24 Jan 2015

Namibia Day 6: Desert?? Windhoek - Okahandja – Swakopmund

I love this vastness!
After a wonderful rest thanks to Bianca, we left on a balmy but cool morning. Days of difficult off-road conditions actually made me enjoy the tar road. – Yes, I know I would never let THAT come out of my mouth, but I have had a few days to reconsider my riding skills and nearly-near-death-experiences and cannot help wondering if I am way more of a sissy than I thought.

The first thing that I bump into the next morning?!?
In this case, I don't think Toni is too big for his socks!
An idea of all our electrical paraphernalia we drag along on the bikes!
The outskirts of Windhoek were beautiful and I was surprised at how mountainous the area was. Obviously it also had more rain than the area we had been in over the last few days, as the vegetation was greener and denser too.
A bit of shade for our stop
 We made good time on the tar and once again I have only praise for our F4 interphone that allows us to communicate while riding. It has been such a big help to foresee problems, where to go or stop and even some general banter.

 We refilled in Okahandja and were on the lookout for biltong (dried meat), but after some advice from the local petrol attendant, we opted to try at the road stall along the way – needless to say, we never found it and had no biltong.

Toni: I had not been in this part of Namibia for a few years, and it changed a lot. The Okahandja I knew was a small dusty transit town, with a market where locals sold their craft. I did not expect to find wide new tar roads, all the new shops, restaurants and filling stations. Tourists had now truly discovered this place. 

Tucs (the wind blew away before I had mine) and Nartjies
 We made a stop some 50 kms further to have a bite to eat. A couple of German guys pulled up in their car and came and sat with us. We got chatting and had a wonderful visit with the two musicians, who were in Namibia for concerts, playing the cello and violin. They also gave us good directions for the rest of our stay in Swakopmund. By now it had become blazing hot and we seemed to become more lethargic as the day went on.

T: As we had not had any form of breakfast yet, and our attempt to buy “good” biltong failed, we were rather peckish. 

We found a picnic spot on the road that had shade (a very important commodity in this part of the world) and soon we were enjoying our breakfast. Salticrax, canned smoked mussels and some biltong we bought at the local Spar.  The cost of the food a few rand, the cost of the fuel to get there a lot more, sitting in this spot having breakfast:  priceless.

We made a 2nd stop to eat more of the biltong.
And some more Nartjies

 Suddenly everything changed! The scenery had changed from vegetation to white flat stretches of sand. We were smack bang in the middle of a dessert and somehow I never realized Swakopmund was situated in the desert?!
And suddenly we were in the desert
As we neared the coast, the cooler air was a welcome relief to my sweat-drenched body. I must admit that my riding jacket had only seen dust and sweat for the last while and had quite a pong to it. I wondered if I would be able to give it a quick wash or if I should be dishing out washing pegs to anyone who wanted to come close?!

We saw bush pigs quite a few times, literally just grazing alongside the road.  A lovely sight to see such wild animals right next to a major road.

Toni trying to take pics from weird angles
T: Jinx was really surprised that soon we were literally on a tar road in the middle of a vast desert. Although I had done this road before a few times, it was in a car, and I too felt totally insignificant in this what can only be described as vast wonderful desolated landscape. 

My attempt at pics in the desert
More hills and sand

We were met by Braam and Laura in Swakop, just as the sun was setting and a sticky wetness was in the air. Dog tired once again, but relieved we did not still have to pitch tents, we made ourselves comfortable and got our washing done.

Desert as far as the eye can see
T: We arrived later than expected (it happened a lot on this trip) in Swakopmund and got to our delightful accommodation. Jinx, being Jinx was soon chatting with the friendly owners Braam and Laura. No sooner were we there and all (and I mean ALL) my clothes we taken away from me. Jinx had arranged with Laura that our clothes get washed (and yes by now they really needed a wash!).
Palm trees line the street as you enter Swakopmund

The jail - a beautiful old building
I absolutely loved the beauty of the desert, especially with the setting sun turning the whole area into soft hues of light pinks and blues above the sandy dunes. An excitement in my gut tells me this country has something to offer I have never experienced before - and boy, am I looking forward to that?!

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