POST 9 – November 25th 2018 – Destination
My Namibian adventure...
Walvis Bay / Namib-Naukluft National Park + Etosha National Park + Windhoek
Namibia is one of those trendy destinations nowadays, where authenticity and fabulous landscapes are not (yet) impacted by mass tourism. As it was my first trip to the African continent, I decided to visit this country as it felt still preserved from the mass tourism you can see for instance in some South African national parks. It is also considered to be a safe destination, compared to its South African neighbour.
I will not report on this page the flight and lounge experience to get to Windhoek from Johannesburg, but if you are interested to know about those details, I invite you to read the Flyertalk trip report I am doing in parallel to this blog : https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/30452401-post44.html
I spent 5 days in this country together with Myriam, my best friend, and we rented a car straight after our landing in Windhoek airport to drive to the Atlantic coast, in the region of Walvis Bay, located near the Namib-Naukluft national park, where the desert meets the ocean, about a good 4 hours away from Windhoek… It was also my first time driving on the « wrong » side of the road, and it went much better than I would have ever imagine !
The distances are quite long across the country, and it is very common to drive 100 km without seeing any village or human presence (our record was 190km without anything on the road). You certainly encounter some wildlife on the road though : Monkeys, baboons, cows and wild boars are quite common in this part of the world… But once in a while, you arrive in a village in the middle of nowhere and sometimes get to meet some locals, who appear to be quite friendly ! Driving was also a good way to see some great landscapes and test the drone…
We spent only one full day in this region and booked a 4×4 trip into the dunes with a local company called Mola-Mola. Our initial plan was to do the dolphin watching by boat instead of the dune safari, but we had some planning issues and I am glad we managed to book a very nice dune tour at the end, with our driver, Peter, being very friendly and professional ! I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone who may visit this region. Our tour comprised 2 jeeps with 3 to 4 tourists on each car, so this made the experience quite private, although some other organized tours could be seen sometimes – but the desert is big enough to accomodate everyone J
360° Video of the Namib-Naukluft National Park :
Walvis bay region is also well known for flamingos and other birds watching.
The next day, we pretty much crossed half of the country, towards the North, to do a Safari in Etosha national park. We booked 2 nights in a lovely lodge there, isolated from pretty much everything. Perfect moment for looking at the stars in the night !
The safari in Etosha National Park was fantastic, and our guide, Johnny was very nice and in touch via radio with some of his friends to find the best spots of the day (contrary to some national parks where the animals are traced by GPS !). Unfortunately, we did not see any Rhinoceros that day, but saw Lions, Elephants, Girafes, Gnous, Antelopes, Springboxes, Zebras and even a Leopard, which is usually the hardest animal to spot in the wild ! Pictures are worth thousands words in that case…
After the safari day, we spent the evening with our other safari-mates coming from Germany (The number of German and French tourists in Namibia was impressively high !)
The last day was spent travelling back to Windhoek, by car and visit this capital city. This was on a Saturday afternoon and I have to say that the city was a ghost town as all the shops close on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. So I think we saw most of the downtown highlights that particular day, including the church, the parliament, the train station and the meteorite exhibition (or whatever is left from it !)
Fortunately, the Hilton Windhoek executive lounge was nice enough to spend the evening in !
I think that Namibia still remains for the time being an authentic destination and I am glad I included this country in my trip. While the infrastructure is not yet as developped as in South Africa for instance (I am thinking about the airport for instance), those 5 days were very pleasant and most of the locals we met, were friendly.
Stop #4 : Namibia (Walvis bay, Etosha NP and Windhoek), 5 days
Positives : Beautiful landscapes, Safe destination, Authenticity and not (yet) a mass tourism destination.
Negatives : The one who would think that going on vacation in Africa is cheap would be quite wrong : Between the excursions, the tours and the accomodations, it was one of the most expensive « nature » destinations I went. Was definitely worth every penny, but needs to be considered. Also, one should note the large distances between the cities. The infrastructure is still being developed for tourism, and this being Africa, it seems to be taking some time (the airport for instance is very much under capacity), but this is not really a big issue. The only international gateway to the country appears to be Windhoek airport, although some regional planes fly daily to Walvis bay, mostly from Johannesburg.
VIDEO “EPISODE 4 : MY NAMIBIAN ADVENTURE…”