An awe-inspiring African adventure
Expansive, wild and spectacular: the Porsche Travel Experience Namibia
Elephant traffic jams, luxury camping on ‘the moon’ and breakfast tables in the desert – Namibia, Botswana and Zambia will astound you with extraordinary sights
An escape to the extraordinaryThe territory of present-day Namibia is one of the oldest parts of the earth’s crust, yet it reveals a new side to itself every day. The one thing that stays the same is the powerful, hot wind that blows in from the South Atlantic and the eponymous Namib desert across the country the entire year round. Even in winter, the temperatures often rise to a balmy 25 degrees Celsius and up. For a Porsche Travel Experience, the conditions could hardly be better, and they are compounded by the feeling of sheer unending freedom in Namibia. After all, the country is the earth’s second-most sparsely populated independent state after Mongolia.However, when exploring this unique expanse and wilderness, the adventure-seeking Porsche fans do not have to leave the comfort of civilisation too far behind them. Straight after arriving at Windhoek airport, they are transferred in comfort to Omaanda Lodge. Located at the heart of a 9,000-hectare game reserve not far from the lively capital city, the lodge indulges arrivingguests with an authentic form of luxury. Ten generously sized guest houses built in traditional Namibian style, with a round design and handmade thatched roof, invite the fans to a pleasant rest on their first night on the African continent. However, before they retire for the evening, the Porsche Experience team welcome the fans heartily over an aperitif followed by dinner set before a majestic backdrop. The panorama is simply overwhelming. A feeling that they will come to experience daily over the coming week without becoming any less exceptional.
Omaanda Lodge – an authentic form of luxury
Omaanda Lodge – an authentic form of luxury
The clock strikes 9.11 am. The adventure begins. The Porsche Cayenne four-by-fours stand ready to conquer the desert, grasslands and Namibian 'moon'. The road there? It is as if made for the off-road vehicles, which make child’s play out of all the challenging conditions. The gravel roads towards Sossusvlei appear to be endless and just as solitary as the remote village Solitaire, which beckoned the travel party to make a pit stop. A few houses, a service station, stereotypically beautiful car wrecks from another era and barely a soul to be seen – the Porsche convoy must have caused the population to double temporarily.Since the drivers’ pioneer spirit is only just being aroused, they get back on the road again after only a brief stop. Back into a world where the sand stretches into the horizon and glitters like gold in the sun. Beyond the horizon, there is a glass masterpiece twinkling in the shimmering, hot air of this early afternoon: the &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, extensively renovated in 2019. Thanks to its bold, geometric structure, it is externally at one with its surroundings. A modern oasis of tranquillity in the middle of the Namib desert. That is why after a late lunch there is one thing above all on the agenda – enjoying the unparalleled stillness, combined with a view of the ocean of sand dunes. Until sunset – enjoyed with a beverage – and far beyond.
The adventure begins
The adventure begins
The next day, the engines start before the sun has even risen for what could be the most demanding leg of the tour, with an almost surreal destination. Frik, the local guide for the Porsche Travek Experience Namibia, is intimately familiar with the local environment and happily shares his valuable trove of knowledge with the Cayenne drivers, who listen attentively. He quickly offers a tip before they set out, “Always keep moving, otherwise the tyres will sink in the loose sand.” A few assistance systems are also deactivated – spinning wheels are essential in order to keep going. A great deal of concentration is called for in the dawn light along the giant red dunes. Right on time for the spectacular sunrise, the travel party – driving the finest of engines – reaches Sossusvlei, a salt and clay pan that is enclosed by sand dunes and only transforms into a small lake during the rare years of good rainfall. Inside stand richly-laid tables under shady trees. A mirage? No, an African-style breakfast featuring freshly prepared delicacies. Getting up so early really does pay off.
Local guide Frik shares his valuable knowledge
Local guide Frik shares his valuable knowledge
After a final gulp of coffee and look around, the fans head back to their avant-garde quarters. Just like on the trip here, there is no time to stand still. Particularly since it is now time for the next adventures after lunch at the &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, if desired. Those not wishing to relax at the lodge and enjoy the marvellous serenity can choose from a number of activities, from a safari in the lodge’s expansive game reserve to guided tours or a quad bike tour. The newly-christened explorers set out in all manner of directions shortly after making their decisions. Despite this, they do all share a similar destination: fascination. For the grand finale, the attention is once again focused on the sun, which bathes the evening meal in a yellow, red and violet light.En route to the moon landscape of the Swakop river valley The following morning sees the green light for a trip to the moon. The Namibian expanse is devoid of humans and driving through it gives an impression of the solitariness that the astronauts must have felt in space. Since each moon buggy – sorry, Cayenne – would steal the view from its trailing companion with the gigantic clouds of dust and dirt on the rough gravel roads, the convoy agrees to keep a distance of at least one kilometre between each of the vehicles. It is hard to imagine how any more freedom could be experienced in this unique setting en route to the moon landscape of the Swakop river valley. Thankfully, no one has to resort to consuming space food. The Rostock Ritz restaurant keeps the travellers satisfied with a midday meal of vastly better-tasting creations.Unconventional rock formations mark the entry to the lunar atmosphere shortly after. Yesterday’s drive between red dunes must have taken place on another planet. A particular level of skill is required for getting past the imposing towers of granite, shaped by the wind over millions of years. It is impossible, however, to avoid every last small, sharp stone and so a flat tyre is sometimes unavoidable. Fortunately, the Porsche Travel Experience team is prepared for anything. The accompanying mechanic swaps the flat tyre for a new one with well-rehearsed movements and gives the all-clear to continue driving.
Like a journey to the moon and back
Like a journey to the moon and back
Then, light years away from any form of civilisation, there suddenly appears an astoundingly comfortable base station behind some bizarre-seeming geological formations. A spacious tent has been erected for each team of drivers with a comfortable place to sleep and exceptional shower. Surprise is written all over the faces of the new arrivals. This accommodation has absolutely nothing in common with normal camping, though luxury is in any case defined differently here in this barren landscape. Sitting by the campfire, listening to the provided entertainment and looking into the pulsating sea of stars, it can be seen instantly that this is a moment never to be forgotten.
New definitions of luxury
New definitions of luxury
Once the stars have burned out in the blazing light of day, the next chapter begins with a breakfast in front of the unique backdrop before returning to civilisation. Remaining the same, though, is the mission’s motto: where there’s a Cayenne, there’s a way. Thanks to four-wheel drive and all-terrain capability, the adventurers today use their fine set of wheels to explore otherwise impassable and breath-taking landscapes – and refuel over lunch. The destination for this many-sided leg, reached in the late afternoon, is precisely where the Namibian dunes meet the Atlantic Ocean – the Strand Hotel in Swakopmund. The city’s best hotel is directly in front of the historic Mole sea wall and, with its modern rooms, makes for a vivid contrast to the base station on the "moon".
Making new experiences and collecting unforgettable moments in Africa
Making new experiences and collecting unforgettable moments in Africa
A tough decision is offered between a couple of relaxed hours on the beach and a walking tour of the remains of the city’s colonial history. It is a good thing that there is essentially no alternative to spending the evening at traditional restaurant Jetty1905, for reasons beyond its outstanding location on the city’s historical pier. Its amazing seafood is something that each visitor to Swakopmund must savour. The day therefore tastefully ends above the waves of the Atlantic over a few courses of freshly caught fare.
On the tracks of African wild animalsThere is no limit to the freedom above the clouds, something most readers would agree with. However, this particular feeling can even be experienced in the cloudless skies of Namibia when flying to the famous Caprivi Strip. The sole rules encountered are during the landing at the bush airstrip. First, the pilots fly low to make sure that all animals scatter and are sufficiently warned. Only then do the light aircraft make contact with the sandy ground. Immediately after arrival at the Nambwa Tented Lodge, the passengers are up in the sky again – in trees above the elephants’ trails, where tent-like lodgings offer elevated luxury – in the literal sense, with a dreamlike view of the wildlife on the ground.
Watching wild animals during a game drive
Watching wild animals during a game drive
In spite of, or perhaps precisely because of these wondrous surroundings, no one stays in the treetops for long. A game drive in open safari vehicles, offers the chance to encounter the unique creatures of this continent almost eye to eye. Even a 'traffic jam' in the cradle of serenity becomes an experience. Right in the middle of the road, a bull elephant feels so at peace that he casually decides to idle away an hour there. Driving around him? Impossible. Other animals also cross the road at an extremely leisurely pace. “But that’s exactly why people come here. This is Africa!,” says Frik rhapsodising. His enthusiasm for whimsical situations like this is, after countless years, just as great as it was on his first day. Likewise, everyone experiencing their first time stuck in the ‘elephant traffic jam’ cannot get enough of it. Fortunately, there is another opportunity to see them over dinner. While dinner is served between the treetops and the diners enjoy their view, the earth’s largest land animals wander into the green thicket directly underneath to seek shelter for the night.
When the first rays of sunlight shine through the canopy early in the morning and the animal kingdom beneath the wooden terraces comes alive, many people could believe that the lodge is in the Garden of Eden. It would almost be a sin to keep one’s eyes closed any longer, especially when the chef personally brings around fresh-smelling pastries to have with coffee. Now wide awake, many subsequently set out for another adventurous game drive. Others prefer to stay where they are and enjoy watching the wildlife beneath the lodge. However, at lunch, there is one question on everybody’s lips: “Did you see THAT?” Everyone shares their most spectacular experiences with fervour. There is enough time before high tea to catch up on any exploration that has been missed out on.Completely new perspectives are offered from the Kwando river – on a boat tour complete with sunset drinks and tasty snacks. Given the close proximity to the impressive hippopotamuses and lurking crocodiles, some are overcome by the feeling that they themselves will become tonight’s meal. In any case, a hippopotamus seeking more privacy for itself and its children can also be faster than originally thought. The boat driver, however, offers calming words. He says that as long as a respectful distance is kept from the animals, they will take precious little notice of the visitors. The visitors themselves are now even more interested in the river’s inhabitants and the giant herds of elephants and buffalo on the banks, and watch, marvel and enjoy. It is nigh on impossible to see too much of anything in Namibia. The viewing terrace at the Nambwa Tented Lodge is an established hotspot for this very reason and makes for an inviting place to enjoy each other’s company by the open fire.
In close proximity to the hippopotamuses
In close proximity to the hippopotamuses
Continuing to BotswanaIt is with heavy hearts that the exclusive travel group leaves the spectacular Caprivi Strip behind them and departs by light plane for the next attraction of this tour – the Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana. After landing in Kasane, a transfer brings the excited adventure travellers to the five-star safari lodge on the banks of the Chobe river – unique accommodation in the world-famous Chobe National Park. A place that leaves plenty of space for the largest elephant herds far and wide and the exceptional variety of species in this natural reserve.
Gentle giants in the wilderness
Gentle giants in the wilderness
After lunching in front of the majestic panorama, the lodge’s new guests face a difficult decision. Do you spend the afternoon in the luxurious lodge? Explore the surroundings on a game drive? Or take safari boats past the hundreds of elephants, antelope, giraffes, hippopotamuses and picturesque lagoons to the enormous sand banks where thousands of exotic birds are gathered? It can be seen on everyone’s face just how fantastic this overload of choice is – and the same goes for the fascination later when everyone recounts their day over dinner. After dessert, most head to their private terrace to enjoy an open view over the Chobe river. That is understandable, as this backdrop leaves the visitor simply speechless.Last stop: ZambiaThe next morning the group boards a light plane and travels to another grand river in another fascinating country – the Zambezi river in Zambia. David Livingstone was probably also left without words when he discovered the Victoria Falls there in 1855. He later described them as "the most wonderful sight I had witnessed in Africa" and named them after his queen. The locals, meanwhile, had long ago given the earth’s largest water curtain the name 'The Smoke That Thunders', as the spray from the falls rises to up to 300 metres high and can be seen from even 30 kilometres’ distance. Nearby Victoria Falls there is even a rainforest whose existence is owed entirely to the moisture produced by the spray. What can compare to witnessing this natural spectacle first-hand?Helicopters ascend into the sky not far from the waterfalls to get a bird’s-eye view. When they see the rugged water landscape, the passengers run out of words strong enough to describe it. Africa evidently has an indescribable superlative ready for every view and every unique moment. Back on the ground, scene of the incredible sight, the participants experience this booming wonder of the natural world up close. Depending on the wind’s direction, the swirling spray feels like a cool mist on warm skin when taken on a tour of the site. On Livingstone Island – a small island directly by the precipice from which the water crashes to the depths – there is lunch as well as a marvellous view on offer.The culture of Mr Livingstone’s home country is also celebrated directly in front of the falls – over high tea at the luxurious Hotel Royal Livingstone. After so many overwhelming impressions, more than a few of the fans descend onto the softly-cushioned furniture at the Chobe Game Lodge lounge, appreciative yet ever so slightly worn out. The countless mental images in everyone’s minds likely outdo any lavishly produced animal documentary or photo exhibition about Africa.
A bag full of new memories
An adventure packed with new memories
Despite the constantly altering views from the lodge’s private terraces, the last person standing at some point falls asleep, too. The time to say farewell sadly cannot be avoided any longer. Although the hustle and bustle of everyday life is infinitely far away, time seems to go faster in this incredible country than elsewhere. However, there are some who have prepared for this in advance – after a sumptuous breakfast and flight back from Kasane to Windhoek, they enjoy a few extra days in the Namibian capital. As our local guide Frik said so accurately in the middle of the phenomenal wilderness, “It doesn’t matter what else in the world you’ve seen, it doesn’t matter what you expect when you come to us – Africa outmatches everything.” And now, 14 lucky Porsche fans now know exactly how right he is.
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