Beginning of the year I promised to show you more of Africa. I have been part lazy and part busy with work and a house move to actually look at the pictures from my recent travels but better late than never, right?
Usually when I see people post about Africa its a same usual places like South Africa, Egypt and Morocco. I think to myself why are these folks missing out on the countries in the middle or further down the continent. There’s another 50 odd countries with stunning scenery, quiet beaches, wild life and yet magazines still show you the same tried and test (about a million times) destinations. And no, you will not catch Ebola! As unfortunate as that horrid disease is, it’s only in 6 out of 54 African countries. If you need more convincing then I would strongly recommend posts from fellow bloggers like Dave Cole at CookSipGo
, who has been exploring Ethopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, or going off grid and checking out Kenya’s Central Island with Manouk from Bunch of Backpackers
. Ever head of Madagascar? Well if you haven’t then you might want to swing by The Crowded Planet
and see Madagascar through the eyes of Margherita and Nick, whose travels around the country will have you clutching both your pearls AND passports as you race to your nearest travel agents for tickets to this diverse and magical island on the Indian Ocean. Even tiny little landlocked countries like the Kingdom of Swaziland are packed with much to see as shown by Heather Cole at the Conversant Traveller.
One other place that is firmed placed close to the top of the list for my upcoming travels is Djibouti. Check out the post by Brock and Tanj’s Travelogues
of this tiny country on the elbow of Africa. Hopefully these links have not pushed your wanderlust into overdrive or your bank balances into meltdown. Now, recent posts I showed you around Zambia’s capital, Lusaka and the Victoria Falls in Livingstone.
I certainly hope you enjoyed those because it is now time to head South of the boarder and into Namibia.
What Exactly does Namibia have, Anyway?
If you have not heard or been to Namibia then you better move it close to the top of your bucket list, pronto! This is one place that will have folks flocking to it the moment they realise just what a gem it is. Perhaps you won’t see this place and those linked above in the mainstream media because they want these places to themselves. Certainly do not wait until that happens, because by then you would have been left with spoiled fruit. So now is that time to go! If you are one for adventure there is plenty for you. From quad biking and sand boarding in the desert dune, sky diving and hot air ballooning over the Namib Desert
. If you are more of the chill out on the beach type then you will be in good company as the beaches are a treat, not only for sunbathing but water sports too! Did I also mention this is where you can see the world’s highest sand dunes?! The diverse landscapes of Namibia range from National parks like Etosha Park which consists of a large salt pan and safari parks, Caprivi Strip in the Northeast which meets the Zambezi, the Skeleton Coast to the west, where the sand dunes on the coastline meet the Atlantic ocean and reveal ghosts of the past in remains of shipwrecks, to the striking contrasts of Deadvlei with more dunes to trek. The wide expanse of stark beauty in the country is truly mesmerising and form a million reasons to book a flight as soon as possible. My explorations of Southern Africa had started with a trip home in Zambia before heading to Botswana and then onto Namibia before heading back to Zambia and then London. To better explore Namibia you are better off renting a car. After exploring Botswana, we rented a car and drove the 10 hours from Maun in Botswana to Windhoek, Namibia’s capital. We stayed for one night before embarking on another four drive to Swakopmund with stops to check on the smaller towns in between. I mentioned my grand entrance into the country on my Facebook.
When we arrived into the country, our entry was just magical! I wasn’t able to really capture it on camera, but as the land is quite flat with a few mountains in the distance on the outskirts of town as drove into Windhoek, it was raining heavily and soon after all around the skies opened as they landed before us over a hundred lightning bolts in a space of about 10 minutes. Simply the coolest thing I have ever seen and just what all cool road trips are made off.
We start with Swakopmund
When you arrive in Swapo you would think you had been tricked by your airline as it looks like you had been dropped in a small German Town. Founded in 1892, and not shocking, considering Namibia was colonised by the Germans so you find many people here also speak German in addition to many of the African Languages from the migration of people in and around surrounding regions. Namibia was in the hands of South Africa when it was captured from Germany during WWI, so was very much linked to South Africa’s history of Apartheid and only got independence in 1990. Do not let that stop you from visiting the beauty that lies waiting for your gaze.
Getting there and getting around: The town is fairly small so you can get around by walking while you are there. There is a train that comes through from Windhoek. Although, I think you are better off getting a car so that you have the freedom of movement as well as the freedom to explore the dunes, nearing towns which are not really served well by public transportation.
Where to stay: There are a few hostels and hotels in the main town but we opted to stay at Gecko Ridge Lodge about 15km away from town. I will be posting about that in posts to come. There are places with varying budgets but as Western currency will get you very far in Namibia you can stay comfortably without concerning your bank managers. For a full list of accommodation options in Swakopmund, here is a list of hotels in Swakopmund.
With friendly town folk, cute cafes and galleries, beautiful landscapes from where you can watch the sunsets and watch the stars litter the pitch black skies and twinkle like diamonds. Why on earth would anyone wait to get on the plane to visit?
Note on Car Rental: Make sure you have all your paperwork, if traveling with rental cars between country borders as you may not be allowed to leave the country with the car. So be sure to mention to your rental shops if traveling between borders to provide inter-board paperwork which comes with an additional cost. Also, note that most of the rentals don’t have that many branches so you don’t have many drop off points. We were lucky that we traveled with my brother from Botswana to Namibia and when we flew out from Namibia my brother drove the car back to Botswana with him and returned it to the rental shop on our behave.
A Trip To Jetty 1905 Restaurant Is Another Must To Add To Your Swakop Visit(Restaurant on the jetty bridge)
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Namibia, Deadvlei, Etosha National Park, sandboarding in Namibi Desert