Australia and Switzerland are crashing Namibia
It’s me, Bertha! I am a fancy 4-wheel-drive vehicle based in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. Already a few weeks have gone by since I got the message that customers from Australia & Switzerland had booked me for their Namibian Road-trip. I was really looking forward to meeting Kate and Sandra. They met each other via Couchsurfing some 3 years ago and decided to spend their holidays together once again.
After a long trip from their countries they finally made it to the rental car office to pick me up. I guess impatience is their second name. They really thought they could pick up the key and drive away 🙂 I am sure both were a tad confused about all the details and features of my personality. After a short video on how to behave on Namibian streets (they will die if they don’t follow the rules!) and an intense instruction of myself, they were ready to hit the road framed by a beautiful double rainbow.
Windhoek is not that big and we made it in a short time to our hotel. Lucky me I was already prepared for „finding the right gear“ or „oops I drive on the wrong side“ and their driving style was not that painful at all:) Done for today! As it was raining I enjoyed a nice and refreshing shower. Not expecting guests that night, I was pretty scared to see some weird guys sneaking around me whilst looking for the girl’s room number… Pizza & beer delivery at its best, I guess. Good night!
The night was relaxed and we were ready to drive to the next stop „Wüstenquell“. After an adventurous ride on the highway, sliding on the gravel, sand driveways and some wildlife inspections later we finally landed in the middle of nowhere. Meeting little monkeys, ostriches, a springbok, giant bugs, sheep, cows and horses along the way, the welcoming dog at the last gate scared Sandra only a bit – fair enough he jumped on her 🙂 We enjoyed the Wüstenquell Guesthouse at its fullest. I had some days off too and enjoyed my place in the shade while the girls discovered the neighborhood, relaxed at the pool or caught up much needed sleep. Not really hard, looking at the place we stayed at.
Next stop Walvis Bay! I knew the right way out of Wüstenquell’s private property but the girls knew it even better 🙂 Driving on the landing strip of our neighbor’s airplane was only the beginning of this day’s leg. A short 2 hour drive later they left me under the care of a local dude for only a 10 NAD (less than CHF 1.-) – I think I am worth more! Anyway Kate and Sandra were hungry and not in the mood to negotiate. Sandra was silly enough to tell the car security guys their names so they had time to carve their names into souvenirs. Too friendly and feeling a bit guilty they even bought the key chains (at least for half of the requested price though) after a delicious lunch of fresh fish and Gin & Tonics, followed by some souvenir shopping.
Time to take a nap and off to Swakopmund where we will stay for two nights. Did I already mention that the German and Swiss influence is huge? The guard dog Beethoven is a Bernese mountain dog and almost as big as a calf. Only short scenic drives were on the to do list of this stop. Lucky me I didn’t have to walk up the highest dune of the Namibian Costal Area. And having two exhausted girls in the car meant that not much conversation was had on the way back 😉 It was another great day and they gave me the evening off; better still, they went out for drinks and met a big bottle of „Pitte“ (Passionfruit Liqueur) – yummie they said. By the way, this was the girls‘ last night in real beds 🙂
The area of Spitzkoppe was our next stop. After some comfy short rides I was looking forward to this long ride on gravel and sand. Spitzkoppe is also called the Namibian Matterhorn and was straight in front of our camping ground. Both girls enjoyed wandering / hiking around the area. The spontaneous hike up to a lower mountain to see the sunset was responsible for the late set up of the night camp. Please note: it is not recommended to put the tent up in the dark! They did well, hmm only this thing with the ladder was too hard to get – they would blame it on the beers I guess… All good and ready for a late dinner. Please note: it is also not recommended to use the gas cooker for the first time in the dark! Luckily, they had tongs to switch the gas off as they were not planning to burn their eyebrows off or to start a bush fire. Hallelujah! The night was short and windy. Sandra was too lazy to set the tent up properly so some parts of the tent were blowing in the wind. I suppose that it is best that we leave 🙂
ELEPHANTS!! Let’s start from the beginning. Kate drove us safely to Twyfelfontein were we stayed for two nights. The area is famous for stone engravings & paintings. This time I had so much more space on my own in this camping ground and we even had our own open air kitchen area and bathroom giving us a little feeling of glamping. Unfortunately Kate & Sandra were not allowed to use the swimming pool (exclusively for guests of the resort…). Let’s try to sneak into the neighbor’s hotel then: success – this worked out for both days) If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have met a guy from the hotel who asked for help to pull someone out of the sand with the chance to see elephants. Sandra was skeptical and not willing to pay as he was asking us for help. Ready to leave he offered to join him for free. Here we go and look who welcomed us on the road:
We are in love!
Time is flying by as half of the road trip is already over. I will miss the gals!
2000km2 to discover are ahead of us! Our next stop was the Etosha National Park in the north of Namibia to finally experience the real Namibian life (German / European influence is huge), we stopped by at a little town to do some grocery shopping and to grab a coffee. A friendly man took care of me, waiting in the parking lot. The crowded grocery store was an adventure in itself and they finally felt like they were in Africa. The pit stop was a good idea! Two hours later we arrived at the flooded campground of the Etosha Safari Camp. Luckily the tent is on my roof and Kate & Sandra enjoyed a dry night. Due to the rain, an afternoon full of reading, sleeping and some entertaining Australian cooking shows where on the list. Not to forget about the daily Gin & Tonics:) The „check-in“ process for the Etosha Pan was more or less quickly done. We drove about 4 hours from one of the west gates to the east side of the National Park. It was incredible to see all these different animals up close and personal.
This time I had a full day off; not even my kitchen was in use – wohoo! Kate & Sandra had booked an early morning and late afternoon safari tour and had great fun and still had time to enjoy the food of the restaurant.
By the way: putting up/down the tent or cooking has become a less arduous task, often undertaken in between brushing teeth or cleaning the dishes:) The camping- and road trip adventure is almost over 😦 One day before heading back to Windhoek we stayed in the Okonjima Nature Reserve operated by the Africat Foundation. Thanks to the rain I got rid of all the dust and the girls fell asleep with the sound of rain on their tent.
Wake up call 5am: Coffee & muffins followed by Leopard tracking. It was absolutely worth freezing our buns off early in the morning. We spotted Lila, one of the leopards in the reserve, a giraffe family, some little „Pumbas“ and some crazy baboons.
Our crazy two weeks of discovering parts of Namibia are over. Apart of the Rhino and Buffaleos we saw all of the African „Big Five“. We also saw so many other beautiful animals and creatures!
We had a blast with their only complaints being that their hips hurt from sleeping on my roof:) Anyway, I hope my next guests will be as much fun!
Hello Windhoek! The planned beauty & spa afternoon for my two pilots ended with a nice pedicure for Sandra followed by a police and consulate marathon. While I was waiting for both getting their treatments done, some thrifty boys crashed my window. A few seconds sufficed to take one little bag they had completely forgotten under some clothes. After an adventurous police station visit we finally got a case number for the insurance company and thanks to helpful local people, Kate even got her emergency passport in time 🙂 Dear boys, have fun with nasal spray, tissues, some drops and a beautiful Australian passport 🙂 Despite this eventful afternoon we will keep Namibia in a more than positive mind! Welcoming, warm-hearted and always with a smile!
Ah, if you will travel to Namibia and wonder what the different letters before the road numbers means – here is Kate & Sandra’s input:
F…: fu**ed up
Adequately describes whatever adventures you have in mind 🙂