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The Namib Desert.
We did not stop running till we reached the city of Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast. It is a bizarre experience driving westward on the Kalahari Highway (B2) as you transition from the hot and dry Namib Desert to the foggy and cold coastal strip all within 10 km. The city itself offers up the unexpected: wide, palm-tree lined streets many bearing German names; perpetual fog and a raging, cold Atlantic; outdoor restaurants and coffee shops complete with hipster baristas. Great food, amazing coffee. After eating our way across town, we pushed south another 30 km to the town of Walvis Bay. Seeing the beachfront mansions, we realized that the name means Rich White Man in Afrikaans. The goal here was a kayak trip recommended earlier by our new friends Guy and Shira. In the morning, we were picked up by our guide Jean and driven essentially out to sea along a sandbar. Once there we paddled out into the bay and were soon surrounded by hundreds of thrashing seals. They would follow our kayaks nipping (playfully?) at our paddles and literally throwing themselves at and into our kayaks. Like a huge pack of Dobermans on PCP. A very cool experience.
The captivating footage
The amazing kayak trip in Walvis Bay.
(two in fact
) courtesy of Jean Meintjes.
On our last evening on the coast.
On our final day in Namibia we drove back to Windhoek via the scenic (gravel) route that threatened to shake our Corolla apart – 350 kilometers with no towns and no hint of a gas station with driving largely limited to 60 km/h or much less. One final dinner (zebra and oryx steaks) and the long trip home this time via Johannesburg and DC. This flight is a special experience as there’s a middle of the night landing in Dakar involved. Here the plane is stormed by Senegalese security and random body cavity searches are performed on the sleepy passengers. Before one has the chance to utter a sleepy “no”, the plane is airborne again and the whole experience is tossed up to a bad dream. A touch of sightseeing to kill off the 10-hour layover in DC and we were finally home.
Highway B2 just west of the town of Usakos (May 2013).
Entering the foggy Swakopmund (May 2013).
The foggy and cold Swakopmund on the day we arrived there (May 2013).
Are we in SE Portland? A coffee shop in Swakopmund (May 2013).
Coffee shop in Swakopmund. I normally insist on being served my coffee by at least an MA in a humanities field (it’s gotta be one amazing fucking cup of joe…otherwise he/she better have a PhD) and here this basic requirement was satisfied in the first random coffee shop we walked into (May 2013).
Swakopmund (May 2013).
Swakopmund city wildlife (May 2013).
Menacing looking southern Atlantic in Swakopmund (May 2013).
The inland road connecting Walvis Bay and Swakopmund with the dunes on display (May 2013).
During the drive (May 2013).
The Namib Desert culminates in some amazing dunes before plunging into the Atlantic. This is somewhere between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund (May 2013).
Walvis Bay B&B (May 2013).
Place was run by a friendly Frenchman named Willard (May 2013).
Views from the rooftop (May 2013).
The flamingos of Walvis Bay (May 2013).
A flamingo (May 2013).
Colors on display in Walvis Bay (May 2013).
A front yard in Walvis Bay (May 2013).
Walvis Bay waterfront (May 2013).
The pink wave in Walvis Bay (May 2013).
Flamingos in the morning calm (May 2013).
Bay and birds (May 2013).
The splendor of Walvis Bay – like Sir David Attenborough (May 2013).
A flamingo taking off (May 2013).
An old lighthouse at the end of the sandbar that defines Walvis Bay. It’s been recently re-made into a very high end hotel (like $1K/night sort of bullshit; May 2013).
Shirley sporting the fat pants…OK we did not put on THAT much weight in Etosha (May 2013).
Seals, wankers, and more seals. Photo courtesy of Jean Meintjes (May 2013).
Two pelicans hitching a ride (May 2013).
The amazing kayak trip in Walvis Bay. Lookee that seal o the left…such a poseur. Photo courtesy of our guide Jean Meintjes (May 2013).
Shirley, Chris, and Jean our guide plowing through the food after the outing. Fun times (May 2013).
A pair of jackals on the sandbar at Walvis Bay. Photo credit goes to Jean Meintjes, our kayaking guide (May 2013).
The charming Swakopmund on the Atlantic Coast (May 2013).
Shirley roughing it in Swakopmund (May 2013).
Swakopmund street scenes (May 2013).
Where is everybody? The interesting drive in the Namib Desert (Welwitschia Drive) just east of Swakopmund (May 2013).
Welwitschia Drive in the northern reaches of Naukluft National Park just out of Swakopmund (May 2013).
On our last evening on the coast we were treated to this amazing sunset (May 2013).
Best pizza in Namibia…wait, was that the critics review or was it something we read on the menu? Last night in Walvis Bay. Either way, the wait was looong, the pizza was very good and the wine went down quickly (May 2013).
Somewhere along the long dirt road drive from Walvis Bay back to Windhoek (May 2013).
Joe’s Beer House in Windhoek on our final night in Namibia (May 2013).
The (long) JNB-IAD return flight makes a brief stop in Dakar (May 2013).
Killing time in DC during a 10-hour layover…Shirley headed for Linkin Monument (May 2013).
The Hoover Building in DC (May 2013).
Shirley’s roller carry-on was an attention getter with some of the suited folk at DC’s sights (May 2013).
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