Saddle Hill - Namibia
LIVE YOUR DREAM, GREET THE NEW YEAR AT SADDLE HILL IN THE NAMIB DESERT
29 DEC 2012 – 2 JAN 2013
CAN YOU THINK OF ANY BETTER PLACE TO BE, WHEN THE CLOCK GREETS 2013, THAN SADDLE HILL IN THE NAMIB DESERT
Temperature and climate
Most people will think you’re crazy or have been in the sun too long when you tell them that you will be spending New Year in the Namib Desert. Little do they and maybe you realize that the average ambient temperature during the day on our visit to Saddle Hill is approximately 25° Celsius. The reason is that during this time of the year the wind is onshore from the cold Atlantic Ocean, bringing with it the cool air to be enjoyed during our visit. The evenings could in fact become quite cool and a warm jacket might be needed for those that are sensitive to the cool night air.
I’m sure many of you also dream of spending New Year far away from the everyday rat race, shopping centres and the normal daily routines of life. Here is your opportunity to realize that dream by joining us on this New Year excursion to Saddle Hill in the Namib Desert. I can assure you that it will be one of the New Year’s celebrations that will stay with you long after your return from this unique experience.
On crossing the border at Noordoewer one experiences an exhilarating feeling of “YES!!!!” now I’m on holiday. This feeling is strengthened when driving the last stretch of road from Aus to Luderitz, with the road disappearing on the horizon and you’re surrounded by the Namib Desert, with “Dikke Willem”, the highest mountain in the area on your right, keeping an ever-watchful eye over the desert and its wild horses.
Luderitz is a town filled with loads of history and is well worth spending the maximum time available in and around the town before departing for Saddle Hill. Depending on your time on hand, it will be well worth your while to visit Kolmanskop, the Famous Ghost Town just outside of Luderitz and take a drive to Cape Cross and explore the numerous bays and places of interest via the network of gravel road and tracks.
Having had the privilege of driving through the Namib Desert on more than one occasion, I guarantee you will experience the feeling of doubt, mixed with a feeling of uncertainty and excitement, when tyres are deflated before entering the Namib Desert. When entering the dunes of the Namib Desert, your priorities suddenly change and the only important point at that stage is to keep the vehicle in front of you in sight at all times. It seems that the vehicle in front of you is the only life line with the outside world before reality steps in and you realize that all vehicles in the convoy have radio communication and you are part of a convoy, en-route to Saddle Hill, conquering the dunes of the Namib Desert and living your dream.
The thrills and excitement will build, as the dunes get progressively larger, especially when we enter the last fifteen kilometres of dune belt. This last stretch can easily take up to two and a half hours to complete. When we reach Saddle Hill we will set camp for the next four nights and enjoy the luxury of all the amenities the camp has to offer. It is then that the reality of the unforgiving nature of the Namib Desert becomes very clear, when you look around at some of the buildings abandoned many years ago by people searching for their fortune in this remote part of the world.
During our visit to Saddle Hill, we will drive the dunes North and South of the base camp, reaching a viewpoint overlooking the shipwreck of the “Otavi”, stranded on the beach in a tiny bay just south of Spencer Bay, guarded by thousands of seals. This wreck can only be reached on foot, negotiating a narrow footpath along the rugged rocky outcrops surrounding the wreck, or by sea. This resulted in the wreck being virtually left untouched. The vessel ran aground in the forties whilst loading guano from Mercury Island, also to be seen from the viewpoint overlooking the Otavi. Travelling further north we will visit the remains of the “United Trader”, a ship that ran aground in the early seventies with 700 tons of explosives on board. This vessel with the mysterious load of explosives on board was detonated in 1974, with pieces of metal falling in a radius of 5km. The explosion was felt as far as Luderitz, some 90km away, as the crow flies. Continuing further north through the dunes we will come across another shipwreck, the “Arkona”, that found its last resting place on the shore of the Namib Desert, exposed to the elements of the desert. The return trip to Saddle Hill is filled with many dune driving highlights as well as a visit to a watering hole where Oryz drink and graze, enduring the harsh elements of the desert. The following day we will explore to the south as far as Gibralter, the official border between Spergebied 1 and Spergebied 2. Great dune driving will be experienced on this day, ensuring maximum enjoyment to all participants while the adrenalin levels will rise to levels you have not experienced before. This will be a day that will stay with you for many moons after your return.
When we return to civilisation in Luderitz, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you will understand why so many people opted to settle and work in the Namib Desert, enjoying peace and tranquillity, while enduring the elements of this hostile territory not normal to man. Not long after your return to civilisation you will experience the feeling that the Namib Desert is calling you for another visit to enjoy everything the desert has to offer.
Join us and make your dreams come true!
To view photos taken on the Saddle Hill trip, go to www.cederberg4x4.co.za/photos/saddlehill.htm
All information supplied is given in good faith by Cederberg 4x4 and compiled from the latest information available at the time. The activities as indicated are subject to change without prior notice and at the sole discretion of Cederberg 4x4 or the guide.
Vehicles: Only vehicles WITH LOW RANGE capabilities can be accommodated.
Trailers: Trailers CANNOT be accommodated on this excursion.
Grading: Dune driving is between 2 – 3.
Nearest Towns: Luderitz.
Guide: Coenie Moll.
PLACE: OBELIX GUEST HOUSE in LUDERITZ. More details will follow upon booking.
DATE: FRIDAY 28 DECEMBER 2012.
TIME: Arrive any time during the day, at your own convenience.
FRIDAY 28 DEC 2012
Arrive in Luderitz at your own time. Give yourself enough time in Luderitz to replenish any supplies before we depart into the desert early the following day. Various accommodation options for the evening in Luderitz are available and will be forwarded to you upon booking. We want to suggest that we all stay at Obelix Guest House on this evening. Top quality accommodation at affordable prices. We normally arrange a communal dinner at Obelix Guest House on this evening. This is an ideal opportunity to get to know the other participants before we depart into the desert the following morning. All costs for this evening will be for your own account.
NB. When booking your accommodation at Obelix Guest House, please mention that you are with the Cederberg 4x4 group, as we have made a provisional block booking for this evening as well as the evening of our return from the desert to accommodate as many people as possible.
SATURDAY 29 DEC 2012 – OFFICIAL START OF THIS EXCURSION
Everyone is to RENDEZVOUS at COASTWAY OFFICE situated at the ENGEN GARAGE on entering the town not later than 08h30. Ensure that all vehicles are refuelled before the official rendezvous time. Please respect your fellow participants and be on time. All vehicles will be issued with two-way radios prior to our departure. A briefing on convoy driving and activities for the day will be shared with everyone. Upon entering the desert another briefing on dune driving as well as many hints and tips will be shared. A day filled with thrills awaits you before we reach Saddle Hill where we will set camp for four nights.
SUNDAY 30 DEC 2012 / MONDAY 31 DEC 2012 / TUESDAY 1 JAN 2013
Three days of thrills await participants. The first day we will drive north where we will visit the shipwreck of the Otavi, which ran aground after collecting guano on Mercury Island and came to rest in its own private bay. We will also try and make contact with the people on the island before we drive further north to the shipwreck of the United Trader, which ran aground in the seventies with a cargo of explosives. The ship was blown up and some of its remains lie scattered over a radius of five kilometres. En-route we will also stop at a very unique plant that only grows here in the Namib Desert. The return trip becomes very interesting, having to negotiate dunes within the coastal belt. All will have loads of fun.
The second day takes us south to Saddle Hill south. Here you will experience the true shifting sands of the Namib Desert. Only the roofs of some of the buildings in the town are still visible today. We will also visit a sight where rusted remains of machinery, used many years ago, still stand proud, withstanding the onslaught of the weather and other elements. On this day we will also take the opportunity to make use of the concession held by Coastway Tours allowing us to take out two crayfish per person. This is normally great fun and enjoyed by all. Remember if you have a wet suite and diving equipment, please bring it along. The activities of this day will be determined by the low tide, giving us enough time to harvest the crayfish. As this is New Years Eve we will try and return to our base camp early, giving everyone enough time to prepare for the evenings planned New Year Party. More about this will be discussed upon booking.
Our last day at Saddle Hill will be a day of many options. Sand boarding, where young and old compete, testing their sand boarding skills to see whose board takes them the furthest down the dune. This is also a day of 4x4 dune driving for the enthusiast. These are optional activities and people are welcome to tag along and not partake in the activities. This is also great fun as you will experience normal dune driving without the pressure of having to compete in these activities. Other options are spending the day at the camp or on the beach with friends and family. There could be no better way to end our last day in the Namib Desert before we return to Luderitz.
WEDNESDAY 2 JANUARY 2013
Depart from Saddle Hill after breakfast for Luderitz via a different route to the one we used to reach Saddle Hill. All good things have to unfortunately come to an end. As we will be arriving late the afternoon in Luderitz, we suggest you arrange accommodation for this evening in Luderitz. We also suggest you once again use OBELIX GUEST HOUSE for your last evening in Luderitz. Cost for accommodation and meals will be for your own account.
• Diesel Vehicles will be required to carry a minimum of 150lt of diesel.
• Petrol Vehicles will be required to carry a minimum of 200lt of petrol.
Fuel consumption for the trip to Saddle Hill through the desert can be calculated as follows - Petrol vehicles 3km/lt and diesel vehicles 4km/lt. Plan your amount of fuel based on these figures.
The total distance from Luderitz and back again is approximately 550km. This includes the daily driving activities.
Important: Should you not have the capability or facility to carry additional fuel for your trip to Saddle Hill, please contact our office in this regard. We could arrange limited fuel to be taken to Saddle Hill by Coastway Tours. More information will be supplied on your request.
• All meals will be supplied for the duration of the Saddle Hill tour, starting with lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day.
• The camp at Saddle Hill will supply all eating and drinking utensils.
• Supply your own alcoholic and soft drink beverages.
• Bring your own ice for the duration of the trip as there are no facilities to make or keep ice at Saddle Hill
• Supply own fridge and deep freeze facilities.
• OBELIX GUEST HOUSE – Breakfast is included should you be using this accommodation.
ACCOMMODATION AT SADDLE HILL
• Saddle Hill offers roomed accommodation. Each family will have their own room.
• Beds and mattresses are supplied in all the rooms.
• You will be required to supply your own sleeping bag / bedding.
• The accommodation supplied is on a sharing basis.
• You are welcome to bring your OWN TENT should you wish to camp.
Saddle Hill offers 4 x flush toilets and 4 x showers. Water (brackish water) will be supplied and heated for the showers each afternoon upon or return to the camp.
• DRINKING WATER - No fresh drinking water available at Saddle Hill. Bring own drinking water.
• WATER at the Saddle Hill camp is very “Brackish” and can only be used for the showers and toilets.
• GARBAGE – Bins will be supplied for the disposal of garbage.
• ICE – Replenish ice in Luderitz for the trip.
• No fridge or freezer facilities available at Saddle Hill.
• No electricity is available at Saddle Hill.
• The days could be warm and the night’s cold. Pack clothing accordingly.
• Advisable to wear comfortable closed shoes or boots.
• Advisable to have a broad rim hat and sun block on hand.
• Advisable to always have a sun umbrella or awning on hand.
• Remember to bring your cameras, video cameras, spare batteries and extra film.
• Please remember to have your bathing costumes on hand.
• All vehicles must be in sound mechanical condition.
• Always have your spare keys with you.
• Recovery points fitted to the front and rear on your vehicle are a prerequisite.
• Your own Kinetic/recovery strap will be advisable.
• A tyre pump and tyre pressure gauge will be required to deflate/inflate tyres.
• Please ensure that a fire extinguisher is mounted in your vehicle.
• Use tie-down straps to secure all items packed. Most vehicles are not fitted with adequate tie-down points. Contact the nearest fitment centre in this regard. Securing all items packed is very important from a safety point of view. Loose items become missiles.
• Hints and Tips on Packing as well as a Basic check list will be forwarded to you on booking.
• No handguns are permitted into Namibia.
• No wood is allowed over the border into Namibia.
• No red meat or dairy products are allowed over the border into Namibia.
• An awning or umbrella for shade is advisable for this tour.
• Always carry enough drinking water for your own consumption.
• Remember to take along the spare keys for your vehicle.
PASSPORTS AND VEHICLE DOCUMENTS
• Please remember your passport. Make sure that your passport is valid for a minimum period of 6 months from date of departure out of Namibia.
• Ensure that your passport has at least 2 x blank pages to ensure its validity.
• Remember your drivers licence.
• Remember vehicle registration documents.
• Should your vehicle be financed, obtain a letter of permission from your financial institution to take the vehicle cross border and a certified copy of your vehicle registration documents.
• Remember your ZA sticker for the vehicle.
29 MHz RADIOS
As we are rendezvousing in Luderitz it is not essential to have a 29 MHz radio in your vehicle for communication en-route. Should you consider travelling with friends or other participants to the rendezvous point we suggest that you have a 29MHz two-way radio in your vehicle. It ensures the safety of drivers, passengers and vehicles while en-route, where drivers can communicate with one another as regards to their location and situation not to mention the interesting information and stories that is shared among participants taking the boredom out of the long distances we need to travel to enjoy the great outdoors.
If you do not own a 29 MHz two-way radio you can HIRE one from Cederberg 4x4 at a nominal fee of R400-00. Keep in mind that the hire radios must be ordered well in advance.
Should you be hiring a 29MHz radio, please ensure that your lighter socket is working. If you intend running more than one item from the lighter socket, ensure to have double adapter handy as well as spare fuses.
Remember that you need to apply for a temporary two-way radio licence for your 29Mhz two-way radio from the Namibian Communication Commission if you are taking your OWN two-way radio into Namibia or should you be HIRING a 29 MHz two-way radio from Cederberg 4x4. The cost is R48-00 per year.
They can be contacted on Ph. 00264 61 222 666 / Fax 00264 61 222 790 to obtain the application form.
Keep in mind that there is a waiting period.
Should you be hiring a two-way radio from Cederberg 4x4, a copy of this license must be faxed to us.
RADIOS SUPPLIED BY COASTWAY TOURS
Coastway Tours will supply all vehicles with two-way radios for the trip from Luderitz to Saddle Hill, which is included in the cost. Please ensure that the lighter socket in your vehicle is working. If you intend running more than one item from the lighter socket, ensure to have double adapter handy as well as spare fuses.
• A Namibian Road Transportation fee of R220-00 per vehicle is applicable on all vehicles entering Namibia. This will be a once off payment upon entering.
• Any additional activities not listed or optional activities mentioned in the agenda.
• Accommodation in Luderitz before and after our visit to Saddle Hill.
• Evening dinner planned at Obelix Guest House in Luderitz before we depart for Saddle Hill.
• Two-way radios for the desert trip supplied by Coastway Tours.
• All accommodation at Saddle Hill consisting of individual rooms, beds and mattresses.
• Flush toilets and hot showers. Water for showers warmed on the communal fire.
• All meals from lunch the first day to lunch the last day.
• All concession and local guide fees.
Adults R4950-00 per adult.
Children 13 – 17yrs R3950-00 per child.
Children 6 – 12yrs R2950-00 per child.
Children under 6yrs FREE
A pre-trip briefing will be held on Thursday 6 December 2012 in Cape Town.
The venue will be announced closer to the time.
BOOKING AND PAYMENT CONDITIONS
Should you wish to join us on this excursion, please contact Marina immediately to obtain the booking form and bank details for Cederberg 4x4.
• We can accommodate a maximum of 12 vehicles on this excursion.
• All Cederberg 4x4 excursions are subject to a minimum of eight (8) vehicles.
• Upon booking a non-refundable deposit of R500-00 per person is required within seven (5) working days and is payable into the account of Cederberg 4x4 after the booking form and bank details have been forwarded to you.
• The total outstanding cost for the excursion is payable on or before Thursday 6 December 2012.
• Should you wish to withdraw or cancel your trip, you will be responsible to find other people to fill your place on this trip before any refunds will be considered.
• Cederberg 4x4 only confirms a booking upon receipt of the PROOF OF PAYMENT and the fully completed and signed booking form FAXED TO 021 913 2333 by the deadline date as specified in the provisional booking.
PLEASE NOTE: NO PETS ARE ALLOWED.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
COENIE on 083 675 6194 or MARINA on 021 913 4632
FAX: 021 913 2333
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