The Daily Dozen: Khowarib to Palmwag

Twelve photos from each day of our Africa adventure.

After the challenging and spectacular Hoanib drive, we spent the night at another community campground in Khowarib.

When I registered, the woman tending the camp said, “You can take campsite 1.”

Knowing that what suits some people doesn’t suit us, and not seeing any other campers around, I asked, “May we choose a different site if we prefer?”

She smiled and nodded. “Yes. You’ll choose campsite 1.”

I believed her then.

The upper Hoanib River and canyon. We think.

The view upstream from Campsite 1. Click for a larger image. Use your back button to return here.

Campsite 1 was on a ledge overlooking this river canyon, which we think is still the Hoanib River. Here at the top of the river, a shallow, clear stream flowed, goats wandered the banks, and rosy-faced lovebirds flitted in the trees.

Hoanib River Canyon, downstream from Campsite 1.

Downstream from campsite 1.

The stream made a turn below Campsite 1.

As in the Puros community campground, each site had its own facilities: a shower, toilet, and bathroom sink set up in a stand of trees with stick privacy walls, and a kitchen counter with another sink, all with running water.

Shortly after we arrived, our host stopped by to say she was going home. “You’re in charge,” she said. “If anyone else comes, they can camp anywhere, and I’ll be back in the morning.”

No one else came.

Have I mentioned how much I like having these places to ourselves?

Chacma baboons scale the Hoanib canyon wall.

Chacma baboons scale the Hoanib canyon wall.

Chacma baboons scaled the canyon walls up to the campground, but they were not the thieving, nuisance sorts, and they stayed away from us. Good baboons.

The game park in the Palmwag Conservancy.

The game park in the Palmwag Conservancy. Click for a larger image. Use your back button to return here.

In the morning, we paid the Palmwag Conservancy to visit their game reserve. As far as game was concerned, our expectations were low based on what we’d read and the fact that this was a conservancy thing, not a national park. Conservancies are just communities; in fact, it’s just like the community campgrounds we’ve been staying in, only it’s a community game reserve. It’s not especially well developed, but there are 4WD tracks and the community offers guided trips. We, of course, chose to explore on our own despite a cautionary tale in our guidebook that described a guide getting lost and being found miles away on the Skeleton Coast, dehydrated and disoriented. This was a day trip for us; we didn’t wander off the main tracks.

The scenery was beautiful, again like the desert southwest US: red, rocky peaks and mesas; rocky slopes and plains; dry grass; and these large, succulent silversword-like plants that we’re calling “slate pencil” bushes because the branches remind us of slate-pencil urchin spines. The plant isn’t in my book, so I don’t know what it really is. If you know, please share.

Canyon in the Palmwag Conservancy

A small canyon in the park. Clickable pic.

Some red-rock canyons . . .

Wide-open valley, Palmwag Conservancy

Wide-open spaces. Clickable pic.

. . . and wide-open valleys.

Ostriches in the Palmwag Conservancy game park.

Ostriches in the Palmwag Conservancy game park. Click for a larger image. Use your back button to return here.

We saw the usual dry-environment suspects, including ostriches. They’re standing in front of the slate-pencil bushes, so you can see how big the bushes are. Ostriches are about 6 feet tall.

Gemsbok Herd, Palmwag Conservancy

Gemsbok herd. Palmwag Conservancy. Clickable pic.

And there were gemsbok, lots and lots of beautiful gemsbok.

Have you noticed that we haven’t seen any baby gemsboks? I’ve noticed. My book says that babies are kept hidden from the herd—not just us, but the herd—for the first month.

It seems to me, they keep the young ones hidden longer than that: I haven’t seen any with horns less than a foot long.

Interesting, eh? Of course, I’m dying to see a gemsbok baby.


A wee jackal.

We also saw several jackals. The slate-pencil bushes provide great, shady cover.

Rocky Landscape, Palmwag Conservancy

Rocky landscape.

And then there were a mom and baby rhino, several giraffes, springbok, a meercat, and a couple of hyraxes, but they were all at a distance that didn’t make for nice pictures, so I’m giving you this picture instead.

Palmwag Conservancy.

Palmwag Conservancy. Click for a larger image. Use your back button to return here.

Yep. I can imagine getting lost out there.

Clouds Roll In, Palmwag Conservancy

Clouds roll in. Clickable pic. That’s too many clickable pics. Someone isn’t being very disciplined today. Ahem.

Do you think these clouds bring rain? It rained yesterday, fairly hard for a brief period of time. Everybody wants rain, including us.

Categories: Africa, Africa, Travel

4 replies »

  1. Hmm, looks like a type of Euphorbia commonly known as pencil cactus or pencil trees, related to the poinsettia. Did it have sticky, milky sap? Euphorbia is a huge genus, with lots of different-looking species. Remember the huge pencil tree we saw on Kauai, down south by the blowhole? Did it look anything like that?

  2. I think this is the same bush that the rhino eat! Yes, they eat this bush to survive on….. pretty yucky hey. I will try and find the name for it.

  3. We saw two rhinos here, but they were too far away to note what they were eating. Does Barb’s suggestion that it might be a Euphorbia help at all?

  4. I looked up Euphorbias in Namibia, and I think it might be a Euphorbia dregeana or a Euphorbia damarana. I can’t tell the difference between those two. I’m pretty sure we also saw the Euphorbia virosa.

    I am convinced it is a Euphorbia.

    I’m not recalling the pencil tree on Kauai, though. Bummer.