Rodrigo and I spent our 3 week Christmas holiday in the amazing Namibia. We had a great time in the Etosha National Park for some game viewing, then went on to the Aba Huab river bed in the Damaraland desert for some archeological and geological treasures. We spent Christmas in a lovely boutique hotel in an upscale beach resort town called Swakopmund, which was a welcome break from 9 days camping and cooking every meal on a tiny gas stove. We had the chance to dine and shop to our hearts content. Next we headed off to the sand dunes of Sossusvlei for some breathtaking desert views. We met a very nice couple from London who we hiked down the Sesrium canyon with before heading back to Windhoek, Namibia’s Capital city, for New Year’s Eve. Throughout we were able to take some beautiful pictures and have a memorable “African safari” experience. Here is a sample of photos from more than 1500 shots taken during our holiday.
Our Namibia Top 10:
10.) Driving on the wrong, I mean… left side of the road. Weird!! It took us both a couple of days to get used to this. The steering wheel, turn signals, lights, gear shift….all backwards! At lease Namibia has a very small population, no traffic and miles and miles of excellent roads for one to become accustomed to the left side. So the chances of us causing an accident while still learning were less than they would have been anywhere else.
9.) Namibia is loaded with bird life. We saw many unique birds all over the country. We enjoyed watching various birds of pray, including a small gray owl at a waterhole in Etosha.
8.) Shopping for unique African art in Swakopmund was wonderful! Of course, there is no shopping in Angola. except at a dirty little craft market just outside of town. Everything there is imported and the prices are insane. So, this was a real treat! We saw some beautiful jewelry, wooden carvings, textiles, etc. and brought a few special items back with us.
7.) Camping! Yes, that’s right. The camping was actually a highlight. It was luxury camping (especially compared to the camping we’d done in Angola). Our rooftop tent was both comfy and weather proof (we slept comfortably during a few thunderstorms without worrying about getting wet). Each campsite was equipped with electricity, a water tap and BBQ pit, plus the campgrounds all had toilet and shower blocks with hot water. Not to mention waterholes for game viewing a short walk from the grounds. Oh, and did I mention the refrigerator inside our vehicle? I’ll camp like this anytime!
6.) Our stop off in the Damarland desert led us to the Twyfelfontein rock engravings which are about 6000 years old. It is a World Heritage Site. The nomadic groups that lived in the area were hunters and documented where the animals could be found. The engravings are out in the open, not in caves as you might expect. It was a nice historical and archeological tour in a beautiful mountainous desert area.
5.) When we arrived in Windhoek, everything was closed, including most restaurants. Luckily, Rodrigo had a work contact in Windhoek who was kind enough to have us for lunch on New Year’s Day. Alex is Indian and has lived in Windhoek for over 20 years with his wife and family. They own the only Apple retail and service center in Namibia and sell stock to our school in Angola. His wife also owns the only Indian restaurant in Namibia as well. She prepared a traditional Indian meal for Rodrigo and I (we both love Indian food) and spent almost 8 hours eating and talking and drinking spice tea around their table. They were lovely and so was the meal.
4.) There is nothing like sitting or parking at a waterhole and waiting to see what animals come for a drink. To us it was very calm and relaxing, but the animals were always on the lookout for signs of a predator. The giraffes were most cautious of all taking a few steps forward, then scanning their surroundings and listening for noises, then another few steps. When they finally reached the water they really have to strain their legs into the half splits to be able to take a drink. Again, always alert. They take a quick drink then pop up suddenly to scan. Fascinating!
3.) A boat trip from Walvis Bay for marine life viewing. We were a bit skeptical as it was quite expensive and we’ve done tons of boat trips in Brazil. Luckily, we went for it! We had an awesome time. Before leaving the dock we had a friendly seal showing off for us (it may have been for the fish the captain was giving her) and were surrounded by giant pelicans, and I mean giant (they came up to my waist when on land and their wing span was probably wider than I am tall). We also saw an enormous seal colony (roughly 100,000) and tons of oyster farms. The real attractions were the dolphins. We saw a couple of families out in the bay eager to jump and splash around. To top it all off, we were served champagne and oysters. I did not know that Namibia grows some of the world’s best oysters. And believe me, they were AMAZING!!!
2.) Sunrise and Sunset at Sossusvlei! Rodrigo and I climbed one of the highest dunes in the world, twice! It wasn’t easy trekking up the sand, but the breathtaking views and serene surroundings made it all worthwhile!
1.) The big 5! Well, we only saw 3 actually. Lion, elephant and rhino. Apparently there are no buffalo in Namibia and leopard we just weren’t lucky enough to see. However we saw a plethera of giraffe, zebra, antelope, wildebeest, elephant, rhino and lion up close and personal! It was really cool to see the animals in their natural habitat. We had to stay in our car, of course, but on many occasions the animals were almost close enough to touch.