Swakopmund, Namibia

After leaving Sossusvlei, somehow we were all a bit grumpy, tired and tense. It was very very hot driving with closed windows and slightly cooler, but still about 40 Degrees plus very dusty when driving with open windows. As in a bad mood, the former interesting landscape just seemed less fascinating and all we would see was the absence of trees (of course, as we were stil in the Namib desert). There was nowhere to stop, as the sun was glaring hot and no shade to be found. For lunch we stopped at Solitaire, a nice and a bit touristy stop over with a nice bakery. We had pies and to try and make the best of our day we bought cake and promised a nice picknick teatime stopover on a beautiful spot- which never happened as we missed the spot (and the only tree within 200 km) and stoped somewhere on the dusty side oft he road, again in the sun, the kids fighting and Timm and Michaela also quite tense. We should have apreciated the landscape driving through the Namib Naukluft Park, but could not really. After a month of mainly desert, we have had enough.

The Namib-Naukluft Park is one of Afrika’s biggest Nature reserves and the Namib ist he oldest desert oft he earth, giving plants and animal lots of time to adapt to the harsh climate. Here you can find the oldest plant of our planet: the Welwitschia. Some of the ones found are estimated to be about 2000 years old. We, too exhausted, could not be bothered to track them down, so we just took a picture of a picture in Swakopmund museeum (to show you a picture). Also we did not manage all the way to Swakopmund that day, but stopped 50km before at the Vogelfederberg, a beautiful granite mountain surrounded by nothing but Namib desert. What a wise decision. All of a sudden our mood changed. We had shade, cold beer, the kids climbed and played happily again. Michaela had a lonely 2 hour walk in the now cooler desert and was absolutely stunned by the absence of ANY noise. Nothing, no wind, no bird, nothing. So calm she could hear the blood in her ears. What a treat!!!!!!we had the most bautiful sunset, which made us feel like being on the moon or any other faraway planet and were at peace with the world again.

The next day was cloudy and quite cool, what a nice change. We drove to Walvis Bay had lunch and drove further to Swakopmund, just about 20km away. As Walvis Bay as the main harbour was occupied by the english, the germans decided to build their own one in 1893 at the mouth of the Swakop River. The name Swakop goes back to its Nama name „tsoa-xoub“ „Tsoa“ means „butt“ and „xoub“ describes what comes out of it on a regular base. This refers to the periodic flow of brown, smelly mud from the river into the ocean, when the lagoon gets to full and the beach between river-lagoon and ocean gets flooded. The (smelly) lagoon is home to huge flamingo populations, the „greater“ and the „lesser“, both of which are endangered species.

Swakopmund is a beautiful little seaside town, Namibias second largest „city“ with a population about 20.000 people. Its beaches are the main holiday beach destination for many Namibians and really really pretty, with lots of 1900 architectual gems. It reminded us a bit of eastern german baltic sea towns . Even the weather was baltic sea like, which was quite a challenge at times as we had sent most our warm clothes back to Cape Town. In the morning it was simply too cool to homeschool, so we did excursions to the museeum (absolutely stunning!), walked the city, went tot he aquarium, took walks on the beach and could not be bothered to move the car. Walking a city and looking at shop displays was a completely new experience for our two boys and made us realize once again how much we did by car in Cape Town. After 4 nights on the Campside „Tiger Reef“, which was right at the beach and quite nice within walking distance to town, we left for Windhoek.

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