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AFRICA -  DAY TWENTY THREE - LUDERITZ, KOLMANSKOP, FISH RIVER CANYON

Previous Blogs: Day 1 Pretoria | Day 4 Dinokeng | Day 5 New Years | Day 6+7 Umdloti | Day 8 - DumaZulu | Day 9 Hluhluwe | Day 10+11 PE to Knysna | Day 12 Ostrich Farm | Day 13 Hermanus | Day 14 Hout Bay | Day 15 Cape Point | Day 16 Table Mountain | Day 17+18 Namib Desert | Day 19 Sossusvlei | Day 20+21 To Swakopmund | Day 22 Cape Cross | Day 23 Luderitz | Day 24 Walvis Bay | Day 26 To Windhoek | Day 27 Katatura | Day 28+29 Zambezi | Day 30 The Falls | Day 31 Chobe | Day 32+33 Going Home

Click photos for a larger image...

Today we woke up at 4:30AM.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  Wendy calls it the "Ass Crack of Not Even Dawn Yet".  I call it....PAINFUL! 

We flew south almost to the SA border over the Namib desert to see Fish River Canyon from the air. Then we flew to Luderitz where we landed so we could see Kolmanskop (a diamond  mining Ghost Town) and Luderitz. Finally a flight back to our base in Swakopmund. See map below.

We were picked up at 5 am (ARGH!) for our flight in a Cessna 210. Note sunrise in background! Due to the fog, our scheduled take off at 6 am only occurred about 6:45am.

The early start was to avoid flying in the afternoon heat which can get bumpy over the desert.

Good morning sunrise over the desert

Sand dunes as far as the eye can see

We flew over Sossusvlei and Doodvlei the same place we explored on foot a few days ago.

Many dry river beds, but evidence of underground water.

 

And then... there is the magnificent Fish River Canyon!

 

There is no place on earth that demonstrates the power of erosion like Namibia.  While it may look similar to the US Grand Canyon in some aspects, no words can adequately describe the grandeur of this canyon.   There is some debate of whose Canyon is bigger.  The US Grand Canyon or this big hole in Tibet.  Either way, Fish River Canyon is touted as the 2nd largest Canyon in the world and the largest in all of Africa. 
Then back over the desert to land in Luderitz.

First we went to Kolmanskop, which is a ghost town that was abandoned over 60 years ago. Originally settled to collect Guano (bird poop used as fertilizer), diamonds were discovered and it became a German boom town in the early 1900s. Abandoned in the 1959 the desert has taken over the once bustling and affluent town.

Rooms are filled with sand from the desert as this area is extremely windy

The view from the once beautiful homes is stark.

 

Then it was time to visit Luderitz where we had lunch. The town is VERY German.

 

The town is built on a natural harbor

and is very rocky

 

The town has a population of just 12,000 and is the only other port in Namibia

Finally it was time to fly home. This time along the coastline and our pilot was a champion, keeping the plane low as possible flying mostly at 300 feet all the way back! (almost 500 miles!) Some times we flew as low as 100 feet.  Did we mention our pilot is a 20 year professional, owns a sky dive company and also an acrobatic flyer?  This was a FUN flight!!

Yet another ship wreck on the Skeleton Coast

 

What amazed me (above) we are flying literally 250 miles away from any road or town and then suddenly you see a bush camp like this!

The only way to get there is to drive all those miles in a 4x4 through the desert or along the beach.

 

 

Another shipwreck

Sorry, it's hard to get when you're

zooming through the air so fast!!

 

And finally...

 

...a sign seen at Kolmanskop in the restaurant.

 

 

 

Wendy's "And Finally" Note:

I didn't get a photo of it, but if you want to stop ALL conversation with an extremely uncomfortable pause, come back to the lunch table and tell your guide, pilot, husband and mother, "Guess what!  Free 3-Pack condoms available in the Ladies Room if anyone is interested!"

UMMMMMM.... in a 4 Star upscale restaurant. 

Who knew condoms were not lunch table talk?  According to the pilot, there is an "Educational Push" for Namibia to use them.  Seeing as I saw a sign (again, driving too fast to photograph the sign both in Namibia and South Africa) it said:

 

BE WISE: CIRCUMCISE

Stop STD. Stop AIDS.

 

 

ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME??!! If I see the sign again I will triple U-Turn to get a photo.  Who knew the WHO and CDC had it wrong for all these years?

 

 

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