Trip Report - Namibia and Botswana

Please share information about trips you have done
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Russ Kellermann
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Re: Trip Report - Namibia and Botswana

Post by Russ Kellermann » 28 Jun 2017 10:15

As i always say , Whatever works for you, works the best. i think i paid about R160 each for those drawers. winning.
'07 Patrol Pickup TD42 N/A,285's KM2,3" Lift,ONCA Bars,Warn High Mount,Alu Canopy, and some other Stuff.

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Russ Kellermann
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Re: Trip Report - Namibia and Botswana

Post by Russ Kellermann » 28 Jun 2017 10:46

Ok so carrying on with the report.

I apologize for the time it takes to do this but attaching the photos is whats killing me. Is there no other way of attaching pics other than one at a time?
Please, if you know a way, let me know ASAP.

Anyway,

So we turned of the main drag and left towards spitzkoppe. The rock formations really standing out as they break the horizon line.
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We got a great big welcome at the gate, and in my usual style, asked them to give us the best, most private site they had, and delivered. The place has 3o odd sites, spread over a huge distance. Most sites are secluded and even if it was busy , you'd feel private.

There were only 2 other vehicles camping while we were there, and they were on the complete other side of the spitzkoppe. We had a great site.
We took a guided drive and he took us into parts of the reserve otherwise not seen by the public. We climbed the mountains with him, showed us various bushman paintings, and someother artifacts. he was a really good guide and very pleasant and knowledgeable.

It was weird,... I make films for a living, as an Art Director. And some of my friends in the business had worked on a hollywood film there years back, called 10 000BC. The spent a year prior to shoot commencement propagating flora in the area, building set, designing the SFX, as well as bringing in certain game.
As the guy explained, some of the game still remain,a request/condition of the local tribe upon the deal of using it as a location... and there they were, Zebra and other , living in the reserve now. was nice to see.
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'07 Patrol Pickup TD42 N/A,285's KM2,3" Lift,ONCA Bars,Warn High Mount,Alu Canopy, and some other Stuff.

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Russ Kellermann
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Re: Trip Report - Namibia and Botswana

Post by Russ Kellermann » 28 Jun 2017 16:21

There are no first world ablutions at any of the camp site at Spitzkoppe,... but certain sites have a long drop. Ours had two, side by side, which was odd, haha, but built beautifully and had the best view of any crapper i've ever used.

If you want a hot shower, and don't have your own setup, you can use one of the many wonderful,clean, open air showers at the main office. You can also fill up with drinking water, i did both. Was great.

From Spitzkoppe, our next destination was to go and see the Dinosaur footprints. I cant remember how we got there, but it took us on an exciting track for many kilometers, until we finally found the farm. Its so poorly sign boarded, in fact, there was no sign. for something so interesting and treasured worldwide, it seemed ridiculous.

Anyway, we opened the gate and made our way to the farm house. The most peculiar German man came to greet us. He was the farm owner, and was there when these footprints were discovered. They've had all kinds of scientists and intellectuals visit the place , from all over the world.
He was born in Germany and moved out there god knows when. his house was littered with stuffed animals and capes, ... mounted all over the place, from bears, to Elk, to badgers, even things as small as ground squirrels, it was super freaky. I mean, i'm no stranger to hunting , and the game farm scene, but this was bloody weird. the whole place felt like a scene from Deliverance.

But just like that, he slowly warmed up, and became a very pleasant host actually. Still, not my cuppa tea though.

We were the only guests on the farm.

The main thing, was seeing these prehistoric prints. And there were lots. two different Dinosaur species. It was a bit of a walk to get there but worth it. And in another small ravine,more prints, the smaller species of the two.

I set up camp in a bush clearing. Lit the Donkey shower and all was good.

The temperature dropped to minus -6 degrees Celsius that night, everything frozen rock solid .... but i tell you, i'd never seen so many stars in my entire life.

There were so many buck so close to my site, probably due to thick vegetation and very low numbers of visitors all year round, and a porcupine visited in the night. I heard jackal and other animals but couldn't see them,... besides, i was way too cold to even think of getting out of bed.
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An Oztent is the most awesome piece of kit, and i highly reccommend it to anyone who likes camping, what a pleasure. love it.
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I think my phone died, because this is my only photo,.. i took more on my moms camera, i'll try get those from her.
These are one "set" of tracks. What is said, is that this area was a huge lake, and this dinosaur was traversing the edges in thick heavy mud of sorts. obviously, this is now rock. How these things are preserved is beyond me.
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We got up , had breaky, and headed for Etosha,... i had booked us a site at Okaukuejo.
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'07 Patrol Pickup TD42 N/A,285's KM2,3" Lift,ONCA Bars,Warn High Mount,Alu Canopy, and some other Stuff.

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Re: Trip Report - Namibia and Botswana

Post by Peter Connan » 28 Jun 2017 18:45

Still loving this Russ!
Mag ons ons kenniskry met lekkerkry aanhoukry.

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Russ Kellermann
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Re: Trip Report - Namibia and Botswana

Post by Russ Kellermann » 29 Jun 2017 00:04

Thanks bud. It's taking forever. :lol:

Etosha was not a place i had actually wanted to visit, but my parents had always wanted to go, so i made sure it was in my planning and booking. Turns out, it was one of my favorite places along our journey and, although not my type of terrain at all, i absolutely loved it. I loved everything about it. The amount of game, the huge overland trucks, the smell of the bush, even the camp site was great. Busy, but at night, still very very quiet.

We had a site with no others around us for 30 meters or more, and ours backed up against the border fence line to the compound. At night there was a hellova goings-on with god knows what animals but it felt like they were 2 inches from my ear and in their hundreds. :lol: the next morning while i was making coffe we all looked at each other like what the hell was THAT!

We saw Elephant right near our site too, which was great.

We not people to sit around though, ever, so as soon as we could we got on the vehicles and went exploring. We saw a LOT, even lions on a fresh kill, as in it had happened 30 seconds ago. Wildebees from the herd still snorting and anxious.


We ate at the lodge one evening,... DONT.
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This guy pulled up next to me when i was parked alone, watching the lions eat. What a truck!... although it's commonplace seeing Unimogs of all sizes and year models when touring these countries... still, i love them.
As per usual though, 4wd vehicles get drawn in when anything more than 1 vehicle is parked up, so soon enough it was 4 or 5 vehicles , so i moved on. :thumbup:
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From there it was off to Halali camp...

The place was very quiet, only a handful of vehicles. I drove around the camp first before choosing a site. Everything was just as clean and tidy as it was in Okaukeujo. Halali gets less of the big tour groups coming through, well ,at least when we were there, so that was good too.

I set up my gear, cracked a beer, read 2 pages of my book and klapped a dos in my hammock.
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That evening , we took a walk to a watering hole. We got there while the sun was still high, and sat for almost two hours as it got to dusk, just glassing the area with Binocs,...and sipping a sundowner, what a magic place. Dead quiet too.
Some Kudu, including one BIG bull, and a lot of impala,... then, out the left , a heard of Ellies, at sunset.
In the end, 37 elephants arrived, including babies. The sounds and action was fantastic.
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Then just when you think your Patrol is the Big Dog in town.... a European Couple show up in this... i couldn't speak for about 25 minutes from shear bewilderment as to the scale and operation of this overland rig.

Imagine touring the world in this thing. Everything was electronic, awnings, pop out hatches, full size showers, off ATV at the rear... this is the real deal boys.
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From halali we were to exit the park and make a massive haul through to Ngepi. The problem wasn't really the distance, it was the park gate opening times, and speed limit. Anyway, we did a pre-pack the evening before, and just smashed some coffee and rusks for breakfast, so we could hit the gate first thing.
Turned out to be a lovely drive actually, albeit, freeeeeeeeeezing cold.
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Re: Trip Report - Namibia and Botswana

Post by Peter Connan » 29 Jun 2017 05:35

What a rig! Wonder what fuel consumption that gets? And did you check the hooters on that mog? :biggrin:

Seriously, I think you timed your trip just right for minimal people. When I was in Etosha, Okaukeujo campsite was chock & block.
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Re: Trip Report - Namibia and Botswana

Post by Tinus lotz » 29 Jun 2017 06:36

Love those lorries....nice report russ .....keep it coming :thumbup:

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Russ Kellermann
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Re: Trip Report - Namibia and Botswana

Post by Russ Kellermann » 29 Jun 2017 10:38

So from Halali , we headed towards Ngepi. We found the change of terrain and scenery drastic, as we moved closer and closer to the Caprivi Strip.
Once you hit the Okavango river, everything became lush and green, almost tropical. We drove along side the river for a while, until turning off on the twin spoor track that take you to Ngepi camp.

I could see serious tracks from the rainy seasons carnage. and it was obvious which areas would flood with water. We had no problems though, just very thick dust and some huge dongas.

We were greeted warmly upon arrival, and i immediately felt at home here. I love river systems, and just being near water, after so much desert/arid/sad driving, it had re-energized us.

We immediately left our cars right where they were in the parking lot and had a lekker cup of coffee on one of the viewing decks. i looked across the river, and there stood 3 cape buffalo in long grass, i could JUST see the boss above the grass line.

We had camped everywhere until now,... but at Ngepi, i had booked us two tree houses, at very good prices,... so we were living in style for the next few days.
The treehouses are right above the water, with their own decks, hammocks, and outside bathrooms/showers. They have canvas walls , if you want to use them, but they give you plenty of blankets, so i left mine up so that in the morning, you wake up to sun rising over the Okavango river.

The antire stay, all i heard,day and night, were hippos, elephant,buffalo, and birds of all shapes and sizes. The place felt alive. I even had a snake come though my treehouse, bright green, about 1m long with a brownish head . (boomslang of sorts ?)

We braaid, as well as ate at the main building, and it was fantastic.
I absolutely loved this place, everything about it.

I took my rod down to the jetty/swimming cage,... had two chases on my spinner bait and on my 5th cast i got a small Tiger. I tried to raise a better bit but couldn't. Still, was fun. I hadn't cought tigers since i was young , when i spent 2 weeks on a houseboat on Kariba.
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I had planned a boat cruise at our next destination,... so i asks the guides if they could take us in Mokoros.
I packed my binocs and a bottle of water.
They took us through a short safety briefing, and soon enough were were ready to get into these things.
I went in one, with the lead Guide (cant remember his name) and my folks went tandem in the other, with the second in command (cant remember his name either),... but both of them were probably in their late 40's and had been using the okavango water ways all of their life, i left safe.

We set off, and all was well, i loved how peaceful it was, and we drifted right past a cape buffalo at the waters edge, he spooked, bucked, and thundered into the thickets near the bank. There were elephant behind the trees , a big herd, i could only see about 12 but i thnk there were a lot more.

About 15 minutes after that, ..... That's when it happened...

We were drifting along,hugging the bank VERY closely (reeds in the face kinda close), and came upon a small bay on the left,... we waited for a while , checking for hippos, my guy gave the all clear, but as he did so, about 30m away, a Hippo Bull broke surface, giving a massive snort of the nostrils, and ducked under again.

We had only travelled about one boat length from the mouth of this bay at the time, but immediately my guide muttered something in his mother tongue, that i knew was not good. We stayed dead still , mokoros not moving at all. The hippo popped up 20m away and drifted another 5m closer.

Both guides very slowly and calmly started backing us towards the reeds, but the bank was still a way off.

It was then that we saw the bow wave, a torpedo under the water moving faster than i could actually believe. The guides had frantic voices and they furiously backed us into the reeds aiming for the bank,...but within a second or two the hippo was already 3-5m from the front of our mokoros. It launched out the water, flicked it's (freaking massive) head and dived left for deep water.

Brown pants moment all round. i looked back at the guides and all i saw was the whites of their eyes. I knew it was a close call. I was shaking, in fact, i had never been so frightened in my life, ever .

The amazing thing, was that no one made a noise the entire incident, not even my mom. I think everyone just knew that if this goes pear shaped, well, that's it. :lol:

We waited there for 10 minutes, so we could see where he came up,.... he had moved through the deep channel to the other side. ... we kept a beady eye on him, and when the moment was right, they paddled quietly, but bloody quickly across the 50m wide opening to the bay. We had to cross deep water a few times after that,...and every time, the same thing,... we wait,.. we find the shortest route across, and then we give it the beans, hugging the reeds super tight the whole time....

We saw lots of game and birdlife, ...what an amazing experience,... (hippo charge though was not funny)
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Re: Trip Report - Namibia and Botswana

Post by Oetie » 29 Jun 2017 11:39

Nice report, thank you!

That hippo experience.... eish
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Russ Kellermann
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Re: Trip Report - Namibia and Botswana

Post by Russ Kellermann » 02 Jul 2017 10:02

More coming guys, just been mental at work. :thumbup:
'07 Patrol Pickup TD42 N/A,285's KM2,3" Lift,ONCA Bars,Warn High Mount,Alu Canopy, and some other Stuff.

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