Travel report No. 46 Namibia and Botswana, 28.4.2011 - 30.6.2011

Windhoek - Maun (Botswana) - Nata - Kasane

Together with Nicole and Beat and their 4x4, the travel leads to the famous, towering up to 325m red sand dunes on the edge of ephemeral salt pans. The hiking up the dunes for sunrise and sunset is exciting. The town of Swakopmund with the German bakery, the German language which is also spoken by many blacks, all the German signs and names, seems to us a bit out of place. But bread and Kuchen taste really good.

The highlight of Namibia is the Etosha Nationalpark, an enormous flat saline desert, surrounded by bush and grasslands that provide a habitat for diverse wildlife. We can watch rhinos, a leopard, hyenas, hundreds of zebras while drinking at the water hole, a group of lions, elephants as well as uncountable giraffes and different types of antelopes.

Back in Windhoek after 10 wonderful days, we hop on the bike again. 800km flat bush land is to be conquered going to Maun in Botswana. This monotonous landscape is appealing for us, because it shows the vastness of the african grassland and the road is isolated with hardly any traffic, what we cyclists appreciate. The silence, the camping in the wild under millions of stars are fantastic and when a cheetah miaows behind the tent, are these unforgettable experiences.

The Okavango Delta, 16'000sqkm expansion and expiration of the Okavango River is the world's largest inland river delta. But these waters never reach a sea, they soak into the salt pans of the Kalahari desert. A flight across this delta, 150 m above the ground, gives a great impression and fascinates with the colorfulness and wildlife (herds of elephants and buffaloes).

Another 600km through grasslands, where there is a great venue of wildlife to be seen, which is by far more impressing from the saddle of the bike. In Kasane we take a boat tour on the Chobe river, and it is magnificent to watch the herds of elephants, hippos and crocodiles.

We are often warned of the wild animals, but they do not seem to know bikes and if they see us, even elephants disappear in the bush. However, up to now we encountered no lions on the road. The baboons and other monkeys run away quickly too, of course we are not unhappy, especially because the baboons are quite frightening.