After waking up to another beautiful day in the desert, we had a quick breakfast and departed, waving goodbye to Oom Fritz as he mowed his postage stamp sized green lawn in the middle of thousands of hectares of dry desert plain (“oom” being the Afrikaans term commonly used as a polite form of address for men older than oneself and most closely translated as “uncle”).


Oom Fritz explaining to Dallas that wind is made here and then sent everywhere else!

The route back to Luderitz went past Hammerstein Lodge, a local game farm offering lodge-style accommodation, a small wildlife reserve and animal sanctuary for injured, orphaned and rescued wildlife. After being greeted by Daisy, the friendly springbok, rescued from a hit and run when she was just a calf, Dallas and Lauren relaxed in the tea garden while I went for a closer encounter with some red caracal (a type of wild cat), a couple of cheetah and a leopard.

2DaisyDaisy, the friendly springbok inspects the hire car

Leaving the lodge, we got back on track for the road back, choosing the most reliable route home with tarred roads as far as possible, given that enough rain had fallen in the night to render many of the roads impassable, including the one we had used the day before en route to Sossusvlei!

The route home climbed a pass to the level of the interior plateau and we were treated to some great vistas and some more sightings of birds and jackal. Just before the tarred road started again at Maltahohe, we passed some friendly locals in their horse- and donkey-drawn carts, waving as they trotted past and we noted, as the last cart disappeared in the rear-view mirror, that that made it 3 counts of animal drawn vehicle to 2 counts traffic with engines that we had passed on that road in some hours…

3Donkey cart Namibia’s answer to travelling “green”

The route through to the town of Mariental and towards Keetmanshoop was more typical desert plain than we had previously seen and just before the last-mentioned town, we stopped to see the Quiver Tree forest, a group of plants, several hundred years old, which was declared a national monument in 1955. With their yellow trunks, white-grey branches and green leaves, these aloe plants make dramatic photographic subjects against the impossibly blue Namibian sky.

4forest Not your typical forest…

Thereafter a quick view of the Giant’s Playground, an area of interestingly eroded rocks, likened to the play blocks of some imaginary giants, and a dinnertime tour of rescued cheetahs at the local game farm and lodge, we hit the road again for the last leg of the journey back.

5GiantPlayground Giant’s Playground eroded rock formations

6DallasCheetah Dallas gets up close and personal with the lady in the spotted coat

Descending from the plateau in the late afternoon light made for some breathtaking views of the dramatically coloured landscape before darkness finally fell as we neared Luderitz again.

The Namibian desert tour completed, we headed back to the boat, enriched by our experience of this land of big dunes and big skies.