red Bishop - Euplectes ori
Shaft-tailed Whydah - Vidua regia
Red-billed Firefinch - Lagonosticta senegala
Red-headed Finch - Amadina erythrocephala
Violet-eared Waxbill - Uraeginthus granatinus
Black-cheeked Waxbill - Estrilda erythronotos
Common Waxbill - Estrilda astrild
Blue Waxbill - Uraeginthus angolensis
Melba Finch - Pytilia melba
Yellow Canary - Serinus flaviventris
Black-throated Canary - Serinus atrogularis
White-throated Canary - Serinus albogularis
Rock Bunting - Emberiza tahapisi
Cape Bunting - Emberiza capensis

The above is a list of species seen in Namibia between 22.10 96 and 24.11 96- we travelled to Epupa Fal1s and Katima Mulilo in the North, to Fish River Canyon in the South, and lots in between.

Dave Hanford, November 1996