20 April 2011

Namibia!

At the end of February (ok, I'm a little behind in my blog posting), I went to Namibia with friends Rene, Nita and Dumi.  It was an awesome road trip.  It took us about 12 hours to drive from Gaborone to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.


Windhoek (Wikimedia pic)
 













We went in part to job hunt in Windhoek.  Nita and I were "retrenched" from the Hospital at the end of January and everyone else still employed there is also looking for work since the hospital is for sale and the future is uncertain.  The four of us stayed overnight in Windhoek at Londiningi Lodge, arriving in time for a lovely happy hour.
 
Dumi, me, Rene and Nita





























Windhoek is a very modern city, similar to cities in South Africa, which is not surprising since Namibia was a German colony until WWI when it was placed under a British mandate and given to South Africa to administer.


The next day Nita and I made the Mall - and cappuccino - our first destination.
















For dinner we went to a very cool landmark restaurant, Joe's Beer House.  We had a variety of game meat and shots of something green and delicious but I can't remember what it was (a bad sign).








 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The following day we made the 4 hour drive to Swakopmund, a beach resort town on the west coast of the country.  The drive there had dramatic scenery changes.  We started with greenery all around us and bit by bit the greenery was replaced by brush and then sand.




We didn't need any notification that there was sand everywhere, but I guess a good sign never hurts.




















Swakopmund is a charming little beach town.  It was very windy, which we learned is the case most of the year there.  Despite the chilly weather, kids were playing in the water as kids do everywhere in the world.


We stayed in Swakopmund with Dr. Honest Dewa, his wife Rufaro and son, Zviko.  They're Zimbabwean and like many, many Zim professionals they left that country because of the economic disaster and political uncertainty.  Dr. Dewa has a job in Swakopmund but his wife, who is a nurse, has been waiting a long time to be registered to work in Namibia.  We too discovered that getting registered with the Namibian Health Professions Council can take up to 6 months.

The Dewa's took us to The Tug restaurant at the end of the pier for sundowners.


After walking on the beach to the Tiger Reef bar for round two of sundowners, we headed to Neopolitana Italian restaurant for dinner, which made little Zviko very happy!





The next day we headed to Walvis Bay - about half an hour down the coast.  Walvis Bay is the major harbor and industrial area for Namibia.  The fishing industry is the area's biggest employer but there is also a big salt refinery plant and oil and gas exploration.  We went to see the hundreds (thousands, according to what I've read) of flamingos at the Lagoon.  The flamingos use Walvis Bay as a stopping point on their way to and from the Arctic Circle. 


The flamingos were a bit far away so I decided to walk closer to the water for a better look.  As it turned out, the sand was coated in oil (guess the oil exploration is going well) and I slipped and fell in the muck.


Walvis Bay, and actually the whole coast of Namibia, is known for its spectacular sand dunes.  The big dune in the area is Dune 7.  Dune 7 is steep and high (about 130 meters or 426 feet) but we all managed to get to the top.



On the way up...

 
Don't look down...

At the top!


View from the top.


View from the back side of the dune.

Coming down was surprising.  I thought it would be a slippery, fast slide down.  Instead you couldn't make any headway on your behind - so we all ran down.  Fun!

Big thanks to Dr. Honest and Zviko for staying down and taking pictures.

After the climb Nita wanted to go quad biking.  I said no way.  Being unemployed and without health insurance makes me a bit wary of driving up and down steep sand dunes.  So I went to watch.  Right.




Honest, Dumi, Andrew and Brendon, Rene, me and Nita















That night Honest and Dumi organized a Braai on the beach.
 
(From front left going clockwise) Andrew, Brenda, Honest, Prosper, me, Rene and Dumi 


We had chicken, boerewars and steak.  We needed all that because we were freezing!!

Brendon was one happy camper.


The next day was a drive back to Windhoek and one more night at Londiningi before heading back to Gabs.  Namibia stole our hearts. 



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