Our experience in Namibia
“The vastness and emptiness of Namibia is very impressive ”
Last year Joke Lagendijk and her partner Marc travelled along the Garden Route in South Africa. Though it was a nice trip, the atmosphere in South Africa was a little too European for their taste. This year they searched for a more adventurous destination which has more of the ‘Africa-feeling’. This led them to choose Namibia. In three weeks they drove 5,000 kilometres through the beautiful landscape of this vast country.
Joke is an Africa-enthusiast and has travelled before in not only South Africa but also in Kenya and Tanzania. She likes the vast open spaces and the kindness of the people. “After South Africa we knew we wanted to visit another African country,” says Joke. “Namibia stood out and so I went searching on the internet where I had quickly found Better Places. I had arranged everything myself for our South Africa trip, but i did not feel like doing that for Namibia. There was not a lot of available accommodations on the hotel sites and we had no idea on the distances in this country and what distances were realistic to drive on a daily basis.”
Our contact with the local travel expert in Southern Africa, went very smoothly. She designed a customized itinerary for Joke and Marc. “We always received a response within a day and we felt very at ease.” says Joke. “That gave us the confidence that everything would be well arranged by her. And everything did go smoothly. We received good advice and explanations about the route. During one of our first days we were advised to leave early in the morning, as we needed to drive 500 kilometres. At this moment we did not have the slightest idea on the time it requires. So we left early and that was a very accurate advice as we arrived at 6 pm at our lodge. These type of advice is really valuable.
Driving in Namibia
For three weeks Joke and Marc drove with a rental car through Namibia and visited the Fish River Canyon, Aus, Lüderitz, Sossusvlei, Spitzkoppe, Brandberg, Etosha National Park, Waterberg and Windhoek. “The next time we would like to take a little more time to visit the north as well, where the native tribes live.” says Joke. “Furthermore, our trip had covered all of the highlights.” The self-drive was not a problem whatsoever.” Especially in Etosha National Park the self-drive was special because we knew that we could run into a herd of animals at any given moment. We had the freedom to stop where and when we wanted. The animals in Etosha are quite fascinating. Wildlife comes together at the waterholes and so you can observe them calmly. The interaction between different species is beautiful to watch. ”
The accommodation where Joke and Marc stayed were very diverse. They slept in small lodges and larger accommodations and in tented camps. “We liked the tented camps best, because it made us feel like we were in the middle of nature,” says Joke. “We also had a preference for the small lodges. In the evening we often had dinner with the other guests, which led to us exchanging travel stories at a large dinner table.”
A magical moment
One of the greatest experiences of Marc and Joke was at the small Zebra River Lodge, near the Fish River Canyon. “The owner told us that the zebras come every evening at half past eleven to the water hole,” says Joke. “Yeah right, we thought. But at ten o’clock we sat on our balcony and we suddenly heard the sound of hooves in the distance. That was a magical moment: the zebras were really coming! We sat down near the water and we heard the snorting and the scraping of the hooves in the bushes. Then the first zebra came out and walked to the water. Truly magical. Eventually there were ten zebras drinking from the water hole.” Joke really enjoyed the landscapes of Namibia. “You can drive in Namibia for hundreds of kilometres without seeing someone and that void is very impressive,” she says. “This was one of the most beautiful journeys I’ve ever had.”