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TRAVELBUCKET

Namibia

CROSSING THE BORDER (PART III) – ARRIVING AT THE BORDER

You have made it to the border post!  Now you need to keep calm and work through the process.  Remember each country has its own rules. Which border post? In all our years of travel we found that it is much easier to enter/exit at smaller border posts.  At the bigger border posts, the officials are sometimes tired and irritated and will take their time to work through the processes.  Our experience is at the smaller posts they are friendlier and welcome a chat while doing their work. When? Try to avoid peak times, if possible, like month end, late Friday afternoon or popular public holidays like Easter.  Everybody is in a hurry and the queues are longer, the tempers flare quicker and willingness is shorter. Be positive! No matter how frustrated you get, try to smile and be friendly.  They are only doing their job.  A positive attitude goes… Read more >

CROSSING THE BORDER (PART II) – VEHICLE AND INSURANCE

This is probably the most stressful aspect of any border crossing, with the most variables per country, but if you stick to the following you should be more or less okay.  If your vehicle is still under a finance agreement, you will need to acquire a letter of permission from the applicable financial institution. Each institution has its own requirements and procedures to follow as to how to obtain it.  Allow enough time to obtain the required paperwork.  If you are planning to take a trailer or caravan remember to do the same, if financed. Make sure your ID number matches that used on your vehicle documents. If your registration papers show your RSA ID number, then take it with you.  Rather take too much proof than be in a predicament. Take a colour copy of your vehicle’s registration papers. This is very handy. It is a popular document and… Read more >

CROSSING THE BORDER (PART I) – PLANNING

African border posts have an notorious reputation, but it is not as bad as everyone thinks as long as you go prepared and have no illusions.  Most border trouble comes down to inexperience or impatience – not only in Africa, but throughout the world.  The key is to prepare well beforehand and remember every successful border crossing pans out differently in each country as regulations change all the time and is rapidly outdated.  There are general tips that you can follow to ease your encounter at the border post, so consider some of the following tips. SO, THIS SAID, WHERE DO I START?  Right at the beginning.   Planning, planning, planning and some more planning!  Start doing your homework well in advance, because it might take some time to get your ducks in a row and quacking. The number one place to start will be at your documents.  Without a passport,… Read more >

THE GOOD OLD PAPER MAP

        Why still a hard copy map?  Yes, yes, yes I know all the modern technology is available – and I do own a GPS and a smart phone with navigational abilities, but I still love a good old map with all those red lines connecting places. You see this is where the practical me jumps in again.  I like it because: There is nothing more rewarding when you are planning a trip than to spread out the map on the table and say that is where I want to go. Yes, yes, I know the GPS shows me where I want to go, but sometimes we get so blinded by tunnel vision  focussing on what the GPS tells us what to do that we do not actually know where we are in the bigger picture. Driving in town that is fine, you can just replace/recharge the… Read more >

MAMILI (NKASA RUPARA) IN THE CAPRIVI

Although Namibia is normally associated with arid and harsh conditions this park has lush green marshes so be prepared for many water crossings on your visit.  The water levels vary according to the amount of rain, but even in the “dry season” you will still encounter a fair amount of water with some inaccessible areas.  In the “wet season” you will be very limited as to where you will be able to drive due to flooded areas and that infamous black turf.  This is a 4×4 only park where off road driving experience is very much needed. No camping is allowed in the park, but there is a community campsite (flush toilets and hot water provided from a donkey, no electricity) situated just outside the park boundary.  There are only six campsites, of which one was not in use due to a fire that gutted the structure, when we visited. … Read more >

AT THE WATERHOLE

Plan your trip and times and choose a waterhole where you want to spend some time.  The best time to observe the activity at a waterhole is early morning or late afternoon when the animals come for a drink.   You may see different animals at different waterholes as the vegetation may differ considerably – be choosy. When approaching the waterhole drive slowly as to make the less possible noise and dust when arriving.  If you arrive in a fanfare the animals and birdlife will be gone before you even know it.  We are all there to have a once in a life time experience! Be considerate and pick a spot where you will not obscure the view of other people already present.  Wait your turn. They were there first and we all want to experience the animals.  After all that is what we all are there for. Go prepared.  Take… Read more >

ELEPHANT 101

This post is not about travel as such, but seeing that we had several close encounters with elephants in Mana Pools, Matusadona as well as in many of the Botswana wild parks this may come in handy.  Even in lately in Kruger National Park there were some incidents/accidents. Let’s start off with some interesting and lesser known facts about the trunk of an elephant: Feeling the vibe:  Aside from smell, the trunk is sensitive to vibrations; from the ground it can sense the rumble of faraway herds and even far-off thunder. Mighty muscles:  An elephant’s trunk has eight major muscles on either side and 150,000 muscle bundles in all. It is so strong that it can easily push down trees or roll over a vehicle. Move it:  Like the human tongue, the trunk is a muscular hydrostat – a boneless muscular structure that allows for its excellent maneuverability. Phenomenal sense… Read more >

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