After the decadence of Windhoek, we packed up our bags and headed down the coast toward Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. The first thing anyone who has lived in Kenya will notice in Namibia is that the roads are in excellent condition – not a pothole in sight. This naturally meant that Hubby once again tested the car’s limits and successfully cut at least an hour off what would have been a four-hour drive.
Namibia has an amazingly stark beauty that can only be found in the desert. We drove from the capital where there was a lot of brush and various plants growing down through the desert wasteland, and then finally to the coast where the beach and the desert were separated only by the manmade road.
The most amazing part about our drive was the pleasure of being stopped by police at regular checkpoints along the road. The officials checked out the car to ensure that it was in good working order, verified Hubby’s driver’s permit, and did it all without asking for a bribe. It was a positive treat!
Our only pit stop that day was in Swakopmund. This small tourist driven town still retains its old-school German charm and architecture. The most famous spot in the town is the lighthouse which boasts a fabulous bar and is only a short walk from the main shopping area.
We were told over and over again how much tourism had increased in the last few years. Several shopkeepers had personal stories about celebrities who had been in town filming movies. The most popular celeb-story; however, had to be Brad and Angelina whose daughter was born nearby. Despite local fears at the time, the famous couple turned out to be low-key and, if the dozen people who told us can be believed, very down-to-earth.
Thirty minutes down the road from Swakop (as the locals call it), is Walvis Bay – our home for the remainder of our holiday. The small fishing town is less touristy than its neighbor and therefore far more affordable.
One thing you notice when you arrive in the former Southwest Africa, is that as in South Africa, everyone is speaking Afrikaans. Our hostess at the hotel was no exception to this rule. Although completely fluent in English she still occasionally had a few moments of trouble finding the right word. One such instance was when she was telling us a highly amusing tale about a party she attended where Wesley Snipes was in attendance. I won’t share the titillating details here because you probably wouldn’t believe me in any case! Of course, by the time she told this story, three of us were already on our third round.
The hotel we stayed was the same one from our last trip to the area and thus held a lot of wonderful memories for both of us. Although no longer owned by the same family, the hotel was still well run and welcoming. It was the perfect spot to finally relax and spend time with one another – no work, no Internet, no stresses. We were in our desert paradise.