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The Kalahari Desert

Namibia Day Two

View Namibia road trip 2004 on ToonSarah's travel map.

Cactus at Anib Lodge

Our first full day driving in Namibia! After a good breakfast at the Eningu Clay House Lodge we loaded up the car and headed south.

We spent the morning on the road, taking it easy and enjoying the scenery, and arrived at our destination in time for a late lunch.

Anib Lodge

Our base for the night was this comfortable family-run hotel near Mariental in the Kalahari Desert. I say ‘family-run’ because it was at that time, although checking their website they seem since to have been taken over by a larger company. Not much seems to have changed however, except that maybe they have more rooms these days.

Our bungalow

Another cactus

We enjoyed a light lunch sitting by the swimming pool but I don’t remember that I had a dip, unusually for me! Instead we relaxed for a while in the pretty grounds, where I enjoyed taking photos of the large sculptural cacti until it was time to depart on the sundowner outing we had pre-booked.

Sunset in the Kalahari

We wrapped up warmly for this trip as we knew it would get cold as soon as the sun set, and even before then it was cool in the lodge’s open jeep. The plan was to watch the sunset from the nearby dunes but first we stopped to photograph a tree with several Sociable Weavers’ nests.

Sociable weavers' nests

These birds are endemic to southern Africa and unlike other birds build large community nests. These nests are the biggest built by any bird and can house over a hundred pairs of birds. Each pair of birds has its own chamber within the nest, rather like a human apartment block. The size of the nest means that the chambers stay relatively cool during the heat of the day, and warm in the cold Kalahari nights.

Kalahari view

Then it was time to head for the dunes. The Kalahari is perhaps more properly regarded as a semi desert, so the dunes aren’t pure ridges of sand but rather are dotted with scrub, camel thorns (acacias) and grasses. Our jeep driver parked at the top of one of them and we and the other guests got out to enjoy the views. We were served with a glass of Glühwein (the hotel was run by an Austrian couple) to keep us warm as we watched the sun set over the Kalahari which gradually started to take on an orange glow.

Kalahari sundowners

Chris with the jeep

On the dunes


Kalahari sunset

Then we climbed back into the jeep and snuggled under the provided blanket for the return to the lodge, as already the temperature had dropped below freezing.

Later dinner was served in the cosy dining room ‘family style’, that is, we were seated with other guests rather than at a table for two. This led to plenty of swapping of travellers’ tales – we got chatting to a Swiss couple near the end of their trip who gave us several good tips and ideas of places to go. The dinner was absolutely excellent and was accompanied by good wine (included in the accommodation costs). Our Austrian hosts’ love of good food, wine and schnapps was very evident, as we were to discover after dinner when we sat at the cosy bar and chatted with the landlord about our own favourite Austrian wines. A lovely way to end the day!

Posted by ToonSarah 05:19 Archived in Namibia Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises trees birds desert sunset road_trip hotel africa namibia cacti kalahari

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Coincidentally watched a documentary about the Kalahari last night. This was a delightful followup. We're fond of Glüwein too. Surprised to see it in the Kalahari!

by Beausoleil

Namibia is cosmopolitan. In Windhoek we dined in a Korean restaurant where the cook ran out of the kitchen in delight when we ordered extra kimchi. And at the Europa Hof in Swakopmund we found a wedding celebration: Lederhosen and Dirndl and lots of beer.

by CliffClaven

Thanks Sally and Michael :) There are a lot of German/Austrian/Swiss influences in Namibia and lots of Europeans from those countries running hotels etc., because of the country's colonial past.

by ToonSarah

Love the idea of the bird apartments. Also you got to use the word "endemi"

by greatgrandmaR

Hi Rosalie - you mean 'endemic'? It's not so unusual a word is it??

by ToonSarah

This lovely write up makes me think of how great it is to be able to travel, and travel freely -- pure enjoyment felt in everything you see & do! Your little bungalow looks marvelous by the way! Love the cactus and weavers' nests.

by starship VT

The mixture of cultures in Namibia adds to it's appeal.

by irenevt

Endemic isn't such an unusual word, but the opportunity to use it is fairly rare because so many plants and animals have been transplanted to other locations, and what seems like a local animal or plant has really come from Borneo or Brazil.

by greatgrandmaR

Thanks everyone Sylvia, you're right, I've realised writing this up how much we take it for granted most of the time that we can take a trip like this but it is a real privilege, isn't it? Irene, I agree about the mix of cultures too :)

And Rosalie, yes, I get what you mean - endemic species are special I guess because they are relatively rare :)

by ToonSarah

An Austrian evening in the Kalahari sounds different :-)

by Easymalc

It was unexpected but fun Malcolm. We have friends in Austria and know a bit about the wine there so we were able to have an interesting conversation with 'mine host' as he has a side line in importing wines from there to Namibia :)

by ToonSarah

yep the memories already starting to kick in ... nicely written! I so love you pictures! I loved the trees with the weaver nests as well. So funny to see the little birdies flying back and forth!

by Ils1976

Thanks so much Ils :)

by ToonSarah

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