Monday, November 2, 2015

Monday, November 2, 2015: Driving from Outjo to Swakopmund

We were on the road around 9:00 (a more reasonable hour when just traveling, but late if going on a game drive). Today we are driving to the west coast of Namibia, to the town of Swakopmund, where we have a reservation for 4 nights. We will be using Swakopmund as our base while along the coast.

The drive today was a total of 430 km (250 miles).  It really was a boring drive!  However thankfully the roads were excellent and Cal was driving 70mph (120kmph).  Primarily the roads go from point A to point B, straight as an arrow!  You see straight ahead from one ridge to the next!  However, going at this speed, you do have to watch-out for wildlife and livestock along the road – the warthogs are eating the green grass that is growing right next to the roadway, and herders are grazing their livestock (brahma cattle) in the broad road ditches.

While driving in Namibia we have seen a fair amount of what we call old fashioned windmills that pump water into cattle tanks.  At this point, it is our opinion, Africa’s energy resource is definitely the sun and when possible the wind.  We definitely have seen some smallish portable solar panels outside of homes -  they need to be secured at night, but this resources needs to be used on a much larger basis.  

Herding Sheep  along the Highway

Catle Grazing along the Highway
For lunch today we stopped in a “one-horse town” (that’s what most of these towns are) and bought bread, cheese and 4 slices of meat to make sandwiches, plus a can of Pringle chips. Cans of Pringles are great when traveling, as the chips do not get crushed. 

At the beginning of the drive there was a lot of scrub land, but the farther west we went, the more barren it became. 

Desert-like Conditions

Straight Highway

A Welcomed Oasis
We drove directly to our reservation Desert Villa Guesthouse, which is located on the very south edge of Swakopmund. We can see the sand dunes from our window.  Swakopmund is a very affluent German speaking resort town.  Of course everyone knows English too.  

Upon our arrival we asked the owner/manager what all we should be doing in the area (we had a few ideas).  Well she went right into action!!  She made reservations for us for the next 3 + days – day activities and dinner reservations.   November 1 is the beginning of their High Season, and tourist are flocking here for the next 3 months.  Activities are filling up and so are the restaurants, so it was great to have the guesthouse manager to go to work for us. We really appreciated her efforts.      

Our room is great! After a cup of tea for Rachel and a nap for Cal (after the drive), we began exploring the small down-town of Swakopmund.   This is definitely an upmarket area.  Lot of apartments and self-catering lodges for guests.  There is a Casino in town too.  You would never believe you were in Africa! Our South African friends told us about several shops they enjoy – tonight we found them and several more!  We had a great meal at Kucki’s Pub – very German style meals. All of the staff must know English, German and Afrikaans (African Dutch).   To be assured of not being disappointed at the restaurant of your choice, you must make a reservation. 

Our host/manager who has made our reservations for dining the next three nights has been insistent that we have the “best table in the house”.  The next three nights will be at restaurants with sea side views.  We would not have these tables without our host.  She treats her guest as family.

Now to the weather!!  You know how it has been so very hot for us. Even the other night at the east gate of Etosha N P it was 99 degrees –thankfully we had A/C.  Today upon arriving here in Swakopmund, we opened the vehicle door and WOW was it cool!!  What a relief to the heat we have been experiencing.  However, we decided if it continues to cool down when the sun sets, while we are at dinner, we will need jackets to walk back to our accommodations.  Thank goodness we thought of shutting the bedroom windows too and grabbing our jackets.  When we returned from dinner it was 64 degrees and by morning it will be around 57!!!!!!!! COLD!!! Tomorrow we will be wearing layers of clothes as it will warm up during the day!!  The reason for this change is temperature is that the ocean currents bring the waters from the Antarctic north right past this west African coastline, and they are obviously cold. In fact, tomorrow morning we will very likely experience heavy fog for a while.  The cold water temps and the hot inland air collide creating heavy fog.   Will tell you more about this later, after we experience it.  All I know is that it is unbelievably cold tonight!  I cannot believe I am saying this, when 1 week ago, we were just wishing for a bit of cool breeze!! 
Kucki’s Pub
Swakopmund Street

The Jetty

Sunset over the Atlantic - African Side

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