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.
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.
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 scaled the canyon walls up to the campground, but they were not the thieving, nuisance sorts, and they stayed away from us. Good baboons.
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.
Some red-rock canyons . . .
. . . and wide-open valleys.
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.
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.
We also saw several jackals. The slate-pencil bushes provide great, shady cover.
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.
Yep. I can imagine getting lost out there.
Do you think these clouds bring rain? It rained yesterday, fairly hard for a brief period of time. Everybody wants rain, including us.
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?
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.
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?
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.