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Well, our trip to Namibia is over, and we had the time of our lives, thanks in large part to the suggestions and experience of the posters here.

Originally we planned to do a small group tour of Namibia.  However, the ones that interested me were all booked until the end of October at the earliest. So, I posted in these forums and got the suggestion of a private guide another poster has toured with. So, we had a privately guided, 12-day, 11-night tour of central Namibia. We let our guide know what sights and areas interested us, and he booked our lodges and activities, after okaying his selections with us.

We were in Namibia from June 11-June 22--midsummer at home; midwinter there.

 

June 11

John and I arrived in Windhoek a few minutes early at 10:15 a.m., after our overnight flight from Frankfurt to Johannesburg, from where we caught the short flight to Windhoek. Fortunately, we had both slept several hours on the overnight flight and were ready to go and beyond excited to finally be in Africa. We travelled with carryon luggage only, so it didn’t take long for us to leave the secure area and meet our guide, Francois, who was waiting for us.

We went straight out to the vehicle and Francois drove us out of Windhoek by a back road, avoiding driving through the city.  We stopped at one of the “tree” rest stops, and Francois gave us sandwiches, fruit, and personalized water bottles that he filled for us. He showed us the map, and we discussed the itinerary and our travel style.  Coming from the Canadian foothills, we are used to long drives, so our guide knew we would be all right with taking the “scenic route” when the opportunity presented itself. 

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(We learned from our guide that the sign is shaped to point to the side of the road where the rest stop will be. In this case, the rest stop will be on the right.)

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There was a huge corn cricket at the rest stop.  This was my first "wildlife" sighting in Africa. I am insect phobic, so I was thinking, "Uh, oh. What have I let myself in for?" Fortunately, that was the worst thing I saw the whole trip.

 

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Our first night was booked at Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch. On the way, we stopped at a sociable weavers’ nest. We couldn't believe how busy and noisy it was, with all the birds and the bees.

 

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On the way, we also saw mongoose, steenbok, springbok, kudu, giraffe, a crimson-breasted shrike (aka “executioner bird”), a kori bustard, ostrich, elands, and termite mounds. We didn’t take many pictures, as most of the animals were a bit too far away for good shots, and our guide said we would have better opportunities later on. We also saw some people driving a “Kalahari Ferrari."

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At Bagatelle, we had a dune chalet, and it was gorgeous. It was spacious, beautifully decorated, and had a lovely view of the dunes and a small waterhole with springbok, donkeys, and an eland.  There were ostrich on the property, as well.  The chalet, the lodge, and the scenery were all so lovely that this is among the top 5 places I’ve every stayed, and I wish we’d had more than one night there.

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We got settled and then left the chalet.  On our deck was a shovelnose lizard.  Beside our deck, munching on a bush, was the lodge’s tame springbok, Skunky. We met the lodge’s guide and driver for the cheetah feeding.  Bagatelle is part of the cheetah conservation effort, and they are host to two 14-year-old male cheetah that were “problem” animals and cannot be released into the wild for that reason.  We went in an open-sided vehicle with a group, and once at the cheetah feeding site, we were allowed to get out of the vehicle once the cats were feeding.  One of the cats does not do well with humans, but the other is approachable while he is eating. I got to go close to him and touch him.

 

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After the cheetah feeding, we went for a sundowner on top of a dune.  John had a Meerkat Sauvingnon Blanc. I had water, as I don’t care for wine, and I was too busy taking pictures of the sunset, anyway. 

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Afterwards, we had dinner at the lodge. Dinner was indoors, as it was too “cold.” (Note: winter in Namibia is warmer than summer where we live.  Ha. Ha.) We had our first taste of African game: oryx and kudu, and it was delicious. Skunky, the springbok, kept trying to come into the dining room, and peered at us pleadingly through the window after he was banished.

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By this time, travelling and not quite enough sleep was catching up with us.  We went to our chalet to sleep. I had one of the best sleeps of my entire life; it was so quiet and cool, and the bed was cozy.  We slept almost 11 hours.


June 12

 

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We were up early for 7am breakfast, followed by our scheduled walk to a demonstration village with a San Bushman.  On the way, we saw an eland who had a thin rope tied to his horns. We asked about that and were told he is sometimes "naughty" with the tourists. He certainly seemed to give us a mischievous grin.

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We were the only two who had booked the Bushman walk, so it was just us, Erastus (Black Mamba) the interpreter, and the San (!Koon (Tall Tree)). !Koon acted out some of the traditional ways that the San people survived in the Kalahari.  He told us (using gestures and click language) about termite hills and anteater hunting, about snaring small birds, about the uses of the blackthorn tree (e.g. for stomach ailments), about caching water in ostrich eggs, and about trapping ostriches. He showed us how they started fire, and then we walked to the demonstration village. The women were sitting around a fire making beads from ostrich shell. There were children sitting with the woman and then playing. Then, Erastus brought us to meet the “chief.”  He told us about foraging for caterpillars, making rattles, and the mini bow and arrow used for courting (still used today). There were three huts, and there was some ostrich shell jewellery on display. We bought an ostrich and porcupine quill bracelet. Then Erastus and !Koon walked us back to the lodge, and !Koon’s cute little daughter insisted on coming along.  On the way back, we chatted a bit about our own heritage (Cree), and the commonalities among Indigenous people in Namibia and Canada. We really felt we had made a connection in our short time together, and it seemed that !Koon and Erastus felt the same. We had heartfelt goodbyes with both !Koon and Erastus, who both told us that they had sincerely enjoyed their time with us, and we said the same.

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We freshened up at the lodge, and then we were on our way to Sesriem.

To be continued.

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A great start to your safari, glad you enjoyed it that much! That´s a wicked Eland grin indeed if I have ever seen one. I have learned not to trust the "We´ll have better opportunities later" statement - too often one has not. "Executioner bird" for the Shrike? Never heard that, why?

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Our guide thought it was because of the red on its chest, like blood.

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@Fischwife Thanks for starting this new Namibia trip report, I just edited the font size to make it easier to read.

 

Matt

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great start, looking forward to the rest! :-) 

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looking forward to getting to the Bottom of this dream of a report so if you could hurry up and be a GoodFellow and let us have the next installment @Fischwife

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4 minutes ago, Towlersonsafari said:

getting to the Bottom

 

I like what you did there @Towlersonsafari;)

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Great start, @Fischwife ! Guided/driven safaris in Namibia are not that many times reported, so it would be useful for others if you could share the details of your driver/company. Looking forward for the rest!!

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4 hours ago, Towlersonsafari said:

looking forward to getting to the Bottom of this dream of a report so if you could hurry up and be a GoodFellow and let us have the next installment @Fischwife

Ah! Had I been more awake, I would have said that the eland had a puckish grin. 

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6 hours ago, Game Warden said:

@Fischwife Thanks for starting this new Namibia trip report, I just edited the font size to make it easier to read.

 

Matt

Thank you, Game Warden.  I also had an issue with the photos. I did read the instructions but got confused and thought that my photos hadn't attached and I needed to create a gallery. So I did that and uploaded most of the photos to the gallery, when I realized the photos were now uploaded twice. I tried to delete the photos in the gallery, but was unable to do so. 

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, xelas said:

Great start, @Fischwife ! Guided/driven safaris in Namibia are not that many times reported, so it would be useful for others if you could share the details of your driver/company. Looking forward for the rest!!

The guide's name is Francois Visser, and his company is called Tracking Namibia Safaris.  He used to own a boat cruise company in Walvis Bay along with his father-in-law, but sold it several years ago.  (Before that, he was a policeman.) He has been guiding for a number of years but has operated in partnership with larger companies and by word of mouth.  His son is now working with him, and they should have their website ready within the next month or so.  I thought I'd wait until the website was up before doing a report.

Anyway, he was great. He really exceeded our expectations. He is knowledgeable, personable, entertaining, and has a good sense of humour.  He does a lot of little extras that help to illustrate what he is talking about.  I will give examples of those in my trip report and in my eventual report on Tracking Namibia.

Besides privately-guided tours, he will also help and advise people with self-driving trips. His son is also working on adventure tourism packages.

Edited to add that he speaks 3 languages: Afrikaans, English, and German.

Edited by Fischwife
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I remember the planning, the budget considerations, the plans that initially fell through...all distant memories now.  Great title!  Great Kalahari Ferrari!

 

That little boy on the bushman walk is just adorable and I wonder if he'll continue with the traditional way of life when he becomes a man.

 

I know that very weaver's nest!  This advice is a little late now, but I was told to approach the nests carefully and look underfoot because big snakes like to hang out around these nests. 

 

Corn cricket for critter #1, hilarious.  Perhaps Namibia has cured your insect-phobia, which I just checked is entomophobia.

 

" two 14-year-old male cheetah:" - In 2014 there were 3.  At the time I wondered how the last cheetah standing would deal with his loss of brothers.  Hopefully the pair will live a long time together.  I also remember the distinct personalities.  Just like people, I guess.

 

Off topic:  Happy 150th!

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1 minute ago, Atravelynn said:

I remember the planning, the budget considerations, the plans that initially fell through...all distant memories now.  Great title!  Great Kalahari Ferrari!

 

That little boy on the bushman walk is just adorable and I wonder if he'll continue with the traditional way of life when he becomes a man.

 

I know that very weaver's nest!  This advice is a little late now, but I was told to approach the nests carefully and look underfoot because big snakes like to hang out around these nests. 

 

Corn cricket for critter #1, hilarious.  Perhaps Namibia has cured your insect-phobia, which I just checked is entomophobia.

 

" two 14-year-old male cheetah:" - In 2014 there were 3.  At the time I wondered how the last cheetah standing would deal with his loss of brothers.  Hopefully the pair will live a long time together.  I also remember the distinct personalities.  Just like people, I guess.

 

Off topic:  Happy 150th!

Thank you! Happy Independence Day!

That's a little girl, and I do hope she will grow up learning the traditional ways. The San don't live completely traditional lives, now, just as we no longer live in tipis and hunt buffalo. This was a "demonstration village." However, it's important for indigenous people to keep the culture and language alive and incorporate them into our modern lives where possible, I think.

Yes. Our guide did tell us about the snakes. :)

We were told there used to be three cheetah. I guess the one that died used to bully the one that is more skittish, so the skittish one may actually be having a better time of it now.

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Posted (edited)

June 12 Continued

We stopped at a grocery store in Mariental and bought snacks and lunch supplies while our guide gassed up the vehicle. After Maltahohe, we turned off C19 to take a longer and slightly more scenic route to Sesriem.  We saw fabulous scenery and zebras, giraffes, oryx, and goshawks.  We stopped in one spot to take photos, and Francois picked a little bit of what looked to be a dead plant. He put it into a water bottle that had a bit of water in it and told us to look at it after a couple of hours.


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We had lunch on the side of the road while we took in the scenery, and then we were off again. We glimpsed a bright green snake in the road. It had been hit by a car, but Francois thought it was still alive, so he turned around so we could have a look at it and take a photo. As we approached it, a blue Duster drove over it and smushed it completely.  After that, it became a running gag that every time we saw a blue Duster (there were quite a few), we joked about “those snake killers” and speculated about the possibility of a conspiracy of snake killers, all driving blue Dusters.  ;)

 

The road had pieces of granite sticking out in places, and one of them caused a leak in one of our tires. It didn't take too long for Francois to plug it, and we were on our way. We were glad that our guide was well-prepared and capable of handling the situation, and we were happy that we weren’t self-driving, as we would have had much more difficulty dealing with the tire on that very hot and dusty road.

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In due time, we reached Sossusvlei Lodge. Once again, we were pleased with the beauty of the place and with our room and its view. We were also amazed at the “dead” plant Francois had put in the bottle. By now, it was fully leafed out and very much alive, which was a vivid demonstration of the resilience of life in the desert.

 

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We had a rest, took some pictures of the sunset, and then went for dinner. Dinner was outdoors, as it had been a 34 C day, and the evening was pleasant. There were many choices on offer, and I decided to have zebra, ostrich, and oryx for dinner.  All were delicious.  Our guide thought I might like Savannah Cider, so I tried it, and I liked it very much.

June 13


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We awoke early, ate a delicious breakfast, and left for Sossusvlei and the sand dunes. We drove through a stunning landscape that changes from granite/limestone to giant sand red sand dunes.

We arrived at Dune 45 and stopped to take photos of the shadows on the dunes and the people climbing. We weren’t particularly interested in dune climbing, so we drove on to Deadvlei.  Our guide is experienced with driving in sand, so we were able to drive all the way to the Deadvlei parking lot.  We passed an Oryx couple, and took pictures. The female was heavily pregnant. 

 

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We stopped near a camelthorn tree and looked at the earlobe-shaped seed pods.  We walked over to a small dune nearby, and our guide identified some of the tracks on it.  He then asked me to hold out my hand, palm down, with my fingers stretched up to make a depression on the back of my hand. He put some sand from the dune on it and then held a magnet above my hand to show how much iron is in the sand.

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We then arrived at the parking area for Big Daddy and Deadvlei. As we hiked the short distance to Deadvlei, we saw a shovelnose lizard. Our guide tossed his hat in the air, and in a twinkling, the lizard disappeared into the sand.  We laughed in astonishment at how fast it was.

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We took a lot of photos at Deadvlei, and, as we were walking over to the other, less busy, “back” section, Francois called out, “Quick! There’s a brown hyena on the dune there.”  I zoomed in as quickly as I could and got a couple of photos—not spectacular ones, as it was a bit far for my zoom, but we were excited to see a hyena. John went over to look at the tracks and take photos, while I focused on the landscape and the little tok tokkie beetles that shone blue in the hot sun.

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Near the parking lot, we saw a snake eagle, but I wasn’t quick enough to get a good photo.

On our way back to the lodge, we saw several ostriches and oryx at an off-road watering hole.

 

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We stopped at the gas station for ice cream and were entertained by the birds that hung around hoping for crumbs.

It was a baking hot "winter" day, so when we returned to the lodge, John and I went to the pool. The water was really cold, so we made it in only up to our waists, but that was enough to refresh us.

In the late afternoon, we went to Sesriem Canyon. It’s such a deep canyon but is barely visible from the top until we were almost right beside it. We hiked inside it, and saw, way above our heads, a log that got jammed when water was rushing through the canyon. Francois picked up a tok tokkie beetle and told us about how it knocks on rocks with its shell and uses its shell to collect water by condensation.

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Back at the lodge, we climbed up the little tower there and sat on the patio above the bar to watch the sunset.
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That night, at dinner, I had warthog, impala, and springbok. After dinner, we looked at the amazing stars before we went to bed.

To be continued…

Edited by Fischwife
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Brown hyena on the sand dune.  A major score!

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Lovely Brown hyena in a perfect habitat!

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@Fischwifea brown hyena at Dead Vlei is very special!

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Any animal in the dunes is a major score, a brown hyena is almost a jackpot! 

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Great report, I am glad you had a really good time. seeing a brown hyena anywhere is pretty lucky but at Deadvlei that takes some beating, looking forward to more.

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On 7/4/2017 at 11:28 AM, Fischwife said:

Thank you! Happy Independence Day!

That's a little girl, and I do hope she will grow up learning the traditional ways.  I checked again and was glad I had not overlooked any obvious signs.  That's great that the little girl is participating.  Years ago she might not have been included in that role.  Another point on changing times. The San don't live completely traditional lives, now, just as we no longer live in tipis and hunt buffalo. This was a "demonstration village." However, it's important for indigenous people to keep the culture and language alive and incorporate them into our modern lives where possible, I think.

Yes. Our guide did tell us about the snakes. :)

We were told there used to be three cheetah. I guess the one that died used to bully the one that is more skittish, so the skittish one may actually be having a better time of it now.  Rather than mourning, maybe the thought was good riddance. 

 

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I thought she was a little boy, too, until Erastus told me she was !Koon's daughter.

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Great hyena sighting!

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Beautiful photos Fischwife, thank you for sharing,

A Brown hyena is not what I would have expected to see there!!!:huh:

Am looking forward to the rest of your trip.

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Posted (edited)

June 14

We left Sossusvlei for Swakopmund around 8 am. We initially had both Walvis Bay cruise and a scenic 3-hour flight booked for the next day, but our guide had received a call the day before saying that, if we could do the flight on the afternoon of the 14th, there were 3 other people going, and that would lower the costs.  So, instead of taking a scenic detour on the way to Swakop, we would be driving there directly.

We stopped in Solitaire for gas and Moose McGregor’s famous apple pie, and, of course, photos. (Moose McGregor is no longer living, but his grave is there, at Solitaire, and his legacy lives on.)

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On the way we saw ostriches, zebras, and a blue wildebeest. We saw three geese flying—our guide thought they might be Egyptian geese, although it wasn’t the typical time of year for them, apparently, and a Ruppell’s Korhaan, a bird that looks something like a road runner.

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We also saw a whip snake along the road. Francois at first thought it had been hit by a car, but then it moved, so we went back for a closer look.  A whip snake is a rather cute looking snake, something like the garter snakes we have at home, but longer.

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We were thrilled to cross the Tropic of Capricorn and stopped for the obligatory tourist photos at the sign. 

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The landscape became hillier, with beautiful striations on the hills.
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We crossed the Kuiseb “river” and canyon. (It always seemed funny to me to have our guide point out “rivers” when there was no water in them, but he showed us pictures he’d taken of when they were flowing.) Francois showed us a large cave which was one of several where two German soldiers hid out and lived off the land for 2 1/2 years.

As we got close to Swakopmund, we drove along the east side of the beautiful dunes that lie near the coast.  These dunes are more golden than the ones around Sossusvlei.

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We arrived in Swakopmund, and our guide showed us where the restaurant was where we’d be eating that evening and then took us to our hotel, the Zum Kaiser.  We settled in and had a snack before going downstairs to meet the shuttle that would take us to the plane.

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We flew with Eagle Air on a scenic flight over the dunes and the Skeleton Coast. The main reason I wanted to do this was to see the Skeleton Coast and the shipwrecks.

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When we boarded the plane, the pilot asked who it was who had requested to sit in the middle.  Apparently, the other couple had done so, and the man who was travelling solo was given the seat beside the pilot, of course, which left us the back seats.  That was fine.  The back seats had less space than the others, as the plane narrowed there, and we were a bit squished together, with our knees touching the seats in front of us, but it made sense, as the other couple was taller than we are. However, before that couple sat down, the pilot leaned in and started to push the middle seats back more to give the other couple even more room. We objected, as our knees were already pushed into the seats in front, and, as there was no space between the seats (unlike the middle ones), we could not sit with our legs wider to compensate.  The pilot said sarcastically, “This isn’t a commercial flight, you know.”  John said that we knew that, but there wasn't room to push those seats back any more. Then the pilot looked at John and asked, “Do you WANT to take this flight?”  We thought he was being very rude, and for me, it set a bad tone for the outing and made me grumpy.

It was very hot on the plane, and the couple in front of us passed us their outerwear to put in the cargo area behind us.  We flew over the dunes, all the way to Sossusvlei. It was beautiful, but, to be honest, I thought it was too long.  A half an hour of looking at the dunes from above, instead of over two hours, would have been plenty for me. 

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When we finally got to the Skeleton Coast, I couldn’t see much from my side of the plane, so I was craning my head to see out the other side, at the things the pilot was pointing out. We couldn’t hear him from the back, but I knew there was something there because he pointed, and the people in front of us were looking that way. Suddenly, we hit an air pocket, and my head snapped back at a weird angle. Unlike all the other seats, ours did not have headrests to protect us.  I think I got a little bit of whiplash, because my neck bothered me for the rest of our trip.  After that, I didn’t want to crane my neck anymore.  I thought it would be all right, as we'd been told we would circle around any major sights, so that everyone could see. However, when we passed the Eduard Bohlen, the pilot did not circle around as I’d expected, and so I missed seeing it altogether. 

We were supposed to land back at Swakopmund, but it was too foggy, so the pilot flew higher again and went to another airstrip to land. He explained to the other passengers in German what was happening and where we were landing (at least, that’s what I think he was saying), but he never bothered to tell John and I what was going on at all. When we landed, we had no idea where we were or what was going to happen next.  We appreciated his caution. However, we would have appreciated the pilot taking the time to tell us what was going on. We asked a security guard there, who told us we were near a uranium mine at a place called Arandis, about 50 miles from Swakop, and our shuttle would be picking us up in about 40 minutes.  While we were waiting, the woman who had sat in front of us asked me if I had seen her scarf. I hadn’t and said so. She then asked John, who also hadn’t seen it, but she said to him, “Well, it didn’t walk away by itself.”  A few minutes later, we saw her wearing her scarf, but she did not bother to say anything to us or apologize to John for essentially accusing him of lying.  I was really irritated with the whole experience by this point and was glad when we returned to our hotel and were away from the lot of them.  This experience made me extremely thankful that we had ended up getting a private guide rather than doing a small group tour, as we’d initially planned.  And, out of everything we experienced in Namibia, the scenic flight was the only thing that I regret doing and would not recommend. It was also expensive (3500 Namibian dollars per person), and, in my opinion, not really worth the money.

Our guide had made dinner reservations at The Tug restaurant near our hotel, so we freshened up and walked over there.  The restaurant was busy when we arrived, but we were lucky to have seats up on the top level in the cabin.  We had grilled calamari for a starter. John had Villena Sauvignon Blanc to drink, and I had Savannah light cider.  I had a Marula Salad and grilled Kingklip (fish), and John had a “small” seafood salad (that was actually really big) and Kapana (Opana ?), a traditional beef dish.  Everything was delicious. By the time we finished, we were the only patrons left in the cabin section. We chatted with our server, Prince, who was curious about whether there are black people in Canada and what life is like for black people here.  This was something we were often asked about in Namibia.  We talked a bit about the underground railroad and other black immigrants who have come to Canada, including John’s best friend who is originally from Congo, and we said that we thought life was fairly good in Canada for them, but there is still some racism here. Prince taught us how to greet someone in Damara language and how to respond. (The response was difficult for us, as we couldn’t do the click properly).

 

 When we'd entered the restaurant, a man had tried to sell us those little shell ornaments, saying he did not want to beg.  We told him we had no cash, so he asked if we’d bring him some bread. We couldn’t eat all our food, so we got a “doggy bag” with bread and beef in it and gave it to the man when we left.

We went back to our hotel and had to turn the heater on, because it was so cold in Swakopmund that evening. 

June 15

We had a good sleep and were awakened early by the sounds of the schoolchildren across the street. Apparently, school starts at 7 am there, so the kids start arriving and playing in the school yard about 6:30.  It was fun to get a glimpse of everyday life in Swakopmund.

Francois was to pick us up at 8:30 to drive us to Walvis Bay for our cruise, but we were in the lobby early after having a delicious breakfast at the hotel, and Francois was already there waiting.  We drove to Walvis Bay and had time to look around on the dock before our cruise.  It was a foggy morning, and the ocean had a calm, otherworldly appearance. 

 

When the boat arrived to load people, everyone dashed to get on the boat first. We were almost at the end of the line, and this worked out in our favour, because once the larger boat was full, they put the rest of us on a catamaran.  We saw a cormorant shortly after the catamaran pulled away from shore.

 

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We set off, and I was busy snapping pictures of the pelicans on board, not realizing that some of them would travel with us for the entire time. I probably took 200 pictures of pelicans. It was great fun.

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We also had a seal who came aboard for a while. I got to pat him, and I also had a chance to pat a pelican.  We went past a couple of seal colonies. They seemed large, but apparently, these are much smaller than the one at Cape Cross.  It was fun to see the little ones getting swimming lessons from the bigger ones. 

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After that, we had three dolphins who swam with our boat for 15-20 minutes.  The bigger boat came alongside towards the end of this, and all the people who had rushed to be first got a few minutes to see and photograph the dolphins swimming by our boat.  We felt fortunate to have ended up on the boat that the dolphins swam with for so long. 

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Shortly after we got on the boat, the crew had given us blankets, because it was cold, and handed out sherry to warm us up.  Later, on the way back to shore, we all went into the cabin for snacks, which included raw oysters, and champagne.  I initially didn’t think I would eat the oysters but decided to try one. With the hot sauce and lemon, it was delicious, so I had a second.  I also had two glasses of champagne, for, while I don’t like regular wine, I don’t mind champagne, although I’ve only ever had a half a glass before.  Everyone on board was nice and got along. We loved this cruise, and I would highly recommend it.

By the time we got back to shore, the fog was dissipating.

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After disembarking, we shopped at the little craft market behind the docks and bought a small wooden oryx for our Christmas tree. When we travel, typically the only souvenirs we buy are items that we can put on our tree. We’ve been doing this for almost 20 years, and now, whenever we decorate our tree, we get to relive precious memories of family holidays and trips to wonderful places.

Francois then gave us a tour of Walvis Bay, including a ride up a dune to look at the salt works (where ocean water desalination is done).  Now, when I say, “Back to the old salt mines, I’ll really know what I’m talking about.” ;)  We also went to see the flamingos, and we saw dozens of white, or “greater,” flamingos.  We spotted a jackal who seemed interested in the flamingos, too. 

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Before dropping us back at our hotel, Francois gave us a brief tour of Swakopmund, including the former train station that is now a hotel, a monument to the WWII German radio tower, and a place to try for supper (Kucki’s Pub).

 

After dropping off our warm jackets at the hotel, we went for a walk and to find a bank.  Outside, we were greeted by a man who said he was from Brandenburg and he showed us some rocks he had for sale, because he didn’t want to beg.  We said, “Madisah” to him, and he answered us with the Damara language response. We said we didn’t want to buy any rocks, but we had some food for him. I went back to the room and got the papaya, avocado, banana, and bun we had left from our purchases at Mariental. His friend joined him, trying to sell us those shells with our names on them, but he had spelled John’s name wrong, and anyway, I didn’t want to pull out my money on the street.  We chatted with them for a while. They told us they thought Namibia was a fair country except for the lack of work.

We ate at Kucki’s Pub or dinner.  It had a fun, casual atmosphere, and the food was good, and, as usual for Namibia, plentiful. John had the pepper steak with sauerkraut, and I had the oryx with potatoes. We both took doggy bags but didn’t see anyone on our way back to give them to. We left them on a fence on a street corner, and they were gone the next morning (which dawned bright and sunny, for a change).

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We felt that June 15th had been our best day yet, but there was even better to come.

 

To be continued…

Edited by Fischwife
for clarity
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