Day 15 – The highest sand dune in Walvis bay: Dune 7

We went with our cars to Dune 7, the highest sand dune in Walvis bay. Its a popular place for tourists to go and climb up to see the view but its also very steep and exhausting – like walking in deep mud at a 45 degree angle. It took about 15-20 minutes to climb up and strangely enough I was the only one who realized that sand exposed to 40 degrees blazing sun gets quite warm – thus guarding my feet with thick socks instead of going barefoot like the rest of the tourists. They had to stop often to cool their feet off and that made the climb take longer time.

It took about 10 seconds to run down again! There were also rumors of huge balls that you could rent to roll down in, but I never saw any. At the foot of the dune, we cooked a traditional Namibian food called Potjie Kos. It involves getting a huge pot of iron. You place it over fire and put in things like vegetables, chicken, spices, sauce, pasta, rice, potatoes etc and cook it until it mixes to a delicious stew. There are public fireplaces almost everywhere in Namibia and the explanation for this is that people often gather outside to party, cook food and have a good time.

Day 12, a fun party

Today was another day of party! After a morning walk, we started the preparations. A lot of guests had been invited to Marchall’s house and we had to clean it and make food. My personal plan was to make frozen drinks from fresh fruit and alcohol with the help of a blender we had bought at a store.

After hunting for supplies and alcohol for a few hours, we were back at the house and the guests started to come around 19.00. The blender was on a constant roll until the food was ready at 23.00. I did lots of crazy combinations – like Captain morgan spice gold with nutella, peanut butter, milk and sugar. Actually good!

After all had been fed, we left for the club and had a fun night.

Day 11 – Dolphin tours!

We were booked into a dolphin tour that started 10:00. At the harbor we were waiting for the boat along with 15-20 other tourists that also were going on the tour. Me and my fellow danish youths got to sit on the upper deck witch suited me very good since that was the best place for pictures and view.

Toward the boat

The guide took us out on the sea a bit and told us lots of interesting stuff about the local animal life, the oysters, salt export and other things. The oyster, he said, were imported fro Chile. Unlike the French oysters, these ones had a harder and less slimy meat and that was because of different temperature in the water. The water here is colder and that means the oysters grow up faster and put more energy into getting thicker meat. In the horizon there was oil rigs, derelict ships, and lots of cranes to load and unload the boats. We had company by two birds, big white seagull like ones. Turns out they knew that our guide was about to give them fish. I fed them too, but only French fries.

Oil rig

We went by a colony of seals and we also saw a huge elephant seal witch many on board mistook for a walrus. We were accompanied by two dolphins and the guide told us that it was ok to swim with them. I was the only one on the boat with enough balls to get in but they were to shy to play with me. I knew I should have had that shower in the morning.

Dolphins!

On the way back our guide broke out champagne and fresh oysters. For Me who had never had them before it was a delight! One seal suddenly climbed on board and our guide told us lots of fun stuff about those animals. He gave him some fish and all of us got to pat him. The tour was about 30 euros and well worth the money. All of us got nice tans from being out at sea as well!

Seal

After the tour we went to Marchall’s house and my fellow Danish travelers cooked their national food for him. Well appreciated!

Day 10 – Adventures in the sand!

We stod up early to meet the others at Lourdich’s place around 10. AS USUAL Nicky and Mark were late – this time they weren’t even home when we got there. Nicky had to check out some tattoo place inte town. The prices were from 20 euros and up. Tempting – but what about the hygiene?

Morning

It was cloudy and we left for a company called Daredevil adventures wich provides rental of dune buggys and 4×4 bikes to ride in the sand. We rented a 4×4 each and the price was 22 euro for 45 minutes. The price for a big 2 person buggy with steel protection gace was 45 euro. We could choose between manual, semi automatic or fully automatic. A guide accompanied us and gave us instructions. Fantastic fun! and now the sun was out for real wich meant a better tan – sand reflects alot of the sun.

Our guide was really good and told us loads about the desert. He said that there is alot of minerals in the sand, such as iron, aluminum and zinc. There is also a minaral that makes the sand sparkle, the same one is put into lipstick and paint. To demonstrate he held a magnet to the sand for a while and after a minute it was completely covered with metal particles that looked like black fur.

The gang

Next in line was a gallerie in swakopmund with gemstones and crystals from the Namibian mines. Lots of beautiful stones and nice info. The worlds biggest crystal was on display and it weighed 45 tons or so. I also found out that amethysts are good for protection agains drunkeness. The word amethyst means in greek “not drunk”, so next time you’ve downed a few too many tequilas – put on your amethyst pendant to protect you from getting to drunk. We went on to a museum with lots of nice artifacts, animals and stuff from Namibias history. Well worth the 2,5 euro entrance fee.

Sulfur - my favorite mineral!

It was getting 15.00 and we had to meet up with Hetrz to change the front wheels of one of the cars, and while they did it I found a nice Cincinnati Bengals jersey in a shop. Later that evening we were booked up for dinner at aunt Desirées place so we hurried back the 30 kilometers to Walvis bay. After the good food at their huge apartment we decided to go all of us to a club in Walvis bay called Rio Copa.

André and Me

We had been warned (or hinted, depending on who’s listening) that there might be girls working as prostitutes at that club and that we shouldn’t “buy anything” from them. My eyes were in hooker-radar mode but I didn’t see anybody suspected to be for sale. Instead I was happy to find out that a glass of Johnnie Walker black label was 2,3 euro! At 23.30 we left to sleep – tomorrows adventure of dolphin tour started at 09.30!

Day 9 – The local gym

Me and André hit the gym around 12 and we bought monthly cards for 15 euro, thats what i call a good price! On the way back we went shopping for some food and
i found two things I didn’t know existed – peanutbutter with chocolate chips and peanutbutter with no added sugar 🙂 “Hercules, hercules”

After some cleaning of Marchalls house we left to town and did some shopping. We also were invited back to aunt Babalou with her 31 grandkids for dinner.
they gave us an amazing meal with meat straight from their farm 4 hours from town. I also played some more with the funny kids and this time I was stalked
by 5 little girls who wouldnt leave my side.

Tomorrow we are planning to drive 4-wheelers on the sand dunes between Walvis bay and Swakopmund. We also booked a dolphin tour on wensday!

Day 8: The beach in Walvis Bay

Our plans of being ready to go at 10:00 AM was destroyed by the girls who overslept. We however managed to get up and be at Lourdich & Frank’s place at 11:00 AM. Then the long wait started AGAIN.. Me and André had fun playing soccer with Franco in the backyard, waiting for Nicky to get ready and god knows what else. When we finally left, Marchall had to fill up on gas, so while he was in the station, the others went in and bought sandals for the beach. I also bought a bag of garlic biltong!

When we FINALLY got going, all our five cars were heading to the beach. The road went through a HUGE production facility of salt, one of the biggest in the world – apparently salt is one of Namibia’s top export products.  It was very interesting to watch huge mountains of salt and catepillar machines working. On our way to the beach we also got stuck with one of the cars in the sandy road – some action every day, please!

The water at the beach was very cold, about 12 degrees. It was also extremely windy. After a while of eating sandwiches we decided to leave for an area of public swimming pools where the water was warm and no wind. A new problem managed to ruin our plans – one of the trunks of our rental cars was impossible to close so we decided to drive to Hertz in Swakopmund and have the car replaced.  It was a Sunday so we had to wait for a long time for the Hertz representative to arrive and take care of the paperwork.

The clock was soon 19:00 and we had only been on the beach for 45 minutes.. We decided to just drive to the beach/harbor area of Swakopmund and have a sunset picnic. It was cozy! The next day was planned to do some shopping, and I also wanted to try the local gym!

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Day 7 – Exploring the Namibian nightlife

Chilling at Marchall's house

We woke up around nine but full of energy to start exploring the Namibian country! Me, André, Marchall, and Freddie went in to the town center in Walvis Bay to look around. We went in to lots of stores and Marchall and Freddie did some errands. It was closing in on Christmas and for Me it was a very unusual sight to see lots of colored and black employees in the shops with santa-hats on when it still was 40 degrees celsius outside!

Freddie, who is a DJ at a local club in Narraville, was supposed to meet his boss and talk, and I wanted to meet his boss too – perhaps I could convince him to let me work in his bar one night just for fun. We never met him so instead we just went back to Marchall’s house. The girls who had been “trapped” there all day with no car also wanted to go outside and have some fun! We ate some food that the girls had made, and then we left for a big barbecue at the house of Aunt Babalou. She was in her fifties but had already 34 grandkids! The women were sitting down outside in the house yard and grilling the meat and I had fun playing with all the kids.

Grilling the meat

As guests, we were placed in the best seat in Babalou’s house, in the living room at a nice table. All the other dinner guests, neighbours and friends, had to find their own places in the house or outside. After we said some prayed we started with our food, and believe Me, African aunts can cook! It was fantastic. After dinner aunt Babalou’s husband showed us the house witch he had built by hand, an impressive job.

Ready for party

When nightfall came we went back to Marchall’s house to get ready for Desert Inn club where Freddy was playing that night. We arrived at Desert Inn around twelve and I was in a good mood. To celebrate a nice day I spotted one of my favorite whiskeys in the bar – Johnnie Walker Black Label.
-“Single or double?” the bartender asked me.
-“double it is!”
Normally where I work in Norway, an order in the bar of a double Johnnie

Desert Inn

Black would land at around 30 euro – I was shocked to learn that the price here was only close to 5 euro! It was a fun night where Trine (André’s girlfriend) ended up as the most drunk of us. She managed to buy no less than THREE bottles of Smirnoff Vodka during out party out. Of course she denied it the day after, but we had picture evidence. A bottle of vodka in Desert Inn was 15 euro – back home its about 110-150 euro in a club.

Day 6 – Arriving in Walvis Bay, Namibia

We had breakfast at our B&B. It was run by an older couple and was walled for the safety of the guests. We proceeded to drive out of Keetmanhoop and now the Namibian nature was really starting to show itself. Think sand and long straight roads. Apart from letting a hoard of cows over the road, nothing dramatic happened.

At a gas station

We were met after a few hours by Nicky’s relatives from her hometown Walvis bay, they had been driving since dawn to meet us. It was nice for Me and Mark to get some time off driving and it was fun for everyone to meet the people we were going to spend the next month with. Especially for Nicky who hadn’t seen her family in 7 years.

 

Colorful houses

We drove on toward the Namibian capital Windhoek and stopped two times along the way to meet other relatives and hand out presents. For Me who had never been in Africa, it was very interesting to see what a normal small town looked like. The poor areas didn’t have asfalt on all roads and the houses were mostly one floor buildings. A big difference from European houses where the outside color of the walls normally is bland and boring, the Namibian people love to paint their walls in bright colors such as pink, green or orange. Everything felt very alive! I saw a house with a bright pink painted concrete wall with barbed wire. It looked like a maximum security prison for Barbie Dolls.

At last we arrived in Windhoek where we stopped for dinner at the house of other relatives. We were fed appetizers in various forms and before we had dinner we prayed. This was another area that differed from European traditions – in Namibia it is common to put all the food and plates and such on the table and let the guest grab a plate, take food and then find a place in the house where they want to enjoy their food.

They had prepared a delicious meal for us, grilled meat made on their indoor barbecue charcoal grill and home baked bread. The house was beautiful with large open spaces and stone tile floor. In the yard was a swimming pool. One of the smaller rooms housed a full time maid that served the family. One day when Im rich, Im also gonna get a butler who makes my food, drives me, and pours my cognac.

We left after dinner to reach our destination – Walvis bay, witch was still 300 km away. It felt a bit surrealistic driving through the dark and deserted town Swakopmund at 02.00 when I saw that the streets were decorated with bright christmas lights in different colors even though it was warm, and sand and desert on all sides of us.

Half an hour later we finally arrived in Walvis Bay about 02.30. Mark, Nicky and Petra were driven to the house of Frank & Lourdich in the “white” area of Walvis bay where they were going to stay for one month. Me, Leilanie, André, Trine and Nina were living at Marchall’s house in an area just outside of Walvis bay, called Narraville and was considered a “mixed” area. There was also another area witch was poorer and mostly populated with black people.

 

Day 5: Flat tire at midnight in middle of nowhere in Namibia

Out of Cape Town

We started driving at 05.00 while it still was dark. After stopping for breakfast at a restaurant chain called Wimpy, we were finally on our way out of Cape town and closing in on Namibia. The road was mostly very straight and with a nice sports car one could really do some damage here – very good sight for several kilometers.
We had lunch i Springbok at around 18.00 after 13 hours of driving. And to my amazement I found protein supplements in agrocery store 🙂 Springbok is about 1-2 hours of driving from the Namibian border and the closer you come, the landscapestarts to change to the more desert like nature that Namibia has.

A pause

Namibia was one part of South Africa and is still by some people called North West South Africa.. Just before the border the nature is breathtaking with a nice drive through mountain passes and valleys. The final stretch is also loaded with hitchhiking Africans waving their passport – a signal that they want a lift across the border (with what ever suspicious material in their bags).

Close to the border of Namibia

We passed the border after paying 20 euro in roadfee and filling out ridiculus papers that wanted to know the chassi numberfor our rental cars. We were booked into a bed & breakfast in a city called Keetmanshoop. We trusted blindly that Mark’s Iphone 4 GPS system would lead us there even though it did cost us and extra hour of driving when we visited the cheetahs at Spier.It turned out that the GPS was about to pull down our pants, bend us over and screw us royally this time! Instead of pointing the straight way to Keetmanshoop following road B7, it made us turn left into a suspicious gravel road that after one hour turned out to be the entrance to some old forgotten national park. I was totally pissedoff at this point- after almost 20 hours of driving, we did not need to loose more time on some dirt road in pitch black darknessin the middle of nowere. We turned back and when we got to the B7 road- the next disaster hit us: Mark had a flat tire.

We unloaded the car fast as hell, took out the spare tire and proceeded to change the tires. At this point we were all exhaustedand pissed of, especially Me and Mark who had been driving for so long without rest. The closest city was Grünau about half an hour away and Nicky suggested we should find a B&B there instead of driving the 250 kilometers to Keetmanshoop. After consultingwith her relatives however, we were strictly forbidden under any circumstances (even extreme ones like this) to stay overnightin Grünau because: “They kill people in that city!” so me and Mark just bit down and plowed the remaining hours of high speed until we finally hit Keetmanshoop and could sleep at 02.

Day 4: chillin’ with cheetahs – Inside the cage!

I started the day with a powerwalk early in the sun. Howerver, our plans to visit table mountain got ruined by clouds forming on the mountain. The backup plan agreed on was to take the cars to an area called Spier where there was a popular vinyard, cheetah-farm and diffirent kinds of owls and eagles.  Mark’s iphone 4 GPS system led us down a beautiful road outside of Cape town that twisted through huge vineyards and lovely nature.

Vineyards

The sun was blazing and after 30 minutes we discovered that we were going the wrong direction! We also discovered a water-leakage from under the car. Everybody agreed on going to get the car changed before driving to Namibia early morning.

Well arrived in Spier, they asked us to pay an entrance fee 5 RND. The guy at the entrance said the fee was 500 cent (witch actually os the same amount as 5 RND) and Nicky got all worried and didn’t understand the guy just WAS asking for 5 RND.

Cheetah

Touring the Cheetas!
We went looking at the cheetas with a guided tour. We were informed that they ate about 1 kilo of raw meat or chicken per day. The cheeta farm was run by mostly volunteer workers and that anybody who would like to volunteer should apply straight to the park instead of going through some organization that would charge for applying. More info on voluntary work:  http://www.cheetah.co.za/
The farm had a very big area for the cheetas to run and play, 5 times bigger than most other farms. They get the cheetas to stay in shape by letting them chase a fake rabbit on a reel. The guided tour was free and very interesting. Exept from the birds (that we didn’t get the chance to see) the farm also had coyotes, meerkats, jackals.

Chilling while Nicky is talking

Nicky held another conference about tomorrows long drive – the last month 18 people got killed on the road between Cape Town and Walvis bay. The police has set up a lot of spots where they measure your driving speed, so it was important for us to drive withing the limits. She said that if you get caught for speeding in South Africa, you will be put straight into prison without trial (a fact that I found somewhat hard to believe).

Me and André got tired of wasting time in the shadow just chilling, so we went back to the cheetas and paid a sum equivalent to 22 euro each, to get in the cage with the cubs and pat them. Highly recommended! After a while we drove back to the airport and exchanged the leaking car. Then we had dinner with Leilanies family at Grand Hotel witch was a huge complex consisting of diners and a big casino. We said goodbye and left for our hostel.