The long day 7 drive through the concession area was a slow, difficult, and at times uncomfortable (very steep terrain mixed with heavy rains) journey. As we arrived and searched out a campsite, the clouds began to clear and we were treated to a spectacularly beautiful double rainbow sunset over the camp. We were now as far out of touch from the rest of the modern civilized world as I have ever been. Over dinner our guide Sasha described the “lion” protocol for the camp (imagine him telling us this at night as light from the small fire flickered on half of his face): Never leave your tent alone at night. Need to pee? Take the bucket from outside your tent door into your tent, pee, put the bucket back outside of the tent. Need to do a #2? Wake the three men up and walk as a group to the makeshift toilet as you scan the surroundings with headlamps for reflective “eyes” around camp. Hear something at night creeping outside your tent? Don’t move, make a noise, or turn on your light. Do not call for anyone. Follow these rules, and you likely will not get eaten. We all slept great after that. And for the record, we did hear some hyenas not too far from camp as we were falling asleep.
This is my favorite photo from the entire trip. Click to see it in full resolution!
Day 7 was when the adventure really stepped it up a notch. We were now headed out for three nights of wild camping in the Damaraland (Palmweg) Concession, a massive, roughly 5,500 km2 /2,200 mile2 conservation area in north-western Namibia. This open and wild region is the home to a large variety of species, including lion, elephants, mountain zebra, giraffe, and nearly 70% of the world’s free roaming black rhinos. Traveling and camping in the concession would allow us to experience these animals in their true open and untamed native habitat, unlike what we would later experience in the more commercial National Parks and Reserves. A long and arduous drive on little-used uneven roads, at times through torrential downpours, was worth the surprise we had waiting for us when the rains stopped and we arrived at our remote campsite (see next post!).
Two male Greater Kudo
Star Gazing Selfie from Mount Brüschstockhügel
View over Lake Wägitalersee. This outing was to be my first serious attempt at photographing the Milky Way. My youngest daughter and I drove from our home to nearby Mount Brüschstockhügel (1488m) in Canton Schwyz. We hiked up to the peak and settled into camp as low thin clouds slowly started to contaminate the previously crystal clear Swiss mountain sky. So ended my first quest. No worries, it was great practice, and pics would have simply been an added bonus anyway to ‘hangin and camping in the mountains with one of your kids!
Hätteboda Sunset, Sweden
Beautiful sunset over our campsite at Hätteboda Wilderness Campground in the Småland region of southern Sweden. For those of you who are looking for a more remote and wilderness-style camping experience in Sweden, this is the place to be! Mostly tent campers, no RVs allowed. Very primitive camping by european standards. Complete with a wood-oven powered sauna on the lake!