Monday, 5 September 2016

Namibia - It was time to return

Recently Pam and I had the pleasure of spending five days in Namibia with our friends Colin and Felicity, Colin is is in the financial industry and does contract work there hence the visit.

I haven't been to Namibia since 1980 when I demobilised from the military. I was an NCO with the mounted infantry of the then South West African Specialist forces (1 SWASPES) during the South African border war.

Example picture of an infantryman on horseback on patrol*
But that is a whole other story, I haven't been back for personal reasons, so this was a bit of a big mental step forward. 
This blog entry about our trip to Namibia is however well rooted in the present; 

On the Friday we flew in to Windhoek from Johannesburg with Namibian Airlines whom I I have to say I can totally recommend and was met by Colin, Felicity's husband; incidentally just to get the facts correct, Felicity was on the flight with us.
Windhoek from the air

We dropped our bags where we were staying at the Capbon Guesthouse and then onto dinner at Joe's Beerhouse, I have to say at this point; no visit to Windhoek is complete without having a meal here, my photo's did not do it justice unfortunately, so I can recommend going to this Link and look at their gallery .

The next morning it was into the car and off to Swakopmund where we were staying at the Bon Hotel
Bon Hotel

Swakopmund promenade

Swakopmund promenade

Swakopmund promenade
 An excellent dinner was had on one of the evenings in Swakopmund was at the Tug Restaurant, it is constructed from the wheelhouse of an old Tugboat.

Pier at Swakopmund

No Beach trip is complete with out making a cairn

From here we drove down to Walvis Bay where we joined a tour hosted by Laramon Tours . 
It started by hopping on a catamaran for a couple of hours passing through Walvis bay harbour, then on for some whale watching, before visiting a seal colony, then stopping near an oyster farm for a finger lunch with of course some fresh oysters with a rather nice sparkling wine to wash it all down.

Small boat harbour at Walvis Bay

One of Laramon Tours catamaran's

From Lt to Rt: Pam, Felicity and Colin

While we were leaving the harbour an enormous Cape Fur Seal hopped up onto the stern of the boat for a bit of fish and allowed us a bit of physical contact, this was hotly pursued by a pair of pelicans that also stopped off for some free fish

Cape Fur Seal on board

" I'll have my fish rare.... very rare...."

Pelicans waiting for their snack

Oil rig supply vessels in harbour

Oil Rig in Harbour

Cape Fur Seal Colony

"Well hello...."

Cape Fur Seal colony

Oil Rig supply vessel

Seagull catching a ride on the bow

 We then hopped into 4x4 vehicles for a trip down the coast with our driver and guide Chrissie from Laramon Tours, taking us along the beach into the desert to see Dune 7 at Sandwich Bay. 

Pink flamingoes 

Convoy on route along the beach

From whence we came

Wind blowing sand off the peak we were due to climb
Now these aren't just small sand dunes most people are used to seeing at holiday resorts but rather almighty mountains of sand at about 130 metres high; which a number of us proceeded to climb - this was heart attack heaven going up where upon I was, with a couple of others rather ungainly reduced to crawling on all fours for a bit, but having reached the top the views proved to be incredible and well worth the exertion

Ever upward and onward

View down from the top... "It's a long way up ..."

Getting down took a couple of easy minutes which was then followed by another finger lunch (we were being constantly well fed and watered by our tour group) 

Snacks at the base of the dune
Then it was back into the vehicle for a very exhilarating drive into the dunes on the way back to Walvis Bay.
Those dots are people on the next dune

.... And down they go.....

....... And up they go.....

Black backed Jackal in the desert

Abandoned village near Dune 7

Driving into the dunes

Panoramic view of the desert

Pause for breath and a look around

Dunes to the sea

We then took a drive up the coast to a very unusual little holiday settlement called Wlotzkasbaken. It is basically just a bunch of houses sitting on the side of the sea in the desert - My kind of place, very desolate. You will see the edges of the properties are denoted by rows of stones.

Below are some examples of the houses located at Wlotzkasbaken.

The fishing trawler Zeila that ran aground 20 km north of Wlotzkasbaken in 2008

Then it was back to Swakopmund to have a bit of time around the town, this set of photos is just to give a look and feel for the town and its architecture.

On Tuesday we drove back to Windhoek to the N/a' an Ku Sê Foundation. That evening we went for a "Meet the San People" evening, this involved sitting under the stars around a fire listening to them tell stories in their tongue and have it translated into english for us.

Our Chalet
Verandah of our chalet

Very open plan bathroom


Main Lodge

Baboons having water in the morning
Warthog on the lawn outside the main lodge
Warthog on the lawn outside the main lodge

Namibia Gecko

Namibia Gecko

Rock Hyrax (Dassie) near the lodge

Who says you need a beach to build a cairn.....

The next day we went walking with a pair of cheetah's in the bush, this was to be a lifetime experience......
A hot day in Africa

Me myself and I with a cheetah

Felicity and Pam with one of the Cheetah

Pam with a cheetah

Felicity with a cheetah

Wide open spaces... with cheetah

And last but not least..... there was the most fearsome cat of all "Fudge" who came for her milk in the afternoon and morning


In conclusion all I can say, as I type we are already planning our next sojourn to Namibia

 *[PDF] The South African Defence Force and Horse Mounted Infantry ...
www.ajol.info749 × 481Search by image
The South African Defence Force and Horse Mounted Infantry Operations, 1974-1985 Jacques J.P. de Vries , Sandra Swart

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