We arrived in Namibia at Hosea Kutako Airport in Windhoek on a scorching hot day. I didn’t know what to expect about Namibia, other than it is famous for red sand dunes… but I was soon to learn that Namibia has so much more to offer! We arrived in Namibia at Hosea Kutako Airport in Windhoek on a scorching hot day. I didn’t know what to expect about Namibia, other than it is famous for red sand dunes… but I was soon to learn that Namibia has so much more to offer!
On arrival, we were met by our guide and driver who took us on a brief tour of Windhoek. We began our long trek down south to the Kalahari region and after this long drive, it was such a relief to arrive at Bagatelle Kalahari Ranch. It was an oasis and we were greeted with ice-cold beverages!
I was fascinated by the ingenuity of Namibians in dealing with high temperatures. The chalets are made from ‘straw’ bricks which is an excellent insulator in winter and has a cooling effect in summer. We visited the cheetah sanctuary where you can meet the fastest animals on earth! The braver members of our party disembarked from the vehicle and had a closer look… I was not one of them!
Soon we were back on the road and off to Zebra Lodge where we checked in and relaxed at the pool, taking in the panorama of grassy plains and red sand dunes.
After breakfast, we made our way to Sossusvlei and on the way we stopped at Sesriem for lunch; their patio overlooks magnificent boulders and wild vegetation. Wow, what a sight! After checking in to Sossusvlei Lodge, we walked to their viewing platform where you can look over the unparalleled desert beauty by day or the clear night sky by dark. By the time we got to the top of the platform, we were all slightly out of breath but it was worth the climb! The African barbeque ended off our evening under the stars. I tried the steaks from different game. Watching the chef put all the ingredients together as per each guest’s specification was magical.
The next day began with an early morning rush to get to Sossusvlei – the top tourist destination in Namibia. Looking up at the towering sand dunes, I did not think I would enjoy the climb as I kept imagining myself losing my footing and tumbling down the side of a dune. But I was wrong! I felt absolute freedom standing atop a dune, watching the sun rise. This was the perfect subject matter for some inspiring photography!
After a fun run down the dune, we had a picnic breakfast and I slowly started to appreciate why Sossusvlei is as popular as it is. I wanted to sit there as long as possible and take in all the natural beauty. After a fun run down the dune, we had a picnic breakfast and I slowly started to appreciate why Sossusvlei is as popular as it is. I wanted to sit there as long as possible and take in all the natural beauty.
Little Kulala Lodge
Next stop was the Little Kulala Lodge which is situated on a large private reserve, bordering the Namib Naukluft Park, in the heart of the Namib. The camp offers magnificent views of the famous red dunes of Sossusvlei, mountains and endless plains. The veranda overlooks a waterhole. Here, guests can enjoy incredible views, wild animals and desert fauna and flora. I think this would be the perfect place for a romantic honeymoon!
Sossus Dune Lodge
We then proceeded to check in at Sossus Dune Lodge, which is a stunning property. Made from wood, canvas and thatch on elevated decks, it is built like an African village. The staff were extremely pleasant and after dinner, they treated us to an impromptu acapella session which was a pleasant surprise. There is some real talent there!
Exploring Walvis Bay
In Walvis Bay, we checked into Pelican Bay Hotel and then had a great seafood dinner at the Raft Restaurant, just a short walk away. Early the next morning, we embarked on a dolphin and seal cruise. This is a 3-hour cruise departing from Walvis Bay harbour to the Bird Island. Schools of dolphins swam alongside the boat. Pelican Point, the very tip of the sandbank that forms the bay, is home to a resting colony of Cape Fur seals. Some 5000 seals, mostly females, can be seen here. We were spoilt with fresh Walvis Bay oysters, a light lunch, and cold sparkling wine on-board the boat.
That afternoon, Desert Explorers took us on a 2-hour quad biking excursion. This was my personal highlight! I cannot describe the thrill of quad biking up dunes. It was the most amazing experience and we watched the sun set from atop a sand dune and it was truly breath-taking.
Things to see on your way from Walvis Bay to Windhoek Things to see on your way from Walvis Bay to Windhoek
We then departed for Windhoek and stopped at Okahandja – the former tribal centre of the Herero people. We walked around the craft market and did a bit of shopping. The up market guest house Olive Grove Guest House was our stop off for lunch, situated close to the centre of Windhoek it was both quiet and peaceful and overlooks an olive grove! The open-air lounge, spa bath, plunge pool and tranquil garden all invite the visitor to unwind and relax under Namibia’s open skies.
We then drove to Thesehands Lounge – just 6 km from Windhoek. The lounge sits 500 m above Windhoek and offers spectacular sunset views where we enjoyed a great barbeque dinner with dancing and music. We also had Djembe drumming lessons with an expert. Drumming circles create an awesome, vibrant atmosphere. This was truly a memorable experience and a must-do for anyone travelling through Windhoek.
We then enjoyed a Windhoek city tour. Windhoek embodies the eclectic nature of the country. Mixed amongst the high rise buildings of the city’s financial district are quaint examples of German colonial architecture and markets selling traditional African wood carvings. Windhoek is also a bustling cosmopolitan city with good hotels, sophisticated shops and convivial bistros.
The city tour ended with lunch at the most famous beer house in Africa – Joe’s Beerhouse. We enjoyed the atmosphere of this unique pub and restaurant with its very original witty décor as Joe has collected much memorabilia over the years! The beer and food was great. Their generous portions of excellent Namibian and German food will make many customers happy.
After lunch, we viewed the Hotel Heinitzburg – a landmark on its own overlooking the capital’s skyline. We then drove back to where we started our wonderful adventure and boarded our Air Namibia flight back to Cape Town.