We have just returned from an amazing month of exploring in Namibia, here is a blog report from one of our Clients Jen Morgan, more images in Gallery Here
“The perfect day. Now I agree that when immersed in 10 days of African zen that’s quite a statement but for me this day in particular just came together, when I’m next faced with the dinner party question ‘Jen if you could have one day again …’ this Wednesday in particular will be a firm contender. Having fallen asleep under the Southern shooting stars (after a great discussion about what stars were and why they existed and me deciding to opt for the more romantic notion of simply wishing upon them) I woke around 6am just as the sun was rising up over the Namibian pan casting a golden glow and welcome warmth over our cold and sleepy faces, no scrabble to reach for the cameras but a hypnotic and awesome sight leaving the group silent and in complete awe, the perfect alarm call. Early doors breakfast and a freshly brewed urn of ‘continental blend’ coffee helped to thaw those of us who had sacrificed the shelter of the roof tents for the true African al fresco experience.
Our hardy bushmen guides (3 incredible hunters, trackers and all round good guys) took the opportunity of our all too lengthy morning domestic chores to explore the area, Nyae Nyae Pan being new territory for them as well as us, their excitement showed as they were soon out of sight across the savannah with generations of instinct leading the way. Finally set, we piled into the trucks and began a days exploration of this unique area, a combination of pancake flat pans, open Savannah and gnarly bushfeld. Our first sighting of wild Africa was an energetic collection of Springbok quite literally springing across in front of us. The truck was stopped and the lens canons were aimed in the general direction, instantly reeling off at least 10 frames in the hope of landing the money shot, my more old school point and shoot camera did me proud but I’m looking forward to seeing the work of the photography aficionados in the group.
Springbok, Ostrich, Kudu and warthog all presented themselves throughout the morning, as excitement continued to grow in ‘truck two’ we must have been heard amongst the four legged residents I’m sure, yet alone two off-roading Hilux trucks but we seemed to make no impact on their daily routine. Witnessing a myriad of some of the most beautiful animals in their natural habitat without a ranger in sight really was very special indeed. We turned left (or was it right? second time lucky) at the 5 ft anthill, the one with the tree sticking out of it, drove approx 2 miles and stopped for lunch under the most beautiful Baobab tree. I’d read a little about these creations but to see it, climb it and feel its notches and scars was incredible. Huge boughs stretched out high above us 100 feet off the ground and enormous nests of grass, sticks and shoots indicated this was home-from-home for native birds. Out came the snacks for lunch; artisan cheeses, cold meats, spiced crackers , peanut butter (of course) and even a Ferraro Roche left over from the night before. This had to be the perfect picnic spot for my perfect day, I sat humbly under the tree feeling very small whilst the others spread out equally around its epic base for some time out.
Fed and watered we loaded into the trucks again. Now those that know me well will understand why the sight of 6 wild African elephants quite literally brought me to tears. Within a short drive of our Baobab Tree sure enough we rounded a corner to the most awesome of sights as we came across these mighty juggernauts. I had hoped I’d get the opportunity to see elephants during the trip and expected to wait until the Etosha National Park leg of the journey where i’d catch a glimpse, how wrong i was, to see this family in the wild enjoying what little water there was at the waterhole was the highlight of my entire trip and dream come true. We took our lead from both Stuart and Jaime, both experienced guides, and mimicked their stealth like approach leading us on foot to within 30 feet or so for a jackpot view of these graceful giants. Their sense of presence was overwhelming and they seemed to care very little for our intrusion. For me, the reaction of our bushmen guides was magical, seeing these courageous tribesmen approach the waterhole with such grace and understanding walking methodically as if to feel the energy of these animals, incredible. Time seemed to stand still as we admired in silence for what seemed like hours. They say elephants never forget…on this occasion they are not alone.
As we arrived back at our familiar Baobab Tree (an obvious choice as camp for the night) the group dispersed and soon became busy blissfully doing very little, the odd journal entry or the oo’s and ahh’s of the wildlife photographs captured that day could be heard. My mission became clear, time to master the hand drill with the fire-sticks donated to us in Grashoek Village and perfect my fire starter skills. Under the watchful eye of Stuart (a seasoned pro!) I succeeded just in time as the bushmen returned to camp, yes I did feel a bit smug but it’s surprising how satisfying and addictive creating fire can be. My fire sticks now sit idle in the greenhouse in Cornwall waiting for it to stop raining, not sure I can replicate quite the same scene on the lawn. The sun set as it always did just after 5pm marking the beginning of the end to my perfect day.
Indulgent quiet time was spent sat by the fire chatting with the bushmen and friends, yet another awesome dinner from Jaime the travelling chef (which on this occasion included campfire baked chocolate brownies) before more stories, more laughter …
Right on cue, the sky filled with the brightest of stars, I sat gazing skyward under that Baobab Tree for a while before finally climbing into my roof tent with only the odd Hyena laugh in the nearby bushveld to disturb.
When I think back on that day it makes me smile, a lot, not just for the awesome sights we witnessed but to share them in amazing company in one of the most beautiful corners of the world. I’m sure I’ll have another perfect day in my life but until that comes, my Namibian Wednesday remains high up on that list.
Jen, June 2013
more images in Gallery Here