Category Archives: Namibia

N Is For Namibia

My soul country, the moment I step onto Namibian soil I relax and feel at one with the earth. Maybe it’s the desert, or perhaps it’s the starkness of the land, but it’s a place that has a piece of my heart.

A lullaby for my senses

WordPress Photo 101 Day 3 – Water and Orientation

“You must like the sea very much,” the man said to me as I stepped off the pier onto the sand, “I’ve been observing you and you’ve been following the waves with your eyes for a long time.”

I looked at his work clothes and suntanned face and reasoned that he had stopped by the beach during his lunch hour. I did not feel creeped out in any way. He looked like a good honest man and sounded sincere and curious.

I decided to take the opening and continue the conversation. When I travel, it’s the unexpected conversations with strangers that anchor a lasting memory to the place.

“Oh I love the sea. It is a part of me. I love watching the ebb and the flow. The force of the waves makes me feel like a part of something bigger than me. It washes through me and makes feel alive. It’s like a lullaby for my senses,” I responded.

“You’re not from here are you?” he remarked.

“I’m visiting my friend, I live in South Africa. I come to Swakopmund as often as I can – the desert grounds me to the earth and the sea restores the flow to my frazzled lifestyle in Joburg.” I smiled.

He smiled too and we parted ways.

These photos were taken on a cloudy day with my iPhone 4S camera.

Which orientation works better -landscape or portrait?

Swakopmund Pier, Namibia Swakopmund Pier, Namibia

Pelican Rehabilitation Project

During breeding season pelicans rear their chicks on the Guano Platform. Often the chicks falls off the platform and wash up on the beach. Those that are saved by members of the public are brought to the Pelican Rehabilitation Project who look after them and once fully grown, are encouraged to fend for themselves.

The project is situated at the Walvis Bay waterfront and this gorgeous big boy felt very comfortable walking around in the restaurants’ parking lot, waddling among the cars.

Pelican Rehabilitation Project, Walvis Bay, Namibia Pelican Rehabilitation Project, Walvis Bay, NamibiaAll of a sudden a bakkie drove up to the kitchen door of a restaurant. When the bakkie’s canopy door opened he raced at top speed towards it, almost colliding with the chef who’d started unloading the fish and seafood from the back. He scared the living daylights out of her and when she saw who the intruder was she burst into laughter. From clutching at her heart in terror to clutching at her stomach in mirth, it was funny to witness. Off course, this gorgeous big boy didn’t understand what the fuss was all about and hung around the car hoping for a tidbit.

Pelican Rehabilitation Project, Walvis Bay, Namibia Pelican Rehabilitation Project, Walvis Bay, Namibia Pelican Rehabilitation Project, Walvis Bay, Namibia Pelican Rehabilitation Project, Walvis Bay, NamibiaI got the feeling that this wasn’t the first time he’d tried this stunt. I don’t think that’s what the rehabilitation project had in mind when they encourage the pelicans to fend for themselves!

 

My favourite things to do in Swakopmund

Namibia is one of my all time favourite places to visit. I spent many happy years traveling back and forth for work. It didn’t seem like work to me – it was a pleasure and a privilege to travel to that beautiful country. In my spare time, I did get to see a bit of the country.

Windhoek-Swakopmund Roadtrip

The changing scenery on the road from Windhoek to to Swakopmund
The changing scenery on the road from Windhoek to to Swakopmund

The coastal town, Swakopmund, is about 261kms (162 miles) from the capital Windhoek. Off course you can fly to Swakopmund, but then you’ll miss the sheer beauty and stark scenery change from bushveld to rolling sand dunes, all in the space of 3 hours. Rent a car at the Hosea Kutako International Airport and make the trip – the roads are good, and there are 2 towns in between Karibib and Usakos where you can stop and get refreshments. This road trip itself is an event to savour. Put on your favorite music and enjoy the drive.

Cafe Anton

Legendary coffee shop, Cafe Anton, sublime coffee and delicious German cakes and pastries
Legendary coffee shop, Cafe Anton, sublime coffee and delicious German cakes and pastries

This coffee shop is legendary and any visit to this quaint desert town on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean is not complete without a visit to this warm and cozy German bakery. The coffee is sublime. The home-made cakes and pastries made from traditional German family recipes are mouthwateringly good! Cafe Anton is part of the Hotel Schweizerhaus. Sit on the patio and look over the palm trees at the rolling Atlantic waves, and if you happen to be there at sunset, be prepared for a wonderful experience.

Sandboarding

Zipping down sand dunes on a piece of masonite is thrilling. Alter-action are one of the many adventure providers in town. In addition to the masonite boards, they introduced snowboards to skim down the dunes. You can choose how you want to do it – masonite or snowboard. I chose the masonite, the snowboard just looked too daunting for me. There are about 6 routes to skim down, and you move from one to the next. Off course, the fun part is going down – because to go down again you have to climb up the soft sand dunes. This operator provides water, and at the end a light lunch. They also take photos and video as a memento of your experience. Remember your sunblock and hat.

Die Muschel

Fairy cakes at Die Muschel served with style
Fairy cakes at Die Muschel served with style

This is a bookshop with a coffee shop on the patio outside. Let me get this out of the way – the coffee is sublime, and the home made cupcakes divine, served in style with folded napkin and little silver fork. Now to the rest. It’s a book shop and an art gallery too. Browse through the english and german books, and admire the local art, for sale, on the walls. It’s in a cute little arcade in the centre of town, and is popular with locals and tourists.

The Beachfront

Swakopmund jetty over the rolling waves of the Atlantic, with the Tiger Reef Bar in the distance, and the dunes of the Namib desert just behind it
Swakopmund jetty over the rolling waves of the Atlantic, with the Tiger Reef Bar in the distance, and the dunes of the Namib desert just behind it

This is not one specific place – it is actually a walk you can take, along the beach or on the paved palm-fronded promenade. Start at The Mole, the sea-wall originally intended to be a harbour, but now protecting the beach. Admire the beautiful bungalows and double storied beach houses, until you get to the restored jetty. If you feel hungry, try the restaurant at the end of the jetty and enjoy spectacular views of the town, the sea and the desert. while enjoying sushi, tapas or seafood  Or you can lunch at The Tug, the boat shaped restaurant,in front of the jetty. Continue along the beach until you get to the National Marine Aquarium. After visiting the Aquarium, walk along the beach to finish the day off with sundowners at the Tiger Reef Beach Bar while watching intrepid kite surfers ride the strong wind and sea currents.

Swakopmund is a friendly town which offers so much more than that mentioned above. Visit sites like Trip Advisor, for more information. It’s a popular tourist spot, with natural, cultural and heritage sights to visit, and activities to do for anyone and everyone.