Sunday, 21 December 2014

We're in the midst of our travels at the moment, but have come back to Omaruru for a day to dump some stuff that we don't need for the next part of our journey, which is lucky as it gives me the chance to write a new blog post! We officially left for our holidays on Monday the 8th, when 4 of us (including Kirsty and Alice) jammed ourselves and our huge rucksacks into Hermien's bakkie for a squished but enjoyable journey to Windhoek. While there, we did some bits of shopping and lots of eating before setting off to Luderitz. This involved a trip to Rhino Park, basically a covered car park packed with people and vehicles of different sizes and destinations where we stood around feeling very conspicuous and touristy with our huge bags until we were pointed in the direction of the right combi. Having arrived at 8.00, we finally set off at 11.30 for the 9-hour journey and were enthusiastically greeted by Jo, Van, Morgan and Maurits when we arrived- at last the Namibia family were all back together! Luderitz was a lovely place (although we were surprised at how cold it was- being by the coast meant there was lots of wind) and we had a great few days visiting Shark Island, eating oysters for N$5 (about 30p) each and snuggling up together with hot chocolate to watch Christmas movies. We also visited Kolmanskop, an ex-diamond mining town which is now abandoned. You could walk through the ruins of what used to be the hospital and large mansion houses, now filled with sand that spills out of the doors and windows. It was very spooky but fascinating too!

After Luderitz it was back to Windhoek for another 2 days- Micaela and I visited the art gallery and independence museum before sitting down to discuss what to do next. We were initially booked into a campsite at Sossusvlei but found that we were unable to get there due to not having a car and it being quite out of the way, meaning catching a hitch would be unlikely. So, instead we spontaneously decided to go the coast and spent the evening phoning up hostels and booking activities.

First stop was Walvis Bay, a smallish fishing town just along the coast from Swakopmund with a lovely lagoon filled with pelicans and flamingos that we had a nice time walking around. The next morning we were driven to Pelican Point and got into our bright blue and yellow fisherman-style waterproofs to kayak around the point. This would have been fun in itself without the added bonus of being surrounded by thousands upon thousands of seals! They came right up to the boats and you could see them flipping and diving before your very eyes- really special. We were then picked up by another car for a wild 4x4 ride over the dunes to Sandwich Harbour- a truly beautiful spot where the yellow dunes meet the blue sea. The dunes themselves are just magnificent and driving through them was both exhilarating and breathtaking (especially when we suddenly tipped back and drove down one backwards!). We also stopped at a dry riverbed on our journey back and, under instruction from our guide, I ended up knee-deep in something a bit like quicksand, which was fun...

The final destination on this part of our trip was Swakopmund, which proved to be just as lovely as everyone had told us. We went on a living desert tour where we were shown geckos, lizards, chameleons and desert spiders and spent yesterday morning sandboarding down the dunes, which was great fun. Except from the fact that I still keep finding sand everywhere despite showering :( We spent our afternoons browsing around the shops, visiting the beach and museum and, of course, eating! The plan from now on is unsure, due to lots of confusion and uncertainty over whether we'll get our visas in time to get to Cape Town for Christmas. If not, we'll attempt to host all 8 of us in Omaruru for Christmas then try and spend New Year in Cape Town. Everything's a bit up in the air at the moment but that's Africa- it'll all work out in the end!

All that's left now is for me to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

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