Windhoek, Southern Namibia, and Back Again

(No WiFi while camping so expect another 2-ish week delay before any more updates on Namibian adventures)
Overheard on a Cape-Town to Windhoek overnight bus…
“Well, when this bus arrives in Windhoek, I’m planning to stay at a backpackers and try to meet some other people to rent a car together and spend a few weeks camping and exploring the country,” I explained.
“But you don’t know anyone there? And you’ve never been to Namibia before?” Jake asked, looking at me like I was crazy.
“Hahaha well no… But I’ll figure it out when I get there, right?”  I answered my new Namibian friend, feeling like I might be.

I still might be crazy, but I’m happy to say that, once again, my (lack of a) plan worked out even better than expected. Within a few hours of arriving at Chameleon Backpackers in Windhoek, I met Andrea and Alvaro, an Argentine/Peruvian couple who also left their corporate lives in favor of travel and were looking for the same type of trip as me: our own car, camping gear, all on a shoestring budget. Soon after we also met Ellie, an Australian who would join us for the first 10 days of travel before she continued on to South Africa. Our search for a car and itinerary planning quickly came together and although I was bedridden with illness for a few days, we were able to hit the road by Wednesday to start our one-month tour around Namibia.
On day number one we drove from Windhoek to Spitzkoppe to camp underneath “The Matterhorn of Namibia”. The openness of the pastel landscapes and the countless stars on our first moonless evening were great indications of the days and nights to come.
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Climbing on rocks in Spitzkoppe
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The ‘Namibian Nomads’ visit Moon Landscape
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The endless stars above Mirabib
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‘El Toro’ handling the loose sand near Walvis Bay
Over the coming days, we got into our rhythm, packing and unpacking our camp more efficiently with each passing stop. We moved from Spitzkoppe to Swakopmund, Mirabib, Sesriem, Helmeringhausen, Hobas, Ai-Ais, and back North to Keetmanshoop and Hardap; making short stops each day for beautiful landscapes and attractions and finding a different camping site every evening.
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Sharing knowledge of fire-making
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Beach party between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay
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Desert bugs sneaking up on me
At our campsites, we’d play Shithead or Setback while sipping wine and waiting for the fire to cook down into coals for our braai and no day seemed to be complete without some dessert of ‘banana tortilla‘, a glass of Amarula, and discussing our roses, thorns, and seeds of the day. If I had to name my own for the past week and half, they’d be: Thorn – recovering from my quick but severe sickness that had me stuck in bed at Windhoek; Rose – turning off all the lights at our campsite in Mirabib and sitting in awe of the stars and streaks of the milky way; Seed – continuing to discover 20+ days worth of reasons that Namibia is an awe-inspiring place to visit.
Some other of my highlights of the trip were racing to sunrise in the dunes of Sossusvlei (the only image of Namibia that I had in my head a month ago), having two travel partners to get some daily Spanish practice with, the amazing hospitality of Jos and Carol at Goais Farm outside of Helmeringhausen (where they keep at least 50 goats), our sundowners at the Hobas viewpoint in Fish River Canyon, and relaxing in the hots springs of Ai-Ais (meaning ‘scalding hot water’ in the local Nama language)  – although, our relaxation was cut short by a baboon ambush of our spices.

 

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Made it to the dunes just in time for sunrise
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An oryx, the national animal of Namibia
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Making people nervous at Fish River Canyon
We spent our last day as four camping in Hardap National Park just a few hours away from Windhoek. Our mutual love of popcorn went unrestrained on our final night together as we made three full pots before braaing our lamb for dinner. Tomorrow we’ll drop Ellie off in Windhoek and become three. We’ll spend one night back at Chameleon before continuing on to explore the north There’s some restocking to be done (wine, chili sardines, and rusks top the list), I’m in desperate need of laundry, and since we’re returning on a Friday, my eyes are set on the first prize for trivia night…
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Quiver Tree, a gigantic succulent
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Even in the middle of the Namib dessert, there exist better recycling programs than many corporate offices I’ve visited in America

Banana Tortilla Dessert:

  • Tortilla

  • Banana

  • Chocolate Bar with Hazelnuts

  • Granola Mix

  • Honey

  1. During lunch, resist the urge to finish all 8 tortillas in the bag.

  2. After dinner, take out whatever tortillas are left and throw them in the cast iron pan directly over the slowly dying coals of that evening’s braai.

  3. After both sides are slightly toasted, slice a banana into thin circles and spread around the tortilla.

  4. Break half of a chocolate bar into small pieces and melt on top of the tortilla.

  5. Remove chocolate-banana-tortilla from the heat and sprinkle granola on top and finish with a drizzle of honey.

  6. Slice into four pieces and share amongst the group. Enjoy with Amarula on ice by the light of the stars.

A big “thank you” / “gracias” to all three of my travel partners for their conversations, their energy, and their photography of the trip. Most of the pictures here are from Alvaro’s camera; you can find more of his photos on Instagram at @alvarosotero. Andrea’s are at @andreacdifabio. For destination guides, pictures, and stories from her adventures keep thelittleroamer.com bookmarked as Ellie adds to it in the coming months.

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