Scenery east of the town of Trai Mat near Da Lat, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Da Lat, Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Not sure yet!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Etosha to Damaraland

We had a long drive ahead of us on Saturday. Besides the 360 kms (223 miles) to our next destination, we also wanted to check out along the way two of the Gondwana resort lodges that we hope to be staying at for a few nights in December.

Not only that, but as we were departing Etosha National park, we still had a short route where we could do an hour long safari in case we were lucky enough to come across anything interesting.

And it turns out that we were lucky enough!

But before we left, we had to make one more trip to the waterhole. Not much going on, but one special bird up in the big tree...

A spotted eagle-owl!

We were driving a short circular route near the Anderson entrance gate, and there was nobody else around. There were also no animals around, and I said to Ruth that we should have just driven out the park. But, you never know, right?

And just as we were resigning ourselves to the fact that our safari sightings were over, I saw them. A whole herd of them!

Etosha elephants!

14 elephants making their way through the brush. Big ones, little ones, male ones, and female ones. Then, they made their way onto the road! What a fantastic way to end our time in the park!

And if that wasn't enough, we saw three lions lazing the morning away. Only stopped for a quick photo of them because it was tough to compete with the lion photos from the day before!

Lions relaxing in Etosha.

We thoroughly enjoyed our six days in one of the world's best game viewing parks. In all honesty, two or three days would not have been enough. But we found six days to be perfect.

At the park exit, there was a veterinary inspection where they told us that we were not allowed to take any meat if we were heading south due to "foot and mouth disease". Hmm. So they confiscated two sirloin steaks that we had planned for dinner that evening! But they didn't take the sausage or the bacon. The steaks were in sealed vacuum packaging.

I argued with them, and asked what the logic was. The inspectors agreed that they didn't see the logic either, but they were just doing what they were told. I asked what happened to the meat, and was told that I was to watch them destroy it! They poured gasoline on the package in a big drum and away it burned. What a waste. Ruth said the meat wasn't looking so good anyhow, so maybe they did us a favor!

Onward down the road.

We saw the sign to Gondwana Resorts Etosha Safari Lodge.

This is one of the Gondwana Collection of Resorts that our facebook fans helped us to win 25 nights of accommodation to use next month so we figured we would stop in and check it out.

A preview of Gondwana's Etosha Safari Lodge!

What a great lodge, and we're glad we took the time to stop in and preview it. Simon and the staff were great to us and we certainly look forward to telling you about our stay there next month!

Around 11:00am we made it to the town of Outjo.  We did some groceries and put some diesel in the tank. I was going to look for a piece of wire or a garage to do a quick fix for our fridge problem (more on that below) but everything closes up at noon on Saturday and it was after 12pm by the time we finished with groceries and fuel. Managed to stock up on wine and beer before the noon cutoff time!

We came across the Damara Mopane Lodge. This is another Gondwana property and it's an oasis in the desert. From the main road, you would never guess that this place of greenery would exist. Looks like a really peaceful spot to laze around for a couple of days.

And a preview of Gondwana's Damara Mopane Lodge!

Drove through the town of Khorixas  They're trying to turn it into a bit of a tourist destination, but I don't think they're quite there yet. We pulled over under a tree at a "craft market" and we were going to check our internet and do a blog post, but there was a lot of broken glass and garbage around and we were across the street from a bar that already had patrons. Thought we might be in the wrong part of town, so we carried on.

We had been on a nice paved road up until Khorixas, but from there on it was gravel. And dust. Lots of dust! We've learned that anything left in the box of the truck gets very dusty, so if we want to keep things clean we keep as much as possible in the cab of the truck with us.

We stopped at the "Petrified Forest", but decided that the N$100 ($10.80) total admission for us and the parking wasn't worth it for a twenty minute walk through some petrified wood.

Road block!

Onward towards Damaraland. There are more mountains and scenic views in this area and we really find the rock formations interesting.

Aabadi Mountain Camp

Eventually, at 4:15pm (8 hours after we left our Etosha camp) we pulled in to Aabadi Mountain Camp. They have tented accommodation for rent, as well as a basic campground with unserviced sites. And a "bush shower" and toilet. Interesting!

The best part? We're the only ones in the campground! What a change for us compared to the busy Etosha campgrounds.

Our campsite. Now, this is more what we like!

There's a cell tower near here, but we're hidden low and behind a mountain...just out of signal range so we'll do a blog post for you on Sunday when we go for a drive closer to the tower!

Oh, an update on our fridge problem.

Our truck has two batteries. One for the engine, and one that is specifically for the fridge. They're both located in the engine compartment, and both batteries are supposed to charge when the engine is running. They're separated in the circuit by a battery isolator to prevent the fridge from drawing down on the engine battery. But what''s happening is that the fridge battery is not charging when the engine is running. So the only time I can get power to the fridge is to hook the booster cables to both batteries when we're parked. The fridge is pretty efficient and doesn't take long to get cold. And it's well insulated so that it stays cool while we're driving.

I contacted Namibia Car Rental and they have given the go ahead to get the problem fixed and they will reimburse us. I think the problem is a bad isolator. But I can do a temporary fix if I had one 4 foot piece of wire with a couple of clamps so that I can hook the positive terminals of the batteries together while we're driving. This would charge the fridge battery and allow the fridge to operate while driving.

So it's not an emergency and we seem to be managing. We're in the big town of Swakupmond on Monday, so we'll try and get it fixed there.


  1. This is a time when "experience" (and possibly some of it "bad") comes in handy when knowing what to do with the fridge situation. I'm sure there would be renters who wouldn't have a clue why the fridge isn't working. You'll find that piece of wire. One day.

  2. We had the same problem with the battery isolator on two of our rv's , nice to see that you can get it working.
    Just keep enjoying you tour and the peaceful campground.

  3. Oh, My, you have us hooked! First thing we do is check our email to see if you have posted another up-date! The first clue is whether or not the pictures have changed.

    My favorites are the Giraffes at the waterhole, the Lion King, and the back-side of the elephants - in other words, whichever picture you chose for the day! We are vicariously enjoying your journey with you. We were looking for info on Mexico, found your site, and got hooked on your blog.

    We are New fans currently lazing our way through Florida in our Safari Zanzibar. We are currently at Juniper Springs in Ocala National Forest. Had a lovely fawn gamble through our campsite this morning, and a spotted owl sitting on a pole just outside our window. We, too, are practically the only ones here, though it was lively on the weekend - lots of children. A wonderful nature spot for $10 a night - Sr. discount! Thanks for sharing your travels! Jerry and Becky

  4. Kevin, I'm continuously amazed at your photography prowess. These photos are among the best I've seen anywhere outside of maybe National Geographic. Thank you so much for sharing. Also, you preplanning has definitely paid off in full. Your dialog and photos prove it. And, Ruth's intuition is so sharp - maybe those guys did do you a favor destroying the meat. I can't figure out the logic either but maybe it's simply destroying the possibility of future illness from that particular meat!

  5. I'd be willing to bet no one would be able to wipe off the smiles you have on your faces. Would imagine you are giving all of us a new perspective on Africa

  6. From what I hear there is a lot of radiation from cell towers. Don't stay too near!

  7. Great bunch of sightings on your last day in Etosha and I really like this camp with no crowds.

  8. Uh oh, I'm way behind. What a great exit to a terrific park. It sure doesn't seem like you were there for six days. Enjoyed your road block and the look of your new site. Glad you are such a handy guy as well as being AMAZING at finding travel deals.

  9. I just can't imagine watching a herd of elephants crossing the road on front of me. I can almost hear them in my imagination.


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