Out Of Zuffenhausen
A gemsbok—or oryx, the national animal of Namibia—suddenly bounds across the road. It turns its head with an inquisitive look and disappears just as quickly behind an enormous rock formation. The evening sun lends the stone a golden glow, and the wind plays with a few grains of sand.
It is exactly how Hans-Joachim Baumgartl, 54, pictured Namibia. A German physician from Landsberg am Lech, he planned to take a motorcycle tour of the country some twenty years ago.
But as so often happens in life, studies, a family, and work intervened. Now he is here at last and fulfilling his dream—albeit on four wheels instead of two—on a trip with the Porsche Travel Club.
Namibia is more than twice the size of Japan, and you could fit about twenty Switzerlands within its borders. Only around 2.3 million people live in this country of nearly 320,000 square miles.
But it is also home to over two hundred species of mammals, 645 species of birds, and numerous species of reptiles and amphibians. Not even one-fifth of its roads are paved.
The dirt tracks start just a couple of miles outside the capital city of Windhoek—and with them the adventures.
Bushes cling to the ground around an occasional acacia or lush, green mopani tree. Otherwise, all you can see is sand, sand, and more sand.
A dream come true for friends of Africa
The Porsche Adventure Tour of Namibia includes the sand dunes of Sossusvlei (which can reach heights of 1,250 feet) the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Swakopmund and Damaraland, Twyfelfontein, and the Etosha Pan, a salt pan with an extensive array of wildlife.
It is a dream come true for friends of Africa and animal lovers.
“Compared to other African countries, Namibia has far more open space, as well as greater security,” says guide, Frik Orban.
Vast expanses and animals in their natural habitat was exactly what Gudrun Schmer from Wuppertal-Sudberg was looking for. A fan of Africa, she and her husband are traveling in the southern part of the continent for the first time.
“This time we wanted to go on an organised safari, do some serious photography, see a lot of animals and as much natural scenery as possible,” she says.
The “Great White Place”
Etosha means “great white place,” and indeed its salt pan measures around 1,850 square miles. Its inhabitants include more than 1,500 elephants, 300 lions, 400 cheetahs, 3,000 giraffes, and a few rhinos and leopards.
The pan is usually dry, filling only occasionally after heavy rains. Then the animals are regular fixtures at its sixty watering holes. That is when the gemsboks, kudus, gnus, impalas, and elands appear.
Two herds of zebras stroll across the road: first the plains species, then their Hartmann’s mountain cousins.
“You can tell them apart by the stripes on their legs,” explains Orban. The stripes serve as camouflage, and it is hard to spot the animals in the shimmering heat.
A couple of miles later, a cheetah has just ripped apart an oryx. Her young offspring eat while she stands guard. The cycle of life—birth and death. Nearly two dozen vultures circle in the sky, waiting for the leftovers.
Gudrun Schmer is awed by this display of nature. She and her husband both want to take another vacation with the Porsche Travel Club.
In fact, they have already chosen their next destination. As a counterpoint to Africa, they will be taking a drift seminar in Finland—on ice.
Image credit: Andreas Lindlahr
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