getting our desert on

In August, we took a two week road trip into Namibia. Our friends Dave and Lee-Ann organized it all, and we got to go along for the ride. With good company, desolate desert landscapes, beautiful light, and pretty good roads, road-tripping (especially as a passenger) in Namibia is a treat.

After crossing through the border, we stayed with our friend, Antonie, who manages a table grape farm on the Orange River. The river and grapes along it form a narrow green strip on an otherwise dry-as-a-bone landscape. Here’s Dave just a few minutes drive away from the farm, after Antonie took us on a (surprise) 4WD adventure up into dunes.

Next up, we headed to the blustery beach town of Luderitz. The main attraction here is Kolmanskoope, an abandoned German diamond mining town outside of the city that once very fancy…but since it’s closure, has been taken over by the desert.






We hit the road again, this time heading to see some of Namibia’s most famous sights: Sossusvlei and Deadvlei. It was well-worth the crack-of-dawn wake up to see the sun come up here.

Steve and Dave leap down the dunes.

Serenity now.

Tree in Deadvlei (believe it or not, this area on occasion does fill will water)


Next up, we spent some time with Caroline and Jan, who run adjacent farms. Caroline farms cattle and sheep, whereas Jan has cattle, citrus, olives, and a bevy of chickens. We were all pretty enthralled with the farm living…it really was incredible to have an behind-the-scenes tour.

Caroline took us for a tour in her Land Cruiser, which chewed up the steep, rocky terrain.

Here’s a close up of another awesome Landy.

When stopped by to check in on Caroline’s lambs, we happened to see two sheep giving birth. (The sheep mamas were very chill all things considered!)



Jan showed us around his property, where with careful care, he has coaxed his trees and veggies into production in the desert.

Windmills pull water from deep in the ground.

Against the backdrop of his olive tree grove, Jan explains how a diving rod works. This is how they have found the water holes on their farm. We were skeptical, but it did react when he demonstrated it. Hm…mystical!

So cool. Many thanks to Caroline and Jan for their awesome hospitality!

Back on the road–and stocked up with farm-fresh oranges, eggs, and olives–we headed on to Spitzkoppe for some climbing (which Steve will report on separately), but not before stopping to check out these Welwitchia plants that are over 1,000 years old. Despite their appearance, each plant has only two leaves.

You can view all of our Namibia photos here.

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3 Responses to getting our desert on

  1. furfilled says:

    Steve and Angie – tell us more about the Welwitchia plants! Also, strangely enough, farmers in the Central Valley (California) still swear by the divining rod method of finding water too…


  2. Angie Bradshaw says:

    Hey Christine! I think wikipedia can do a better job on the Welwitcha plants than I can–but we have more photos of them, which you can see in the full photo set (I realized I forgot to add that in so it’s now at the end of the post).

    Cool that the divining rod is also in use in Cali…I tried it and it moved over water for me. It still seems crazy that it works! Jan said there’s a lady in Germany that people send aerial maps of their farms to and she ‘sees’ the presence of water in them. CRAZY right?

    I see from your blog that you’re having fun with Toki! Are you going to spend some time up in Bishop this fall? Jealous!

  3. riempies says:

    Absolutely beautiful pics of the desert (rest of the site too!), love the one of the blocks in the sand.

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