Ameib Ranch is not on an average Namibian itinerary. Not many trip reports mentioned it; however the folks that have been there have wrote about this place in superlatives. The photos I have seen reminded me of Devil’s Marbles and Kings Canyon in Australia. So decision to go there was easy.
We started from Swakopmund and it was main road all the way to Usakos. Here we stopped for a quick lunch. The usual place to stop just before the bridge was full of cars and people so we continued to a new coffee shop next to the gas station. The food was good and we were served fast. From Usakos it was gravel road to the lodge. At the reception Sabine was quick in explaining the basic informations, and we have still time to drive to Elephant’s Head and Bull’s party before sunset.
Photos cannot lie. This is really a magical place. The amphitheatre at Bull’s party was already in shade but the Elephant’s Head was shining in full glory.
No dinner for us but a cold beer and a gin tonic at the bar were welcomed. Early to bed to be prepared for the next day.
Apart of the above two mentioned places there are other locations to be visited. In the same directions there are Philip’s Cave with rock engravings, and Hidden Valley. In the opposite direction two trails leads to Paradise and to Rhino viewpoint. Since my wife decided to relax a bit, it was my decision to walk about 60 min to the place named Paradise. On the way I have seen a couple of birds, and a hornbill in flight, but took no photos. Paradise is an oasis below the rocky wall; in drier times birds and animals tend to congregate here as this is where they will always find water. As the rains were abundant this year, birds were hidden in lush foliage. Yet another magic of rocks and this time water. With a couple from Germany (Germans are the majority of guests here, followed by French) we exchanged some info and small talks. It was theirs 22nd visit to Namibia! Lucky couple indeed.
As I was still fresh I decide to hike also to the Rhino viewpoint. The trail goes upward, it was much hotter than in the shade of the trees around Paradise, but the hike was short, about 20 min. From this vantage point one can appreciate the sweeping views over the lower lying flats. The ranch is about 14.000 hectares; if not for the hills bordering two sides I would not even be able to imagine how big of a territory that is.
For the afternoon we both went back towards Bull’s Party. First we stopped at Hidden Valley; we missed the best part of walking up the big rocky hill (easy hike) to have some glorious views. Yet we were happy campers at Elephant’s head first. What a place, what an artist a nature can be! Then to the Bull’s Party for the second time. We were there alone; we walked around both sides, and just soaked in the beauty. And took a ton of photos. Lovely and magical, this place.
This evening we opted for dinner. Buffet style, very tasty, again locally hunted meat, and vegetables, all for 150,00 N$ which for us was very good value.
Next morning, yes, we could not depart unless going to the magic of the rocks again. The sunrise light gives again different shades and shapes to enjoy in. If appreciating the majesty of the nature than Ameib Ranch is a perfect place to do it.
The ranch recently changed owners. The cats have gone, the courtyard is cleaned and now nicely maintained, the pool area clean. They have introduced solar powered electricity instead of old and noisy diesel generator. Dining area - “boma” is invitingly decorated, as is the bar. At breakfast one can take photos of several birds feeding on a nearby feeder. The rooms are not modernised yet. However they are really spacious. Our cabin have two rooms, one with a double bed and one with a twin beds. And the walk in shower is also roomy. The ranch is now participating to Erongo Rhino conservancy project; I hope one day rhino trekking will be a daily activity here.