Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We are ready for South Africa!

Here we are, the last day of the year 2013 and we are right now in Namibia's capital City of Windhoek.

We have spent the last two months touring Namibia. And we drove a lot of miles.

Kalahari Anib Lodge

This is our last review of the Gondwana Collection of Namibia lodges. We'll do one more post at some point over the next little while detailing our "best of" those lodges! But for now, let's have a look at the Kalahari Anib Lodge.

This lodge is the closest one to the capital City of Windhoek, and so it's a common location for people either beginning or ending their Namibia adventure.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hiking with the Oryx!

We went for a 7 km (4.5 mile) hike yesterday morning. We were a little late leaving and it gets hot fairly early in the day. We could have turned around early, but we decided we could do the whole route.

Besides, when you're hiking with the oryx, the wildebeest, the ostriches, and the springbok it's pretty interesting!

The Desert Horse Inn

We recently spent two nights at Gondwana Collection's Klein-Aus Vista Desert Horse Inn. This lodge is the closest Gondwana property to Luderitz and the Kolmanskop ghost town. And of course to the wild horses of the Namib Desert.

But you don't even need to leave the property for something to do. Especially if you're into hiking or mountain biking!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

We can see the sea!

On Friday, we took a drive to the seaside town of Luderitz, Namibia. It was about 115 kms (71 miles) along a stretch of very boring road. But we had a fun day when we got there.

It really makes you wonder what attracted the Germans to the area in the first place. Of course it was the diamonds that were found at nearby Kolmanskop, and the fact that there was an actual bay to dock a boat in. But, the town lies on one of the least hospitable coasts in Africa.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The fantastic Canyon Lodge!

We showed you some preview pictures of Gondwana Collection's amazing Canyon Lodge and the response was that you want to see more. We don't blame you. What a great place, and anyone coming to Namibia's Fish River Canyon owes themselves a stay at Canyon Lodge.

Here you go...and you even get a video of our very cool room!

The diamond mining ghost town of Kolmanskop, Namibia

In 1908, a large diamond field was found near the southeast coast of Namibia. The area was so rich in diamonds that they say that the first miners to the area were able to scoop them out of the sand!

A town grew around the mining area. Soon, the German government at the time built a hospital and the town thrived with a power station, a school, a ballroom and activity center and other amenities.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Canyon Roadhouse

We stayed two nights at the Gondwana Canyon Roadhouse . It's a fun place, decorated like an old "Route 66" style garage. Where they come up with this number of artifacts, I have no idea. It's almost like an old museum.

And it's located only 14 kms from the Fish River Canyon.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Well that was a different Christmas.

We haven't really updated you about our activities since we arrived at The Canyon Roadhouse on the 23rd. And then, we took a blog holiday yesterday! We figured that none of you were going to be on the internet anyhow (yeah, right!) being that it was Christmas Day and we took a break too.

So we'll kind of squeeze two days worth of activities in this one post!

Kalahari Farmhouse

We recently spent two nights at the Gondwana Collection's Kalahari Farmhouse near Stampriet, Namibia. This place is a little different because the lodge and chalet rooms are situated on an actual working farm.

And you can even have a tour of the farm.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Rain turns the dirt roads to mud!

We had to do about 440 kms (275 miles) yesterday from the Kalahari Farmhouse to the Canyon Roadhouse. There's an easy paved road that goes that distance, but it wouldn't be like us to do it the easy way!

Actually it was more wanting to do it the exciting way instead of the boring way. And exciting it was...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Namib Desert Lodge

We recently spent three nights at the Gondwana Collection's Namib Desert Lodge. This is a larger resort, with 65 rooms. It's within a day trip of the popular desert dunes at Sossusvlei, and that's the main attraction for most people.

But, it's also a very scenic destination itself, and we enjoyed the three days we spent just exploring the area around the lodge.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

From one desert to the next.

Yesterday we drove from the Namib Desert to the western edge of the Kalahari Desert. And we had to drive through the Naukluft Mountains to do it. A really pretty area, and we totally enjoyed that part of the drive.

And, we picked up another hitchhiker along the way!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thunderstorm in the desert!

Here in the Namib Desert, it gets pretty hot at this time of year. And it's supposed to be the rainy season now, but after all, this is the desert. So we weren't counting on seeing too much of that! Either way, we wanted to do some hiking and they've got two trails here at the Namib Desert Lodge. And because it gets so hot, we hit the trail at 7:30am yesterday morning.

Before breakfast!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Dune Star

We're currently staying at The Namib Desert Lodge. The lodge is located on the edge of a series of petrified sand dunes. Yes, sand that has sat and compressed for so long that it has turned to rock. The scenery here is so spectacular that Gondwana Collection has built a camp on top of one of these petrified dunes!

Yesterday, we went on a little sundowner safari to have a look at this new camp. The Dune Star Camp.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Yee-haw, what a drive!

We've done a lot of road trips. And so we've been on a lot of roads, and some of them have been a little hairy!

Well, we finally got ourselves onto a road in Namibia that was pretty interesting. As in very steep!

Damara Mopane Lodge

We stayed the  nights of December 15th and 16th at Gondwana Collection's Damara Mopane Lodge. This lodge is located about 425 kms (264 miles) north of the capital city of Windhoek so many people make it their first stop if they're heading towards either Etosha National Park or the Opuwo region.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Back in Windhoek

But only for one night.

We did the 425 km (264 mile) drive back to Windhoek from the Damara Mopane Lodge. We've now done most of this route before, so didn't bother with any new pictures.

Problem was, we weren't sure where we were staying for the night!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Watch out for vipers and puff adders!

We tried to get an early start yesterday morning because we wanted to hike the hill behind the Damara Mopane Lodge. They have a marked trail, and the sign in the reception area said it was 4 kms and would take 2-3 hours.

The sign also said to watch out for vipers and puff adders on the trail!

Monday, December 16, 2013

More on our visit with the Himba

Yesterday, we drove 350 kms from Opuwo to the Damara Mopane Lodge. But before we get to how the day went, I wanted to mention a few more things about the town of Opuwo and our visit with the Himba.

A few of you asked about the food and I had forgotten to include that end of the story!

Hakusembe River Lodge

We recently spent four nights at Gondwana Collection's Hakusembe River Lodge. We had been there for two nights and then left for three, and then returned for two more.

When it came time to leave, we didn't want to!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A cultural experience to remember!

A few months ago when we were researching this trip to Namibia, we came across a lot of references to "the Himba"...a nomadic group of people who settle and roam the hills northwest of Opuwo, Namibia. These people have tried to keep living a traditional life without accepting outside influence.

At the time, we posed a question via a blog post...should we visit the Himba?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Not a great end to a long day.

We had a long day yesterday. We planned on doing a long drive from Rundu to Okahao, but we didn't know what accommodation we would find in Okahao. I had done some research and found that there were supposedly three options there but it's not a touristy place and there wasn't a lot of info available online.

We made it no problem, but our accommodation wasn't looking great!

Friday, December 13, 2013

We took a day off.

We actually took a day to do nothing yesterday.

The original plan had us driving again yesterday, but in all honesty we simply didn't feel like it! So we used up our "spare". Besides, it is so relaxing at Hakusembe River Lodge that it didn't take much convincing for either one of us!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The day did not start off good.

But it was due to my own stupidity.

So we're in a remote area of Africa and we have no fuel and no cash. And we have to do a 450 km (279 mile) drive. And gas stations only accept cash in Namibia!

Namushasha River Lodge

We spent three nights at Gondwana Collection's Namushasha River Lodge in the eastern section of Namibia's Caprivi Region.

It's located 4 kms (2.5 miles) off the main road, but you'll find that the dirt track that leads to the lodge is well worth the effort. This lodge is a little more rustic than some of the other Gondwana properties, but definitely in an attractive way.

In fact, we found that this lodge gave us our most "African" experience to date!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It never stops...

One of the things that has amazed us about our time so far in Namibia is the huge diversity of life. It's not only about the lions and elephants and rhinos. It's the huge abundance of plants and birds as well.

We come across new and wondrous things every single day!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Namushasha River Lodge Boat Trip...Wow!

We were going to tell you about this tour when we do our post about the lodge itself, but it was so good that it deserves a post of it's own. This is one of the best tours we have ever done!

So, we're staying at the Namushasha River Lodge on the Kwando River in the far east Caprivi region of Namibia. They offer boat tours on the Kwando River, and yesterday we went out with two other couples and our guide, Alfred.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our drive down the Caprivi Strip

I know, it's not officially the Caprivi Strip any more. It's now the "Zambezi Region" although everybody we talk to still calls it the Caprivi Strip.

It's an oddball piece of land that is part of Namibia, yet surrounded by four other countries!

Namibia Car Rental 4x4 Camping

Okay, many of you have asked for more info and photos about the camping gear we were using for our self drive camping tour of Namibia. So here it is!

First of all, we had a 2013 Nissan 4x4 Double Cab pickup truck.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Two sides of the river...

Yesterday, we spent most of the day just relaxing. We were at the Hakusembe River Lodge which sits on the Namibian side of the Kavango River. The other side of the river is the country of Angola.

It would make sense to visit the country of Angola while we're here, wouldn't it?

Unfortunately, it's not that easy.

Etosha Safari Camp

Yesterday, we told you about where we stayed at the Etosha Safari Lodge. Well adjacent to that property is the Gondwana Collection's Etosha Safari Camp.

While we didn't actually overnight here, we did go down for dinner because it's a totally different experience than it was staying at the Lodge.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

On the border of Angola!

I was really looking forward to yesterday's drive.

This would take us to an area of Namibia that we had not seen before. Out of the desert, and more like the Africa we had envisioned. To the northern part of Namibia, right on the border of Angola!

Etosha Safari Lodge

This is the first stop on our tour of Gondwana Collection's series of lodges across Namibia. We spent three nights at Etosha Safari Lodge.

In our experience, you are welcomed as guests...but you depart as friends.

Friday, December 6, 2013

It's not every day a rhino crosses the road in front of you!

We decided yesterday morning to take advantage of our close proximity to Etosha National Park. We had enjoyed our six days in the park in November, and we were staying at Etosha Safari Lodge, only 9 kms from the park entrance.

So we went back.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Highlights of Namibia!

Time to express some thanks!

To our facebook fans for getting us to Namibia in the first place.

And to the Namibia Tourism Board for sending us to visit your amazing, diverse country. And for being so flexible with the arrangements. We had a GREAT three and a half week camping trip and we learned so much about your corner of Africa.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

From this!

Our couchsurfing host Antoinette was off early to work yesterday morning, but we were up at the same time and we said our goodbyes. Hopefully we'll see her again before we leave Namibia. Thanks for having us Antoinette, we had a blast with you and your friends!

And then, Namibia Car Rental was right on time to pick us up at 9:00am.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Taste of Africa...literally!

We had a nice typical "English" breakfast cooked up for us yesterday morning as the last part of our tour package organized by ATI Tours. Scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potato, coffee, orange juice.

It would be the last normal meal we had that day!

Monday, December 2, 2013

November Expenses

First, I have to question the value to our readers of continuing to post our monthly expenses.

We started doing this during our full time motorhome days as a way to show people that you could live and travel throughout Canada, the U.S., and Mexico in an RV. And that it can be done for under $1,000 a month on average. And we did a pretty good job of proving that!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

African camping adventure over...time for a change of pace!

Well, our three and a half week camping adventure in Namibia has come to an end. This morning, we arrived back at Rivendell Guesthouse in the capital city of Windhoek and will be handing back the keys to our 4x4 camping truck this afternoon.

So, what do we have planned for December?