Day 3 – Fish River Canyon – Ai-Ais
After a fabulous Day 1 and 2, I awoke to a magnificent sunrise over the Orange River. Our guides had been up since 6:00 a.m. cooking breakfast, which we ate while discussing the day’s activities. We left around 9:00 a.m. and headed north to the Fish River Canyon, the world’s second largest canyon. Though visually not as majestic or breathtaking as the Grand Canyon (the world’s biggest), Fish River Canyon is still impressive and awe-inspiring in its own right. We enjoyed a scenic walk along the canyon’s edge before heading to the on-site camp area for a group prepared lunch of salad and sandwiches.
We left the canyon by mid-afternoon and drove to the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort, where we would spend the evening. Ai-Ais (pronounced eye ice) means burning water in the local Nama language and refers to the sulphurous thermal hot springs located at the base of the mountain peaks near the southern end of the Fish River Canyon. The resort filters the hot spring water into a massive indoor jacuzzi with three interconnected pools. I had a nice relaxing soak for about an hour, then returned to my room for a hot shower. I was so relaxed, that I dozed off and missed dinner with the group.
Day 4 – Ai-Ais – Tsaris Mountains
I woke up early the next morning, refreshed and ready for another day of adventure in the Namibian desert. I stepped out onto my balcony to take in the fresh air and gaze at the beautiful mountain views surrounding me. A short while later, I made the mistake of leaving the patio door open while I went to the bathroom. The next thing I know, I heard rustling in the room and ran back in time to see a monkey making his escape out the patio door. He had stolen some sugar packets and knocked the sugar bowl on the floor in the process. Needless to say, I was startled and immediately closed the door to avoid a repeat. Later that morning, we had a tasty buffet breakfast then hit the road around 8:30 a.m. This was a full day of driving, as we covered nearly 400 miles from southern to central Namibia. We saw the vast, desolate arid landscape and a variety of wildlife, including giraffes, ostriches, and mountain zebras. Along the way, we stopped for lunch at a roadside campsite. We ate sandwiches and salad, while scoping out local birds, flora and fauna. Our guides were a wealth of knowledge, and Alfons, who is Namibian and from the Herero tribe, was excited to share information about his country and culture.
By early evening, we arrived at Zebra River Lodge, where we stayed for two evenings. It was a small, secluded property, with individual cottages nestled deep in the Tsaris mountains. The grounds were meticulously landscaped, with breathtaking mountain and desert views. The large veranda was the perfect place to have drinks and watch the sun go down, and we spent the evening doing just that. It was another magical night in Africa and a prelude for what was to come on Day 5.
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