Learning expands great souls- Namibian proverb
Cue ‘Africa by Toto”. Since I started this blog in Africa, why not start with one of my favorite countries on this continent. I still talk about my 9 day visit there with such passion and excitement you would think I visited just last weekend.
Firstly, Namibia boarders Angola to the North but these countries could not be more different. Very dry, this country is home to some of the tallest and most stunning sand dunes in the world. Although the landscape is ever changing… its also good to note that Namibia is home to some of the most honest, nicest people you would ever meet.
Windhoek- Duration: 1 night
- Accommodations: Hilton Windhoek
- Restaurant: Stellenbosch Wine Bar and Bistro
Windhoek (the Capital) is a charming little German town in the central highlands. The streets are quiet, lined with rustically beautiful houses, pubs and churches. One popular landmark is a gorgeous little church called Christ Church reminiscent of a ginger bread house in the center of the city.
The first morning of our road trip our journey began at 7am. We did what we thought would be an easy breezy 5 hour drive to Sossusvlei. However, we couldn’t be more wrong, as most of our drive was not through gloriously paved roads but through gravel roads and rocky mountainous regions. Besides the lingering back ache from my husband flying over every dip and rock and the heat stroke from the blazing sun it was the most beautiful drive I have ever done. We didn’t even mind the blown up tyre in the middle of a reserve with only a blue wildebeest as company. All part of the adventure right?
Soosusvlei: Duration: 2 nights
- Accommodation: Soosusvlei Desert Lodge
- Restaurant: candle lit dinner under the stars on the lodge’s premises
Nothing can really describe the moment you spot those magnificent mountains of brilliant orange-red sand. It is just breathtaking, we opted to do an ATV tour through the dunes at sunset. (This seems to be a tradition in every country we visit, apparently we have a need for speed!) However, there is no better way to see the landscape than drive through it yourself.
The next day we did a full day tour to the major dunes. We stopped for a quick picnic breakfast which was beautifully planned by the tour company, the chance to chat with the others allowed us make great friends (bonus!). Simply put the dunes was formed around 5 million years ago. The Kalahari sand was washed from the Orange river into the sea where the currents drove the sand north forming the dunes. Besides the beauty, the thrill of climbing the dunes (Big Daddy) and sliding down to Deadvlei was all worth the heat! (Deadlvei is a salt pan in the middle of the dunes… its white hard characteristic contrasts perfectly with the red mountains around it).
After our 2 day adventure in the Namib desert, we hopped back in the car, made sure our tyres were as impenetrable as can be and started on the next 5 hour journey to Swakopmund. The landscape changed constantly as we exited the dunes, we were driving through Canyons and over beautiful bridges. Just surreal!!
Swakopmund: Duration: 1 night
- Accommodation: The Strand Hotel
- Restaurant: Jetty 1905 (unfortunately I fell ill, so my husband was on his own for dinner)
Swakopmund is another quaint little German town on the coast with fun bars, German breweries and crafts shopping. A wonderful transit point to the next location.
After I got well acquainted with our bed and absolutely gorgeous room trying to fight off the fever, we drove another 5 hours to Etosha National Park. This drive was all smooth paved roads through lush greenery and fields with mini Dust devils (sand tornados) left and right.
Etosha: Duration 3 nights
- Accommodation: Onguma the Fort
- Resturant: personalized menu on a gorgeous wooden deck overlooking a watering hole. Dinner with the lions, elephants and giraffes anyone?
Every day at Etosha was like playing hide and seek with the animals. It was fun to race around trying to track the animals and find the herds. No matter how old you get when you see a lion you’re 5 again. After letting our inner child out, the last night we did a sunset game drive through our hotel’s private reserve. Even after my 500th giraffe I still squealed (and will forever continue to fangirl) every time we came across one. We ended the trip with delicious snacks and a full bar laid out on a beautiful clearing with lanterns, for just us both as the sun set in front of us. We sang Skeleton Move at the top of our lungs and cheers’d to a wonderful adventure and the blessing it was to experience this country.
The last drive of the trip was a race to the airport, 4 hours in and 10km from the airport our tyre was busted again. We missed our flight but we were all smiles as we got to spend another night dining at Stellonbosch Bistro, enjoying our last bottle of Rust en Vrede in Namibia!