After living in Europe for a while, especially in London, you start developing a profound appreciation of open spaces. Despite days and nights spent hankering for the vastness of the African skies, the sheer enormity of Namibia’s open spaces was a shock to my system. The desolation that stretches beyond imagination has a strangely pulsating energy – not unlike a bustling city. Except on most of the roads in Namibia there are no buildings, no cars, no fences and not even pylons or telephone poles as far as what the eye can see in every direction. The immensity left me breathless.
Our incredible adventure started when we landed at Windhoek (which means windy corner) airport and picked up our rental car, a 4X4 double cab camping vehicle, complete with our new home on top of its roof – a surprisingly well-equipped tent. Our journey involved traveling more than 1,000 kilometers over a period of two weeks and it was a relief to know that it would be in relative comfort – although our initial idea was to rough it. We stocked up on supplies and set off West towards the Skeleton Coast where we set up camp at Henties Bay, the fishing hub of the Namibian coast. We had delicious super-fresh seafood in a little restaurant called Fishy Corner.
Our planned excursion the following day was to Cape Cross where we went on a boat trip to Seal Island. Somebody once told me that seals are the ocean’s dog mermaids and after experiencing these guys in large quantities I completely agree. They bark, the pups play around just like real puppies and they are super adorable, if a bit on the ugly side. Anastasia wanted to bring some of these guys home as pets. With the price of fish these days, that was definitely not a good idea. It was a great day out and we were ready to explore Swakopmund, where we were headed the following day. We had a fantastic couple of days in Swakopmund and got to do some sandboarding. I have never had so much fun lying down!
Walvis Bay (Whale Bay)
A few kilometers from Swakopmund we visited Walvis Bay – home to one of the most important wetlands of southern Africa and to what feels like millions of flamingos. If you spend a bit of time in this area flocks of these majestic birds are guaranteed to fly overhead and give you a brief respite from the harsh sunlight. The only problem with that is that their toilet is pretty much anywhere in the sky and with my luck I had an enormous splash of mid-air expulsion landing right on top of my head. Needless to say, we stopped at the nearest shopping mall in search of a hat – one with a very wide brim.
On a side note, should you ever decide to go to Namibia, make sure you are armed with the following:
- A very wide brimmed hat
- Plenty sun block
- Extra water
- Very comfortable shoes and extra socks
- Warm clothing, despite the desperately hot temperatures in the day, nights can get freezing
- Insect repellent
- A compass and a map (our GPS stopped working after the fuse on the cigarette lighter blew, just a day into our trip)
- Extra fuses
Next blog: Namibia Part 2