Desert Adventure – Day 3

After driving past the lion tracks we decided to stay in the Huab river bed and continue exploring its sandy tracks. The scenery only got more and more phenomenal. Cutting through a dry and barren landscape of red clay, black rocks and deep sand is this oasis of green. Towering trees, lush reeds, chirping birds and plenty of mammal tracks. It’s amazing what some water can do.

Our road through the river bed.  Pretty different than the roads we had been on through the desert just the day before.  We knew that just over the ridge was desert again though.

We had gotten a bit delayed in the morning because our tent was soaking wet with dew from the night before so we stopped once the sun broke through the early morning fog to dry it out before it got too moldy smelling. Because of this, we decided to stay in the river bed until it met the main gravel road and follow that north to Palmwag rather than taking smaller dirt tracks all the way north. It was a great decision too. The riverbed was absolutely indescribable and I’m sure the pictures won’t do it justice. Unfortunately we couldn’t find any of the allusive desert elephants, lions or rhinos but we did see a bunch of relatively fresh tracks so we knew they were around (or at least that we were the first people to have gone that way in a long while. Also, there are only about 200 desert rhinos so we don’t really expect to see any, maybe because they are mostly nocturnal…)

We did see quite a few kudu even if we didn’t see the elephants, lions or rhinos.

Once in Plamwag, which we had thought was some sort of town but turned out to be a fuel station and a lodge next to a concession, we debated staying at the lodge campsite to have a shower and relax by the pool, beers in hand. After a quick wobble we regained our senses, thought better of it and headed into the concession for another night of wild camping. This will be the first night camping in an “official” campsite, i.e. we are told where we have to camp, but it is still completely wild. We are located in an elbow in the dry Aub riverbed with a cliff on one side and riverbed leading through to an open plain on the other. Unlike the previous few nights there are few trees around.

At camp for the evening.  In these photos you can see Cheryl demonstrating two important parts of camp life: 1) cleaning our feet with baby wipes before putting on socks and/or going to sleep – it’s the little things but this makes you feel oh, so much better. And 2) pouring wine.  Notice she is using a 5L water jug.  Only the classiest for us but our 5L box of wine started leaking so we used what we had! (That or Cheryl turned the water into wine but I’m pretty sure that one’s been done before.)

The Palmwag concession is a large privately-owned area. The ground is largely itself is a rocky landscape with small shrubs dotting the red sand and black rock mixture. The trees here are quite small, almost pigmy-esque. We’ve debated whether they are gigantic banzai trees or miniature baobabs. Jury is still out but either way they look really interesting.

This was pretty much the landscape in Palmwag.  Though to be fair there were a few more trees around than these pictures let on.

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I don’t know how these zebra didn’t break their legs running over all of these loose rocks but there were actually quite a few of them.  Notice this is Hartman’s Mountain zebra because the stripes go all the way down the legs and it doesn’t have the faint brown stripe between the black stripes like the Burchell’s Plains zebra.

 

Tomorrow we plan to set out for the Aub canyon for a view (described as a ‘must-see’ by our BF Goodrich guide to off-roading in Namibia so our hopes are high. Seriously, this short guide has been phenomenal in recommending where to go. Almost this whole desert adventure wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for that guide.) From the Aub we’ll continue out of Palmwag and up to Sesfontein. We only plan to stop here briefly and wave hello before continuing out of town as quickly as possible and into another riverbed where we hope to camp wild again tomorrow.

Today’s driving had everything from gravel road to deep sand to steep rocky inclines to tyre-shredding rocky declines.

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As an aside, after no showers for a while we will be very smelly by the end of these 7 days…

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