Whenever I, like most people used to think of traveling, I thought it required months or a year of saving, and weeks or months of planning. However in 2018 after my return trip from Thailand, the travel bug bit be bad, like real bad!
I came back from my Thailand trip in August 2018, and already I was wondering what my next trip would be? what country to visit next? what adventure to seek next?
Namibia is said to be the second least populated country on earth, which I found fascinating because growing up, I thought every African country was overly populated and coming from South Africa with a population of over 57 million, I was curious to see how a mostly desert country with a population of 2.2 Million would look and feel like.
So I put it out into the universe (because speaking things into existence works): I put it out that in January 2019 I would Navigate Namibia, a chilled and calm solo trip. As the universe would have it, by the end of August 2018, I met a lively young lady an The Art of Planning Event (Azo Akweenda) A Namibian photographer whom I told Namibia was on my list, and she said I should come and she would host me.
What did I do? of course I took her up on the offer. I began researching and learning more about the country, checking my holiday dates and when would be the best time to visit.
However if I am being entirely honest? I planned the entire trip in only 2 weeks. I think right after Christmas, it hit me that I’d be going to Namibia pretty soon. although for months I had been monitoring flights with Air Namibia, as well as the fares. I only booked my return ticket a week before I was scheduled to leave for Namibia. In that same week, I began working on my itinerary (because that is when you know a trip is real, right?).
I shared it with Azo and she thought I was a bit crazy however complimented me on how organized I was. An itinerary is a document that contains details of ones arrival and departure as well as where they will be staying and what actives they plan on doing at what time and on which specific days. I thought to share the definition for those that may not know.
Now for the fun part, here is my 7 day Navigating Namibia Itinerary:
DAY 1: Tuesday, 8th January 2019 | Fly into Hosea Kutako International Airport | Windhoek at 8am | I Chose the earliest flight cause it was the cheapest but also so I can have a full day in the country. Flight time: 2hrs Cost: R3,550 / N$3,550 (Round trip) | R1 = N$ 1
Tuesday was spent settling into the area seeing a bit of Windhoek and making sure that we go to the shops to buy food, snacks and refreshments for the week, as shops are far in between areas and we had an early morning the next day. Funny how we still had time for a game night 🙂
DAY 2: Wednesday, 9th January 2019 | An Early morning with a 4am start, this part sounds a bit crazy but let me explain | Today we were headed to: The Etosha National Park, which on the northern side of Namibia. We watched the sunrise on the road and I took in every moment. Travel time: 4hrs Cost: N$60 (Entrance for Non-Namibian’s)
We stayed at the Halali Game Lodge, which is inside the Etosha National Park, so we could go on a self game drive just before sunset. Considering that it was already the rain season we didn’t see as many animals (best time to visit: June – September) What we saw: Plenty Zebras, Springboks everywhere, Gemsbok, Ostriches, 3 Giraffe’s, a rhino, a jackal and out of nowhere on our drive back: A cheetah which was so cool!
DAY 3: Thursday, 10th January 2019 | We checked out on time right after a yummy breakfast to fuel us up for a long day ahead on the road, as we were about to make our way to Swakopmund. A Town on the West of Namibia that is known for it’s Atlantic Ocean views and adventurous activities. Travel time: 5hrs Cost: NWR had a 60% for off – peak accomodation | Price not included here as it may vary based on the time you plan to go.
We got to Swakopmund and decided to take it easy, as the next day was filled with a lot of activities. So what did we do? We went to the Swakopmund Jetty (pier) to get a feel of the Atlantic Ocean, followed by a quick dip by the beach.
DAY 4: Friday, 11th January 2019 | Today was a day of lathering myself with sunscreen! We started at the Desert Explorers for a Camel ride experience ( I wish I wore pants, it was a bit windy) Followed by a drive to Walvis Bay to go see and experience Dune 7 and quad bike through the desert (takes about 5 minutes to get a handle of). Travel Time: 35 min Cost: N$250 for the Camel Ride (30min) + N$350 for the Quad Bike (30min)
DAY 5: Saturday, 12th January 2019 | We drove back to Windhoek Friday afternoon so that we can wake up in Windhoek as my photographer friend (Azo) had a few shoots scheduled. Which worked perfectly as I had to switch out clothes in my bag and get some rest from being on the road. It was really refreshing to have a morning that wasn’t rushed or too planned.
At this point I had seen and been to most places on my itinerary. After a bit of a reset, we were scheduled to leave Windhoek for Sossusvlei on Saturday afternoon which requires a bakkie / 4 X 4 car, which instead of renting we hired from a friend. We left town at 3pm to venture on mostly gravel road. Time: 5hrs Cost: N$575 Full tank
The sun in Namibia sets pretty late, 8pm. However I wish we left sooner. The gravel road was tricky during the day, and only got more challenging as the sun went down.
Listen, drive during the day ONLY! We got the Sossus Dune Lodge at around 8h30pm and as we drove in, we heard a funny sound coming from the car wheels. Yes, we had a puncher in the desert, not a slow punch or flat tyre: an entire screwed up tyre and it was ugly and scary. Luckily the guides and staff from the lodge as so helpful!! Praise God! Whew!
DAY 6: Sunday, 13th January 2019 | Our check in was at 10pm the previous night and and we had to be up at 4am to leave the lodge so we can hike up the big daddy dunes in time to catch sunrise (what a glorious sight). Time: 1hr drive, Cost: R400 per person
This was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do, not the waking up silly, the climb: It was misty, and walking 3km going up 325 M high, is harder than it seems. I heard voices (which was very freaky at first, i then realized there were other people) but I couldn’t see them (cause of the mist) so you can imagine how strenuous the climb was. However I knew I had to make it to the top.
We met other travelers on the journey: A man from India, A couple from Japan, a family from Australia and a photographer with his wife from Spain.
Later that afternoon we drove back to Windhoek as this was day 6 of 7 and waking up in Windhoek on day 7 made more sense.
DAY 7: Monday, 14th January 2019 | At this point I had only gotten a glimpse of Windhoek, from driving in and out of the city, however had not yet taken time to explore the area.
My flight was scheduled for 17h30pm with Air Namibia, so i only needed to be at the airport at 3h30pm. So what did we do? We went out on the town! The Historic Christus Kirche/ Christ Church was on my list, mostly for it’s architecture.
We drove a round a little more as I took it the city, appreciating how come of a vacation it was that was filled with adventure.
Would I do Namibia again? Totally! there is a lot more to do (Solitaire, The Fish River Canyon etc.) Maybe next time I will visit around August to fully enjoy the wild life.
Love and Light! Lesedi Dawn.