Travel directory
Southern France '09
Kalahari 2009
Ethiopia '08
Rwanda Uganda '08
Namibia & Kalahari '07
SE Asia '06
Morocco '06
South Africa/Namibia '05
Meerkats Earthwatch Expedition '05
South Africa/Swaziland '05
Tanzania '03
Namibia '03
South Africa '02
Bali/Java '01/'02
Travel Gallery

Hoanib & Amspoort

Ganumub to Elephant Camp

From Sesfontein, we drove on north-west, over a beautiful little pass, to where the Ganumub river crosses the Sesfontein-Purros road (two watertanks). Keith had told us that this is the nicer way to get into Hoanib than from Sesfontein directly, and JJ, who had done the other way, readily agreed! The Ganumub riverbed winds through mountains; it is not really overgrown but quite green, and with lots of game. We saw two crazy zebra - whenever we stopped, they stopped, but whenever we took up speed again, they bolted like crazy in the same direction. Difficult to get rid of... There were lots of oryx, giraffes, ostriches, springbok - but no elephants yet.

We arrived at the Poort, a wide open space covered in wild Datura where Ganumub meets Hoanib and they both press onwards through a small gap between the rocks. Quite spectacular to me, while JJ needed to lower tyre pressure again :-)

Passing the Poort to the west, we soon met two giraffes side to side. We soon noticed that they had a severe fight, with necks clashing together. More oryx, more springbok, a race with some ostriches (they are always faster...) - and then near the two watertanks to the south, finally, the first elephant!!! JJ spotted him on a sand bank in the middle of the riverbed. He was lying down and playing dead elephant. If you do not know whether elephants do lie down, you almost believe the guy is not well... It was a bit strange, to see the first elephant in that form... But from now on, we saw elephants all over. A group of 9, meeting a group of 3, later single bulls - and even two very curious guys who wanted to check whether they liked our dinner! Check out the elephant pages for more details and pictures of the elephants we've seen in the riverbeds!

Ganumub and Hoanib were extremely rich in stunning wild-life, so we decided to spend two nights in Hoanib. The first camp - called "elephant camp" since we had elephants visits during dinner and breakfast - was between Amspoort and the two watertanks, in a place where the riverbed was very wide. A beautiful spot for our first campsite in the wild, which we celebrated with the usual gin&tonics for sundowners and a tasty braai prepared by chef JJ. The night got extremely cold, with icy fogs from Skeleton Coast shrouding the valley.


Elephant camp to Amspoort camp

The next day, we turned upstream again. We first explored the side valley that joins Hoanib at the water tanks. Lots of giraffes - and it was interesting to see how barren the landscape looks once you leave the riverbed!

After several encounters with elephants (some of them friends from the day before), we stopped for a light lunch in the shadow of a camelthorn tree. Only to be joined by a very annoyed giraffe soon, who wanted to have just this camelthorn tree for lunch! Impressive to see those guys stretch and extend their snake-like tongue to reach another twig... It was also fun to see how a giraffe has to fight if he drops a juicy twig: Not being able to bend down the head quickly, he really needs to prepare, dive slowly, and "fish" for the twig!

We followed Hoanib a bit further than the Poort, but the landscape changed to be less interesting, and the vegetation looked a bit less like elephant food. We turned just in time to see a leopard cross our tracks and disappear behind the bushes! Well, of course JJ spotted it, being No. 1 leopard spotter!

In a slow drive with many interruptions of the elephant or giraffe kind, we got back to Amspoort. We looked for the way out of the riverbed, and enjoyed the views up the riverbed and down to the Skeleton Coast fogs. And soon, a parade of five elephants marched along to complete this idyllic picture - our friends we had seen during breakfast. A beautiful sight!

We set our Amspoort camp in a big windstill bay in the riverbed and enjoyed dusk with a sundowner.

The next morning, we were joined for breakfast by two elephants who stayed with us (well, rather with their tasty shrub) for more than an hour, some 50 m away. An awesome experience to have breakfast in the company of wild elephants!


Amspoort to Purros

We left Hoanib and Amspoort for Puros soon after. As soon as you leave the riverbed, the landscape gets grey-brown again - with some interspersed bushes and plants. But there is still lots of wildlife, we saw many oryx, springbok, giraffes and ostriches. According to Keith, elephants can also be seen wandering between Hoanib and Hoarusib, but they usually take a more direct way than the cars. Most of the way follows wide valleys with hills in all hues of brown in the distance - beautiful! After some more than an hour, we left the Hoanib catchment and now approached Hoarusib - a ridge of brown-red mountains in the ochre plains. Coming closer, the Hoarusib massif gets more and more impressive - but funnily enough those mountains are still lower than the plains behind them! As if someone had had the idea to put a jumble of mountains in the middle of a wide valley. I always wonder, in this region, how many crazy mountains still lie there, waiting under their sand blanket, to be eroded into their stone life...

The tracks (why must there be so many of them - can't people stick to the one existing track?) lead down towards the river, but then take a right turn, over a hill and into a gorge. Getting out of the car, we heard a frog-like quacking - in the midst of this hyper-arid gorge? We realized only after minutes that it came from birds. Rüppel's Korhaans (Trappen, in German). Anyway, do they live on stones, there?

Soon after this gorge, the vista opened to the Purros valley. Magnificent, with the river forming a green vegetation band through the yellow plain, with high mountains rising left and right. The ostriches and oryx completed this to an almost kitschy picture - Namibia at its best!

Read on here about our stay in Purros and the round trip up Hoarusib and over to Khumib!

Last update:  22:24 12/03 2007
Kalahari Meerkats
Augrabies NP
Naries - more flowers
Kleinzee diamond mine
Namibia's South, Orange
Fish River Canyon
Koichab Dunes
D707 scenic route
Büllsport & Naukluft
Windhoek & Waterberg
Outjo & Khowarib Gorge
Hoanib & Amspoort
Desert Elephants
Purros, Hoarusib & Khumib
Huab, Doros, Ugab
Erongo, Boshua, WDH
Travel facts
Gallery of this trip

Oryx in Ganumub

Hoanib - the Poort

Giraffe stretching

3 elephants

Elephant camp

Leaving Amspoort for Purros

Amspoort to Purros - giraffe

Top of page © - best viewed with Firefox