Into the Namib Desert

Eighteen months of forced seclusion meant that immensely itchy feet, and a Land Rover and Toyota Prado panting for the sensation of gravel under their tyres, was Priority Numero Uno. So, doubly-vaccinated, it was time to remedy this matter. An unspooling of 3 1/2 weeks and a rough and tumble, corrugated, stony/shalely journey of 6,175 kilometres later, we now have the photos to prove it.

Fish River Canyon

Jaw-dropping beauty at one of Fish River Canyon’s major outlook points (hefty conservation fees are now exacted! Ouch). Often listed as the second largest in the world after Grand Canyon in the USA, although in China they claim the Yarlung Zangbo to be the world’s largest and deepest. Who knows? All photos by Hirsh Aronowitz

Namibia, naturally, was first choice. We had to rekindle our relationship with her desert colours … yellow, red, purple, blue, black … and her no-need-for-a-polarising-filter royal-blue skies. The air in our vehicles was charged with excitement. We started with the Fish River Canyon and Aus, and ended with Etosha and the Waterberg Plateau. Magic.

Beautiful graphic lines at the artfully constructed shelters of the Fish River Canyon lookout.

Cañon Lodge

We fell in love with Cañon Lodge just east of Fish River Canyon, particularly the way the stone and thatch units are tucked into the ancient sandstone boulders. We do still love the long low-slung cottages at Cañon Village just a stone’s throw away but variation is always a necessary thing when you’re travelling in order to properly advise others.

Sublime setting for a pool. Pity it was still simply too cold for a swim (late August).

X-rated: Cañon Roadhouse


Solitaire, watch out! Cañon Roadhouse is overtaking you in terms of zaniness . . . vintage cars, number plates, metal signs, all kinds of weird and wonderful paraphernalia, including these two signs in the Ladies and Gents . . . Pandora’s Box in one, Tjongololo’s Box in the other. Shade your eyes if demureness has overtaken you.

Klein Aus Vista, Aus

Eagle’s Nest Cottages remain a firm favourite with us (our trip was marked by boulder-living); this time it was Boulder Cottage, one unit to either side of a gigantic boulder that juts into the living area. Amazing rock energy and wondrous at sunset.

Just love it! Ancient astronomy and technology of the future share the same platform.

We were highly excited to once again encounter the wild horses of Garub, which have survived since the chaos of World War I when a large number of them broke free and have wandered the desert ever since, eking out a difficult existence. Persistent droughts, increasing weakness due to a lack of food and water, and vulnerability to Spotted Hyenas have threatened their survival for many years. But the efforts of organisations, wildlife scientists and concerned locals have won out. There are even new foals! Very heart-warming to be among them.


It was refreshing to see utterly new aspects of Namibia. For one, Sossusvlei in the mist! An ephemeral mystical world. It only cleared around 9 a.m.

Cape Cross : Cape Fur Seal Colony

You always hear about the strong odours but that’s nothing like the real experience. The minute you open your car door, the stench hits you like a blast of foul air from a furnace. Dried fish multiplied 1,000 times. The air is filled with growling, bleating, neighing. When they move, they manoeuvre themselves across the sand with surprising speed on their front flippers. It is said there can be as many as 210,000 seals during the Nov–Dec breeding season.

Serenity at sunset, Cape Cross Lodge, which we absolutely loved. We’ll be back.

Skeleton Coast

Skeleton Coast, given the name by Portuguese and Dutch sailors who attempted to sail around the Cape of Good Hope while headed for India, is a 500 kilometre swathe of the Namib Desert, written of as the oldest and driest on the planet. Whales that have become stranded, ships and sailing boats that have foundered, sailors who have drowned . . . the evidence is here in whale bones, skeletal structures of ships, crosses …

After the cooped-up feeling of Covid . . . such space, so much desert air, such a feeling of freedom.

Inhospitable territory, but still the wildlife manages to survive here. We saw spoor of Black-backed Jackal and Brown Hyena on the beaches, but there are also desert Elephant, Lion and even Rhino. We have seen the elephant before, but sadly not this time around. Plenty of gorgeous light-skinned giraffe, though!

Ugab Terrace & Vingerklip

Driving down to the dramatic Ugab Plateau and Valley, where the massive Vingerklip still stands. We can’t get enough of this area. Keep on coming back again and again.


Vingerklip. Still standing.

Stay tuned. Etosha next!

More on our Namibia trip on my blog Quirky Girl Traveller here