Despite of omicron, New Years in Namibia

Two years of harsh economic circumstances, due to the lack of tourists, seemed to be coming to an end for many in our tourism dependent community. The end of the year was looking brighter than it had in a long time. There were a lot of bookings for the Christmas holidays. We were expecting family, we hadn’t seen for ages, to come over and visit. Friends had planned to see family overseas. But along came “Omicron”, an unexpected slap in the face! Bookings were cancelled, family couldn’t come, friends couldn’t go… it seems to be a never ending story… YOLO, so we decided to make the best of it and head off on a little family vacation abroad. Namibia it was going to be. The first boarder crossing since we went to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, in 2019 with friends from Norway. (Check the story in our blog post, 2019)

We didn’t have much of a plan and decided to take it one step at a time. Which meant getting paper work done first, corona tests for the five of us. With the negative results the next day, we got started with the packing. First stop to be the capital Windhoek. Although we had planned to head off before sunrise, minor electrical problems on the trailer forced us to wait until late morning. We finally hit the road just before lunch, but the excitement of a new country kept the spirits high. The road took us to the western boarder of Botswana. A short stop at the boarder to sort out formalities and we continued our drive. Instantly noticing a different feel. In contrast to Botswana, there were no animals on or along the road. Fences were erect and in good condition (typical German some would say…). We arrived at our first guesthouse in the evening just before the sun set. A quick dinner at a near German Biergarten and we were all ready to hit the sack. The next morning I took the kids to the bakery to choose German goods for breakfast, also stopping at the meat counter 😋

After a good breakfast at the guesthouse we were ready to check out the city and do some shopping.

Our journey continued on well kept gravel roads. Next stop Sesriem, the gateway to the well know “Sossusvlei” dunes, sossus referring to a place that keeps water and vlei meaning a pan/temporary lake. The road took us through some amazing landscapes, driving along rocky hills towards the more sandy area of the Namib desert.

We had managed to book a campsite just outside the gates of Sesriem. Where we set up camp and had a dip in the pool to cool off.

Early the next morning we got up before sunrise to explore the dunes at Sossusvlei, a 65km drive westwards into the sandy desert. We drove through the Valley enjoying the view of massive dunes on both sides.

After about an hours drive we reached “big daddy”, a dune towering a proud 325 meters high and the biggest of the Sossusvlei dunes. The kids loved climbing other small dunes and jumping down, as well as playing in the sand. Walking in the soft sand was not easy, so we stopped about half way up big daddy, had a snack and enjoyed the view. Did some more jumping down the face of the dune and finally ran down.

By 9 o’clock the sun had started baking the sand and it was getting hot, so back into the car we went to spend the rest of the day at camp. After some lunch and another few dips in the pool we were so hot we decided to go to the Sesriem canyon, which was meant to be a bit cooler. Being below ground level, it was protected from the scorching sun. So we spent some time climbing the rocky walls and building towers of stone.

New Years was spent by the campfire with a lovely dinner and an early night. We packed up the camp early on the first day of the new year and after a quick breakfast and some coffee headed back on to the road driving north west to the coast. Again passing lovely landscapes and driving down canyons and through hilly landscapes. Just after lunch time we reached the town of Walvis Bay, a Harbour town on the Atlantic Ocean. In it’s bay we saw flamingos for the first time. The kids were not shy to try the cold Atlantic, the water temperature registered at 13°C. I was quite happy being the photographer. But they had so much fun in the waves they only noticed the cold when they were done and couldn’t move their fingers or feel their toes.

Later that evening we enjoyed a lovely seafood dinner of fish and chips as well as calamari and oysters. We spent a few days at the coast eating a fair amount of fish and other seafood. The fish Deli in Swakopmund is a place we recommend. In the evenings we went to the dunes to watch the sun set and play in the sand. Once shops opened again, I organized some hardboard, which we cut into smaller pieces and waxed on one side, then used to slide down the face of the dunes. An absolute Highlight. The kids loved it. A very cheap and easy way to have fun. And good exercise too, as there are no lifts to get you back to the top.

We also spoiled ourselves with a kayak outing in the bay. Starting the paddle from Pelican Point, the end of a long sandy tongue of land protruding into the ocean and home to a colony of about 60 thousand seals. As we drove we saw smaller bobs of seals everywhere along way. A short intro by the guide before we got the life jackets on and sat into the kayaks. Then we started paddling towards the playful seals in the water.

Suddenly we spotted a pod of dolphins swimming up and down the beach. At one stage swimming very close to us and surfacing, allowing us to get a good look. One of the dolphins jumped right next to our guide’s kayak splashing him full of water, to our amusement. A wonderful experience we can only recommend trying out.

And then the time to head back home had come. We packed up and headed eastwards, back to Windhoek to take the PCR test. This time around we were a bit more nervous. We had no intentions of staying another 14 days, though it wouldn’t have been the worst. There is still a lot to be seen in Namibia. We only covered a small bit. And the north is quite different, not as bare as the desert areas we had been in. Luckily our results came back negative and we could happily continue our homeward journey. Back at home we are now ready for the kids’ last semester at school before we head back north to Norway.

Follow us on Instagram for more regular updates and pictures/videos (@family_out_and_about). May this year be a good year for all of you.