Arid Areas Birding – Part 4, Swakopmund to Ashkam

Leaving Swakopmund, we drove inland again on our way to Hohenstein Lodge.  We detoured via the Spitzkoppe, where we were able to enjoy the magnificent mountain scenery.  The white-tailed Shrike made its appearance, but we were disappointed not to see the Carp’s Tit, a local special.

Hohenstein Lodge is situated below the highest peaks of the Erongo Mountains and the cliffs loomed high above us.  At night there were pinpricks of light from the illegal crystal hunters who mine the dangerous slopes.  Hohenstein was comfortable, but very hot.  We were alone on our first night, but joined by 15 German tourists on the second night.  A drive through the Erongo Conservancy to Omaruru revealed some interesting countryside, but did not produce many birds, although we did see a couple of Monteiro’s Hornbills.

Our drive back south was interrupted by a puncture which we managed to get repaired in Usakos, despite there being no electricity!  Just south of Windhoek we popped into a side road to relieve ourselves and have a cup of coffee and were surprised by the sign on the road, banning peeing and pooping!!

We spent a night at Mariental at River Chalets, giving ourselves the opportunity to explore the irrigation settlement for birds.  It is always a good area and we saw a number of species, before sitting down to dinner at their roadhouse, which was packed, as it must be the only place to eat in the town.  We ended up enjoying some company as we invited another couple, who could not get a table, to join us.  Much wine was consumed!

Next day we took the road to the border at Rietfontein, before covering the last stretch to Ashkam, our overnight stop.  We had done all our shopping for our stay in the Kgalaghadi at Mariental, and were very disappointed to have all our fruit and vegetables confiscated at the border!  It seemed we would have to survive on Beer, Wine, Meat and Bread!

3 thoughts on “Arid Areas Birding – Part 4, Swakopmund to Ashkam

  1. Barbara Swart

    Thanks for sharing your travel diary. It brought back wonderful memories of our trip to Swakopmund and Hohenstein Lodge in the Erongo Mountains. We were there in August 2015 and had great birding. We did find the Dune Lark outside Swakop but I confess we had a guide with us!

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